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This Happened

This Happened—November 29: Architect Of The Vietnam War Bids Farewell

As a key proponent of expanding the Vietnam War, Robert McNamara became the target of much the ire of the U.S. anti-war movement. He finally resigned after being the longest serving Secretary of Defense.

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Who was Robert McNamara?

Most closely associated with the Vietnam war, Robert McNamara served as Secretary of Defense under U.S. presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson. Before entering public service, McNamara served as President of Ford Motor Company and would be considered, for better or worse, as the consummate technocrat throughout his career. After resigning as Defense Secretary, he served as head of the World Bank.

How did Robert McNamara escalate the Vietnam War?

During Kennedy’s term as president alone, the number of U.S. troops in South Vietnam increased from 900 to 16,000 under Mcnamara’s supervision. He made multiple decisions to expand the draft, forcing many American youths to fight and sometimes die in a war they did not believe in.

Why did Robert McNamara finally resign?

In 1967, people around him began to notice changes in McNamara’s demeanor as the effects of stress and doubt took hold. He stopped shaving, his jaw would tremble, and he began to describe the war in Vietnam in a way which sounded hopeless. On November 29, he ended his seven year tenure and resigned as Secretary of Defense. McNamara expressed regret, but never made a formal apology, instead saying, “I'm very proud of my accomplishments, and I'm very sorry that in the process of accomplishing things, I've made errors.”

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Ideas

Making It Political Already? Why Turkey's Earthquake Is Not Just A Natural Disaster

The government in Ankara doesn't want to question the cause of the high death toll in the earthquake that struck along the Turkey-Syria border. But one Turkish writer says it's time to assign responsibility right now.

photo of Erdogan at the earthquake site

President Erdogan surveys the damage on Wednesday

Office of the Turkish Presidency
Dağhan Irak

-OpEd-

ISTANBUL — We have a saying in Turkey: “don’t make it political” and I am having a hard time finding the right words to describe how evil that mindset is. It's as if politics is isolated from society, somehow not connected to how we live and the consequences of choices taken.

Allow me to translate for you the “don’t make it political” saying's real meaning: “we don’t want to be held accountable, hands off.”

It means preventing the public from looking after their interests and preserving the superiority of a certain type of individual, group and social class.

In order to understand the extent of the worst disaster in more than 20 years, we need to look back at that disaster: the İzmit-Düzce earthquakes of 1999.

Because we have before us a regime that does not care about anything but its own interests; has no plan but to save itself in times of danger; does not believe such planning is even necessary (even as it may tinker with the concept in case there is something to gain from it); gets more mafioso as it grows more partisan — and more deadly as it gets more mafioso.

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