Mcnamara Quotes

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Mcnamara Quotes

You see that honky McNamara on television? He says, "Yes, we are going to draft thirty percent of the Negroes in the Army. This is where they can have equal opportunity. Yeah. Yes ... its true that they are only ten percent of the population, but this is a better chance for them." When that honky talk about drafting thirty percent black people, hes talking about black urban removal—nothing else.
— Stokely Carmichael —

Why did McNamara have such good figures? Why did McNamara have such good staff work and Ball such poor staff work? The next day Ball would angrily dispatch his staff to come up with the figures, to find out how McNamara had gotten them, and the staff would burrow away and occasionally find that one of the reasons that Ball did not have comparable figures was that they did not always exist. McNamara had invented them, he dissembled even within the bureaucracy, though, of course, always for a good cause. It was part of his sense of service. He believed in what he did, and thus the morality of it was assured, and everything else fell into place. It was all right to lie and dissemble for the right causes. It was part of service, loyalty to the President, not to the nation, not to colleagues, it was a very special bureaucratic-corporate definition of integrity; you could do almost anything you wanted as long as it served your superior.

— David Halberstam

Among those dazzled by the Administration team was Vice-President Lyndon Johnson. After attending his first Cabinet meeting he went back to his mentor Sam Rayburn and told him with great enthusiasm how extraordinary they were, each brighter than the next, and that the smartest of them all was that fellow with the Stacomb on his hair from the Ford Motor Company, McNamara. "Well, Lyndon," Mister Sam answered, "you may be right and they may be every bit as intelligent as you say, but I'd feel a whole lot better about them if just one of them had run for sheriff once." It is my favorite story in the book, for it underlines the weakness of the Kennedy team, the difference between intelligence and wisdom, between the abstract quickness and verbal fluency which the team exuded, and the true wisdom, which is the product of hard-won, often bitter experience. Wisdom for a few of them came after Vietnam.

— David Halberstam

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