Moral Perversity and the McNamara Toll

In the sixth paragraph of his front-page obituary of Vietnam War-era Defense Secretary Robert McNamara (7/7/09), the New York Times‘ Tim Weiner tries–and fails–to give some idea of the human cost of McNamara’s war: Half a million American soldiers went to war on his watch. More than 16,000 died; 42,000 more would fall in the seven years to come. What’s missing, of course, is the number of Vietnamese and other Indochinese who died as a result of the war whose escalation McNamara oversaw; estimates range from 1 million to more than 3 million, but Weiner never gets around to mentioning […]