Robert McNamara

(Robert Strange McNamara)

Robert McNamara
Robert McNamara
  • Born: June 9, 1916
  • Died: July 6, 2009
  • Nationality: American
  • Profession: Public Servant

50

Quotes

43

Citations

137

Concepts

0

Videos

Robert Strange McNamara was an American business executive and the eighth United States Secretary of Defense, serving from 1961 to 1968 under Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson. He played a major role in escalating the United States' involvement in the Vietnam War. McNamara was responsible for the institution of systems analysis in public policy, which developed into the discipline known today as policy analysis.

Quotes
Quote Topics Cited
… from the beginning, it was President Kennedy who said that it was politically unacceptable for us to leave those [Cuban] missile sites alone. He didn't say militarily, he said politically. Defense & National Security
A missile is a missile. It makes no great difference whether you are killed by a missile from the Soviet Union or Cuba. War & Peace ;Foreign Policy, World & International Affairs
Belief and seeing: They are both often wrong. Miscellaneous
Bless the doves—we need more of them. War & Peace
Every time I talk to the press, I put my foot in my mouth. Media, Journalism & The Press
Give your opponent an out. Look at the crises from his point of view.... Try to pick an option that achieves your purpose at minimal cost to him—military, political or otherwise. Negotiating & Negotiations
I don’t think that we should ever apply our military power unilaterally…. If we cannot persuade like-minded, friendly nations of the wisdom of our policy, then maybe we should rethink the policy. Military & Veterans
I found nothing but progress and hope for the future. War & Peace
I have a very firm limitation in mind, but I don’t think the Joint Chiefs do. I know they don’t. Defense & National Security ;Military & Veterans
I have a very firm limitation in mind, but I don’t think the Joint Chiefs do. I know they don’t. Defense & National Security
I lived with uncertainty. Detriments & Qualifications ;Public Office: Benefits
I see better today than I did three or five years ago. Miscellaneous
I think these kinds of public disputes are bad for our people. Miscellaneous
I view current US nuclear weapons policy as immoral, illegal, militarily unnecessary and dreadfully dangerous, creating unacceptable risks to other nations and to our own" Nuclear, Chemical & Biological Weapons & Energy
I’ll be quite frank. I don’t think that there is a military problem here … This is a domestic political problem. Military & Veterans ;Foreign Policy, World & International Affairs
I'll be quite frank. I don't think there is a military problem here. This is a domestic, political problem for us. Miscellaneous
In the Cuban missile crisis [1962] we had 5,000 nuclear strategic weapons and the Russians had only 300.... Even though we had a 17 to 1 advantage, we were deterred. Even if only ten percent of their missiles got through, tens of millions of Americans would have died. We could not use our nuclear superiority. Nuclear, Chemical & Biological Weapons & Energy
It's your constitutional right, but if I were you, I wouldn't do it. I can do better for you. Presidency, Vice Presidency & Prime Ministership
Military decisions are much more difficult and more often wrong than civilian decisions. Management & Managing Government
Not deciding is a decision. Let’s all remember that when we decide not to do something. Miscellaneous
Not deciding is a decision. Let’s all remember that when we decide not to do something. Miscellaneous
Our primary objective in Latin America is to aid whenever necessary, the continual growth of the military and paramilitary forces, so that together with the police and other security forces, they may provide the necessary internal security. Foreign Aid
The best return on our investment in military aid probably comes from the training of selected army officers …. They are the leaders of the future … I don’t need to dwell on the value of having people in positions of power who have a first hand knowledge of how we think and act here in the United States. Foreign Aid
The combination of human fallibility and nuclear weapons can destroy nations. Nutrition, Food, Starvation, Farming & Agriculture
The day is coming when no single nation, however powerful, can undertake by itself to keep the peace outside its borders. United Nations
The draft is the largest educational institutional in the world. Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training
The lesson is very clear. We all make mistakes. Management & Managing Government ;Foreign Policy, World & International Affairs
The military establishment is an instrument – not a shaper – of national policy. Its members – as free Americans – are entitled to their views on the issues of the day, and they have every right to try to make their views effective through the ballot. They do NOT have the right, however, to use the military establishment to advance partisan concepts or alter the decisions of the elected representatives of the people. Military & Veterans
The military establishment is an instrument – not a shaper – of national policy. Its members – as free Americans – are entitled to their views on the issues of the day, and they have every right to try to make their views effective through the ballot. They do NOT have the right, however, to use the military establishment to advance partisan concepts or alter the decisions of the elected representatives of the people. Military & Veterans
The Military Industrial Complex. President Eisenhower had it wrong. It’s the Military Industrial Congressional Complex. Military & Veterans
The military plan is basically invasion. When we attack Cuba, we are going to have to attack with an all-out attack," he said. This is almost certain to lead to an invasion. The Soviet Union may, and I think probably will, attack the Turkish missiles. Then the United States would have to attack Soviet ships. And I would say that it is damn dangerous. Now, I'm not sure we can avoid anything like that if we attack Cuba. But I think we should make every effort to avoid it. And one way to avoid it is to defuse the Turkish missiles before we attack Cuba. War & Peace ;Foreign Policy, World & International Affairs
The military thinks about weapons the way women think about perfume. Military & Veterans
There is a great danger that you will try to solve political problems through military action. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
There isn’t going to be any learning curve for nuclear weapons. An administration makes one mistake and the result can destroy entire nations. War & Peace ;Foreign Policy, World & International Affairs
They could hang people for what's in there. Secrecy & Transparency
To launch weapons against a nuclear power would be suicide. To do so against a non-nuclear enemy would be militarily unnecessary, morally repugnant, and politically indefensible. Nuclear, Chemical & Biological Weapons & Energy
War is so complex that it is beyond the capability of the human mind to understand all the variables. War & Peace
We believe there are about 25 Soviet ships moving toward Cuba. If the vessel does not stop and refuses to heed the instructions, force will be applied to assure that it does stop. Foreign Policy, World & International Affairs
We saw Vietnam disintegrating before our eyes—at least the structure of the state disintegrating. War & Peace
We simply have to end this thing. It is out of control. War & Peace
We we’re wrong, terribly wrong [about the Vietnam war.] War & Peace
We will use nuclear weapons whenever it serves our vital interests. Defense & National Security
We're not trying to start a war; we're trying to send a political message. Diplomacy & Diplomats ;Foreign Policy, World & International Affairs
A computer does not substitute for judgment any more than a pencil substitutes for literacy. But writing without a pencil is no particular advantage.
Coercion, after all, merely captures man. Freedom captivates him. Freedom & Liberty
It would be our policy to use nuclear weapons wherever we felt it necessary to protect our forces and achieve our objectives.
Neither conscience nor sanity itself suggests that the United States is, should or could be the global gendarme.
Never answer the question that is asked of you. Answer the question that you wish had been asked of you.
One cannot fashion a credible deterrent out of an incredible action.
We burned to death 100,000 Japanese civilians in Tokyo - men, women and children. LeMay recognized that what he was doing would be thought immoral if his side had lost. But what makes it immoral if you lose and not immoral if you win? Women ;Death