McNamara in 1961
© Cecil Stoughton/Associated PressMcNamara in 1961 before it all went wrong
Robert S. McNamara, U.S. Secretary of Defense under Presidents Kennedy and Johnson, died July 6, 2009 at the age of 93. He was involved in the shocking firebombing of Japanese cities at the end of World War II while still in his twenties. He was a central figure in the Bay of Pigs, Operation Mongoose, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the transition between Kennedy and Johnson, and the Vietnam War. He even testified to Congress about the incredible UFO sightings all around the country in 1966. You might say he was the Donald Rumsfeld of the 1960s, albeit without the abrasive personality (similar glasses and hairstyle, though).

But who was he really? Was he a psychopath? Did he have a conscience? If so, a look at his life might help us learn how people born with the possibility of developing conscience can match the most ruthless psychopath in death and destruction. Like Rumsfeld, he became identified with a disastrous quagmire of a war. Unlike Rumsfeld, he seems to have been tortured by it.

The evidence that he possessed at least some developmental potential towards conscience revolves around the fact that he felt tortured by the death and destruction caused by actions he participated in. True psychopaths like Rumsfeld and Cheney feel no such conflict. Lyndon Johnson's nephew offers the following anecdote:
Lyndon Johnson, my uncle, presided over the noisy [Christmas] feast, and the unwrapping and the prayers. By the fire, that afternoon, he quizzed me on the cabinet he had inherited. I was 15, a high school senior. Could I name all the cabinet members? I could. Did I know which ones were from Wall Street, which ones had served in Congress, which ones had been governors? I did. It went on and on - not so unlike the quizzes he must have given his students 30 years earlier when he coached a high school debate team as a young teacher in Houston.

But now, he said, he had a question that was sure to stump me. Who was the most compassionate member of the cabinet? I guessed, rather unconfidently. Wrong. I guessed again, wrongly. He laughed and said: "You'll never get it. It's Bob McNamara. By far." And it was a surprise, because we all thought of Bob McNamara as the no-nonsense numbers man from corporate America. The steel-rimmed glasses and the steel-trap mind were perfectly suited to an industrial mentality.
Carlucci, McNamara, Rumsfeld & Brzezinski
© Stephen Crowley/The New York TimesCarlucci, McNamara, Rumsfeld & Brzezinski: all psychopaths?

His New York Times obituary sums his life up this way:
Mr. McNamara was the most influential defense secretary of the 20th century. Serving Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson from 1961 to 1968, he oversaw hundreds of military missions, thousands of nuclear weapons and billions of dollars in military spending and foreign arms sales. He also enlarged the defense secretary's role, handling foreign diplomacy and the dispatch of troops to enforce civil rights in the South...

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.
Of course, the New York Times only mentions American dead. McNamara himself estimated the number of Vietnamese casualties of the war and secret operations to be more than three million. The deaths continue to this day due to the long-term effects of the "defoliant" Agent Orange.
The war became his personal nightmare. Nothing he did, none of the tools at his command - the power of American weapons, the forces of technology and logic, or the strength of American soldiers - could stop the armies of North Vietnam. He concluded well before leaving the Pentagon that the war was futile, but he did not share that insight with the public until late in life.

In 1995, he took a stand against his own conduct of the war, confessing in a memoir that it was "wrong, terribly wrong." In return, he faced a firestorm of scorn.

"Mr. McNamara must not escape the lasting moral condemnation of his countrymen," The New York Times said in a widely discussed editorial, written by the page's editor at the time, Howell Raines. "Surely he must in every quiet and prosperous moment hear the ceaseless whispers of those poor boys in the infantry, dying in the tall grass, platoon by platoon, for no purpose. What he took from them cannot be repaid by prime-time apology and stale tears, three decades late."

By then he wore the expression of a haunted man. He could be seen in the streets of Washington - stooped, his shirttail flapping in the wind - walking to and from his office a few blocks from the White House, wearing frayed running shoes and a thousand-yard stare.

He had spent decades thinking through the lessons of the war. The greatest of these was to know one's enemy - and to "empathize with him," as Mr. McNamara explained in Errol Morris's 2003 documentary, "The Fog of War: Eleven Lessons from the Life of Robert S. McNamara."

"We must try to put ourselves inside their skin and look at us through their eyes," he said. The American failure in Vietnam, he said, was seeing the enemy through the prism of the cold war, as a domino that would topple the nations of Asia if it fell.
Does he mean that empathy would have helped the U.S. defeat the "enemy" or does he mean that empathy would have made the Vietnamese communists not be enemies at all?
In the film, Mr. McNamara described the American firebombing of Japan's cities in World War II. He had played a supporting role in those attacks, running statistical analysis for Gen. Curtis E. LeMay of the Army's Air Forces.

"We burned to death 100,000 Japanese civilians in Tokyo - men, women and children," Mr. McNamara recalled; some 900,000 Japanese civilians died in all. "LeMay said, 'If we'd lost the war, we'd all have been prosecuted as war criminals.' And I think he's right. He - and I'd say I - were behaving as war criminals."

"What makes it immoral if you lose and not immoral if you win?" he asked. He found the question impossible to answer.
© UnknownWas McNamara lost in the Fog of War?

If he had truly developed a conscience, the answer to that question would be clear: nothing makes it not immoral. But, like many who live in a reality dominated by the Other Human Race, McNamara confused law with morality.

He began his career in "public service" by leaving his position as professor of Business Administration at Harvard and joining the Air Force's Office of Statistical Control in 1943. He had yet to turn 30. There he helped the truly evil Curtis LeMay commit some of the worst crimes of the 20th century.

He ended his career as president of the World Bank.

But it is his years as Defense Secretary that will always define him. Here is what the New York Times says about these years, in other words, here is the official establishment version of 2009:
Mr. McNamara had risen by his mastery of systems analysis, the business of making sense of large organizations - taking on a big problem, studying every facet, finding simplicity in the complexity.

His first mission was to defuse the myth of the missile gap. Kennedy had argued in his 1960 presidential campaign that the strategic nuclear arsenal of the United States was less powerful than the Soviet Union's, and that the gap was growing. His predecessor as president, Dwight D. Eisenhower, called the missile gap a fiction in his final State of the Union address, on Jan. 12, 1961.

Mr. McNamara took office nine days later. He recalled that "my first responsibility as secretary of defense was to determine the degree of the gap and initiate action to close it."

"It took us about three weeks to determine, yes, there was a gap," he told an oral historian at his Alma Mater, the University of California at Berkeley. "But the gap was in our favor. It was a totally erroneous charge that Eisenhower had allowed the Soviets to develop a superior missile force."

The problem was a lack of accurate intelligence; the estimate of Soviet forces had been a product of politics and guesswork.

By year's end, new American spy satellites had determined that the Soviets had as few as 10 launchers from which missiles could be fired at the United States, while the United States could strike with more than 3,200 nuclear weapons.

At the same time, Mr. McNamara was enmeshed in plans for the Bay of Pigs invasion, in which some 1,500 Cubans, trained and equipped by the Central Intelligence Agency, were badly defeated by Fidel Castro's forces in a bloody battle in April 1961. Mr. McNamara doubted that the C.I.A.'s Cubans could overthrow Mr. Castro, who had taken power in 1959, but he asked few questions beforehand and gave his go-ahead to the plan, which had been conceived under the Eisenhower administration.

Kennedy's first order to Mr. McNamara after the invasion collapsed was to develop a proposal for overthrowing Cuba with American military force. Ten days later, he submitted a plan of attack that included 60,000 American troops, excluding naval and air forces. The plan proved impossible to fulfill. One lesson of the Bay of Pigs, Mr. McNamara told the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was that "the government should never start anything unless it could be finished, or the government was willing to face the consequences of failure," according to the State Department's official record of American foreign policy, "The Foreign Relations of the United States."

At a White House meeting on Nov. 3, 1961, Kennedy authorized a program designed to undermine the Castro government, code-named Operation Mongoose. Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy's handwritten notes on the meeting say that Mr. McNamara was assigned to survey the situation and help him devise ways "to stir things up on island with espionage, sabotage, general disorder." This operation also failed.

By 1962, the White House and the Pentagon had devised a new strategy of counterinsurgency to combat what Mr. McNamara called the tactics of "terror, extortion and assassination" by communist guerrillas. The call led to the creation of American special forces like the Green Berets and secret paramilitary operations throughout Asia and Latin America.
In other words, "counterinsurgency" means training "our side" in terror, extortion, and assassination.
"Counterinsurgency became an almost ridiculous battle cry," said Robert Amory, who in 1962 stepped down after nine years as the C.I.A.'s deputy director of intelligence to become the White House budget officer for classified programs.
Here is Wikipedia for a consensus version:
Although not especially knowledgeable about defense matters, McNamara immersed himself in the subject, learned quickly, and soon began to apply an "active role" management philosophy, in his own words "providing aggressive leadership questioning, suggesting alternatives, proposing objectives and stimulating progress."

...Initially, the basic policies outlined by President Kennedy in a message to Congress on March 28, 1961 guided McNamara in the reorientation of the defense program. Kennedy rejected the concept of first-strike attack and emphasized the need for adequate strategic arms and defense to deter nuclear attack on the United States and its allies. U.S. arms, he maintained, must constantly be under civilian command and control, and the nation's defense posture had to be "designed to reduce the danger of irrational or unpremeditated general war." The primary mission of U.S. overseas forces, in cooperation with allies, was "to prevent the steady erosion of the Free World through limited wars." Kennedy and McNamara rejected massive retaliation for a posture of flexible response. The United States wanted choices in an emergency other than "inglorious retreat or unlimited retaliation", as the president put it. Out of a major review of the military challenges confronting the United States initiated by McNamara in 1961 came a decision to increase the nation's "limited warfare" capabilities. These moves were significant because McNamara was abandoning President Dwight D. Eisenhower's policy of massive retaliation in favor of a flexible response strategy that relied on increased U.S. capacity to conduct limited, non-nuclear warfare.

He also created the Defense Intelligence Agency and the Defense Supply Agency.


The Kennedy administration placed particular emphasis on improving ability to counter communist "wars of national liberation", in which the enemy avoided head-on military confrontation and resorted to political subversion and guerrilla tactics. As McNamara said in his 1962 annual report, "The military tactics are those of the sniper, the ambush, and the raid. The political tactics are terror, extortion, and assassination." In practical terms, this meant training and equipping U.S. military personnel, as well as such allies as South Vietnam, for counterinsurgency operations.

The Cuban Missile Crisis

In 1962 McNamara played a large role in the Kennedy Administration's handling and eventual defusing of the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Increased attention to conventional strength complemented these special forces preparations. In this instance he called up reserves and also proceeded to expand the regular armed forces. Whereas active duty strength had declined from approximately 3,555,000 to 2,483,000 between 1953 (the end of the Korean conflict) and 1961, it increased to nearly 2,808,000 by June 30, 1962. Then the forces leveled off at around 2,700,000 until the Vietnam military buildup began in 1965, reaching a peak of nearly 3,550,000 by mid-1968, just after McNamara left office...

Vietnam War

During President John F. Kennedy's term, while McNamara was Secretary of Defense, America's troops in Vietnam increased from 500 to 16,000.

The Vietnam conflict came to claim most of McNamara's time and energy. The Truman and Eisenhower administrations had committed the United States to support the French and native anti-Communist forces in Vietnam in resisting efforts by the Communists in the North to control the country, though neither administration established actual combat forces in the conflict. The U.S. role, initially limited to financial support, military advice and covert intelligence gathering, expanded after 1954 when the French withdrew. During the Kennedy administration, the U.S. military advisory group in South Vietnam steadily increased, with McNamara's concurrence, from just a few hundred to about 17,000. U.S. involvement escalated after the Gulf of Tonkin Incident in August 1964 when North Vietnamese naval vessels were reported as firing on two U.S. destroyers. McNamara was instrumental in selling this event to Congress and the public as a pretext for escalation.

President Johnson ordered retaliatory air strikes on North Vietnamese naval bases and Congress approved almost unanimously the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, authorizing the president "to take all necessary measures to repel any armed attack against the forces of the U.S. and to prevent further aggression."

In 1965, in response to stepped up military activity by the nationalist Viet Cong in South Vietnam and their North Vietnamese allies, the United States began bombing North Vietnam, deployed large military forces, and entered into combat in South Vietnam. McNamara's plan, supported by requests from top U.S. military commanders in Vietnam, led to the commitment of 485,000 troops by the end of 1967 and almost 535,000 by June 30, 1968. The casualty lists mounted as the number of troops and the intensity of fighting escalated. McNamara put in place a statistical strategy for victory in Vietnam. He concluded that there were a limited number of Viet Cong fighters in Vietnam and that a war of attrition would destroy them. He applied metrics (body counts) to determine how close to success his plan was.

Although he was a prime architect of the Vietnam War and repeatedly overruled the JCS on strategic matters, McNamara gradually became skeptical about whether the war could be won by deploying more troops to South Vietnam and intensifying the bombing of North Vietnam, a claim he would publish in a book years later. He also stated later that his support of the Vietnam war was given out of loyalty to administration policy. He traveled to Vietnam many times to study the situation firsthand and became increasingly reluctant to approve the large force increments requested by the military commanders.

Some argue that McNamara knew about the potential deadly effects of Dow Chemical's Agent Orange even as it was being used in Vietnam, and long before veterans came home to die or waste away from the herbicide's after effects. McNamara denies that he was aware of these dangers, and does not recall whether he was involved in the decision to use Agent Orange.

McNamara has said that the Domino Theory was the main reason for entering the Vietnam War. In the same interview he states, "Kennedy hadn't said before he died whether, faced with the loss of Vietnam, he would [completely] withdraw; but I believe today that had he faced that choice, he would have withdrawn."
© UnknownMcNamara gives one of his infamous press conferences in which he lied to the American public about the Gulf of Tonkin incident. But was he aware, or misinformed?

We would be foolish, of course, to rely on the New York Times or Wikipedia to tell us the true story. Let's look at the secret history of this period and McNamara's role in it. Or, as Buckminster Fuller wrote in Critical Path,
In our comprehensive reviewing of published, academically accepted history, we continually explore for the invisible power structure behind the visible kings, prime ministers, czars, emperors, presidents, and other official head men, as well as for the underlying, hidden causes of individual wars and the long, drawn-out campaigns not disclosed by the widely published and popularly accepted causes of these wars. (quoted in L. Fletcher Prouty, JFK: The CIA, Vietnam, and the Plot to Assassinate John F. Kennedy, p. xxiii)
Fletcher Prouty's books on the CIA and the Kennedy Assassination tell us a lot about the "invisible power structure" and the role men like McNamara played in it. Without that information, the horrible events of the twentieth century just don't make sense.

Prouty served from 1955 to 1964 as a briefing officer between the Department of Defense and the CIA. In his book, The Secret Team: The CIA and Its Allies in Control of the United States and the World, Prouty explains the importance of briefing officers. They help the powers behind the scenes manipulate the office holders:
From President to Ambassador, Cabinet Officer to Commanding General, and from Senator to executive assistant-all these men have their sources of information and guidance. Most of this information and guidance is the result of carefully laid schemes and ploys of pressure groups. In this influential coterie one of the most interesting and effective roles is that played by the behind-the-scenes, faceless, nameless, ubiquitous briefing officer.

He is the man who sees the President, the Secretary, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff almost daily, and who carries with him the most skillfully detailed information. He is trained by years of experience in the precise way to present that information to assure its effectiveness. He comes away day after day knowing more and more about the man he has been briefing and about what it is that the truly influential pressure groups at the center of power and authority are really trying to tell these key decision makers. In Washington, where such decisions shape and shake the world, the role of the regular briefing officer is critical.

Leaders of government and of the great power centers regularly leak information of all kinds to columnists, television and radio commentators, and to other media masters with the hope that the material will surface and thus influence the President, the Secretary, the Congress, and the public. Those other inside pressure groups with their own briefing officers have direct access to the top men; they do not have to rely upon the media, although they make great use of it. They are safe and assured in the knowledge that they can get to the decision maker directly. They need no middleman other than the briefing officer. Such departments as Defense, State, and the CIA use this technique most effectively.

For nine consecutive, long years during those crucial days from 1955 through January 1, 1964, I was one of those briefing officers. I had the unique assignment of being the "Focal Point" officer for contacts between the CIA and the Department of Defense on matters pertaining to the military support of the Special Operations of that Agency. In that capacity I worked with Allen Dulles and John Foster Dulles, several Secretaries of Defense, and Chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, as well as many others in key governmental places. My work took me to more than sixty countries and to CIA offices and covert activities all over the world - from such hot spots as Saigon and to such remote places as the South Pole. Yes, there have been secret operations in Antarctica.

It was my job not only to brief these men, but to brief them from the point of view of the CIA so that I might win approval of the projects presented and of the accompanying requests for support from the military in terms of money, manpower, facilities, and materials. I was, during this time, perhaps the best informed "Focal Point" officer among the few who operated in this very special area. The role of the briefing officer is quiet, effective, and most influential; and, in the CIA, specialized in the high art of top level indoctrination.

It cannot be expected that a John Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, a Richard Nixon, or a following President will have experienced and learned all the things that may arise to confront him during his busy official life in the White House. It cannot be expected that a Robert McNamara or a Melvin Laird, a Dean Rusk or a William Rogers, etc. comes fully equipped to high office, aware of all matters pertaining to what they will encounter in their relationship with the Congo or Cuba, Vietnam or Pakistan, and China or Russia and the emerging new nations. These men learn about these places and the many things that face them from day to day from an endless and unceasing procession of briefing officers...

From 1955 through 1963, if some official wanted a briefing on a highly classified subject involving the CIA, I would be one of those called upon to prepare the material and to make the briefing. At the same time, if the CIA wanted support from the Air Force for some covert operation, I was the officer who had been officially designated to provide this special operational support to the CIA.

If I was contacted by the CIA to provide support for an operation which I believed the Secretary of Defense had not been previously informed of, I would see to it that he got the necessary briefing from the CIA or from my office and that any other Chief of Staff who might be involved would get a similar briefing. In this unusual business I found rather frequently that the CIA would be well on its way into some operation that would later require military support before the Secretary and the Chiefs had been informed. (Prouty, The Secret Team, pp. 7-8)
This last sentence does more to sum up the problems faced by people like McNamara than anything else. Covert operations had been going on in Southeast Asia and Cuba long before McNamara knew anything about it. Once in office he would be completely at the mercy of the invisible power structure behind the briefers. According to Prouty, the briefing material created by the CIA that eventually became known as the Pentagon Papers were designed to manipulate both Kennedy and Johnson into creating the disaster that was the Vietnam War (or the American War as the Vietnamese call it). That war was only a disaster from the point of view of the Vietnamese people, the American people, American society, the U.S. government, and of all people of conscience. For the invisible power structure or the secret government, it was a huge success. Lots of money was made, the lives of millions were ruined, many people and much land were poisoned, and the power of the secret government increased. From the point of view of the truly psychopathic, that is a success.

Which brings us to the Kennedy assassination. Where do we find Robert McNamara in this crime? The evidence points again to the fact that he was a "useful idiot" or, since he was highly intelligent, we should probably call him a useful and easily manipulated brilliant person. What is odd is that he seemed to fully support Kennedy's desire to get out of Vietnam, but accepted Johnson's request to stay on and prosecute the war that he and Kennedy tried to avoid. He was likely enticed to do so by those things that can easily influence normal people who reach prominence within a vicious power hierarchy: patriotism and fear.

Prouty, in his book, JFK: The CIA, Vietnam, and the Plot to Assassinate John F. Kennedy put forward the thesis that Kennedy was determined to pull all U.S. personnel (not just the military "advisers" but also the covert operators) by 1965 and that that was indicated by National Security Action Memorandum 263 of October 11, 1963. Prouty also argues that the CIA briefers and CIA men seeded throughout the military tailored reports to Kennedy in such a way as to give him an optimistic enough view of the war to lead him to decide to pull-out after the 1964 election. That gave the covert operators time to plan the assassination and make arrangements for a swift change of policy within days of Johnson assuming the presidency. NSC Action Memorandum 273 represented the beginning of an abrupt change of policy. It was dated November 26, 1963, just four days after the assassination!

NSAM 273 depicted the situation in Vietnam as rapidly deteriorating, setting the stage for a massive escalation of U.S. troops.
Just four days after Kennedy's death and less than sixty days after Kennedy published NSAM #263, which visualized the Vietnamization of the war and the return of all American personnel by the end of 1965, Lyndon Johnson and most of the JFK cabinet viewed the situation in an entirely different light. In Johnson's NSAM #273 they saw the military situation deteriorating ("the deterioration of... the Strategic Hamlet program") and all of a sudden saw the program as a failure. ("These topics dominated the discussions at the Honolulu Conference on November 20....")

This is a remarkable statement. On that date, John Kennedy was still alive and President of the United States. Yet this report says that his cabinet had been assembled in Honolulu to discuss "these topics" - the very same topics of NSAM #273, dated November 26, and a vital step on the way to a total reversal of Kennedy's own policy, as stated in the Taylor-McNamara report and in NSAM 263, dated October 2, 1963. The total reversal was completed with the publication of NSAM #288, March 26, 1964.

The situation cannot be treated lightly. How did it happen that the Kennedy cabinet had travelled to Hawaii at precisely the same time Kennedy was touring in Texas? How did it happen that the subject of discussion in Hawaii, before JFK was killed, was a strange agenda that had not come up in the White House until after he had been murdered? Who could have known, beforehand, that this new - non-Kennedy - agenda would be needed in the White House because Kennedy would no longer be President?

Is there any possibility that the "powers that be" who planned and executed the Kennedy assassination had also been able to get the Kennedy cabinet out of the country and to have them conferring in Hawaii on an agenda that would be put before President Lyndon Johnson just four days after Kennedy's death? (Prouty, JFK, pp. 280-1)
Prouty highlights the disturbing lack of reference to the Kennedy assassination in reports prepared by Leslie Gelb and others that became part of the "Pentagon Papers" written in 1968. (Leslie Gelb is still around, a senior member of the Council on Foreign Relations who in this decade has called for the dismemberment of Iraq into three weaker 'statelets'.) They mention only that, on November 22 Ambassador "Lodge confers with the President..." The passage from the Pentagon Papers reads,
These topics [the military situation and the Strategic Hamlet program] dominated the discussions at the Honolulu conference in November 20 when Lodge and the country team met with Rusk, McNamara, Taylor, Bell, and Bundy. But the meeting ended inconclusively. After Lodge had conferred with the President a few days later in Washington, the White House tried to pull together some conclusions and offer some guidance for our continuing and now deeper involvement in Vietnam. (quoted in Prouty, JFK, p. 318)
Prouty comments,
These are astounding statements, considering that they were written sometime in 1968, when everyone knew that the most important fact of those two days was the assassination of President Kennedy on November 22, 1963. This massive compilation of official documents produced by Secretary McNamara's "task force... to study the history of United States involvement in Vietnam from World War II to the present" (1969) totally ignored the assassination.
Wikipedia also totally ignored the assassination of Kennedy in its article on McNamara in the crucial section on Vietnam. It's like a performing magician making something disappear when you're not looking:
During President John F. Kennedy's term, while McNamara was Secretary of Defense, America's troops in Vietnam increased from 500 to 16,000.

The Vietnam conflict came to claim most of McNamara's time and energy. The Truman and Eisenhower administrations had committed the United States to support the French and native anti-Communist forces in Vietnam in resisting efforts by the Communists in the North to control the country, though neither administration established actual combat forces in the conflict. The U.S. role, initially limited to financial support, military advice and covert intelligence gathering, expanded after 1954 when the French withdrew. During the Kennedy administration, the U.S. military advisory group in South Vietnam steadily increased, with McNamara's concurrence, from just a few hundred to about 17,000. U.S. involvement escalated after the Gulf of Tonkin Incident in August 1964 when North Vietnamese naval vessels were reported as firing on two U.S. destroyers. McNamara was instrumental in selling this event to Congress and the public as a pretext for escalation.
The New York Times' obituary says only,
"Every quantitative measurement we have shows we are winning this war," Mr. McNamara said after returning from his first trip to South Vietnam in April 1962. His statistical analysis showed that the military mission could be wrapped up in three or four years.

After Kennedy was assassinated on Nov. 22, 1963, Mr. McNamara found that Johnson depended on him to win the war, which became a full-fledged conflict for the United States the following year.
McNamara & Johnson
© Associated PressMcNamara & Johnson in 1963 after Kennedy was assassinated

McNamara was a Cold-Warrior through and through, so to him there would be no question of serving the man who took over after the 1963 coup. But what was the Cold War, really? Prouty's description is as good as any. After Hiroshima, all-out war could no longer be fought between great powers as it had for centuries. Instead,
The Cold War, based upon a structured East-West confrontation, provided the basis for a new type of very lethal, global conflict that would depend upon large, invisible armies concealed under the benign cover of intelligence organizations. Almost immediately after the end of the hostilities, the great armed forces that had fought World War II were dismantled and disbanded. Nearly all of their arms, ammunition, and other materiel were salvaged, sold, or given away to make way for new procurement.

The early creation of the Central Intelligence Agency and of the Office of Policy Coordination (OPC) was an inevitable progression after World War II. With the decision already made to turn the Soviet Union, almost overnight, from a wartime ally to a "peacetime" adversary, it became necessary to create an organization that could, in time of "peace," continue the eternal conflict using the networks of agents and spies in Eastern Europe that had been established by the Allies and by the Nazis during the war. The utilization of the World War II Nazi agent networks in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union became a major characteristic of the new Cold War strategy. The CIA was joined by "Allies" foreign and domestic, governmental and civilian.

In fact, "peacetime operations" became the new Orwellian euphemism for military-type covert operations, often on a mammoth scale. These "peacetime operations" were carried out whether or not they were secret and whether or not they could be disclaimed plausibly, without benefit of a declaration of a state of war among the adversaries. This was an important shift. Any country - whether it was the United States or the Soviet Union, or even a smaller country, such as Greece or Israel - that employed its undercover forces in peacetime, within the borders of another country with whom it is not officially at war, ignored and degraded the age-old concepts of the independence of nations and of national sovereignty. (Prouty, JFK, pp. 24-5)
These operations, carried out by the Secret Team, using compartmentalization and strict need-to-know concealment of information between the moving parts, took on a life of their own. What is "The Secret Team"?
[T]he Secret Team is the functional element of the dominant power. It is the point of the spear and is neither military nor police. It is covert: and the best (or worst) of both. It gets the job done whether it has political authorization and direction, or not. In this capacity, it acts independently. It is lawless. It operates everywhere with the best of all supporting facilities from special weaponry and advanced communications, with the assurance that its members will never be prosecuted. It is subservient to the Power Elite and protected by them. The Power Elite or High Cabal need not be Royalty in these days. They are their equals or better.

Note with care, it is labeled a "Team". This is because as with any highly professional team it has its managers, its front office and it owners. These are the "Power Elite" to whom it is beholden. They are always anonymous, and their network is ancient and world-wide. (Prouty, The Secret Team, p. 19)

Because the servants of the invisible power elite, including generals and heads of states down to the pilots and hit men, were unaware of what was going on beyond their own limited role, a very few at the top of the chain of command could play puppet master and direct all below. As Andrew Lobaczewski explains in his ground-breaking work on the dynamics of macro-social evil, Political Ponerology, the type of people who become members of the Secret Team are acutely aware of their difference from normal humanity.
In every society, psychopathic individuals and carriers of other pathological anomalies create a ponerogenically active network of common collusions, partially estranged from the community of normal people. An inspirational role of essential psychopathy in this network appears to be a common phenomenon. They are aware of being different as they obtain their life-experiences and become familiar with different ways of fighting for their goals. Their world is forever divided into "us and them"; their little world with its own laws and customs and that other foreign world of normal people that they see as full of presumptuous ideas and customs by which they are condemned morally. Their sense of honor bids them to cheat and revile that other human world and its values at every opportunity. In contradiction to the customs of normal people, they feel that breaking their promises is appropriate behavior. (Andrew Lobaczewski, Political Ponerology, p. 138)
To get the results they wanted, the higher levels of the Secret Team would tailor the information available to the political puppets interfacing with normal humanity. Their accumulated "special knowledge" gleaned from astute observation of people's behaviour meant they could specifically package events designed to get officials to react in ways they wanted, while thinking they were acting freely. Prouty describes how McNamara, after Kennedy was killed, went to Vietnam and was presented with "gloomy" information that led him to recommend escalation and heavy U.S. troop involvement to the new president.
Less than fifteen days after the death of Kennedy, Secretary of Defense McNamara was on his way back to Saigon to assess the situation under General Minh and to report to the new President of the United States. This time, the McNamara report was, to quote The New York Times, "Laden with gloom". His assessment laid the groundwork for the long haul and included decisions to step up the covert war against North Vietnam in early 1964 and to increase American aid to South Vietnam.

... Clandestine operations that are small and strictly controlled with a fixed and time-limited objective can be terminated at any time, whether they succeed or fail. However, clandestine operations that become large, that are permitted to continue and to be repeated, that become known or compromised - and yet still continue, as in Laos - are very dangerous and can lead to open hostilities and even war Thus, when the Secret Team proposed a vastly escalated covert campaign against North Vietnam in December 1963, they were laying positive plans for the major military action that followed in 1965. Within thirty days after Kennedy's death all of this changed drastically. In his report of December 21, 1963, McNamara stated: "Viet Cong progress had been great during the period since the coup. We also need to have major increases in both military and USOM (United States Operations Mission) staffs." (Prouty, The Secret Team, p. 29-30)
People like McNamara don't stand a chance in such environments. They buy into the surface ideology employed by psychopaths to deceive bright and hard-working normal people into aiding their cause, the true intention of which is cloaked at every turn. They become ponerized, or turned by evil into agents of evil, either witting or unwitting. When those useful, albeit gifted, idiots make the decision to go with the flow, to enjoy the benefits of power that come with serving power, they condemn themselves. McNamara was a servant of evil: he helped his deviant superiors commit acts of great evil.

© UnknownJohn A. Keel
Postscript: John Keel, author of Operation Trojan Horse and who is best known as the author of The Mothman Prophecies died three days before Robert McNamara, their deaths bookending the Fourth of July. Keel described the congressional testimony of McNamara on March 30, 1966 in the midst of a massive rash of UFO sightings in the United States:
An extensive flying saucer "flap" (numerous sightings occurring simultaneously in many widely scattered areas) broke in March 1966, and the then-Secretary of Defense, Robert McNamara, had been well-briefed by the Air Force before the subject was interjected into a hearing of the House Foreign Affairs Committee on March 30, 1966. Representative Cornelius E. Gallagher of New Jersey, a state where scores of UFO sightings had been reported that month, asked Secretary McNamara if he thought there was "anything at all" to the flying saucer mystery.

"I think not," McNamara replied, "I have talked to the Secretary of the Air Force and the Air Force Director of Research and Engineering, and neither of them places any credence in the reports we have received to date." (John A. Keel, Operation Trojan Horse, p.12)
The actions and motivations of the National Security State and the Secret Team are easily explained by age-old, earth-bound power struggles and psychopathology. But is there another dimension to the machinations? What the historian Richard Dolan has shown in his magisterial work, UFOs and the National Security State is that the same people involved in the Cold War national security state were involved in frantic UFO research and cover-up activities. And the big UFO "flaps" coincided with crucial Cold War events.

What are we to make of this?

Dolan mentions an internal document from the National Security Agency from 1968, the last of McNamara's tenure as Secretary of Defense, that was obtained from a Freedom of Information Act request . Contrary to McNamara's testimony, many in the National Security State placed a lot of credence in reports of UFOs. The document was an essay analyzing the different explanations for the phenomena: hoaxes, hallucinations, natural phenomena, secret technology projects by earthlings, or extraterrestrial intelligence. The author concluded that the ET hypothesis was most likely. If so, it called into question the independence and survival of the human race. (Dolan, UFOs and the National Security State, pp. 348-9)

© John A. Keel
Now, with anything released by the NSA in response to a FOIA request, we must of course consider the probability that such information is in fact disinformation. As with all good disinfo, several scenarios are presented but the most probable ones are invariably left out.

And this is where Keel comes in. In Operation Trojan Horse, he argues that there is a far more sinister explanation for the phenomena than ETs flying in from other planets. The ET explanation, complete with advanced spaceships and technological wizardry may be a screen designed to cater to our current world view. Keel reminds us that whatever intelligences are behind the phenomena, they have been around for all of recorded history, and they may, in fact, have been here all along, but are, in some extradimensional way, able to conceal their presence most of the time. During times when they can't or don't conceal their presence, they instead mask it. Here is Keel from a 1973 interview:
There are several areas to this whole weird business. On one hand we have real UFO phenomena - strange lights passing over the earth, probably since time began. The UFO intelligences are aware that we are going to see these lights occasionally when conditions are just right so they have to give us an explanation. Different generations have been given different explanations.

These intelligences have staged whole events over a long period of time to support those explanations. We have the fairy faith in Middle Europe; we have the vampire and various other kinds of legends. We have the mysterious airships in 1897. Now we have spaceships.
But all of these things are nothing but a cover for the real phenomenon - whatever it is.

On the ground, as well as in the air, there are real things happening that they don't want us to know about, so they give us lots of cover stories. The men-in-black support the cover stories in many of these instances.

What they are trying to hide may be frightening, even incomprehensible to us, but it does seem that they are using us in some fashion.
We can conclude that it was in the government's interest to keep people focused on the nuts and bolts ET hypothesis, which could be fed and kept alive by strategic leaks, which were then debunked, when necessary, by the very otherworldly aspect of the evidence. We can also assume they must know the more disturbing and more likely hypothesis.

For those in the upper levels of the power hierarchy who were not genetic psychopaths, access to the truth must have been frightening and disorienting, particularly since they couldn't talk openly about it. Perhaps that explains why in later years, McNamara "wore the expression of a haunted man. He could be seen in the streets of Washington - stooped, his shirttail flapping in the wind - walking to and from his office a few blocks from the White House, wearing frayed running shoes and a thousand-yard stare."

In any event, in this area as in others, Robert McNamara served his masters well.