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Petent in combat they endangered not only themselves but their comrades as well Their death toll was appallingly high In addition to low I men tens of thousands of other substandard troops were inducted including criminals misfits and men with disabilities This book tells the story of the men caught up in McNamara’s fol. The first three parts are uite good describing the personal account of the author and his experience with the low I section of the US milliary After that the rest of the book is just short disorganized anecdotes from people he interviewed years later There s a lot of not his real name and he declined to give specifics which combined with the fact that these anecdotes simply rehash the author s experiences don t lend much It s an interesting read but there weren t many takeaways other than don t let idiots handle grenades

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McNamaras Folly

In 1966 President Lyndon Johnson and Defense Secretary Robert McNamara were desperate to find additional troops for the Vietnam War but they feared that they would alienate middle class voters if they drafted college boys or sent Reservists and National Guardsmen to Vietnam So on October 1 1966 McNamara lowered mental sta. I received my copy of McNamara s Folly from the author himself He had read the first poem and later others in my book Love Poems for Cannibals and also learned that I am a Vietnam Veteran July 1967 July 1968 The poem that he read was Dream Frag of Robert Strange McNamara This poem clearly and correctly communicated to Hamilton Gregory that I never liked McNamara very muchWhereas my poem was personally hostile and wild and darkly funny regarding McNamara McNamara s Folly is informative dispassionate in the best sense and utterly compelling as a statement of painful truth This is an important book because it contributes to our understanding of the overall tragedy of the Vietnam War This book is not a personal portrait of the small minded bureaucrat and prevaricator Robert McNamara It is rather a thorough description and analysis of just how mindlessly destructive a man and his cohorts can be in the name of properly continuing the Vietnam War McNamara s Folly reveals a US Government version of the banality of evil Imagine devising and implementing a plan to recruit and draft substandard young men low I physical and moral defects to fight our War in Vietnam Even though I am a Vietnam Veteran and generally aware that McNamara was the primary architect of the Vietnam War I was completely unaware of his Project 100000 until I read McNamara s Folly Now that I look back on my year in Vietnam 1967 1968 at the 1st Medical Battalion on the outskirts of Da Nang I realize that I met at least two of these unfit for combat young men As a Navy clinical psychologist attached with other Navy doctors and corpsmen to the 1st Marine Division I was sometimes asked by my two psychiatrist colleagues to assess I and personality of a perplexing Marine with formal psychological testing In September 1967 one of my psychiatrist colleagues reuested that I administer the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale WAIS to a PFC who was referred to us because he seemed barely able to function or successfully complete simple tasks reuired in his MOS To our amazement he earned a Full Scale I of 71 on the WAIS This low I placed the Marine in the Borderline range of intelligence just two points above the Mentally Deficient range I recommended that this Marine be given an Administrative discharge under honorable conditionsI saw the second Marine on October 24 1967 I remember the date because I wrote about him in my diary This Marine was sent to 1st Med Battalion after receiving a concussion when a satchel charge exploded near him in the field I talked with this Marine after he had been hospitalized for several days at our facility and seemed to be fully recovered It was then I learned that this 20 year old LCpl articulate with average or high average intelligence had been initiated into the Hell s Angels in California when he was 16 He was very proud of this and also very proud of his criminal record of robberies and assaults We sent him back to his rear area where it was likely he would be returned to the fieldTo make a long story short five months later March 1968 this Marine was referred back to us by his command He was no longer in the field but was engaging in bizarre and violentdangerous behavior in the rear area This behavior included beating Viet Cong prisoners who were secured and posed no threat and biting off the heads of live chickens as he walked around the compound When I saw this Marine in March he did not deny any of the activities described again he seemed proud of them There was no evidence that he was psychotic He was morally handicapped On the basis of his disturbed and dangerous behavior he was recommended by us for an Administrative discharge Today this Marine would be called a psychopath or as in the 5th edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual DSM 5 an Antisocial Personality Disorder Clearly his being allowed into the Marine Corp was a result of the relaxation of moral standards by the Pentagon as discussed in chapter 34 Criminals of McNamara s Folly A profound thanks to the author for his superb book God bless Hamilton Gregory for his military service to our country and for his service to the truthRaymond Keen Clinical Psychologist Medical Service Corp USNR 1966 1969

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Ndards and inducted thousands of low I men Altogether 354000 of these men were taken into the Armed Forces and a large number of them were sent into combat Many military men including William Westland the commanding general in Vietnam viewed McNamara’s program as a disaster Because many of the substandard men were incom. Hamilton Gregory attempts to straddle three worlds That of a historian documenting a sordid incident if the death wounding of thousands can be considered an incident On this he does an adeuate job It would have been better done for him to name names not of the handicapped persons who did their duty as best they could but of those who perpetrated these outrages MacNamara and Johnson did not act alone and Reagan s Secretary of the Navy is a public figure He does single out appropriately call out Dick Cheney and George W Bush for successfully evading service in Viet Nam as young men but interestingly except for a single positive mention not John Kerry who s Ghengis Khan comment in the early 70 s youngish and his get stuck in Ira comment of 2005 decidedly not young Unless I missed it while delving into Ira and Afghanistan he fails to mention that Bush had the courage to call up the National Guard and Reserves unlike Johnson Perhaps a simple oversight but it detracts form the case he is building That all said when appropriate he does seem to name the good guys but they always seemed to be framed as isolated casesThat was the less powerful stuffHis story is also partly as auto biographer re examining an interesting portion of his life Again he does a good job as a somewhat uniue observer Good anecdotes that helped to set the framework although I find it hard to believe any person is a saintly as he He acts as an advocate for the MacNamara s Morons On this score he does a superlative job He is sympathetic to their plight and works his way through most of the typical cases He documents of the their plight in theater and post war He is perhaps less sympathetic to the average soldier who s lives depends on theses unfortunate people who have been placed by others in the wrong place and time Easier to do when you are a rear echelon soldier I supposeHe does a cogent job of intersecting the three tasks although I think it can be reasonably said his first role that of being a historian is in conflict with the other two roles and it showed by what it omittedI too served in the military I met Sergeants corrupt and stupid and than a few who were in fact brilliant both intellectually and those with emotionally intelligence I also met native born Sergeants who could barely speak or read english and yet managed to get in during other low points in recruitment in the Carter years also not mentioned They knew their profession and euipment thoroughly and were generally good NCOsI met many officers who either kind andor intelligent I met officers who were openly racist I met officers that were jerks who would have indeed been in danger of being fragged for failing to respect even in the most militarily basic ways their subordinates I m am speaking of a person mentioned in the book Colin Powell with who I had a run in with as a PFC I did not walk away favorably impressed No wonder he repositioned himself in his tent every nightGood effort important topic Let s not do the draft again Either a nation muster up enough volunteers or it picked the wrong fight or likely the wrong politicians

10 thoughts on “McNamaras Folly

  1. says:

    Ebook; 2h See also Gregory's 2016 talk Low Aptitude Men In The Military Who Profits Who Pays? Laurence Ramberger 1991 It’s not well

  2. says:

    I received my copy of “McNamara’s Folly” from the author himself He had read the first poem and later others in my book “Lov

  3. says:

    Many of us especially Vietnam veterans like myself know well the basic facts that an escalation of troop levels began in the mid 1960's and peaked at about 550000 by 1968; that all total 27 million Americans served in Vietnam during the war years; and that 58000 American's died there mostly in combat situations But how many know that approxi

  4. says:

    Hamilton Gregory a Vietnam veteran who worked with intelligence has written a much needed book on McNamara's so called Project 100000 utilized beginning in 1966 and continued throughout the rest of the war to boost total inductions by relaxing the intellectual medical and physical standards for the armed forcesT

  5. says:

    There's a uote from The Fog of War which I like a whole lot How much evil must we do to do good? Know that you will do evil but try and minimize it Well Secretary McNamara you just MAXIMIZED evilThe genesis of Project 1000

  6. says:

    Hamilton Gregory attempts to straddle three worlds That of a historian documenting a sordid incident if the death

  7. says:

    The least intelligent among us should never be viewed as expendable units of manpower but as our fellow sojourners on this fragile EarthImagi

  8. says:

    Sometimes it is easy to get caught in a bubble of where you work and the people you hang out with Books like these are nice since they provide context and make you understand the world on a holistic level Most surprising were that the new minim

  9. says:

    The first three parts are uite good describing the personal account of the author and his experience with the low I section of the US milliar

  10. says:

    A tragic chapter of the Vietnam WarSad reading and it will make you angry It makes a compelling reason for the reintroduction of the draft However it must be implemented without exemptions enabling the wealthy and talented from imposing their burdens on the less fortunate It would also make the American elites judicious in the use o

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