Robert McNamara's Eleven Lessons in "The Fog of War" and the Ongoing Conflict in Libya

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“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” This George Santayana quote speaks volumes about what should be taken into consideration when making a decision with a lot riding on it. If nothing else, this quote serves as the proper bridge, or connection, between Robert McNamara’s Eleven Lessons in “The Fog of War” and the ongoing conflict in Libya. In “The Fog of War”, Robert McNamara breaks down 11 vital lessons he learned about war from the Vietnam War. When looking at the current Libyan situation, these lessons can be similarly applied, and thus avoid any potentially costly mistakes like the ones made in Vietnam. McNamara himself has stated that those particular 11 lessons were intended to be applied to war in its…show more content…
A month later, the coalition military (made up primarily by the United States, French, United Kingdom) intervention began. With the help of the four selected lessons by Robert McNamara, the situation can be contained and can be looked upon in hindsight as a success. The first lesson learned by Robert McNamara was that it is essential to empathize with your enemy. It is important to understand where Gaddafi is coming from, understand why he feels the way the way he does. Once the coalition forces properly establishes what his motivations and reasonings are, they can adapt to that style and begin to formulate a strategy that best suits Gaddafi as an individual. Gaining a proper understanding Gaddafi will go a long ways in stopping him. Gaddafi feels that the rebellion is being controlled by al-Qaeda. He believes that all of the protesters are being drugged and are under mind control. He has also since stated that the coalition forces are just intervening for their own oil interests and are trying to enslave the Libyan people. The mistake made in Vietnam, according to McNamara, is that the United States misjudged them. They did not understand the Vietcong, and thus were gravely unprepared for the amount of damage that the Vietcong could inflict. That’s why empathy is essential and that’s why it must be applied. Part of empathizing is getting an accurate reading and judgment on Gaddafi. In general it speaks to the level of preparation. The coalition must empathize
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