2003年 アメリカ ドキュメンタリー作品
Nightly broadcasts of military and civilian deaths in a distant country; US troops fighting unconventional forces with inadequate preparation; international outcry over an unpopular war; protesters marching in city streets; baton-wielding law enforcers quelling the protesters; the political architects of the conflict evading direct questions with tongue-tying doublespeak. Sound very familiar? Nightly news about Iraq? No. These are references to the conflict that defined how war is reported today, the war that was launched to defeat the perceived threat to democracy of that generation, communism, and ultimately sent US and her allied troops home defeated, leaving countless dead: the Vietnam war.
Robert S. McNamara was in the very inner core of decision makers as the Secretary of Defense in the White House administrations of John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson, instigating and implementing policy over the Vietnam War. Depending on the viewpoint of the critic, he was either vilified or lionized for his role and there are few people alive today that can match his understandings and insights into the planning, execution, philosophical motivations and ultimate costs of modern warfare.
Documentary film-maker Errol Morris brilliantly crafts this movie from eleven hours of interviews with McNamara, having his subject speak candidly, looking directly into the camera and thereby at us, his audience. The insights and admissions from the former Secretary of Defense, including incriminating himself as a war criminal, are at the level of frankness we’d love to hear current administration staff talk to, to understand what led up to, and what’s really happening in the war in Iraq today.
At no time does Morris question McNamara to elicit comment on the current conflict, and ultimately there is no need to. If we as the audience look to our leaders today and judge them by the eleven lessons McNamara expounds in this documentary we can only be left with the certain understanding that mistakes of the past have never been learned and that once we have been led into the fog of war, it "is so complex it’s beyond the ability of the human mind to comprehend all the variables. Our judgment, our understanding, are not adequate and we kill people unnecessarily." What other lessons are there to be learned from war?