Robert S. McNamara Talks about the Edsel

Robert Strange McNamara (June 9, 1916 — July 6, 2009) was an American business executive but most remember him for his role as the eighth Secretary of Defense, serving under Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson from 1961 to 1968, during which time he played a large role in escalating the United States involvement in the Vietnam War. Following that, he served as President of the World Bank from 1968 to 1981. McNamara was responsible for the institution of systems analysis in public policy, which developed into the discipline known today as policy analysis

Prior to public service, McNamara was one of the “Whiz Kids” who helped rebuild Ford Motor Company after World War II, and briefly served as Ford’s President before becoming Secretary of Defense. A group of advisors he brought to the Pentagon inherited the “Whiz Kids” moniker. But most don’t remember that before he promoted the failed policies of the Vietnam War he was a champion of Ford’s greatest failure, the Edsel. We should have realized this Whiz Kid was prone to error.

McNamara was the longest serving Secretary of Defense, amassing 2,595 days between 1961 and 1968.

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