Analysis of Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara's Famous Quotation Essay

Analysis of Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara's Famous Quotation Essay

Length: 1619 words (4.6 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Powerful Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Most things are paid for in words, and they alone can get you out of an insufferable situation. Secretary of Defense Robert Strange McNamara once said, “Coercion, after all, merely captures man. Freedom captivates him.” In order to grasp the meaning of this quotation, a judicious analysis with sharp observation of the events surrounding these words are required. It is necessary to provide a brief biography of Robert McNamara, an overview of the event that influenced the speech, a discussion of his intended audience and an overview of the speech itself.
First, it is necessary to plunge into the life of Robert McNamara. In her book, Promise and Power: The Life and Times of Robert McNamara, Deborah Shapley described McNamara as, “a devious tactician and a man of sincere and noble goals” (xvi). He was born in San Francisco, California on June 9, 1916 (6). His father, western regional manager of a shoe company, was a man of rigid self-discipline and routine (6). His mother, a devout Protestant, was a homemaker who kept unusual statistics of Roberts’s early development (6). From his parents, McNamara learned “moral purpose and raw ambition” (11). His mother was extremely motivated to nurture her children in a way that would motivate them to climb the social and economic ladder (9).
Through his teenage years, McNamara attended Piedmont High and made the honor society (11). During this time he also achieved the rank of Eagle Scout (11). By the time he finished high school, Robert, “was schooled in an image of manhood in which a lack of emotion was admired and coldness was desirable” (11).
In the fall of 1933 McNamara attended University of California, Berkley (11). He was pledged by Phi Gamma Delta fraternity and was appointed warden to...

... middle of paper ...

...the formation of ASNE.” 25 April 2002. Web. 4
April 2014.
“Congress Profiles.” 89th Congress (1965-1967). Web. 4 April 2014.
Herring, George C. "Vietnam, American Foreign Policy, And The Uses Of History."
Virginia Quarterly Review 66.1 (1990): 1-16. Academic Search Premier. Web. 7 Apr. 2014.
McElderry, Michael. “Robert S. McNamara Papers” Manuscript Division, Library of
Congress. Washington, D.C. 2010. Web. 31 March 2014.
McNamara, Robert S. “Security In The Contemporary World.” American Society of
Newspaper Editors. Montreal, Canada, May 18th, 1966. Web. 26 March 2014.
Shapley, Deborah. Promise and Power: The Life and Times of Robert McNamara.
Boston: Little Brown and Company, 1993. Print
The Fog of War: Eleven Lessons from the Life of Robert S. McNamara. Dir. Errol
Morris. Perf. Robert McNamara. Sony Pictures Classics, 2003. Film

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

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

- “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....   [tags: Literary Analysis ]

Powerful Essays
1346 words (3.8 pages)

The Changes of Womanhood in Marge Piercy‘s “The Secretary Chant” Essay

- Marge Piercy’s “The Secretary Chant” begins the poem by describing different parts of her body as office supplies. In line one she states that “My hips are a desk.” In line two and three she says “From my ears hang/ chains of paper clips.”(2) In line four she also continues with “Rubber bands form my hair.”(3) I feel like Piercy’s goal by starting off the poem in this way, was to help emphasize the speakers frustrations toward her job right away. I also feel that by comparing the speakers body parts to office supplies, gives the feeling that the speaker is using a form of sarcasm; which explains how much her job is unwillingly becoming apart of her life....   [tags: Marge Piercy, Secretary Chant, poetry, ]

Powerful Essays
737 words (2.1 pages)

The tragedy and Lessons of Vietnam Essay

- In Retrospect: The tragedy and lessons of Vietnam. By: Robert S. McNamara Summary: Robert S. McNamara's book, In Retrospect, tells the story of one man's journey throughout the trials and tribulations of what seems to be the United States utmost fatality; the Vietnam War. McNamara's personal encounters gives an inside perspective never before heard of, and exposes the truth behind the administration. In McNamara's first chapter he discusses his journey into the Washington spot light and the three events that shaped his life....   [tags: Robert S. McNamara]

Free Essays
1764 words (5 pages)

Human Resources And Benefits Administrative Secretary V. Cecil County Public Schools

- Human Resources and Benefits Administrative Secretary V, Cecil County Public Schools (CCPS), 07/10 to present • Provide secretarial support to a five person Human Resource and Benefits Management team. • Responsible for multi-line phone system while handling daily workload that includes greeting guests, filing, and personnel needs. • Coordinate activities and responsibilities of various management team members; including correspondence and calendar management. • Responsible for screening all submitted applications for support staff candidates....   [tags: Customer service, Management, Secretary]

Powerful Essays
882 words (2.5 pages)

Essay about The Story of Robert Frost

- “I took the one less traveled by, / And that has made all the difference” (Frost 19-20). Many famous lines like these have been written at different periods of Robert Frost’s life. Most of his poems can tie back to a specific time and place in Frost’s lifetime. Different poems convey various emotions as Frost writes about many personal struggles and successes that he encountered in his lifetime. Robert Frost portrays his childhood, marriage, and adulthood through his various poems, like “A Peck of Gold,” “Birches,” ”The Thatch,” and “The Birds Do Thus.” To begin with, a poem that represents Frost’s childhood is “A Peck of Gold.” Robert Frost once said, “But I was one of the children told / s...   [tags: famous American poets]

Powerful Essays
880 words (2.5 pages)

Why Was Vincent Van Gogh Famous? Essay

- Why was Vincent Van Gogh Famous. Vincent Van Gogh was born March 30, 1853 in Zundert, Netherland. Growing up Vincent was the oldest child, he had five siblings two brothers, and three sisters. Vincent spend most of his time with his new born brother Theo. He had to take care of his brother seen his mother and father had to work. Since Vincent didn’t have time to go to school he had to get home schooled. Even though Vincent had to get home schooled he didn’t let that stop him. After Vincent stopped taking care of his little brother Theo he went off to become famous for his painting skills....   [tags: impressionists, famous dutch painters]

Powerful Essays
1250 words (3.6 pages)

Essay on Robert Frost's Life and Achievements

- Robert Frost was born in San Francisco, California on March 26, 1874 (1) Robert Frosts’ father, William Prescott Frost Jr., a teacher, and later on an editor of the San Francisco Evening Bulletin, was of English descent, and his mother, Isabelle Moodie, was from Scottish descent (4). Frost lived In San Francisco until he was twelve, when his father died of tuberculosis. Thereafter, he, his mother, and his only sister, Jeanie, lived in the small town of Lawrence, Massachusetts. There Frost attended Lawrence High School where he met his future wife and co-valedictorian, Elinor White (1)....   [tags: robert frost, poetry, star spitter]

Powerful Essays
1208 words (3.5 pages)

Author Robert Frost Essay

- Authors write poetry for many reasons including to prove a point, share life stories or to just make the reader think. But the main reason that they write poems is because of their background and other influences. Robert frost is a great example of a poet influenced by his experiences. These influences show up in most of his poetry but especially in “The Road Not Taken” and “Birches”. Moving to the New England region, influential people and his views on society, and World War I influenced Robert Frost to write much of his poetry and brought him to a stage of worldly fame....   [tags: Biography, Writer, Poet, Robert Frost]

Powerful Essays
1276 words (3.6 pages)

Desert Places by Robert Frost And Loneliness Essay

- Loneliness Robert Frost is one of the most famous and influential poets in our nation's history. His simple style of writing and constant attention to nature make his poems unique. His poems have captivated thousands and have been analyzed time and time again. Many feel that his poems often times represent emptiness, loneliness, and despair. The poem "Desert Places" could certainly fall into these categories. Robert Frost was a very successful poet with a wife and loving family which begs the question, "Why would Robert Frost choose to write this poem at this period in his life?" When attempting to answer this question one must first analyze the poem....   [tags: Robert Frost]

Free Essays
1313 words (3.8 pages)

Robert Olan Butler Essay

- Robert Olen Butler Robert Olen Butler, Jr., was born January 20, 1945, and grew up in Granite City, Illinois, a steel town near St. Louis, Missouri. His father, Robert Olen Butler, Sr., was chair of the theater department at St. Louis University, and his mother, Lucille Hall Butler, an executive secretary. Butler graduated from the University of Illinois with a B.S. in oral interpretation. He went on to the University of Iowa, receiving his M.A. in playwriting in 1969. While in Iowa, he married, and then divorced Carol Supplee....   [tags: Robert Olan Butler Biography]

Free Essays
1608 words (4.6 pages)