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Barbara Ward, the distinguished writer for the Economist and a close friend of Robert McNamara, told me back in 1972 that McNamara “bled inside for what he’d done in Vietnam.” Ward was cross with me for using this quote, and insisted that over time people would judge McNamara more for his (then relatively new job) as president of the World Bank.

Judging from last week’s obituaries she was wrong about that. Vietnam, the Cuban missile crisis and his flip-flopping on…

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