Conscientious Reflector
Fog of War
Review by Ross Anthony

Former Secretary of Defense to JFK and LBJ, Robert S. McNamara recounts the difficult decisions made in the heat of the cold war, the Cuban Missile Crisis and Vietnam. He retraces his steps in the blaring light of hindsight in hopes of learning how best to make decisions in the fog of future wars. Is it ever morally right to take another persons life? When is an action considered a war crime and when is it national defense? At 85 years of age, NcNamara is still incredibly sharp. Though at times refraining from comment, for the most part, he's quite animated, direct and surprisingly open about his conversations and involvements during those trying times in our world history that may have changed everything.

So interested was he in learning from his mistakes, that McNamara flew over to Vietnam in 1995 to talk with the North Vietnamese General. The General was furious about McNamara and the Americans worrying about the Communist domino effect. He pointed out that his country hated China, that his men were only fighting for their independence, and that they would have fought down to the last man.

Of McNamara's eleven spelled out lessons in this documentary, the first strikes me as the most fundamental: "Empathize with your enemy." Important on the individual level, and even (dare I say) in married couples, why would nations skip it?

Though the documentary itself is imperfect, full of jump cuts and a Philip Glass theme that needles one too many times, McNamara's storytelling and insight engages completely. I could have watched/listened for an hour more.

It's one of the most important films I've seen in the last year or so. A matter of life and death, required viewing for those sincerely interested in a better understanding of war: from those that declare it, to those that fight it, to those who (from the safety of their homes) decide to support or protest.

  • Fog of War. Copyright © 2003.
  • Interviewee Robert S. McNamara. (Some voice tapes of JFK and LBJ included).
  • Screenplay by Tom Schulman.
  • Produced by Errol Morris, Michael Williams, Julie Ahlberg Sony Pictures Classics.
  • A Senart/@ Radical Media production in association with Globe Department Store.

Grade..........................A (3.5/4)

Copyright © 1998-2019 Ross Anthony, Author - Speaker - Solo World Circumnavigator In addition to reviewing films and interviewing celebs at, traveling the world, composing great music, motivational speaking, Mr. Anthony also runs his own publishing company in the Los Angeles area. While traversing the circumference of the planet writing books and shooting documentaries, Mr. Anthony has taught, presented for, worked &/or played with locals in over 30 countries & 100 cities (Nairobi to Nagasaki). He's bungee-jumped from a bridge near Victoria Falls, wrestled with lions in Zimbabwe, crashed a Vespa off a high mountain road in Taiwan, and ridden a dirt bike across the States (Washington State to Washington DC). To get signed books ("Rodney Appleseed" to "Jinshirou") or schedule Ross to speak check out: or call 1-800-767-7186. Go into the world and inspire the people you meet with your love, kindness, and whatever it is you're really good at. Check out books by Ross Anthony. Rand() functions, Pho chicken soup, rollerblading, and frozen yogurt (w/ blueberries) also rock! (Btw, rand is short for random. It can also stand for "Really Awkward Nutty Dinosaurs" -- which is quite rand, isn't it?) Being alive is the miracle. Special thanks to Ken Kocanda, HAL, Jodie Keszek, Don Haderlein, Mom and Pops, my family, R. Foss, and many others by Ross Anthony. Galati-FE also deserves a shout out. And thanks to all of you for your interest and optimism. Enjoy great films, read stirring novels, grow.

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Last Modified: Saturday, 16-Sep-2006 08:11:00 PDT