I watched The Fog of War again today. If you’ve not seen this Academy Award-winning documentary, I highly recommend it! The film outlines, as its subtitle suggests, eleven lessons deduced from the life of former Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara. The documentary itself, independent of these lessons, is brilliant but I found the lessons themselves to be particularly compelling and applicable in many of life’s theatres. The eleven lessons are enumerated below.
Lesson #1: Empathize with your enemy.
Lesson #2: Rationality will not save us.
Lesson #3: There’s something beyond one’s self.
Lesson #4: Maximize efficiency.
Lesson #5: Proportionality should be a guideline in war.
Lesson #6: Get the data.
Lesson #7: Belief and seeing are both often wrong.
Lesson #8: Be prepared to reexamine your reasoning.
Lesson #9: In order to do good, you may have to engage in evil.
Lesson #10: Never say never.
Lesson #11: You can’t change human nature.
For each of the lessons listed above, over the coming eleven days, I will share a synopsis of Robert McNamara’s thoughts as portrayed in the documentary. (It is certainly worth purchasing a copy of the film for yourself!)
I should note that all quotes related in the forthcoming posts have been taken directly from the transcript of the documentary provided by the director, Errol Morris, on his website. I will indicate any grammatical modifications made to this text, or any emphasis added.