The Fog Of War

Paper length: 10 pages (not including bibliography) Upload your paper to the Course BB site In the 2004 documentary The Fog of War: Eleven Lessons from the Life of Robert S. McNamara, Robert S. McNamara (1916-2009), the former Secretary of Defense of the United States (1961-1968), reveals how he understands the world and how that impacts how to act in the world. The documentary also serves as somewhat of a confessional but remains within the ‘fog’ of memory and history. This assignment has two components. First, actively review the documentary by listening carefully and taking notes. Second, write a research paper that answers the following: 1. Is Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara a Realist? Why or why not? In answering this question be certain to (a) explain why he is a Realist by contrasting to a second theory or (b) explain both positions and why you have selected one answer over another. Be certain to back up your assertions with reference to scholarly sources. 2. If Secretary of Defense McNamara had been informed by a different theoretical perspective, than articulated in #1, such as neo-liberal institutionalism, neo-realisms, neo-marxisms, social constructivism, feminisms or another theory discussed in the Baylis text would it have been an effective way to avoid the need for his ‘eleven lessons’? Select and discuss one theoretical perspective and explain why or why not. Note: you must select a specific school of thought within a theoretical approach such as the neo-gramscian approach which is neo-marxist or neo-classical realism which is realist. 3. Given your responses to the first two parts what, if any, lessons are applicable to current politicians, policymakers, and citizens. Evidence to support your paper’s arguments should come from the documentary, course readings, lectures as well as from scholarly books and journals. NOTE: This is a research paper and will require that you consult at least twelve scholarly sources beyond the Balyis, Smith and Owens text. Scholarly sources include books and journals found in the university library system (hard copy and electronic). Sources such as the CBC, Wikipedia,, a professor’s lecture notes, Newsweek, the Globe & Mail are not scholarly sources. Please see the following video if you are unsure of the distinction: Paper Formatting Provide a title page with your name, student #, section leader and paper title. Papers must have page numbers and be stapled. Paper Style (e.g. use of subheadings) Papers must be clear and well written. Subheadings may be used if they enhance clarity of the argument. Papers with insufficient or inaccurate use of the literature to support the author’s argument will receive a lower grade. Word and sentence level issues (e.g. spelling, run-on sentences) Papers will be graded on clarity of language and proper grammatical structuring. Paper Citations (endnotes, footnotes, in-text citations) Papers must cite the relevant literature to back up author claims. Avoid citing the title of a text in the body of your paper. For example, “In his book, Politics Among Nations: The Struggle for Power and Peace Hans Morgenthau argues…”. Instead simply write, “Hans Morgenthau (1948, 126) argues…”. The reference to Morgenthau will appear in your bibliography, so there is no need to write the title twice. Bibliography Formatting Chicago Style Referencing: Inconsistent bibliographies will reduce the overall grade. Be certain to make sure that the computer generated bibliography is error free. Eleven Lessons from the Life of Robert S. McNamara 1. Empathize with your enemy 5. Proportionality should be a guideline in war 9. In order to do good, you may have to engage in evil 2. Rationality will not save us 6. Get the data 10. Never say never 3. There’s something beyond one’s self 7. Belief and seeing are both often wrong 11. You can’t change human nature 4. Maximize efficiency 8. Be prepared to re-examine your reasoning DVD Length: 107 minutes Most video outlets (e.g. Netflix) have the video. It may also be streamed at sites such as: dailymotion (part I: and part II: ) ( TheFogOfWarElevenLessonsFromTheLifeOfRobertS.Mcnamara ) There is also a full transcript available at:

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