—Robert Higgs on the “defense” numbers, in Defense Spending Is Much Greater Than You Think
—Robert Higgs on the morality, or immorality, of the various U.S. government’s bombing campaigns, in Data Don’t Bleed
….McNamara was a promising young man, but the big impetus to his later career achievements came during World War II, when he impressed his superiors while serving in the air force as a bombing efficiency expert. I wonder if he ever thought, while examining his data on the results of the U.S. incendiary bombing of the highly flammable Japanese cities, about the human beings – the old women, the infants and little kids, and all of the others who had done so little to deserve their fiery fate – who were suffering the unimaginable agonies of being terribly burned or of seeing their loved ones burned to death and torn apart by blasts. Or did the up-and-coming young officer think only about the ratio of X to Y during his working hours, and then stop by the officers’ club for a stiff drink or two before dozing off between clean sheets?….
….I do know, however, that in the 1960s he surrounded himself with “whiz kids” who were devoted to bringing their “planning, programming, and budgeting system” to bear on getting “more bang for the buck.” People who knew McNamara’s background were surely not surprised. “Cold, calculating killers” – can anyone honestly deny that this term applies in an altogether literal way to these men…..