Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Fog of War

I watched parts of the documentary "Fog of War" about Robert McNamara, who served in both the Kennedy and Johnson administrations, this weekend. It covers his role in the fire bombings of Japanese cities during World War II, the Cuban Missile Crisis, and more importantly his actions and reflections on the Vietnam War.

For the most part, I don't like showing videos in my upper division level classes. Since it takes up too much time and doesn't allow for the same reflection/interpretation that assigning students to read an article out of class does. But I might show it one evening -- see if I can get one of the International Relations professors to co-sponsor it -- and require my students to view it. I want to make my diplomatic history course more tangible and demonstrate that foreign policy is devised by people who make choices based on certain variables, but those variables might not be complete, and the choices might not be right. Given the current situation in Iraq, this seems to me to be more and more relevant a lesson to teach.

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