Astonishing Reaction to Speech
First the Press, and then the public didn't know what to make of that long speech.
It was so far reaching and philosophical, delivered at a very difficult time of the Vietnam War, that some press thought he might be running for President. Others ducked commenting on the essence of the speech about rising trend in insurgencies in the 3d world, developing nations, human aspirations, modernization and seized only on his suggestion about every young
American giving two years of public service like the Peace Corps.
And many of the editors present at the speech, wrote Editorials on the amazing insight into Robert McNamara's character who was supposed to be only a cold calculating machine as manager quoting all his statistics, as a hopeful humanist who waxed lyrical in his last lines about not counting a free society out, while coercion 'merely captures man, while Freedom captivates him.
The Pentagon's news clipping service, within a week delivered to me more than 100 articles including in publications from Russia, and Germany to Sweden, and Buenos Airies.
Very few articles, with the New York Times being an exception, really grasped the relationship of insurgencies and 3d world poverty. And it took close reading by senior military men to grasp the core idea that 'Security in the 3d World is Development' more than military hardware.
Ironically, that speech was Secretary McNamara's swan song with the Johnson Administration. And where do you suppose he ended up after leaving Defense? He was offered the Presidency of the World Bank! The quintessential organization dedicated to 3d world economic development!
I am proud of the impact first Gorman and I and then me alone, had on the educating of both the US Military and then Americans at large on what they have to do to deal with the rising tide of insurgent violence in ways that lift poor populations while preventing those who would enslave them from winning their wars.
With that year at the highest level of the Military establishment done, I was notified the Army wanted to sent me to the Army War College, Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania.
Before I departed, and started packing for my new assignment, Adam Yarmolinski put me in for the Joint Service Commendation Medal for that work. And he invited my wife Patsy, and children David, Rebecca, and Edward to attend the ceremony in the Pentagon.
Thus ended my three Pentagon years.