Robert McNamara and the ICC

by Peter Spiro

In the flower of his conversion, McNamara ended up supporting US participation in the ICC:

I believe that the human race desperately needs an agreed-upon system of jurisprudence that tells us what conduct by political and military leaders is right and what is wrong, both in conflict within nations and in conflict across national borders.

We need a clear code, internationally accepted, so that not only our Congress and president know, but so that all our military and civilian personnel know as well what is legal in conflict and what is illegal. And we need a court that can bring wrongdoers to trial for their crimes.

Sounds like a lament that he didn’t have clear guidance during his tenure as Secretary of Defense (and his support must have been premised on the understanding that the statute of limitations had run on his transgressions).

For all the enormity of his misjudgment, one has to admire the admission of error. Hard to imagine that from any of the top Bushies, isn’t it?

4 Responses

  1. WNYC has posted audio streams of their retrospective of Robert McNamara’s life as well as two interviews with him, one from 2004, the other from 1996.

  2. hard to imagine‘…not really. Hard to imagine that none of them won’t have come to that in 20 years, just as it is hard to imagine that none of the ICC’s adamant supporters today will not be opponents in 20 years.

  3. In addition to McNamara’s 2003 LA Times op/ed to which Peter linked, see his (RSM’s) 12/2002 NYT op/ed, with former Nuremberg prosecutor Benjamin Ferencz, urging President Clinton to sign the Rome treaty:
    and Ferencz’s letter about it and McNamara in today’s NYT:

  4. That’s 12/2000 (of course).

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