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The death of former U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara at age 93 has reopened the debate on his role, first as architect for the Vietnam War, and then later in apologizing for it with his 1995 book “In Retrospect: The Tragedy and Lessons of Vietnam.” Since a hawk with a conscience is a rare commodity, McNamara deserves the attention he is getting.

One of his post-Vietnam “lessons” was the need to “empathize” with the alleged enemy — to realize that they are humans like we are with legitimate desires and hopes. It is a very worthy goal. But how do you do that once the shooting begins and bombs begin to to fall?

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