Robert S. McNamara, who presided over the escalation of the Vietnam War as Defense secretary under presidents Kennedy and Johnson, died at his home this morning after a period of failing health, his wife told the AP. He was 93. Known as a policymaker with a fixation for statistical analysis, McNamara was the CEO of Ford when he was recruited by Kennedy in 1961. After he left the Pentagon, 7 years later, McNamara served as the World Bank president for 12 years.
In his 1995 memoir, McNamara disclosed that by 1967 he had deep misgivings about Vietnam—by then he had lost faith in America's capacity to prevail over a guerrilla insurgency—but he continued to express optimism publicly.