Granma International
October 14, 2002

McNamara: Risk of nuclear weapons should disappear

                   BY MARELYS VALENCIA

                   ROBERT McNamara, former Defense Secretary during the
                   Kennedy administration, admitted he was mistaken in believing
                   there was nothing new to learn about the October missile crisis
                   when the recent conference was announced. The meeting however,
                   had allowed him to learn the reasons why, even before the
                   crisis occurred, the Soviets and Cubans thought there would
                   be imminent military aggression by the United States, and
                   why the missiles were installed in Cuba.

                   McNamara referred to the fact that mistakes are committed in
                   specific times of tension noting the recent bombing of an
                   Afghan wedding some weeks ago. He relayed his sadness for
                   what happened adding that although he holds the military
                   leaders in high esteem they do make mistakes.

                   He commented that conventional weapons can kill thousands
                   of people, but the same mistakes cannot be repeated two or
                   three times. "We must learn."

                   The former defense official pointed out the need for the
                   Powers to accept

                   the risks that nuclear weapons mean for humanity must
                   disappear, although he was not proposing complete weapons
                   elimination if a responsible policy is adhered to. McNamara
                   gave the example that some hundreds of nuclear warheads
                   could destroy the world’s largest nations.