Monday 6 July 2009

Robert McNamara Passes Away

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Former U.S. Defense Secretary Robert McNamara died in his sleep Monday at his Washington home, family members told The Washington Post. He was 93.

McNamara served as defense secretary under presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson in the 1960s and later was president of the World Bank. McNamara, a financial wizard, worked his up way to become president of the Ford Motor Co. but remained there little more than a month before he was chosen by President Kennedy as secretary of defense.

As head of the armed forces, McNamara favored the planned Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba and his policies led the conflict in Vietnam to be called McNamara's War.

He remained in the cabinet following the assassination of Kennedy and served in the same post during President Johnson's second term, resigning in 1968 to become president of the World Bank. There he put his financial expertise to work, instituting a policy change that permitted the bank to give aid to state-owned development banks.

He was born on June 9, 1916, in San Francisco, Calif. He majored in mathematics and economics at the University of California and took post-graduate work at the Harvard Business School, graduating in 1939.

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