This is not a well-known story. Congress covered it up at the time. This was bipartisan murder.
The military could not meet its quotas. The draft was failing. Volunteers could not fill the ranks. In response, Robert McNamara devised a solution: draft low-IQ men who could not read or write. The military drafted over 300,000 of them. Over 10% of the men who died in Vietnam could not read their own dog tags. They died at rates three times higher than IQ 85+ troops.
Meanwhile, back in America, the keg parties went on.
To justify this program, McNamara told the public that military training would raise their IQ’s. How? By the use of videotapes. Yes, he actually said this. Those who know about this technology’s history will see the ludicrousness of the claim. The machines were costly and unknown to the general public in the 1960’s. The military did not use these machines to train low-IQ men in boot camp. In any case, videotape lessons do not raise people’s IQ’s.
McNamara oversaw this program and deserves discredit for it. But President Johnson went along to avoid the political backlash from the parents of young men in college, 1965-1969.
The unfairness of war is universal. But stories like this are buried in caskets draped in flags because the public is not supposed to know just how corrupt the system is.
This story was first revealed in a book, McNamara’s Folly. Here, the author summarizes his findings. He is a competent lecturer. He is a professor of speech whose textbooks are widely assigned in college courses on speech. He is not a great speaker, but he does not put anyone to sleep. He uses a long printed text, yet it does not sound like it.