Given that the United States is mired in a contentious conflict in Iraq, I’m interested in how people involved in similar historical circumstances reflect on (and perhaps re-evaluate) the decisions they made. The documentary is engaging, part interview, part dynamic narrative, encompassing the incredible range of American history on which McNamara had an effect.
And my immediate thought after finishing the movie was that our current president should see this. I don’t mean that in any patronizing way. It’s just a good documentary, and on a human to human level, even at this point in the course of events, I think it would do anyone in his position some good to see. And maybe to learn from.
So I decided I’d send a copy. As a gift. Thanks to Cindy Sheehan, I know where he’s vacationing, I just need a mailing address. Turns out that’s not so easy to find online. Perhaps his ranch in Crawford, Texas is outside the purview of the US Postal Service? Or maybe he just doesn’t want to bother with fan mail when he’s out of the office. Now that I think about it, President George W. Bush, Crawford, Texas would probably be enough to get it routed on its way, but the information geek in me was really hoping for a definitive street address.
I did find the Establishment of Prohibited Area P-49 Crawford; TX, which details that “the prohibited [airspace] extends from the surface to 5,000 feet above mean sea level (MSL) within a 3-nautical mile (NM) radius of latitude 31 deg.34’57” N., longitude 97 deg.32’37” W.” Hmm, I wonder what might be at the center of that prohibited area?
Well, I discovered that I can just pop longitude and latitude coordinates into Google Maps, and it will plot the point I requested. But first I had to convert the values above to their decimal equivalents, which put me somewhere in middle of China on my first try. Turns out west longitude converts to a negative value, and I didn’t even have to go through all the conversion trouble, entering 31 34’57” -97 32’37” works just fine.
But the real beauty comes when you switch to satellite view and zoom all the way in. Paydirt!
Granted it’s not an address, but it’s pretty cool to see the “10,000 ft² honey-colored native limestone single-level home” over half of which is “a ten-foot-wide limestone porch that encircles the house.” On the right you can see part of the “11 acre man-made pond that is stocked with 600 bass and thousands of bait fish” that Bush added. (Source: Prairie Chapel Ranch, Wikipedia)
In any event, my gift has been sent to a rather generic mailing address, with the following gift note:
President Bush, I watched “The Fog of War” tonight, and I was touched by how Robert McNamara evaluated his decision-making during the Vietnam War. I thought you might find this movie enlightening, especially with regard to Iraq. Justin Watt