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Tom Peters Refights Vietnam


Up Front: SLUGFESTS

TOM PETERS REFIGHTS VIETNAM

FORMER DEFENSE SECRETARY Robert McNamara's book on Vietnam, In Retrospect, has created a ruckus at Stanford B-school. After Stanford Professor Alain Enthoven penned a defense of McNamara in The New York Times, management guru and Stanford alum Tom Peters shot off a scathing letter on Enthoven to the MBA newspaper. In it, Peters suggested that Enthoven didn't belong on Stanford's faculty and that McNamara's presence on the school's advisory board until two years ago was "a disgrace."

Peters says he just "lost it" when he read that Enthoven, a McNamara Pentagon aide, believed the war required more analysis. Peters, who served two Vietnam tours, charged that McNamara's "grotesque over-reliance on sterile analytic methods and his blindness to the real, human drama of war and politics was his--and our--undoing." Not so, retorted Enthoven. "Peters is completely off target in characterizing the Vietnam War as `the most overanalyzed military affair in U.S. history.' It wasn't analyzed at all." The flap has prompted a flurry of letters--both pro and con--in The Reporter, Stanford's MBA student newspaper. EDITED BY LARRY LIGHT, WITH OLUWABUNMI SHABI John Byrne


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