McNamara, Defense Secretary during Vietnam, dies

WASHINGTON (AP) - One of America's most controversial figures during the Vietnam War has died.

Robert McNamara served as defense secretary under Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson. He was 93.

His wife says McNamara died this morning at his Washington home. He'd been in failing health for some time.

Known as a policymaker with an analytical mind, McNamara was recruited to run the Pentagon by Kennedy in 1961 from the presidency of the Ford Motor Co. He stayed seven years.

McNamara was vilified over the Vietnam War. He once had to flee a student mob at Harvard through underground utility tunnels.

In later years, McNamara conceded that the Kennedy and Johnson administrations had been "terribly wrong" on Vietnam.

After leaving the Pentagon, McNamara became president of the World Bank. He devoted himself to helping the world's poorest nations.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)