December 26, 2002

"Press The Button..."
You Presidential history buffs out there should know who Daniel Ellsberg is, even if you don't. In the late '60's, Ellsberg worked in the Pentagon under Robert McNamara, Secretary of Defense for Lyndon Johnson and remained through the earliest days of Richard Nixon's administration. Ellsberg conducted reams of research on the impact & overall effectiveness of the Vietnam War, both from his desk and while dodging bullets in Indo-China. The end result of his research? The war is unwinnable, and the Presidents involved, going all the way back to Eisenhower, know it. When Ellsberg heard that Nixon planned on escalating the war to possibly thermonuclear levels, he resigned his post and, in a blatant violation of the law, published the contents of his research in the New York Times. The so-called "Pentagon Papers" were the first set of documents to illustrate in graphic detail that Presidents can make mistakes that cost the lives of American citizens, largely in the interests of "maintaining the prestige of the United States of America" (i.e. their own ego and self-image). Needless to say, in this snippet from The Atlantic Monthly, he has a few choice words of advice for our current commander-in-chief. As of two weeks ago, Ellsberg was sitting in a New York City jail after he and a few hundred religious leaders were arrested for protesting the pending war with Iraq in front of the American mission to the U.N.
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