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Download Daniel Ellsburg discusses lessons of war at - Ithaca ...

  1. 1. Ithaca College got a unique first person perspective into the inner workings of the Vietnam War Wednesday when Daniel Ellsberg, famous for leaking the Pentagon Papers spoke at Ford Hall.<br />Ellsberg graduated from Harvard University in 1948 with a B.A. in Economics, where he later earned a Ph. D. After graduating, Ellsberg served in the U.S. Marine Corps, including the Suez Crisis, then joined the RAND Corporation as a strategic analyst and eventually found work at the Department of Defense. It was here that he was tapped by Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara to begin putting together a study of American decision making in Vietnam. Ellsburg originally firmly supported the Vietnam War but eventually came to oppose it.<br />Starting in 1969, Ellsburg began leaking his findings, commonly known as the “Pentagon Papers”, to Senator William Fulbright, the New York Times and the Washington Post. Despite fierce harassment by the Nixon Administration, including charging him with twelve separate felony counts, he was widely praised for exposing the decisions that led to the escalation of the Vietnam War and its subsequent cover up.<br />In his lecture, which was sponsored by the Park Center for Independent Media and followed the screening of a documentary about him, The Most Dangerous Man in America, Ellsberg spoke eloquently about the decisions that led him to release the Papers and their present day application. Ellsburg said that the Nixon Administration considered him “the most dangerous man in America” because of Nixon’s paranoia about just how much Ellsburg knew of Nixon’s threats of using nuclear weapons in Vietnam. “He had to shut me up to keep his policies secret”, said Ellsburg. <br />Ellsburg also addressed the subject of the WikiLeaks scandal, which many people have characterized as the Afghan War equivalent of the Pentagon Papers. “The warrantless wiretapping which was used against me is now legal under the Patriot Act”, said Ellsburg. Ellsburg also mentioned Bradley Manning, who’s imprisoned in the WikiLeaks scandal and Anwar Al-Awlaki, an American Islamist in Yemen who’s appeared on a list of people deemed acceptable to kill by the U.S. government and said that they are proof that he would be arrested for his actions in today’s world.<br />“Obama’s a smart guy, he knows his stuff”, said Ellsburg, though he criticized his actions in Afghanistan as “clearly insane”, adding “a lot of people are going to die because Obama doesn’t want to be called names.” Finally, Ellsburg said that he’s not sure that the New York Times and other mainstream news organizations would publish the Pentagon Papers. “The press is performing terribly but still better than any other institution”, concluded Ellsburg. <br />