Pentagon Papers Turns 46

Where we you on 13 June 1971?

There was a publication that blew the top off the story of the year…….

46 years ago today the first part of the Pentagon papers was published…..

Pentagon Papers, papers that contain a history of the U.S. role in Indochina from World War II until May 1968 and that were commissioned in 1967 by U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara. They were turned over (without authorization) to The New York Times by Daniel Ellsberg, a senior research associate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Center for International Studies.

The 47-volume history, consisting of approximately 3,000 pages of narrative and 4,000 pages of appended documents, took 18 months to complete. Ellsberg, who worked on the project, had been an ardent early supporter of the U.S. role in Indochina but, by the project’s end, had become seriously opposed to U.S. involvement. He felt compelled to reveal the nature of U.S. participation and leaked major portions of the papers to the press.

On June 13, 1971, The New York Times began publishing a series of articles based on the study, which was classified as “top secret” by the federal government. After the third daily installment appeared in the Times, the U.S. Department of Justice obtained in U.S. District Court a temporary restraining order against further publication of the classified material, contending that further public dissemination of the material would cause “immediate and irreparable harm” to U.S. national defense interests.

Source: Pentagon Papers | United States history | Britannica.com

On 13 June 2011 the papers were declassified and the question was asked…..do the Pentagon Papers still matter?

The declassification and online release Monday of the full original version of the Pentagon Papers – the 7,000-page top secret Pentagon study of US decision-making in Vietnam 1945-67 – comes 40 years after I gave it to 19 newspapers and to Senator Mike Gravel (minus volumes on negotiations, which I had given only to the Senate foreign relations committee). Gravel entered what I had given him in the congressional record and later published nearly all of it with Beacon Press. Together with the newspaper coverage and a government printing office (GPO) edition that was heavily redacted but overlapped the Senator Gravel edition, most of the material has been available to the public and scholars since 1971. (The negotiation volumes were declassified some years ago; the Senate, if not the Pentagon, should have released them no later than the end of the war in 1975.)

In other words, today’s declassification of the whole study comes 36 to 40 years overdue. Yet, unfortunately, it happens to be peculiarly timely that this study gets attention and goes online just now. That’s because we’re mired again in wars – especially in Afghanistan – remarkably similar to the 30-year conflict in Vietnam, and we don’t have comparable documentation and insider analysis to enlighten us on how we got here and where it’s likely to go.

Source: Why the Pentagon Papers matter now | Daniel Ellsberg | Opinion | The Guardian

The Papers still matter because it shows at what lengths the government will go and the death of Americans matter not.

The “Paper” matter to me because I learned why I was fighting in Vietnam and the disastrous decisions that got me there.

History lesson is over…you may return to your normal day…..

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15 thoughts on “Pentagon Papers Turns 46

  1. I was 19 at the time, and probably driving around somewhere in the job I had back then.
    I am sure that the papers won’t tell you more than you already suspected or knew, chuq.
    But I can well understand the importance of their publication.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    1. There was always something hinkey about the way we approached that war and the Paper just confirmed what I suspected….there is a link there if you want to check the original papers out…..chuq

  2. I was 21, just married to my first ex-wife and waiting to begin my senior year in college. I was happy not to be in Indochina and several years away from realizing the American Dream might just be a nightmare. Thanks for posting.

  3. In 1971, wasn’t even a sperm in my daddy’s nut-sack. (But still was “engorged” by the news of the formation of the World Hockey Association).

    Jesus, this is why American democracy is doomed! It takes more than 70 years to stop defending Germany from a Hitler comeback and over 40 years to declassify shit that was largely leaked at the time…shit that really should have been public knowledge from the get-go.

    How the fuck can The People make an informed decision without the information they need? Hell, they might wind up electing a Reality TV star, or something.

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