The Pentagon Papers turn 50.
This publication may have been lost on most Americans…..so let me fill in some blanks.
The Pentagon Papers was the name given to a top-secret Department of Defense study of U.S. political and military involvement in Vietnam from 1945 to 1967. As the Vietnam War dragged on, with more than 500,000 U.S. troops in Vietnam by 1968, military analyst Daniel Ellsberg—who had worked on the study—came to oppose the war, and decided that the information contained in the Pentagon Papers should be available to the American public. He photocopied the report and in March 1971 gave the copy to The New York Times, which then published a series of scathing articles based on the report’s most damning secrets.
Today is the 50th anniversary of the publication of this secret study…..
June 13 will be the fiftieth anniversary of the publication of the secret Pentagon Papers, a vast collection of internal U.S. decision-making documents on the Vietnam War.
The Papers provoked questions about how the war could have been waged through six presidencies in a row: Harry Truman, Dwight Eisenhower, John Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, and Gerald Ford. How could such dissimilar presidents have gone wrong — over and over again? Why couldn’t they stop? Did they get bad intelligence? Did they pick unworthy advisers? Did other bureaucratic dynamics guarantee bad decisions every time? Were they afraid of losing re-election?
This speculation avoided a more straightforward conclusion: Six presidents in a row did not change the long-term goals and strategy, and could not have if they wanted to, because presidents don’t decide those things.
This is what is missing from the Papers. It is the empire in the room nobody wants to talk about.
This is the article about how the publishing of the book changed the life of Ellsberg and his family…..
One of the first books in my now extensive library….as a participant in the conflict in Vietnam I had to read the book….it was an eye opener for me.
If my reader is interested in history then I recommend this book for a look at a war that many Americans want to forget.
Turn The Page!
I Read, I Write, You Know
“lego ergo scribo”