Vietnam War A collection of documents related to Ellsberg’s interest and participation in the Vietnam War.


“Daniel Ellsberg went to Vietnam for the first time in September 1961 as part of a Pentagon fact-finding task force. He hoped to learn that the South Vietnamese government of Ngo Dinh Diem, with U.S. backing, was defeating the Communist-led insurgency of the Viet Cong. After all, Ellsberg was a dedicated cold warrior, a foreign policy hawk. He discovered, instead, that Saigon was losing the war; a Communist victory seemed virtually inevitable. Returning to his job at the RAND corporation think tank in Santa Monica, California, he advised colleagues to avoid studying Vietnam–it might taint their careers. Ellsberg himself went back to his work on nuclear war plans. Three years later, a call came from Robert McNamara’s Pentagon. … His first full day on the job was August 4, 1964–the very day President Lyndon Johnson ordered American warplanes to attack North Vietnam in ‘retaliation’ for what he described as an ‘unprovoked’ and ‘unequivocal’ attack on two U.S. destroyers in the Gulf of Tonkin. Ellsberg knew both claims were untrue. … In early 1965, Ellsberg dug up dirt on the southern Viet Cong to help the White House justify a bombing campaign against North Vietnam. Years later he considered it ‘the worst thing I’ve ever done.’ He also defended the war at college ‘teach-ins’ where a peace movement was rising. And he defended it to his new girlfriend and future wife, Patricia Marx, who opposed the war and persuaded Ellsberg to attend an antiwar demonstration on their first date. … By the time Ellsberg left Vietnam in 1967, recovering from hepatitis, he had concluded that the war was an unwinnable stalemate from which the United States should try to find a face-saving exit. Over the course of the next two years, his view would grow far more radical. He would come to see the war not only as a mistaken intervention, but as an American war of aggression—unjust, immoral, and criminal, a war that must be ended immediately. …”
UMass Amherst
Inside The Top Secret Pentagon Papers — 50 Years Later (Video)
amazom: The Pentagon Papers: The Secret History of the Vietnam War

About 1960s: Days of Rage

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This entry was posted in Books, CIA, John Kennedy, Lyn. Johnson, R. McNamara, Saigon, Vietnam War and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Vietnam War A collection of documents related to Ellsberg’s interest and participation in the Vietnam War.

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