Daniel Ellsberg: Iraq's Pentagon Papers
This unjustified war is waiting for its whistle-blower, says the leaker of Vietnam's secret history.
A joint resolution referred to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee last week by Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) calls for the withdrawal of all American military forces from Iraq by Dec. 31. Boxer's "redeployment" bill cites in its preamble a January poll finding that 64% of Iraqis believe that crime and violent attacks will decrease if the U.S. leaves Iraq within six months, 67% believe that their day-to-day security will increase if the U.S. withdraws and 73% believe that factions in parliament will cooperate more if the U.S. withdraws.
If that's true, then what are we doing there? If Iraqis don't believe that we're making things better or safer, what does that say about the legitimacy of prolonged occupation, much less permanent American bases in Iraq (foreseen by 80% of Iraqis polled)? What does it mean for continued American armored patrols such as the one last November in Haditha, which, we now learn, led to the deaths of a Marine and 24 unarmed civilians?
It was questions very much like these that were nagging at my conscience many years ago at the height of the Vietnam War, and that led, eventually, to the publication of the first of the Pentagon Papers on June 13, 1971, 35 years ago this week. That process had begun nearly two years earlier, in the fall of 1969, when my friend and former colleague at the Rand Corp., Tony Russo, and I first started copying the 7,000 pages of top-secret documents from my office safe at Rand to give to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
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