R.I.P. Daniel Ellsberg

There’s a lot I don’t understand about Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers. Even though I’m old as dirt, Vietnam was still a bit before my time. So I’m not really sure exactly what impact the Pentagon Papers had on the general public when they were first released.

My guess would be that when it comes to the working class “not much.” Working class opposition to the Vietnam War was mostly about the draft. Why do the children of the elite stay home, smoking pot and getting laid when our kids have to go to Vietnam?

On the other hand, when it comes to the elites, I’d probably guess “a lot.” Even though the elites had already turned against the war in Vietnam, the Pentagon papers were a good excuse to finally go public about it. “

“Johnson lied. People died.”

Interestingly enough Daniel Ellsberg was a speaker at the first, and still perhaps the best, antiwar protest I ever went to. It pretty much shut down the Pentagon for most of the day and it’s still the reason why no protest since 1988 has ever been allowed to get that close again.

You can see me very briefly up in the right hand corner at minute 13:58 as a very, very young man. Ellsberg speaks at minute 25:30. I had absolutely no idea who he was and when I asked mostly got the response “you’re kidding right? That’s Daniel Ellsberg.” Sadly “OK Boomer” hadn’t been invented at the time so I just felt stupid.

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