Scott Horton Interviews Daniel Ellsberg

Scott Horton, September 18, 2009

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Daniel Ellsberg, the man who leaked the Pentagon Papers, discusses his new film “The Most Dangerous Man in America,” simulations that indicate nuclear war would be more destructive than previously thought, how the practice of killing civilians en masse in WWII became the premise of U.S. nuclear war planning, cancellation of the European missile defense shield and the staggering difference in destructive force between an H-bomb and every other weapon preceding it.

MP3 here. (53:13)

Daniel Ellsberg is the author of Secrets: A Memoir of Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers and the article “U.S. Nuclear War Planning for a Hundred Holocausts.”

In 1959 Daniel Ellsberg worked as a strategic analyst at the RAND Corporation, and consultant to the Defense Department and the White House, specializing in problems of the command and control of nuclear weapons, nuclear war plans, and crisis decision-making. He joined the Defense Department in 1964 as Special Assistant to Assistant Secretary of Defense (International Security Affairs), John McNaughton, working on Vietnam. He transferred to the State Department in 1965 to serve two years at the U.S. Embassy in Saigon, evaluating pacification on the front lines.

On return to the RAND Corporation in 1967, he worked on the Top Secret McNamara study of U.S. Decision-making in Vietnam, 1945-68, which later came to be known as the Pentagon Papers. In 1969, he photocopied the 7,000 page study and gave it to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee; in 1971 he gave it to the New York Times, the Washington Post and 17 other newspapers. His trial, on twelve felony counts posing a possible sentence of 115 years, was dismissed in 1973 on grounds of governmental misconduct against him, which led to the convictions of several White House aides and figured in the impeachment proceedings against President Nixon.

10 Responses to “Daniel Ellsberg”

  1. The problem is that MAD is not enough for the Pentagon. They insist on achieving a disarming and unanswerable first-strike capability, including anti-submarine warfare, of course. That leads to Launch On Warning and suicide by accident. Trident missile engineer Bob Aldridge-http://www.plrc.org-realized this and resigned.

  2. Beware of HR 2194. It calls for a blockade of Iran and that´s an act of war.

  3. The explosion of one hundred warheads will produce Nuclear Winter. So, what are the rest of them for ? How many times do they intend to commit suicide ?

  4. Claus-Erik, check out this madness right here: http://www.wired.com/politics/security/magazine/1

  5. Claus-Erik, check out this madness right here:

    Thanks, Mike E. But when I tried the link, I got this information: Sorry! We couldn´t find the page you were looking for. Please help.

  6. Oops. Try this: http://www.wired.com/politics/security/magazine/1

    –Scott

  7. So, it became part of military strategy to kill as many civilians efficiently as possible and the U.S. Government is the most prolific at it. Wow, I feel safer.

    I will disagree with Mr. Ellsberg, however, and state that the people involved in this kind of planning and activity are morally and ethically corrupt. They are sick people in heart, mind, and spirit.

    You know what else, I think of all the missed opportunities to improve the prosperity of all by funding the warfare state.

    Thanks for another great interview, Scott and Dan.

  8. Thanks a lot, Mike E. I hadn´t heard of http://www.thedeadhandbook.com before. I agree with Glenn. Trident missile engineer Bob Aldridge-http://www.plrc.org-realized this is suicidal madness and resigned. We don´t need NAVSTAR to hit within 30-40 metres of the target in order to destroy cities. Who else resigned in protest to the suicidal first-strike capability madness ? After Napoleon and Hitler the Russians have but one thing on their mind: THEY WON´T DIE ALONE.

  9. [...] I haven’t listened to him with Scott Horton yet, but I’m sure Daniel Ellsberg is very interesting. I heard him on NPR commenting on the [...]

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