This following review of “The Most Dangerous Man in America” was written by SJSU student Jamie Silva:
Daniel Ellsberg is a prominent figure in American history for controversial reasons. Ellsberg, a US military analyst, released a top-secret study conducted by the Pentagon regarding wrong doings by the Johnson administration. These papers, later deemed the “Pentagon Papers”, exposed the calculated lies by the administration to the American public and Congress regarding the importance of the war and pushing an alternate, invested interest by participating in the war. The papers also proved that the Johnson administration was fully aware of the slim chance of winning the Vietnam War based off of statistical data collected. Ellsberg circulated the numerous copies of the report to opponents to the war, Senators who were already on the fence regarding the decision to go to war, and huge media outlets. He felt as though he assisted in our nation’s decision to go to war and subsequently chose to risk his life to leak the papers to the rest of the nation to get us out.
It has been debated that his decision to leak the Pentagon Papers was questionable and could have hindered national security. But is that really so? Especially if these papers exposed the undeniable knowledge that our highest powers of government were aware that our soldiers would be fighting in a war that they had no chance of winning? What right does our government have to be knowingly sending our own on a suicide mission? Was there no conscience present within those we pay to protect and make the best decisions for our nation? At what point do we, the public, say this is enough with the Vietnam War or the war we are currently fighting? With no end in sight, it is clear, as it was in Vietnam, that we might evacuate the Middle East. It is becoming apparent that our occupation of the Middle East is just a way to extend US foreign policy. Ellsberg got a first hand experience of the Vietnam War and completely changed his initial opinion to the point where he was willing to give up his freedom to expose the truth. Is this the only way for decision making government officials to understand the gravity of their decisions by subjecting them to the same setting as the soldiers they ship off? If this is the case, this must be done immediately to break the continuous cycle of fatalities, to avoid more misallocated funds to war, and to sustain the life of all Americans.