Skip to main content

tv   History Bookshelf Daniel Ellsberg Secrets  CSPAN  June 14, 2021 8:01pm-8:59pm EDT

8:01 pm
it's been 50 years since former defense department analyst daniel ellsberg secretly gave the pentagon papers to the new york times in 1971. the papers were based on a classified study documenting the us involvement in vietnam over the previous three decades in 2002 mr. ellsberg talked about his book secrets a memoir of vietnam and the pentagon papers next on american history tv. my name tags that says for signing books afterwards. pardon my silence. i can't speak i've laryngitis. so can you hear me or not? okay. no. all right. let's let's try the best we can here. right into it, you know, i i don't can you hear me now? can you hear me in the back? okay. well, i'm just as well that i'm you listen closely because i'm going to tell you some secrets.
8:02 pm
the beginning trade secrets here, but we're all in the business here. you're older than business, right? i've never spoken to booksellers before last week. and of course i got laryngitis laryngitis before my book tour started. so we'll see what happens. but actually being in this house chamber though, it's only a house. i want to ask your advice is booksellers. about the title of my book. of course, whatever you say it won't change the title. that sound a little like a president this last week consulting with congress, but i want to consult with you. i've been i've been saying the un next week. i've been watching him closely how he operates so i'll tell you how he came to the title secrets here. actually, this was the working title for the book from the time. i first proposed it to viking. is there a viking representative here by the way?
8:03 pm
good. okay, don't let this get beyond this room here telling behind the scenes here a little bit. that's what i do. it was a working title. up through the point when i sent the manuscript in all finished notes and everything a couple of months ago. and my editor said everyone here loves it marketing people love it. they're very excited by this book. by the way, it has a new title. this was days before i was to go into the catalog which was the moment of truth here on the title. she said it's now called keeping secrets. said hmm actually said the marketing people really like like that. they're very excited by it. i said tom. came up with that. she said the vice president she runs the corporation again another analogy tour nation situation here again. so she said no she liked it.
8:04 pm
keeping secrets i said but that's not what i did. said said don't worry about that. it'll sell well. said well, it's the opposite of what i did. she really read this book. what could she possibly have had in mind? she said well she wanted two words and one of them had to be a verb. so i thought about it for a while and i said i can't live with this. we've got to find two other words. so she said okay, how about telling secrets? said well, that's what i did. i wasn't crazy about it, but when i went home and told my wife and her friends, you know, i females reacted this way. they said impossible. as sam goldman used to say in two words impossible. they said it's tattletale.
8:05 pm
telling tales out of school. she's sort of what i do alone doing it sounds trivial sounds like gosh. cannot cannot do that. so i came up with with title unauthorized disclosure. that may not be too familiar with to you, but that's the official term for leaking. i've never really liked the term leaking. my wife hates hates me to be called a leaker. says it sounds incontinent. so but anyway, an authorized disclosure has been in the news a lot because nearly every other day secretary of defense donald rumsfeld. is talking about unauthorized disclosures which are ruining our national security and which are definitely crimes and which people will go to prison when he prosecutes them which he will do as soon as he finds out who possibly could have done this.
8:06 pm
they've been there are many many more unauthorized disclosures than there were during the vietnam war. at this stage or even later and i think by the way, i disagree with rumsfeld. i think that's all to the good. for the first talk and golf resolution. which was passed the week. i went to work for the pentagon in august of 1964. there were two senators who voted against the not 23 there was a zero house of representatives. zero voted against that that bill at that time so this is definitely improvement and they would not have been 133 members many republicans and democrats. no, no many democrats in the house several republicans. we get that straight several republicans in the house jim leach and others. one republican in the senate
8:07 pm
chafee of rhode island in many democrats who voted in the minority of democrats even against this bill this time. that would not have happened without the unauthorized disclosures. that people have honorably been giving patriotically been giving allowing a degree of debate far inadequate. very inadequate but far greater than happened the week. i came to the pentagon in august of 64. so there were some votes actually somebody had picked up the phone. in the pentagon and called senator morse before he was to christian secretary of defense mcnamara in hearings top secret hearings. on august 5th, i believe was. the day after i came i regret to say and warned him what questions to ask just say raise these questions. i can't tell you anymore. he didn't give him any documents. with that the morse did raise
8:08 pm
the questions. he was not able to do anything about the flat explicit top secret lies. he got from secretary of defense mcnamara an answer. i go through this in the book what the lives were and what i know. as a lowly i was a high paid. i was a high level civil servant at that point. i came into the government, but i was working as a high-paid clerk. and assistant to an assistant secretary of defense no decision making role whatever, but i handle a lot of paper and i saw the paper that was coming over my desk. on august 4th was the day my first day in the pentagon took 24 hours. spent all night there. because i was watching the raids. first air attacks over vietnam which started that night that
8:09 pm
morning in the talking gulf? in response to what was alleged to be. an attack on our ships let me come to that back to a minute actually. it's the that's the story that starts this book actually. i didn't know. this book the week. the tonkin gulf 2 was passed. and timely i'm unhappy very unhappy for my country that this book is so timely. anyway, let me finish up come back to that. how much time do we have? okay. i don't know if i don't okay. i don't know if my voice is up today. anyway coming back to the the title. we were working with unauthorized disclosure which as can see i'm for. so i liked giving the book unauthorized disclosures the title. i want to stick it in donald rumsfeld's eye to be to be truthful and say here it is. there's more of them here and
8:10 pm
more coming coming come and get me. and we'll see what the prosecution picture is because he's bluffing to a considerable degree. he doesn't have a lot to go with that would clearly stand up as constitutional if it went to the supreme court, of course, this supreme court is a little worrisome, but he we don't an official secret. congress for the first time passed an official secret site for the first time in our history three years ago in the last days of clinton's rule. to any of you booksellers know that that happened? is there somebody let me see a hand. so you don't know that clinton vetoed that which is why we don't have a congressional act. pardon me at the moment this president would not veto that when it comes up again needless to say and that was true before 9/11. that'll make a difference my book. i think is sort of addressed without knowing it would come up this year to the question of why
8:11 pm
we should not have an official secret set why we do not. because of the first amendment and why the founders of our country? the drafters of the first amendment happen to be james madison had it right at the time and this is not the time to remove that amendment or get an official secret set. so anyway, i said, okay unauthorized disclosure two words. she said sounds like a spine novel. i said well. all right, very good. what's wrong with that? so she said now it sounds like something by tom clancy. i said hmm. well, here's a title for you. unauthorized disclosure by tom clancy. you don't even have to put my name on the cover at all about it. he said the legal department wouldn't buy it. but anyway, we came up with we came back to the title secrets.
8:12 pm
so how many of you here would have preferred keeping secrets. you're the sellers. telling secrets see one hand for talking that's right secrets this title this is not a very responsive you you're looking like the republicans in china. no, i in congress share it you're supposed to put your hand up when i i'm not the president. i know. oh. okay. that was insider stuff. i was telling how how titles are made. you know, it's an old story that two things. you never want to see made sausage and legislation and this is my book is about the process of decision making okay.
8:13 pm
so then pentagon papers how many of you be frank on this one whether you were booksellers or not? to know what the pentagon papers were what that was about. how many of you you can hear me? let me see hands. don't be modest on this because i won't take the time. otherwise, what do i need to tell you a little about what the pentagon papers were you say? no, but a few people say i'll say it very briefly. it was a study that i worked on in the pentagon when i came back from vietnam. in fact again since thank you. i got a brief good but brief introduction. i don't know how many of you know my background which goes in this how many need a few words on on my background. okay, right if we only had brief time i wouldn't do it. he mentioned i was a harvard phd
8:14 pm
that was after i got out of the us marine corps, which i enlisted in as an officer candidate during the korean emergency in 54 fighting was mostly over then but that was because i gotten deferred. for two years to go to cambridge university in england finished my ba and one. and i felt being a strong cold warrior already at that time and really throughout the period of this book which goes up to 73. um, very patriotic. i was 14 when the war end in the second world war i grew up on war movies on john wayne john wayne specifically and enlisted protruded me into the marine corps. with the sands of evojima. i don't know how many people are old enough to remember that one. and that recruited most of the marine corps and reruns. i met him once when i was in the marines.
8:15 pm
and bought him a bottle of wine. we read a restaurant together. and i went in the marines feeling that i'd been deferred had a deferment and it was my turn to go time to go. i extended my tour there for a year. this is very briefly in the book. this book is not an autobiography. it's a memoir mainly from 64 to 73, but there is a chapter in there about my background and one thing that's very relevant right now is this i went in the marines as a patriotic american which i am for sure. in part because i admired and loved the fact that during second world war i led the world against aggression. i understood the korean attack to have been aggression all i knew was she was actually and i was very proud that we were i thought it was a right war limited war. i was proud of the marine rolled
8:16 pm
in that i mean i had wasn't a marine yet, but i became proud. of it. we were putting back aggression. and when i was due to get out the the marines to go to harvard. graduate school i red and the papers that there was about to be war in the middle east that nasa of egypt of egypt same general area were talking about here was threatening. the actually had just nationalized the suez canal. there was likely to be war. i did not want my battalion in which i was. a mile very proud still very proud of the fact. i had been a rightful company commander as a first lieutenant very fact i am a little embarrassed to say the one other event. i've been here. i was on a panel with jim lehrer. i didn't know he was a marine which she mentioned he was in the marines the same time i was and so i saw him afterwards and he didn't know i'd been a marine so we'd had a lot to talk about
8:17 pm
except that i couldn't talk. and it was a late 50s when he was in but i asked him what he done. he said he was a rifle platoon leader and i say i'm embarrassed that was just saying i was a rifle company commander. but the point was i wasn't trying to trump him it is that was probably the most satisfying several months of my life. professional life not personally. and so anyway, i did not want my company to be going into battle. without me if they wanted to so i canceled my fellowship three year fellowship at harvard. they said i could reapply and an extended in the marine corps for a year and i went over and in the course of that. there came a time when my ship was ordered. this is in the book briefly. ordered toward the southeast corner of the mediterranean.
8:18 pm
and i was given my first top secret clearance. marines don't seek top secrets. they barely see confidential. they usually deal with secret if anything. and they gave me a top secret clearance for the top secret war plans of the sixth fleet. i was to make a landing plan for haifa. and the guy next to me was making a landing plan for our battalion. for alexandria we didn't know which plan we would use. it depended on which the president decided who we were fighting. israel or egypt and we assume that we had to use my plan against israel. we'd be wiped out and if we went against egypt, we thought very chauvinistically. well, we'll go through so. maybe yes, maybe no in the end. we evacuated about 1500 civilians from alexandria while it was being well the harbor was being bombed by the british and french. i've been bond by the region
8:19 pm
french. and i'm not going to make references to the present right now. you can connect the dots. i'll just tell what's in the book, which is my experience. obvious some relevance to what's happening right now what we're looking at. so i had been you know, i've never told this in public before but since it's in the book, oh, it's so relevant this week. i'll tell you. at that point. i was no longer a company commander. i was an assistant operations officer. so i was assigned to read up on and brief. our officers as to the background of this war that was about to happen. and so i read you in the book ships library britannica. they had several encyclopedias. there were a couple books on the middle east one by el kessler. some other kessler. i read up quite a bit my god.
8:20 pm
nasa had every right to nationalize this canal what the british and french are doing and we knew it was about to happen because of our cables we were getting is a colonial war again as the reinstituting their economy? now at that time i would have used either plan in the president said or we said it's a further president to decide. right who we go to war with? but i was happy when president eisenhower i had not voted for as a democrat. said this is aggression. we won't have it. you must stop you must stop. and actually i met years later and i met years later the man who'd been in charge of the planning. for the british invasion of this canal and at an institute for strategic studies meeting.
8:21 pm
i was you know, big pentagon represents. system in your wildest dreams had you imagined that you'd get an order to stop your offensive in the middle of the canal and go back. because eisenhower's said you must stop and we will not support the pound if you go on. they pulled him back in the middle of the operation. anyway, two of memories i have is that are very relevant today. one is wow eisenhower 's of my republican president that he put us in the position of being against aggression. even when it's committed by our closest ally. and that was the greatest rift in the british american reliance perhaps ever. certainly to this day notice. it isn't happening right now. that was a terrific rift. i was proud of that said that's
8:22 pm
what i came into the marines for. and another reason that i came into the marines was i had grown up during the war. watching movies of london being bombed by the nazis i thought of that is pure nazism. the essence of nazism bombing civilians bombing, which gets civilians whatever was named at. this was aimed at civilians. i didn't know what the british were doing to the cities of germany. i didn't know what we were doing to the cities of japan from then on which was exactly the same as the nazi practice. we were imitating the nazis. in response to the north burning them down killing as many civilians as we possibly could. i don't expect us to do that in this war by the way, and we did not do that in vietnam though. it could have happened the vietnam war could have gotten much much worse for the vietnamese than it ever did.
8:23 pm
and i think for ourselves. so something was learned about this direct targeting but at the time i didn't want to be involved in bombing civilians. so i joined the marine corps in part. i was offered a job in the air force. i didn't i didn't want to be in the air force. so i wanted to be with marines who fought hand to hand as in john wayne. there's some truth to that in the pacific. when a lot of civilians around though more than i read about acting. on okinawa, can you hear me still? can hear me? i don't hear in the background while you wave your hands if you can hear me. okay, i don't want to be told afterwards which i could have heard you. okay. so i read in the international edition of time while we were on that mission. in rome the week. i met john wayne came back. i saw pictures of what we were doing to put saiawi the british and french.
8:24 pm
i've never seen him since. we were leveling portside. why do i say we look at that, you know nato i was in the marines in contrast to the we then went on a little habit you pick up in the executive branch, which i worked for for about 15 years. is he say we are going to identify with it. it's us we're on the team. i've got to get out of that. but anyway, i was glad that americans did not have to see pictures like that of what we were doing when we were doing. to the civilians of egypt i felt sorry for the british and french. who had to look at pictures like that if they did? what was done in the course of their colonial aggression? okay, i came back. and i'm making this much too long.
8:25 pm
let's see where we're going how much time really do we have? okay. had meant to go into that, but i think you'll see. again, i don't have to connect the dots here. how that applies to what's coming up? we're not going to target civilians this time. that we probably will. as in the gulf war 11 years ago as in serbia use precision guided weapons to hit waterworks infrastructure sewage plants and electricity those are forbidden targets by the hague convention just like housing. the effect of that i read and these are the points that senator byrd and other heroes were making last week and arguing against this. the effect of that has been
8:26 pm
according to the un to kill hundreds of thousands of children in the decades after the war the after the gulf war. i haven't read what's happening in serbia, but i don't i be interesting to know when we knocked out their health structure their infrastructure. that's what's lying ahead. that's why there's a very serious target anyway. amp shot was that i came back from vietnam rather from the marines went to wrote a thesis on. later on uncertainty decision-making making under uncertainty gambling decisions how people make them why they make them that's been my professional specialty. actually that's another lecture. i'm giving in in november on the keynote lecture at the society for the for judgment and decision theory decision making very abstract. that'll be in november.
8:27 pm
i'm not going to talk very abstractly that's what my i did write a book on that last year. i wrote the book 39 years ago. it was published last year. it was my thesis. you can get it on amazon on the amazon list of bestsellers. and you know, were they rank? all the books? it lists it ranks. ranks. i believe one million 300,000 going up. no, it's hung pretty steady there. i think that garland overpriced it at 65 dollars. but anyway, that's pretty abstract, but i won't be talking about abstraction a month from now. when i believe will be bombing. but that's just my own bet. i don't think they'll wait and long. even if we aren't bombing yet. i'll say we're looking at a gamble now. the headlines are that many people are making unauthorized
8:28 pm
disclosures. that they do not agree inside the government with the estimates. the president has been presenting as flat assertions. that saddam would use a nuclear weapon or if he got it and when he got it without having been attacked. and second. this is now an authorized disclosure authorized by george tennant head of the cia. but let me just make a little bit to you this letter from tenant. to the congress was not authorized by the president of the united states and i'll bet that in the white house. they are furious. tenants near insubordination to the white house by giving his actual best unclassified advice. he declassified it to the congress and what he said was that saddam he very unlikely to give these weapons to terrorists. if he gets them.
8:29 pm
biological chemical or nuclear or to use them against us. if he is not being attacked. on the other hand if he is attacked, it is our judgment that he has a very high likelihood of using them. i can start troops. i can't israel tenants said that. what will israel's response be to that? they fed, they would use nuclear weapons. they don't say nuclear because they have never to this day admitted use the word nuclear directly. they said they will use everything they have and they have nuclears. the man who revealed that guy named mordecai venuno has been in prison for revealing it to the london times for 16 years 13 years in total solitary. for revealing to the israelis what everybody else in the world knew? but the israelis weren't sure
8:30 pm
because their officials refused to confirm it. so by the way, i i rambling here a little bit. i'll give him interesting one i studied nuclear crises. in the pentagon that was one of my jobs later in the pentagon of skipped over a lot here. actually a discovered that essentially everybody in the world know that israel that i looked up suez when i had the chance to because i'd been in it. so in a a room like a safe windowless safe room in the state department where i was authorized to do this research, which held the eyes only eyes only literally eyes only for the president. files of letters between kennedy and chris troff and eisenhower's bulgannon and stuff like that. i discovered that we had known very well and but by this time everybody in the world knows except the british.
8:31 pm
the one i was on that ship in the mediterranean. bengurion of israel the french foreign minister whose name escapes me at the moment and anthony eden. and anthony eaton met in a chateau in france and planned the entire invasion conspiracy invasion, which they were trying to keep from eisenhower's because they knew he wouldn't like it. now by this time everybody knows that except the british to this day and the reason that is is because anthony eden simply flatly denied it in his memoirs. so they don't know it. they're like us they're like everybody. hard to believe that your leaders flatly lie to you. not hard to believe that they mislead a little that. they don't tell you the whole truth. that they you know, they fudge and they frame it and spin it and so forth.
8:32 pm
which they do all that. in fact, that's mostly what they do. they also lie a great deal all the time. not just the president not just republicans or democrats presidents and not just our leaders. not just democratic leaders. as i have stone said he summed it all up in the way one of the major messages of this book. he summed up and i'd heard him say this but i didn't believe it till i've been through it. all government officials lie and nothing they say is to be believed. now he doesn't mean that everything they say is a lie. they tell as much truth as will serve their purposes as much as they can afford to it means that anything they say may be a lie. well at for example. i'll give you one right now. cheney says vice president is a very smart guy.
8:33 pm
says it's saying day by day. he believes. that our invasion of iraq will lead to a democratic iraq and a democratic middle east. having after we have been welcomed as liberators by the people of iraq roses at us and so forth. he paints this in very concrete terms. and i just read this in time this week. and that the iraqi army he feels confident. will fall apart. all of it. as soon as we go in and it will liberators were liberators then there'll be macarthur period sort of asking japan and then a democratic open society which in turn will spread to the new middle the rest of the middle east. okay. now that's what he says now that is his justification and the president.
8:34 pm
for launching what everyone can see is a preventive war by the way preemptive is another. leading title close to a lie to misuse of the term. i did war planning. our planning is based on preemption of a nuclear attack. but that means if they are on the way if their missiles have launched if we know from electronic intelligence or infrared or whatever that they are about to launch or are on the way our inference satellites get that we don't wait for the warheads to arrive. you may believe and you may have been told certain many times that we wait and take the second flow and we'll never go over there and do it first and so but that's not that's not our planning. we will all our plans are based on going first going second first as they say on preempting that attack. that's what preempting means. it's a technical term. what he's talking about, which he's using the word preemptive
8:35 pm
for has nothing to do with preemption. no attack is on the way. nothing is imminent. it's a war that is not. in the context of an imminent or ongoing attack. it's a preventive war and that's the best term you can put forth. another term is what the british and french were doing in suez aggression. that's what eisenhower's identity. he was right. it's what the whole world called what saddam did 11 years ago? he said he was liberating a real province of iraq and so forth. i don't know if any of his people believe that but his soldiers didn't want to hear to fight for that. but it was aggression. and on the basis of that word. i'm giving a talk about a rack. i'll try to stop now if it's not in the book, obviously. but i can tie it up with the book quickly.
8:36 pm
on the the basis of that not just a word but the reality that saddam was violating the central principle of international order for the last several hundred years. the one thing everybody agrees on. what is aggression very hard to get agreement on that usually? but once in a while. you get cons? ensus that's aggression. someone did that all his allies just about supported us. we use their bases. they chime down. they did everything and they weren't all that great friends of us either at that point. but aggression that has to be stopped. well, he ain't gonna do that to us. where the united states? they're not going to accept. but the fact is a lot of people in the in the government right now. i can feel confident from my
8:37 pm
experience. you know, i jumped around here. i'm saying a moment ago. the cheney was saying things i read them last night and i wrote in the margin. can richard shaney possibly believe this? you know the roses had as the the democracy. there ain't going to be any democrat. we're we will not allow democracy in the middle east but that's in iraq in part because he would split up a rack and we don't want that. we've supported a sunny. dictatorship sonny muslim forever essentially which is a minority about 14% of the iranian of the iraqis or sunny. 64% are shiite like iran the chance we're gonna allow one one man one woman one vote. to the shiites in iraq to join iran there's really no chance. the democracy is not in their future.
8:38 pm
okay, there's no more chance than we were about to allow as i realized when that when the pentagon papers. what i learned. by this time i didn't even mention this but been to vietnam. years witness combat as a civilian participated i was shot at i even shot back. because i was a former marine company commander, so i used that background. which is described at length now in the book. in vietnam i use that to observe places where people who didn't have that background couldn't observe. i saw things that civilians didn't ordinarily see. on a later note. jamie didn't see them. he was draft age during vietnam, but he spent the war in a secure location. and in wyoming in wyoming he
8:39 pm
missed his chance. unlike powell the one man in the administration did see vietnam and who by all accounts? heels in against this war like every military man. we've heard from every military man. the ones who worked for bush senior for clinton for reagan everyone only civilians we've heard of who were not in vietnam though. they were all draft age. pushing this war and saying it's going to be a cakewalk, which norman schwarzkopf says it is not going to be a cakewalk. okay. what's i wish this book? actually, it's they say it's timely actually it's a month or two overdue. i wish i'm i still timely it's going to be timely for quite a while. our conflicts in the middle east are not going to be over in two weeks.
8:40 pm
or three weeks even if saddam is found in assassinated. etc saddam is no more representative himself than a shiite in its way of iraq. no more representative than the man we made dictator of vietnam for many years yemm. who is a catholic? i never noticed. in vietnam funny thing about that country of buddhists entirely being run by a catholic or what that said about our relation. to vietnam. i really never thought of that till i read the history and the pentagon papers. it might have been more obvious if he'd been jewish for example. they might have seen more they didn't vote this man in somehow. it was a little worse than being jewish because the catholics were the ones who would collaborated with the french. they've been converted by the
8:41 pm
french and they've been given high jobs by their french. so forth. so a catholic president was not a logical by the way our president hugh the general too was also a catholic heat converted. saw the light so our our man in iraq is not going to be broadly representative. he ain't going to be a courage. let me tell you that for example. so i read in the pentagon papers in '69 by which time i had already been thinking we should get out of vietnam. for reasons that are in the book, but i've used up my time here, so we should get out of vietnam. what i read was something that i think some people in the pentagon probably perceived today about this situation because it's different. this is much more open aggression. than vietnam ever was studied history that's in the pentagon papers.
8:42 pm
i didn't know in the pentagon was that we'd been backing a colonial war there from the beginning that it was not a legitimate worth while altruistic cause that wrong as i believed. back in colonial war paying 80% of the cost of it for nine years. that's what i read. this is the war i'd been shot at him and that i shot back. although i'm glad to say i'm not aware of having hit anybody. that's not a joke. i just didn't have any targets in it. that war had been wrong from the start. we had no more right to win in vietnam. i conclude and if that puts you off, you know, read the book and see if it's still puts you off. like this to be read by a lot of people who still support that war. i hope it will be and i know it has been to some degree. it's a military people. i know i'd like it to be read by a lot of vietnam veterans. who want to understand how this
8:43 pm
could have happened? how could they have done it? that's what people will be asking i believe however this comes out in the next little while in iraq. how could they have done it? well, this book isn't about they this book is about we about my colleagues and me. how could i have done it i can see i didn't know the history within how do i explain that? i didn't look it up. i didn't know about well, i was 30 years old at the start when i first went to vietnam just out of the marines and so forth. but how could how could this have happened? well at any rate would i read ones that there was we had no right to win in vietnam from the beginning any more than we had any more. hope any more than the french. and no more prospect of winning. than the french that's very different in a rock itself.
8:44 pm
will win iraq, that's the different kind of war will we win the resistance that may follow it? how will pacification look in vietnam after we have baghdad whether we did it surgically or we did it brutally as import saeed and level it. one way or another we'll have baghdad. saddam will not be rolling a year from now. well, the fighting be over in iraq, will it be over elsewhere? will it be over in afghanistan later on? we don't know. i don't know. you don't know when the president doesn't know. there's no way to know. that gamble that congress just signed on to very irresponsibly except for 133 old courageous patriotic people led by barbara lee every year ago. the republicans and 23 senators 21 republicans at 21 democrats
8:45 pm
one republican one independent jeffords. still looking very good jeffords, by the way. senator bird looking very good bird said in his speech. he is one of two people in the senate who were a present to vote on the first talking gulf resolution when i was in the pentagon. he said i am ashamed of that decision. i regretted intensely. i wish that i had been the third person along with morrison groening. to vote against it kennedy younger at the time also voted against this very much to their credit. my problem then was what do i do when i perceive from this history? what is not easy to perceive in that case? this is an aggressive war. it's a wrongful war how far should i go?
8:46 pm
well, i won't recapitulate the book. i will say that i had the look to meet at that time. lions who are doing everything they could. and that meant since these were some of them were male. and draft age like all the others running the government now. that i think would refuse to to an openly. make a statement of their resistance to what they thought was a wrongful war do it non-violently. and truthfully like gandhi like martin luther king. like the role spent the night in jail protesting what he called and what us grant agreed with and what lincoln agreed with. against mexico and that's why the rose met his night in jail. the roads that at that time in his essay on civil disobedience.
8:47 pm
cast your whole vote not a strip of paper merely. whole influ well a lot of people in congress last week cast their vote long. some of them catch the right on their conscience. when they tell you why they voted yes. should you believe that any more than executive officials? congressman tell you the truth about why they do things more than executives know no no, how do you know then? well, you make a judgment. when bird saying, you know off all the circumstances. i believe bird is telling the truth when he gives his reasons for voting. maybe there's other reasons as well. as far as he goes that's gone for the others as well barbara lee etc. the ones who said yes. hard to believe that they
8:48 pm
believed some of this stuff any more than shaney, but whom i pointing at counting this book of how i did not leave the government. i did not tell what i know. at the time when i could have senator morris told me in 1971 after the pentagon papers came out. this 7,000 page top secret history quote of us decision-making in vietnam from 1945 to 1968. that's the title of the pentagon papers. 7,000 pages all top secret. i copied it at the rand corporation in 1969 after at a time when i believe nixon was about to escalate again. this is the heart of the book. and i gave it to senator fulbright of the foreign relations committee. promised hearings or he said he hoped to hold hearings that he did not too invasions later. i gave it to the new york times
8:49 pm
to the washington. they were enjoined. the washington post they were enshrined then two in the end 17 other newspapers. forward and joined all together subject of a big manhunt while i was putting this out that's following the book. supreme court voided the injunctions, but i was put on trial eventually facing 115 years in prison. the book tells that didn't seem to have had any good effect. the war went on. but for reasons we which i had time to go into would not amazingly enough. it turned out that there was an effect because nixon was so afraid. i might have other revelations about him and i did but i didn't have documents. that he had to take criminal measures to shut me up. the point is that having red thorough and martin luther king and read about rosa parks and
8:50 pm
then meeting people. who were living that life on their way to prison? is what made me realize i should do what i can. this is only history, but it's all i've got i'll put that out. i wish i had documents on what's now happening if i had had i wouldn't have put out depending on papers. i would have put those out the way some people are very creditively doing now putting out information and even documents. on current planning to show us that this isn't just about a rock. it's the whole middle east. this is not just a d up raid. this is a thing that's going to eventually involve scores of thousands of people and so forth all the stuff that rumsfeld is complaining about they are putting it out. i'm very happy. that's the major impact. i would want this book to have would be on people to say. sitter in the government if you believe your president is now lying.
8:51 pm
the country into what you see as a wrongful war. that will cost many lives on both sides. then you should consider doing. what i wish i had done. in 1964 in 1965, don't do what i did. as in this book don't wait till the bombs are falling. don't wait till it's one war after another syria iraq iran, saudi arabia. put it out now. and whatever cost to yourself. could be worth going to jail for 10 years 100 years 115 years. well, of course. if you're if you're able to contemplate that, i don't tell anybody to do that. they have families. they have jobs. they have their own calculation their own sense of what will help and what they could do.
8:52 pm
otherwise paul hasn't quit, and i think i know why for the same reason mcnamara didn't in the 66 he believes. this is my own guess. he believes that if he left. it would go worse. and he could well be right so he has a very hard choice to make. people who don't have to tell themselves my god, maybe i can really make a difference inside. should be thinking of what they can do outside and i'm trying to say that some people are doing it. so that we have finally i'll end with the fact with. a couple two quotes here the reason they went after me. is hr holderman, this is on tape now. these are unauthorized disclosures that the president taped president taped everybody as you know, and tapes got out
8:53 pm
that. so just the day after the pending papers came out. hr holderman was saying to the president and the wife in the oval office now on tape and a lot of this stuff has never come out this particular one came out in april of this last year. was that almost 30 years later? 31 years later about the pentagon papers don was saying this morning to the ordinary guy. all this is a bunch of gobbledy cook. but out of the gobbledy comes a very clear thing. you can't trust the government. can't believe what they say. and you can't rely on their judgment. and the implicit infallibility of presidents which has been an accepted thing in america. it's badly hurt by this because it shows that people do things. the president wants to do. know it's wrong. and the president can be wrong. that was the message. i wanted to get out the don he
8:54 pm
was quoting. was donald rumsfeld? who was working for nixon at that time as a white house aid and he got the picture. he got the message. and it's true. but telling the truth can have an effect. my book ends with this. last page last thing it ends with my trial ended. congress because of the revelations of the criminal actions the president had done more truth to stop me because i was doing what scott ritter has been doing for several months. i was doing everything i could that's what scott ritter is doing and he's my latest hero. i just sent this book to him if you know who i mean, you know who scott ritter. he's doing everything he can. and senator byrd cast his whole vote and barbara lee and some
8:55 pm
others and that's what's needed. can that do any good? well, it didn't stop the resolution and frankly. it's not going to stop this war and this war will not be averted. i think by anything, but it won't be stopped as a series of wars without a lot more courage. and sacrifice them we've seen so far from most of the democrats. or others, but can it help? well came out the president had done a lot of crimes by because i was on trial they finally came out in my courtroom. congress under the pressure of that for the first time the week my trial ended stays before voted to cut off money. for the war which i threw a little process but it ended in august. this was may 11th day my trial end in this the end of the book. here's our oval office tape,
8:56 pm
which i read after there was released this april. presidents saying to holdeman same time at 11 o'clock the judge burn in my courtroom was dismissing all charges against me and tony russo on the grounds of governmental misconduct. which was very nice. actually mitchell was indicted my attorney general and was indicted the same morning. and so that was fine, but the more important thing was congress had voted. the first time to cut off the money, so the president now says to hold him. for example on this i've heard this i can't imitate too. well with my voice now. for example on this national security thing. we have the rocky situation where the son of a -- thief is made a national hero and it's going to get off on a mistrial. and the new york times gets a pulitzer prize for stealing documents. they're trying to get at us with
8:57 pm
thieves. what are the name of god if we come to and satisfaction reading that and the the end the book is what we had come back to was a democratic republic. not an elected monarchy. a government under law with congress the courts and the press functioning the curtail executive abuses as our constitution envisioned. and a senator byrd laid out for us now. moreover for the first time in this or any other country the legislature was casting its whole vote against an ongoing presidential war. it was reclaiming through its power of the purse the war power. it had fecklessly delegated nine years earlier. congress was stopping the bombing and the war was going to end.
8:58 pm
you are only signing books downstairs american history tv on c-span 3 every weekend documenting america's story funding comes from these television companies and more including buckeye broadband. buckeye broadband along with these television companies supports american history tv on c-span 3 as a public service. all entrances to north vietnamese ports will be mined. united states versus have been directed toak


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on