Keith MacKinnon's Reviews > Secrets: A Memoir of Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers

Secrets by Daniel Ellsberg
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Feb 23, 11

Read from February 16 to 23, 2011

Words of James Madison, drafter of the First Amendment:

“A popular government, without popular information or the means of acquiring it, is but a prologue to a farce or a tragedy; or, perhaps, both. Knowledge will forever govern ignorance: And a people who mean to be their own governors must arm themselves with the power knowledge gives."


Words of H. R. Haldeman spoken to President Nixon, Oval Office tapes, June 14, 1971, on the impact of the Pentagon Papers:

"To the ordinary guy, all this is a bunch of gobbledygook. But out of the gobbledygook comes a very clear thing: you can’t trust the government; you can’t believe what they say; and you can’t rely on their judgement. And the implicit infallibility of presidents, which has been an accepted thing in America, is badly hurt by this, because it shows that people do things the president wants to do even though it’s wrong, and the president can be wrong.”

Ellsberg’s story of his deed is well told. Here is a man who risked his life for his country and then threw away his career and potentially his freedom to end a fruitless and murderous war. Score a point for the good guys.
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