Ellsberg to Larry King: “I’ve been waiting for this for a long time.”

by Ellsberg.Net on July 27, 2010

Part 1:

ELLSBERG: There hasn’t been an unauthorized disclosure of this magnitude since the Pentagon Papers 39 years ago. I’ve been waiting for it for a long time.

There should have been the Pentagon Papers of Iraq and a lot of other places. And I wish there had been Pentagon Papers of Afghanistan earlier than this. But better late than never, the war is still on. Congress is just being challenged now to vote $33 billion more to a war that’s cost $300 billion so far, in a war where the opponent we’re fighting is stronger than it’s ever been before. So the analogy to the war I was helping to expose is very close.

KING: How do you respond to the White House assertion that this leak puts U.S. forces in danger?

ELLSBERG: You know, the people who put U.S. forces in harm’s way—100,000 men and women in Afghanistan—are the last two administrations, but particularly this one, with a decision to escalate the war. I think it takes a lot of –I don’t know what to say—chutzpah, effrontery, for people who made the reckless, foolish, and I would say irresponsible decisions to escalate a war that I’m sure they know internally is as hopeless as these new revelations reveal it to be.

And yet, they’re preferring to send men and women into harm’s way to die and to kill civilians and others in a war that I think they perceive is endless and hopeless, rather than to face the accusations of generals that they have, these politicians have lost a war that the generals claimed is winnable. They claimed that very foolishly.

I’d say that was exactly the same as the boss I served in 1965, Lyndon Johnson. He didn’t want the General Johnson, the chief of staff of the Army, and others to resign if he didn’t give them enough of what they were asking for. I think President Obama has made the same terrible error.

Part 2:

ELLSBERG: I think you won’t find in those 92,000 pages any reason, any basis for believing that we’re going to be more successful in the next nine years or nine months or whatever than we were in the last nine months. And that’s something for the Congress, I think, to consider very strongly before they vote for money for this war.

Part 3:

ELLSBERG: I agree that there are things that should be kept secret. I think it was mistaken—wrong for the Bush administration to reveal the name of Valerie Plame, the covert operator who is working against proliferation during work that required secrecy,  just to punish her husband for telling the truth.

To put her name out was a mistake. I think it was wrong to reveal that we were listening in on Osama bin Laden’s communications. I believe Senator Shelby of Alabama was a factor in that.

I think it was wrong for Condoleezza Rice to confirm that we had a mole high up next to Osama bin Laden. Not very good for that double agent’s health.

It could be there could be things in [the WikiLeaks archive] that I would agree and that others would say shouldn’t have been put out. But that remains to be seen.

The fact is that when it comes to judgment as to what should be secret and what should not be secret, Julian Assange’s judgment has been pretty good so far. I don’t think he’s made any mistakes that I’ve seen so far, as in that video of the Apache helicopter that they kept wrongly secret for years.

And I don’t give the benefit of the doubt to the people in the government who decided to keep that video secret and to keep these cables secret.

Part 4:

The full transcript of Ellsberg’s appearance on Larry King Live is here.

{ 3 trackbacks }

El militar que inspiró a Julian Assange da las gracias a WikiLeaks en el programa de Larry King en la CNN. (eng)
July 28, 2010 at 1:41 pm
Levees Not War » Blog Archive » WikiLeaks Afghan War Diary: A “Pentagon Papers” for Our Time
August 2, 2010 at 4:09 pm
LuisRei.com » Blog Archive » Ellsberg On Larry King – WikiLeaks “Afeghan Papers”
August 5, 2010 at 2:53 pm

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

lent February 22, 2012 at 11:00 pm

You can certainly see your skills in the work you write. The arena hopes for more passionate writers like you who are not afraid to mention how they believe. Always follow your heart.

Strangely Enough July 27, 2010 at 8:09 pm

“When the White House sends troops into harm’s way, they do so on behalf of the American people who voted them into office, and they are accountable to the public for this action.”

What nonsense. There was absolutely no accountability- for anything: torture, war of aggression, massive violations of Constitutional rights and the law. An uninformed electorate cannot hold anyone accountable if evidence of crimes is concealed. How does accountability come from that?

And, to claim “they do so on behalf of the American people,” is an attempt to shift the blame to those who are basically powerless, and from those who willingly led the country into a war, as in the case of Iraq, for no justifiable cause.

However, you are correct that “leakers” should be prepared to accept the legal consequences of their actions.

T July 27, 2010 at 6:17 pm

Now that this new leak has come out, the next question. Will Obama finally decide to pull us out of Afghanistan (and Iraq).

The answer? Based on everything that’s happened up till now, no. And for one reason.

The last thing Obama wants is to be labeled as “The President Who Once Again Made Us Lose in ‘Vietnam’”. In the ultra-tight two party system in the States, protecting the “brand” that’s in power is Number 1. We all know that these wars violate intl. law. We all know that it’s the RIGHT thing to do to leave.

Now, reality. Do you really think that Obama will go against the money machine that helped to get him into the White House? Of course not. If he did that, his political career is over. That’s sad to say that. And some may also say that’s being ultra cynical. I disagree. I call it being realistic.

I’ve posted this a million times. But I’ll do it one more time. The ONLY way for these to end is to have Vietnam-era type protests that don’t stop. Noam Chomsky has a good point. If you go to one protest, that’s great.But then if you stop, what’s the point? The powers that be ONLY pay attention to sustained effort to change.

Now, will this happen? Some reputable economists say that high unemployment will continue in the States for the next ten years. If that’s true (and these wars continue), where will you hide then?

You’ve all heard the Weimar Republic analogies a million times. So I won’t list them again. Instea a question: what’s more important to you? Having anybody BUT Bush Jr. in the White House? Or, doing the right thing?

George July 27, 2010 at 4:34 pm

I find it a bit odd that Ellsberg compares Wikileaks probable role in making things more dangerous for the troops with the past two administrations being responsible for putting them in harm’s way.

See, there’s a difference between the past two administrations and Wikileaks: the former was democratically elected to govern the United States of America, while the latter is a small, unelected organization.

When the White House sends troops into harm’s way, they do so on behalf of the American people who voted them into office, and they are accountable to the public for this action. When Wikileaks disseminates confidential government and military documents, which may end up harming the troops, they do so on behalf of themselves and aren’t accountable to anyone.

If Wikileaks believes that it was morally correct to release these documents, and necessary for the overall good of the American people, then they have to make themselves accountable for their actions in case there are consequences.

The government cannot function properly if unelected, independent groups can elect, on any whim, to disseminate any government secret they wish, for any reason, and not have to stand to account for it.

When a whistle-blower blows the whistle on something the public at large agrees was morally correct, they will later be rewarded for this, and any legal consequences they may endure will be rectified.

If you think leaking’s fine, then do the time – be a hero.

T July 27, 2010 at 3:59 pm

While I respect what Mr. Ellsberg originally did (and what he and Assange are doing now), they’re ignoring an important aspect of this growing story.

Wikileaks released the Iraq attack video. Worldwide attention, lots of concerned comments. And then what? Nothing. Now, we have a new leak. Again, lots of spin and govt. counterspin (as to be expected). At times, Robert Gibb’s comments border on the absurd.

But nothing happened after the first one. Now with this second one, will anything happen?

Having been lucky enough to live abroad, I’m looking at this from a dual perspective. And what’s disturbing about it?:

An NFL player refusing to carry a teammate’s pads is way more important than this.

When you do see rare 20 second bits about attacks in Afghanistan (or Iraq), it’s almost like Vietnam. People would sit down to eat dinner and you’d hear the day’s casulty figures like it was the stock market report.

Millions of people say they care. So, assming that’s true, then what more do you need to see?

Assange, Amy Goodman and others aren’t going to save us all from the big bad neocons who are doing this.

So how come millions aren’t marhcing in the streets and not backing down? Because it’s out-of-sight and out-of-mind. What comes first? Not getting laid off and being homeless.

Second, there’s no national draft. If Obama really believes that these are just wars, we have no gurantees at all that he won’t reinstate the draft. I’m not talking Alex Jones conspiracy theory rubbish. I’m basing this on what I consider to be factual information.

If the draft is reinstated, what will happen? It will be Vietnam all over again. The rich will use their money and power to get deferments. And the others will just have to either shut up, go. And either get killed or scarred for life. Or, go underground.

Obama is a constitutional attorney. Despite that, look at all of the illegal things that he’s doing. What keeps him in power? He’s a brand. Also, many people of color believe that you never criticize another person of color in front of whites.

This then is justification for Iraq and Afghanistan?

What does THAT tell you?

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