A must readAlmost half a century ago, a young reporter from Germany arrived in still-glamorous Saigon to cover the Vietnam War over a period of five years.
He praises the beauty, elegance and feistiness of their women. He describes blood-curdling Communist atrocities and fierce combat scenes he had witnessed. He introduces a striking array of characters: heroes, villains, statesmen and spooks, hilarious eccentrics, street urchins and orphans herding water buffalos.
He shows how professional malpractice by U.S. media stars such as Walter Cronkite turned the military victory of American and South Vietnamese forces during the 1968 Tet Offensive into a political defeat. He mourns the countless innocent victims of the Communist conquest of South Vietnam, which was the grim consequence of its abandonment by the United States. Thus, he argues, the wrong side won.
Ellsberg said in an interview this morning that the U.S. had plans for a first strike on every city in Russia and China … and that numerous field-level commanders had the power to start nuclear Armageddon:
[Interviewer] So, you made copies of top-secret reports for plans about nuclear war years before you copied the Pentagon Papers—
DANIEL ELLSBERG: That’s right.
[Interviewer] —and released them to the press?
DANIEL ELLSBERG: Essentially, my notes, and sometimes verbatim excerpts, not the entire plans themselves, but on plans that were then unknown to the president, to begin with, to President Kennedy. I briefed his aide, McGeorge Bundy, in his first month in office on the nature of the plans and some of the other problems, like the delegation of authority to theater commanders for nuclear war by President Eisenhower, which was fairly shocking to McGeorge Bundy, even though Kennedy chose to renew that delegation, as other presidents have.
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