I had the privilege last night of meeting Daniel Ellsberg and to be among the crowd of several dozen people who gathered at his home to watch the film, The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers, winner of numerous festival awards and nominated for an Academy Award in the category of Best Feature Documentary. The film distills into 90 minutes, the story of government deception and malfeasance and one man’s courageous decision to tell the people.
I’m old enough to remember those events as they unfolded and were reported in the news media, but being highly controversial and scattered as they were over a long time period, they did not penetrate very deeply beyond the veil of my own indoctrination. Now, with the pertinent facts gathered together and the inclusion of actual audio records of then President Richard Nixon’s maniacal ravings about nuking the Vietnamese into oblivion, we have a compelling picture of the abuse of power and a failed policy that extended over five presidencies from Truman to Nixon.
Since 9/11, Americans have seen an ever greater concentration of power at the top levels of government along with increasing government secrecy and transgression of civil liberties. The USA Patriot Act effectively shreds the Bill of Rights.
This film is the kind of powerful medicine needed to rouse the body politic to face the political realities of our times and, hopefully, reinvigorate our the struggle to “escape the matrix.” It is a film that every American should see, especially those who are too young to remember the United States’ war against Viet Nam.
U.S. Marine Corps Major General Smedley Butler was a true patriot. According to, Wikipedia, he was at the time of his death (1940), the most decorated Marine in U.S. history.
He refused to be corrupted by money and power, or to use his position to overthrow elected government, and he was courageous in waging the battle to expose the true reasons for war. This dramatization of one of his speeches brought me to tears. I urge everyone, especially people in military service, to watch this video.
Here is the introduction to it:
The real speech re-created by an actor
If you know your history, you know that in 1934 there was an attempted coup in the United States that was thwarted largely due to the efforts of U.S. Marine Corps Major General Smedley Butler (ret.) Look it up.
Among other things, Butler was only one of 19 people ever awarded the Medal of Honor twice and the only person to be awarded a Marine Corps Brevet Medal and a Medal of Honor for two different actions.
After it dawned on him how his heroism and the heroism of the troops under his command had been misused, he wrote a book called “War is a Racket” which I can virtually guarantee you never heard about in school.
Butler concluded there are only two reasons to ever take up arms:
1. To defend the country against real – not manufactured – attacks