Sunday, May 10, 2015
Daniel Ellsberg, the Pentagon Papers, and Democratic Deliberation
The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers is an Oscar nominated independent documentary, aired on public television, that tells the story of how Daniel Ellsberg, a Defense Department insider, released the Pentagon Papers, revealing the extent of deception about America's involvement in Vietnam from the Truman administration onward.
For me as a scholar interested in rhetoric and public deliberation, it is chilling to be reminded of the extent to which democratic deliberation is undermined by the secrecy imposed by the conditions of a national security state in a condition of more or less perpetual war -- which has been the situation for the United States since World War II.
On May 11, 1973, the trial judge in Ellsberg's case declared a mistrial on the grounds of government misconduct, specifying that Ellsberg could not be tried again.