Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Sins of silence

Daniel Ellsberg interviewed in the L.A. Times, reflecting on his role in history:
Although he was attacked by political opponents for betraying his country, Ellsberg's regret is rather that he didn't leak documents earlier -- in 1964 when the conflict was still escalating.

"I'm one of a few dozen people who could have prevented the Vietnam War," he says, drumming his finger on his wooden table with every syllable. A Democratic Congress would have turned on Johnson, he thinks, if they had seen how bogus his war justifications were. "But I was very inhibited -- I felt like I was breaking my promise."

It's human nature that troubles him the most.

"Humans are herd animals," he says. "They depend very much on being part of the group, and to remain part of the group, they'll do anything. And a much larger number will go along with anything. And the broadest form of that is keeping your mouth shut."

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