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You must view the movie, “The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers.” It is an Oscar-nominated 2009 documentary full of revelations on Vietnam, available on Netflix.

The film unveils and puts into perspective the series of political lies and misjudgments going back to Truman that resulted in the deaths of 2 million Vietnamese and 58,000 Americans, plus the as yet untold story of the collateral demise of two members of my own family. It is the tale of the daring illegal disclosure of the Top Secret Pentagon Papers that helped end the war. You’ll hear Nixon in his own words say things that should have put him on a guillotine.

I see more and more parallels to Afghanistan, and the sort of ingrown culture of lies and misjudgments that mislead and numb the vast majority of Americans to what WE are doing there, being paid for with YOUR MONEY and the LIVES of your friends and neighbors. As revealing documents and new perspectives come out on Afghanistan, now would be a good time to see this well done movie, or read the 2002 book on which it was based, and think about taking some contemporary political action on your own current observations and conclusions.

I served as a press officer in Vietnam, at the Department of Defense Information School and at the senior leadership organization in the military, The Army War College, and I didn’t know this much truth about Vietnam until I saw this film.

Yes, Professor Jay Rosen ( is right, we the public would be better served if the commentary by politicians and “experts” on political talk shows were fact-checked on a timely basis. Here is my comment on his blog site: “Rosen is right, there should be fact-checking of these political talk shows, and it should be done independently, and I’d subscribe to any blogger or news organization that does it well. Real journalists deal in facts, and based on facts, render opinions.”

Below is an except from my blog entry of June 23, and the 90,000 war documents leaked this week lend further support to the premise that our war in Afghanistan is chaotic and leading us nowhere, except to more debt and premature burials of young men and women. The billions we pay Pakistan has something to do with maintaining the security of their nuclear capability, as supposedly does some but not all of our military presence in Afghanistan. We need to hear the truth about this nuclear blackmail, if that’s what it is. We need a lot more, not less, transparency about our motives and strategies in the “Stans,” and I’m not at all sure the American people will like or support what we find, if ever we hear the truth.

June 23: Support for the war in Afghanistan is being held together with bailing wire, and is so fragile that a feature story by a freelancer in a magazine known as an anti-war rock’n-roll sheet could tip it over and bring down one of the country’s most respected military leaders. Who says Washington is not all about optics? The only rationale for staying in Afghanistan with the intensity we do is maintaining the optics of competence of the leadership that keeps us there. The Rolling Stone didn’t portray distorted optics, they spoke the truth. The truth that everyone except millions of our troops and citizens hadn’t yet seen. McChrystal had to go, to put those optics back together and restore the view through rose-colored glasses, a view of a strategic, well-planned and unified U.S. military mission in Afghanistan.

But the crummy magazine has done what the nation’s leading press and elected leadership can’t — they have exposed the chaos of our failed national strategy in Afghanistan.

July 2010

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