The Post by Steven Spielberg

They came like passing clouds,
Mother and child,
drifting before the moon,
lingering intangible angels.
Sudden flash!
Gone for good,
between the devil and deep blue sea.
Such beauty!
Made small
by war
on the
horizon.

— Ian Curr, May/July, 2012

Vietnam (the American war) was about US containment of China. Since the end of the Second World War, United States foreign policy was to challenge the Soviet Union (The Truman Doctrine). China was targeted by Kennedy and those that followed based on some pretty crazy ideas, like the domino theory, right up to Trump. Often U.S. policy was followed using deception and secret wars (e.g. in Indochina).

Do whistleblowers stop unjust wars? If Ellsberg, Snowden, Assange, Manning are any indication the answer is no. The source of the leak depicted in The Post was Rand employee, Ellsberg and his friend, Russo.

The US conducted its dirty war in Vietnam for 4 years after the two leaked the Pentagon papers to The New York Times, The Washington Post and various other papers. It was not until North Vietnam took Saigon did the Americans surrender Vietnam.

So did the revelations in the Times and the Post stop the war?
Nixon, who was escalating the war, won a landslide after the revelations. Perhaps, nowadays, Trump will do the same (win a landslide)?

Meanwhile Snowden, Assange and Manning have been in jail, hold up in an embassy or in hiding for years and the war in Afghanistan still rages. One of Obama’s last acts as President was to pardon Manning arguing that the whistleblower differed from Snowden.

The Iraq war continued despite Wikileakes.

Ellsberg was an insider giving career advice to Kissinger who later worked in the White House. Contrast Ellsberg with Snowden, an outsider.

The Post seems to be saying that public opinion in the US changed as a result of the revelations in Pentagon Papers. The papers revealed that four US Presidents had lied about the Vietnam war: Truman (1945–1953), Eisenhower (1953-1961), Kennedy (1960-1963), Johnson (1963-1969). At first Nixon (1969-1974) didn’t want to prosecute Ellsberg because it discredited Democrat Presidents, Kennedy and Johnson. But Kissinger counseled him otherwise saying that the papers could come back to bite him. Both Nixon (after 5 years) and Johnson (after 6 years) resigned their presidency because of the war.

The New Yorker asserts in an article ‘Daniel Ellsberg, Edward Snowden, and the Modern Whistle-Blower‘ that “The White House allows leaks—even if those leaks hamper and embarrass it in the short run—because they help it maintain its power in the long run.”

After the release of the Pentagon Papers, Nixon won a landslide victory in 1972 defeating George McGovern who ran on a platform for an immediate end to the war in Vietnam.

Both the publisher and editor of The Washington Post were in the inner circle, friends of both President Kennedy and McNamara who lied and prosecuted the Vietnam war by committing advisors and troops.

Meanwhile, in Australia, the anti-war movement was led by Jim Cairns who had no say in Whitlam’s decision to withdraw troops from Vietnam and to end conscription (but of course Cairns supported it). The body bags coming back from Vietnam were a big motive for Whitlam to pull out; so too was the failure of the American military during the Tet offensive in 1968. Even the public, starved of information by government and a compliant press, knew the war was going badly. Nevertheless Whitlam could not survive the wrath of the Americans and their conservative friends here in Australia and was deposed by edict of the US-backed Governor General, Sir John Kerr.

Here is the blurb that comes with this intriguing and dramatic film … judge for yourself, the film is below.

Ian Curr
1 Jan 2019

Reference
Daniel Ellsberg, Edward Snowden, and the Modern Whistle-Blower

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