Daniel Ellsberg and Bill McKibben Are Wrong
If you had to single out one person who more than anybody else helped end the Vietnam War, it was Daniel Ellsberg with the Pentagon Papers. The Pentagon Papers clearly showed the United States did not and never had cared about freedom or anti-communism. We just wanted to look good. Though he was called a traitor and some said he should be tried for treason, he did not spend one day in jail. Of course, it also required much more than Daniel Ellsberg to end the war, but his contribution was significant.
Contrast that with Bradley Manning. While nobody denied the revealed documents were true, Manning’s revelations were much more serious. It showed us specifically to be lying and very probably engaged in war crimes. Unlike Ellsberg, he was jailed and tortured for years with sleep deprivation. To Ellsberg’s credit, he defended Manning and said he was doing the same thing with the Afghanistan War that he had done earlier with the Vietnam War. Ellsberg drew the line with holding Obama accountable, however. Obama as Commander in Chief of our military is completely responsible for their actions. Though Ellsberg did not give President Johnson a pass for the Vietnam War, he felt obliged to say only those in Red states should vote for third parties. All those in swing states should vote for Obama.. We can’t have Obama lose or pay a political price for the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen, Sudan, Bahrain, Syria and possibly Iran after the election or for civil rights violations. See http://vastleft.blogspot.com/2012/10/response-to-daniel-ellsbergs-call-for.html and http://newprogs.org/blog/2011/11/11/wars-under-democraticrepublican-uni-party and Civil Rights – http://newprogs.org/blog/2011/11/09/civil-rights-under-democraticrepublican-uni-party
Bill McKibben helped form a national group called 350 to limit carbon dioxide to 350 ppm. He spread it nationally and included a wide variety of people from many walks of life. I proudly participated in local events in 2009, 2010, and 2011. Amazingly, he was able to spread the group to other nations – even dictatorships and even to women who were normally discriminated against. In a stroke of brilliance, he made the Tar Sands an issue that was both crucial to the environment and which the President had total control over. He formed a protest at the White House – scheduled when Obama was not there – and was willing to be arrested with others. Protests were also going on in other cities such as Atlanta which I attended. Obama delayed the XL Pipeline. Robert Redford suggested I write a thank you note to the President. Victory was declared. Then Obama said he loved the Pipeline, posed for pictures before pieces of the pipe, and started the southern half of the pipe – even going so far as to kick Texans off their land for the sake of a Canadian company. This was met with a deafening silence from Bill and 350. No criticism of either the President or Clinton who had ties with XL Pipeline contributors came out. Sure, there was praise for locals who protested, but Obama morphed from being the decider to become an innocent helpless bystander. McKibben’s writings glossed over Obama’s environmental failings. (see Environment – http://newprogs.org/blog/2011/11/08/environment-under-democraticrepublican-uni-party ) The subject was changed to start a campaign to eliminate fossil fuel subsidies on the first day after the election – the least effective day for a political campaign in any four year cycle.
“Judgment at Nuremberg” was an excellent film. It is excellent both in contrasting patriotism vs. justice and in posing questions to our nation which are becoming more and more relevant. Spencer Tracy played the American Judge and Maximilian Schell played the defense attorney. At the end the defense attorney offers to bet Spencer Tracy that the defendants won’t serve their full sentence. Spencer Tracy declines to take the bet, but adds, “That still does not make it right.”
There are many justifications for voting for Obama by good decent people. That still does not make it right.