The Pentagon Papers – The Lies told For War…


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The Seiker Podcast, Ep 087:

When we lie about our reasons for engaging in war, we insult the sacrifices made by our service members and lose all credibility with our citizens and the world…

In 1967, Secretary of Defense Robert McNamera ordered a secret study of the US political and military involvement in Vietnam. This study, referred to as the Pentagon Papers, revealed the details of a secret, covert war launched in Indochina by the United States Government which involved the funding of France to fight the communists to secret operations within Vietnam.

This covert involvement ultimately lead to the public knowledge of the conflict in Vietnam, which culminated publicly during the Gulf of Tonkin Incident when the North Vietnamese forces allegedly attacked US Ships in international waters. Within 3 days of the news of this attack, President Johnson received authorization from Congress “to take all necessary measures to repeal any armed attack against the forces of the United States and to prevent any further aggression.” In essence, the President was given the power to wage war without the approval from congress. It was later revealed, however, that the Gulf of Tonkin Incident never happened…

Release of the Papers

In 1967, Pentagon employee Daniel Ellsberg became aware of this information, and made the decision to leak the findings of the Pentagon Papers to the press. The US Government attempted to halt the release of these papers to the public on grounds of National Security, but their request was overturned by the US Supreme Court and 3,000 pages of the 7,000 page document were published. President Nixon then attempted to illegally discredit Ellsberg in order to downplay this information, but was unsuccessful in his attempts. In 2011, the remaining 4,000 pages were released, 40 years after the documents were initially released to the press.

Reasons for War

The reasons we go to war matter. As Americans, we deserve to be given the truth when our President is requesting our support of such actions. Furthermore, Congress should never give full authority to the President to create acts of war against another nation. We have checks and balances for a reason, and we need honest (lobby free) elections for a reason. Unfortunately, history tends to repeat itself, and has since this terrible conflict. We need to be aware, and we need to be honest.


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Links, Resources, & Research

Pentagon Papers – History Channel

Pentagon Papers – Encyclopaedia Britannica

Tonkin Gulf Resolution (1964)

Gulf of Tonkin Resolution – History Channel

Gulf of Tonkin & Escalation – Office of the Historian

Statistical Information about Casualties of the Vietnam War

Vietnam War Statistics

Secrets: A Memoir of Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers


Other Episodes

 

 


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