In 1971, Daniel Ellsberg leaked the Pentagon Papers, which revealed that the administration of the US President Johnson deliberately took actions to escalate the war in Vietnam, despite the official claims that Washington was allegedly not seeking to expand the conflict.
Originally published by AntiWar
Dear friends and supporters,
My wish for you, my friends, is that at the end of your days you will feel as much joy and gratitude as I do now.
I have difficult news to impart. On February 17, without much warning, I was diagnosed with inoperable pancreatic cancer on the basis of a CT scan and an MRI. (As is usual with pancreatic cancer – which has no early symptoms – it was found while looking for something else, relatively minor). I’m sorry to report to you that my doctors have given me three to six months to live. Of course, they emphasize that everyone’s case is individual; it might be more, or less.
I have chosen not to do chemotherapy (which offers no promise) and I have assurance of great hospice care when needed. Please know: right now, I am not in any physical pain, and in fact, after my hip replacement surgery in late 2021, I feel better physically than I have in years! Moreover, my cardiologist has given me license to abandon my salt-free diet of the last six years. This has improved my quality of life dramatically: the pleasure of eating my former favorite foods! And my energy level is high. Since my diagnosis, I’ve done several interviews and webinars on Ukraine, nuclear weapons, and first amendment issues, and I have two more scheduled this week.
As I just told my son Robert: he’s long known (as my editor) that I work better under a deadline. It turns out that I live better under a deadline!
I feel lucky and grateful that I’ve had a wonderful life far beyond the proverbial three-score years and ten. (I’ll be ninety-two on April 7th.) I feel the very same way about having a few months more to enjoy life with my wife and family, and in which to continue to pursue the urgent goal of working with others to avert nuclear war in Ukraine or Taiwan (or anywhere else). When I copied the Pentagon Papers in 1969, I had every reason to think I would be spending the rest of my life behind bars. It was a fate I would gladly have accepted if it meant hastening the end of the Vietnam War, unlikely as that seemed (and was). Yet in the end, that action – in ways I could not have foreseen, due to Nixon’s illegal responses – did have an impact on shortening the war. In addition, thanks to Nixon’s crimes, I was spared the imprisonment I expected, and I was able to spend the last fifty years with Patricia and my family, and with you, my friends.
What’s more, I was able to devote those years to doing everything I could think of to alert the world to the perils of nuclear war and wrongful interventions: lobbying, lecturing, writing and joining with others in acts of protest and nonviolent resistance.
I wish I could report greater success for our efforts. As I write, “modernization” of nuclear weapons is ongoing in all nine states that possess them (the US most of all). Russia is making monstrous threats to initiate nuclear war to maintain its control over Crimea and the Donbas – like the dozens of equally illegitimate first-use threats that the US government has made in the past to maintain its military presence in South Korea, Taiwan, South Vietnam, and (with the complicity of every member state then in NATO ) West Berlin. The current risk of nuclear war, over Ukraine, is as great as the world has ever seen.
China and India are alone in declaring no-first-use policies. Leadership in the US, Russia, other nuclear weapons states, NATO and other US allies have yet to recognize that such threats of initiating nuclear war – let alone the plans, deployments and exercises meant to make them credible and more ready to be carried out – are and always have been immoral and insane: under any circumstances, for any reasons, by anyone or anywhere.
It is long past time – but not too late! – for the world’s publics at last to challenge and resist the willed moral blindness of their past and current leaders. I will continue, as long as I’m able, to help these efforts. There’s tons more to say about Ukraine and nuclear policy, of course, and you’ll be hearing from me as long as I’m here.
As I look back on the last sixty years of my life, I think there is no greater cause to which I could have dedicated my efforts. For the last forty years we have known that nuclear war between the US and Russia would mean nuclear winter: more than a hundred million tons of smoke and soot from firestorms in cities set ablaze by either side, striking either first or second, would be lofted into the stratosphere where it would not rain out and would envelope the globe within days. That pall would block up to 70% of sunlight for years, destroying all harvests worldwide and causing death by starvation for most of the humans and other vertebrates on earth.
So far as I can find out, this scientific near-consensus has had virtually no effect on the Pentagon’s nuclear war plans or US/NATO (or Russian) nuclear threats. (In a like case of disastrous willful denial by many officials, corporations and other Americans, scientists have known for over three decades that the catastrophic climate change now underway – mainly but not only from burning fossil fuels – is fully comparable to US-Russian nuclear war as another existential risk.) I’m happy to know that millions of people – including all those friends and comrades to whom I address this message! – have the wisdom, the dedication and the moral courage to carry on with these causes, and to work unceasingly for the survival of our planet and its creatures.
I’m enormously grateful to have had the privilege of knowing and working with such people, past and present. That’s among the most treasured aspects of my very privileged and very lucky life. I want to thank you all for the love and support you have given me in so many ways. Your dedication, courage, and determination to act have inspired and sustained my own efforts. My wish for you is that at the end of your days you will feel as much joy and gratitude as I do now.
MORE ON THE TOPIC:
- Putin Suspends New START Nuclear Treaty, Puts Missiles On Combat Readiness
- Irresponsible Politics: Australia’s B-52 Nuclear Weapons Problem
Sans aucun intérêt !!! Un peu Russophobe et pro-yankees bien entendu, à part ça…. Des états d’âme de vieux ayant été épargné par la période scélérate fruits de QUI vous savez !
It is not known to a man what the effect of an act of truth and of courage will have, upon himself and upon others, when he chooses to make it. It may well be that this act can only be communicated into being itself, and that is a thing of greater importance than many may ever come to know. It may also be that such an act is not unseen by others, and that it may help to open their hearts to truth and to courage as well. It is not only my hope, but also my knowledge, that this is true and that it is a good thing for us all.
There is only one state that has used nuclear weapons, the same state that wanted to use nuclear weapons in Korea and Vietnam, and today constantly warn other nations not to use nuclear weapons against US proxies, despite no threat of nuclear weapons use on US proxies. Crimea is a part of Russia for centuries, it is only natural Russia would use all available means to defend its territory. The Soviets did not threaten the USA when they placed missiles in Turkey and Italy, unlike the threat of nuclear oblivion the USA promised to the world when Soviet missiles went to Cuba.
The climate claims are a hoax, and I didn’t hear any complaints from Daniel Ellsberg when the largest release of methane in the modern history of the world happened quite recently in the Baltic Sea. No environmentalists have said anything at all about it, Greta, Greenpeace etc, because their paymasters done the dirty deed.
Global warming or global government? That’s the question!
Iran will has nookers PDQ so look out to the east woo-doggies
That will mean a drastic reduction in the relentless terror attacks conducted by the Jewish-supremacist settler state in Palestine upon its neighbours.
Too bad living so many years and still be so stupid to believe in an obvious wall street hoax.
Nuclear winter will not happen. So why not nuke each other?
I am an old hippie faggot with AIDS. Still alive! Not even ugly trans would fuck me though. They would not even allow me to suck their dicks. Nobody remembers me. Did I even wrote those made up Pentagon papers? Can somebody tell me?
Russia is making monstrous threats? Stopped reading right there.
I don’t know who this guy is, but may God show His love to him.
I don’t entirely agree with him, smearing Russia with the same broad brush when it’s clear that NATO expansion led to this current conflict. But I see where he’s coming from, given his life’s work. I don’t need to agree with him 100% to appreciate his heroism. This is a man of incredible courage and steadfast in his anti-war principles. Dan Ellsberg deserves the utmost respect and admiration for the invaluable service to humanity that he’s done. All you keyboard jockeys who can talk a great game, but this man put his life on the line and has done more to fight US empirialism than all of you put together ever will. He has more courage in his little finger than all you haters put together. So have some respect you worms.
I respect Ellsberg, and therefore I am not in the can of slimy worms like the rest of all the other commentators here.
Ellsberg was, and remains, a full-blown US imperialist. The Pentagon Papers was a CIA limited hangout. CIA was in a war with the US Army over Vietnam policy going back to the decision to let Diem get butchered as a reward for his service to the US empire.
Keep astroturfing. Your ilk perished in 1991. Thank God.
You are right to some degree , alone because of the respect for older people , no matter what they think or how they lived. The other side is the message , he sends. He has the idea , nuclear peace can be only achieved, if everybody gives in. US , Russia , China etc should somehow make a stop , think deeply about what they are doing to the humanity and then unconditionally deescalate and disarm. It’s maybe a nobel thinking and we all would wish it , but completely illusory , unrealistic. In my opinion almost all atom powers developed their nuclear programs because of only one nuclear power , the USA. Which in fact as the only power used the nuclear bombs (without being nuclear attacked before and who dropped the bombs against civilians). So the solution can only be possible if the US begins to accept the other nuclear powers as equal, without threatening them with first strike ability , missile defence systems etc.
I don’t disagree with any of this; I’ve said as much myself. I’m just saying that Dan Ellsberg has done more for peace, more to fight imperialism, than any individual I can think of. He does not deserve to be trashed the way some ignorant commentators are doing.
Oh, and I see my comment has been deleted. Hmm, so much for free speech.
“Russia is making monstrous threats to initiate nuclear war to maintain its control over Crimea and the Donbas – …”, BRCitizen , have you read it exactly? Why “initiate nuclear war”? What evil ghost has inspired him to write that? He is old and must not fear jail or blackmail to his person , so he must not write such nonsense. If he believes , Russia is going to initiate nuclear war (without substanciating it) , then he plays exactly the narrative of the western secret services and MSM , which try to demonise Russia in this way , and – if they really decide to go nuclear , for example by a false flag attack – to prepare the western audience for this nuclear war.
“Russia is making monstrous threats to initiate nuclear war to maintain its control over Crimea and the Donbas” Danny chosenite lost me there.
is it good for the juice, that’s the only question a head of tax cattle down on Rancho Goyim ever need ruminate. Ask Nudelman, Pyatt, and the gaggle of neocohens that set up the ongoing Zelensky slaughter house in evaporating rump Ukrapland.
God bless Mother Russia, the last Christian nation on the planet.
Z and lots of it until the demons are slain.