Sunday, March 14, 2010

The Most Dangerous Man in America

It's been out a few months, but it recently opened
at our local independent non-profit film venue.
Given that I'm a history junkie, 
it was time for a field trip to see
this Academy Award-nominated documentary.

This film about Daniel Ellsberg 
and the infamous Pentagon Papers
is a fascinating look at American political
and legal history arising out of one man's
change of mind and heart
and his crisis of conscience. 

What do you find so compelling a principle
that you'd risk career and prison?

For most people, the answer is


Amy said...

Thank you for the "heads up." I barely remember the Ellsberg affair - clearly, he was acting on principle, right? I added it to my NetFlix queue so my history lesson is coming!

Meri said...

Absolutely. He had been a staunch believer in the war, working as a war policy expert for the Rand Corporation and later in the Pentagon. And then Robert McNamara, who thought the Vietnam War was going poorly but couldn't get the president to see it, commissioned a secret study by the Pentagon to look at the whole history of American involvement in Vietnam (apparently we secretly financed the French-Vietnamese conflict). That study became known as the Pentagon Papers. Daniel Ellsberg had super-secret clearance and began reading this report. What he learned sickened him -- systematic lying to the American people for five administrations. The rest, of course, is history, but the documentary really shows Ellsberg's evolution from war proponent to activist. It wasn't an easy path for him.