Ellsberg Warns Iraq Is Similar to Vietnam
MAPLEWOOD, N.J. (AP) _ The former Defense Department official who leaked secret documents about the Vietnam War said Saturday that he sees many similarities between that conflict and the one in Iraq.
Daniel Ellsberg, 74, became famous for his release of the Pentagon Papers, which indicated the government had deceived the public about whether the war could be won and the extent of casualties.
He spoke to a crowd of more than 400 people at a New Jersey high school, telling them that the Vietnam War and the war in Iraq were both based on lies, referring to the such as the claim that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction.
Ellsberg, who has praised government whistleblowers who leak information about the Iraq war, said he wishes he had leaked the Pentagon Papers earlier so the release could possibly have lead to the war ending sooner.
He urged government workers to speak up about possible misconduct related to the war.
He also criticized the news media for not keeping tabs on Iraqi casualties. Just focusing on lost American lives is not enough, he said, pointing to a headline in a newspaper about four U.S. soldiers who died.
In 1971, Ellsberg, who had worked at both the State Department and the Pentagon, leaked 7,000 pages of classified documents to the press. He was put on trial on 12 felony counts punishable by up to 115 years in prison, but the charges were dismissed in 1973 because of government misconduct against him.