The Nation: Pentagon Papers: The Secret War

To see the conflict and our part in it as a tragedy without villains, war crimes without criminals, lies without liars, espouses and promulgates a view of process, roles and motives that is not only grossly mistaken but which underwrites deceits that have served a succession of Presidents.

—Daniel Ellsberg

THE issues were momentous, the situation unprecedented. The most massive leak of secret documents in U.S. history had suddenly exposed the sensitive inner processes whereby the Johnson Administration had abruptly escalated the nation's most unpopular—and unsuccessful—war. The Nixon Government, battling stubbornly to withdraw from that war at its own...

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