The Pentagon Papers: The Complete And Unabridged Series As Published By The New York Times

The Pentagon Papers: The Complete And Unabridged Series As Published By The New York Times The Secret History Of The Vietnam War With Key Documents And Pages Of Photographs

Cornelius Mahoney Neil Sheehan is an American journalist As a reporter for The New York Times in 1971, Sheehan obtained the classified Pentagon Papers from Daniel Ellsberg His series of articles revealed a secret U.S Department of Defense history of the Vietnam War and led to a U.S Supreme Court case when the United States government attempted to halt publication.He received a Pulitzer Prize and a National Book Award for his 1989 bookA Bright Shining Lie, about the life of Lieutenant Colonel John Paul Vann and the United States involvement in the Vietnam War.

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  • Mass Market Paperback
  • 677 pages
  • The Pentagon Papers: The Complete And Unabridged Series As Published By The New York Times
  • Neil Sheehan
  • English
  • 06 February 2019
  • 0553072552

10 thoughts on “The Pentagon Papers: The Complete And Unabridged Series As Published By The New York Times

  1. says:

    We ve come to expect absurd claims of competence from Donald Trump, but every president goes to some length to make it appear that he and his associates are very competent and know exactly what they are doing at all times.When I say we ve come to expect it is because the American people have learned not to trust our high officials to tell us the truth The big breakthrough in killing public trust was the courageous publication of a Pentagon report that then Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara We ve come to expect absurd claims of competence from Donald Trump, but every president goes to some length to make it appear that he and his associates are very competent and know exactly what they are doing at all times.When I say we ve come to expect it is because the American people have learned not to trust our high officials to tell us the truth The big breakthrough in killing public trust was the courageous publication of a Pentagon report that then Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara had commissioned in secret to investigate how the United States became involved in Vietnam Daniel Ellsberg, who had been a hawk within the administration, was so shaken by the report that he risked his career to reveal it with the assistance of the New York Times I recall the event and it made me proud to be an American, just as Edward Snowden has renewed that pride.This book is a compilation of parts of that report the Pentagon Papers, that contained thousands of supporting documents that were reviewed by Pentagon analysts Far from a mind numbing read, this book is well composed and the story is easy to follow In chronological order the American experience in Vietnam is placed in chapters that first provide a timeline, then an analysis, then a collection of appropriate documents The documents can easily be skipped Don t be intimidated, this is not a long read.The book recounts the sad tale of Vietnamese independence held off after WW2 with first an effort by France to walk right back into its former role of colonizer, the war by France that started as a result, the full U.S economic support of that war backing the French and then the terrible decision by the U.S after French defeat to take on the task of stopping communism regardless of the cost The whole sorry business was for the purpose of maintaining face by the United States so that other countries would not fall like dominoes to communism.The war was driven by a determination that Vietnam would not become communist whatever the views of the Vietnamese people Democracy was not allowed to operate in a planned 1956 election because of U.S fear that Ho Chi Minh would win The actual country of Vietnam and Laos and Cambodia were of no concern in themselves There is no evidence in the book that any of the high officials running the war in the U.S had any personal knowledge of or experience in the countries that they were devastating The countries of southeast Asia were thought of only as front line states facing the communist menace in the form of the Chinese who had forced the U.S into a stalemate in the Korean War The U.S was out to teach a lesson but ended up learning one, that people will fight for their country against a superpower with willpower that no amount of weaponry can overcome short of killing everyone.The signs of trouble were evident all along The country of South Vietnam was a U.S creation with a corrupt administration dependent on the U.S that had no following outside of Saigon The ARVN South Vietnamese Army had little will to fight with generals eager to gather some cash, sometimes selling U.S weaponry to the enemy The Viet Cong South Vietnamese fighting against Saigon could never be dislodged from the countryside for long Our arrogant leaders believed that merely introducing American troops would rally the Vietnamese to our side and show them how to properly make war.More U.S troops were called for and given, yet the communists responded withtroops of their own B52 bombing raids were responded to with bicycle transport of goods down the Ho Chi Minh Trail Frustration in Washington grew There was no high tech solution Nothing could temper the resolve of the north to keep on fighting regardless of losses In the end it was Washington that buckled and the legacy of President Johnson was destroyed with his humiliation, though a new president, Nixon, carried on the pointless killing, even expanding it, for severalyears before engaging in peace talks then leaving the South Vietnamese administration to collapse on its own It was a war that only prolonged the inevitable at the cost of over 2 million Vietnamese lives and 55,000 American lives The profound effect of the release of the Pentagon Papers was due to the revelation that while the American people had been assured all was well and that victory would be coming, our leaders were grasping at everything they could think of knowing that there was little likelihood of success being told that repeatedly by the CIA and that the ally painted as courageous was a puppet that stood up only because Washington held the strings.This book gives an account of the conversations that went on in the White House and the Pentagon from 1950 to 1968 and it is fascinating to follow the personalities as they react to events, far too often taking the course of it probably won t work but let s do it anyway The Vietnam War was a disaster and the Pentagon Papers show how leadership will do anything but admit failure with the highest priority being to make everything look like success The result should have beenopenness in government, but as we know the effort has been to make things evenhidden and to come down hard on anyone who might dare to think of doing what Daniel Ellsberg did

  2. says:

    This book is a MEAL Undertake it for purposes of research, or if, like me, you feel the need to own and read a set of government documents that the US government tried so hard to keep its citizens from seeing The documents themselves are not written to entertain or to be readable they were written candidly in most cases, under the assumption they would remain of limited availability.Parts of these lengthy epistles have been edited down and quoted from by Neil Sheehan, the New York Times journ This book is a MEAL Undertake it for purposes of research, or if, like me, you feel the need to own and read a set of government documents that the US government tried so hard to keep its citizens from seeing The documents themselves are not written to entertain or to be readable they were written candidly in most cases, under the assumption they would remain of limited availability.Parts of these lengthy epistles have been edited down and quoted from by Neil Sheehan, the New York Times journalist who fought to get them and make them accessible to the public I was just a kid myself when the earthshaking ruling by the U.S Supreme Court came down saying that the documents should be printed and available, and I used my lunch money to hustle down to the local bookstore as soon as it was out in paperback I have that copy still.Some of the scariest moments come in memorandums discussing the possibility of using nuclear weapons on the Vietnamese The dryly written notes about a policy toward exfoliation belies the human and environmental holocaust Washington brought down when it became clear that the Vietnamese people actually did NOT want a Western style government, and that the only way to force it upon them was to destroy the jungles in which they hid.One plan considered is to withdraw the bombing raids from Hanoi and Haiphong Harbor Too many pilots are being killed, and it takes a long time to train a pilot That s the actual reason, along with a desire not to ramp up aggression toward the Chinese.HOWEVER, the plan is to tell the American people the public that the bombings have been moved from north to south because all the targets that were bombed in the north were destroyed There is discussion about the fact that this is untrue, but would look better in the press.Small wonder the US Government fought so hard to suppress these damning documents The loss of credibility and innocent trust toward government in the USA did not start with the Watergate break in it started during the US war against Vietnam.There is a point at which it is acknowledged in a document, not by paraphrasing , that the only reason the US government remains in Vietnam is to prevent US humiliation , even though the KIA Killed In Action figures are projected to be 1,000 US lives lost and of course innumerable Vietnamese, 80% of whom will be civilians per month Even General Westland, the most tireless advocate fortroops, calling up the reserves if necessary, cannot project a date the U.S can declare a victory, or even gracefully withdraw without a clear and obvious loss of this war.The risk of staying in possible war with China, also world wide revulsion against us Memorandum 96, prepared by John McNaughton for Sec of Defense McNamara, who would become disillusioned with the whole mess and advocate for withdrawal.The guerilla fighters in the mountains are at one point compared Memorandum 101, p.447 to the Irish freedom fighters who were defeated after WWI.This tome is a treasure trove of primary documents, and the NY Times narrative is carefully written to honor the original meanings of quotations that have been pieced together and make it possible to publish the events and documents in a single volume Don t bother with it unless you have a serious interest in the US war against the people of Vietnam, and the deceit regarding same of the American people whose tax money paid for it.I have seldom stayed with a book so difficult for so long when there was no academic requirement involved I began this book for the second time didn t finish it the first time, when I bought it in Oct 2012 Because it was so dense and important, and because I didn t want my mind to wander, I only read a few pages daily till I hit page 500 At that point I picked up a highlighting pen and could not put it down I have no idea why this is so, but last night I just HAD to finish it I did that last night, and am glad I followed through less updated 3 minutes ago

  3. says:

    Utterly fascinating The temptation to compare the lead up to Vietnam to our current wars falls away as the reader delves into the intricacies of the intrigue, all of which took place behind the scenes and years before all the flower children began protesting This is not the baby boomer version of the war, where the youth were right there to go against the grain Everything was in place so soon in the game and it was just a matter of raising the number of troops needed Could not put this down Utterly fascinating The temptation to compare the lead up to Vietnam to our current wars falls away as the reader delves into the intricacies of the intrigue, all of which took place behind the scenes and years before all the flower children began protesting This is not the baby boomer version of the war, where the youth were right there to go against the grain Everything was in place so soon in the game and it was just a matter of raising the number of troops needed Could not put this down I also like the paucity of retrospective commentary and interpretation Historians sometime overshadow their topic

  4. says:

    In 1971 the US Government tried to prevent the publication of leaked information in the American press In response the US district court system said A cantankerous press, an obstinate press, an ubiquitous press must be suffered by those in authority in order to preserve the even greater values of freedom and expression and the right of the people to know.These are troubled times There is no greater safety valve for discontent and cynicism about the affairs of government than freedom of In 1971 the US Government tried to prevent the publication of leaked information in the American press In response the US district court system said A cantankerous press, an obstinate press, an ubiquitous press must be suffered by those in authority in order to preserve the even greater values of freedom and expression and the right of the people to know.These are troubled times There is no greater safety valve for discontent and cynicism about the affairs of government than freedom of expression in any form Judge Murray L Gurfein The Supreme court chimed in with Only a free and unrestrained press can effectively expose deception in government And paramount among the responsibilities of a free press is the duty to prevent any part of the Government from deceiving the people and sending them off to distant lands to die of foreign fevers and foreign shot and shell In my views, far from deserving condemnation for their courageous reporting, The New York Times, The Washington Post and other newspapers should be commended for serving the purpose that the Founding Fathers saw so clearly In revealing the workings of government that led to the Vietnam war, the newspapers nobly did precisely that which the founders hoped and trusted they would do Justice Hugo Black Copy that I wasn t looking for relevance when I picked up this book but I can t help but be a bit blinded by it since our current President has recently declared all out war against his number one enemy, the free press This book was an important addition to my library for the exact reason why The New York Times gave as their reasoning behind printing it, It is only with the fullest possible understanding of the facts and of the background of any policy decision that the American people be expected to play the role required of them in this democracy The future will tell if America actually learned this lesson 45 years ago Given that out of millions of users on here a mere 140 have bothered to read this book and only 3200 read the 9 11 commision report, I m not sure the American people even care about being informed And with the Iraq war Bush administration it s clear our government hasn t tired of trying to deceive the public Sigh

  5. says:

    The term Pentagon Papers refers to a 47 volume study of the history of the war in Vietnam It was secretly ordered by U.S Defense Minister Robert McNamara in 1967 The study was completed in January 1969 and delivered to McNamara s successor Clark Clifford It contained 4000 pages of original government documents, all of them classified, as well as 3000 pages of historical analysis.In 1971 a large part of the study was leaked to the New York Times, which shared part of the information with the The term Pentagon Papers refers to a 47 volume study of the history of the war in Vietnam It was secretly ordered by U.S Defense Minister Robert McNamara in 1967 The study was completed in January 1969 and delivered to McNamara s successor Clark Clifford It contained 4000 pages of original government documents, all of them classified, as well as 3000 pages of historical analysis.In 1971 a large part of the study was leaked to the New York Times, which shared part of the information with the Washington Post The U.S government promptly initiated legal action to prevent further publication after the Times had published 3 instalments on 3 subsequent days The cases against the Times and the Post went up to the U.S Supreme Court in record time and were dismissed as running counter to the First Amendment, the section of the U.S constitution that guarantees freedom of the press.The Pentagon Papers were highly embarrassing to presidents John F Kennedy and Lyndon B Johnson and their administrations Among other things, they demonstrated that these presidents had escalated the Vietnam conflict far beyond what they had admitted to the public and to Congress.In 2011 the study was declassified and released to the public This book is not a copy of the complete study, but a bundling of the information that appeared in the New York Times It is divided into 10 chonological chapters starting with the role of the Truman administration in the decolonization of French Indo China up to the shock of the Tet Offensive when many Americans began to suspect that the war was not as easy to win as they had presumed early 1968, i.e., after the study had been ordered The historical chapters are followed by an analysis by Max Frankel and a collection of court records from the First Amendment cases.It remains fascinating reading 49 nears later Generals, political advisors, diplomats and spies wrote honest analyses and recommendations each based on their own frame of thought, not necessarily compatible with the thinking of the other three In hindsight the spies were right the C.I.A had warned from almost the beginning and repeatedly afterwards that the insurgency of the Vietcong could not be fought by military action against North Vietnam, and that the war was unwinnable without a drastic change in the government of the South Kennedy and Johnson, although democrats, time and again gave the generals nearly all the weapons and freedoms they wanted until the Tet Offensive revealed how unrealistic the military assessments of the situation had been.Leslie H Gelb, a key official in the composition of the study for the Defense ministry, later became a Times correspondent and then fulfilled other duties in the highest ranks of government Wikipedia contains the following quote from a book that he co authored in 2018 And look, because we d never learned that darn lesson about believing our way into these wars, we went into Afghanistan and we went into Iraq

  6. says:

    It s long, it s boringand its the key to unlocking the mysteries of vietnam and watergate bye bye tricky dickie too bad the country did not learn anything , and has repeated the mistake in Iraq.

  7. says:

    The Post released in December Steven Spielberg, who described the film as an historical political thriller, wanted to release this film about truth as quickly as possible during this period that some people call the post truth era The film serves as a morality play about truth to power as well as the fortitude and courage that Katherine Graham mustered to publish what we now call the Pentagon Papers This fine film builds up to that climactic decision, which went against her advisors That dec The Post released in December Steven Spielberg, who described the film as an historical political thriller, wanted to release this film about truth as quickly as possible during this period that some people call the post truth era The film serves as a morality play about truth to power as well as the fortitude and courage that Katherine Graham mustered to publish what we now call the Pentagon Papers This fine film builds up to that climactic decision, which went against her advisors That decision transformed The Washington Post from a local paper to a national one, strengthening it for the impending historic role it would play during the Watergate crisis a year later, which led to this book All the President s Men The Post As a young news writer I read The Pentagon Papers during its daily drip drip drip in The New York Times A few years earlier I served in Vietnam as a writer and photographer So, reading purloined documents every day about the government s lies and misrepresentations made a big impact on me as a young adult The Pentagon Papers, as published by The New York Times Neil Sheehan obtained the Pentagon history from Daniel Ellsberg Sheehan, Hedrick Smith, E W Kenworthy and Fox Butterfield wrote the stories that explained and gave context to the documents IN SIXTY SEVEN, Robert McNamara, defense secretary, commissioned a secret history of our role in Indochina The work produced three thousand pages of history and a four thousand page appendix Four years later, The Times obtained most of it and began publishing After a quick but major legal challenge, the Supreme Court freed The Times and The Post to continue publishing A happy day for those of us who advocate freedom of the press And then papers around the country published the unfolding series The significance of these papers lies in the disclosure and analysis of the war s origin and the course it took These papers take us through a looking glass into a new and different world of leaders and government, writes Sheehan, a perspective apart from the public world The strength, the veracity of these documents comes through the written words of the guys who put the plans into action The Times wanted to move the story quickly into the public domain Nine long installments in The New York Times summarized the papers This book reprints those articles supplemented by key documents The papers serve as raw history, an insiders study of the decision making struggle over Vietnam for twenty three years The papers recorded a fateful progression of attitudes and discussions with analysis and narrative, writes Max Frankel in an appendix of the book, The Lessons of Vietnam As a trove of insights, hindsights and revelations, the study raised a troubling question How did powerful and sophisticated men around the president entrap themselves while inducing others to do their will Even in the early years, Washington s public optimism hid a private pessimism IN JANUARY SIXTY EIGHT, on Tet, the lunar new year, the enemy struck the US Embassy and capitol cities of the provinces during a massive surprise attack The Tet Offensive caught the White House and the military off guard The strength, length and intensity of the attack prolonged the shock, writes Kenworthy Two months later, amid mounting pressure, a growing divide deepened in the US I arrived in Can Tho, the capitol of the Mekong Delta, a week before the Tet Offensive began A scary indoctrination for my year in Nam Although there were many others during the year, the Tet Offensive stands as the strongest and loudest sustained attack in that city and the headquarters compound where I lived Dad was a quiet hawk when I went to Nam But early in the crazy year of sixty eight, even he turned against it But he supported me, revealing his change of heart after I came home The DVD includes special features about recreating the era and the filming of The Post as well as writers and producers discussing the importance of the story Rereading The Pentagon Papers before seeing the film amplified the experience Although this book includes over a hundred key documents, I just read the ten original articles, analysis and editorials as published by The New York Times forty seven years ago this summer Although there is no excuse for it in any event, lying to the American people did not begin with the current administration, which takes falsehoods to a new level Our tragic experience in Vietnam compounded itself on a building mountain of lies and misrepresentations Let s call it wishful thinking

  8. says:

    I feel like the takeaway here should be that war is bad and politicians are untrustworthy and the military is part of a vast industrial complex that we should be trying to dismantle But as usual things arecomplicated The United States has its tentacles in all kinds of places, there are all these partnerships and friendships and complicated relationships and nothing is black and white and a whole lot of people are still debating this war.I guess my true takeaway is there really were n I feel like the takeaway here should be that war is bad and politicians are untrustworthy and the military is part of a vast industrial complex that we should be trying to dismantle But as usual things arecomplicated The United States has its tentacles in all kinds of places, there are all these partnerships and friendships and complicated relationships and nothing is black and white and a whole lot of people are still debating this war.I guess my true takeaway is there really were no good options here And maybe we needof a bird s eye view of history than what we currently seem to have in our mainstream culture

  9. says:

    This was amazing I have been wrapped up in learning all the things I did not know from my school instructors or from TIME magazine, and this helped, along with so many books on the sixties Days of Rage for example, and books on the war But to read actual words of the players was fascinating And now, in this time of political turmoil, to see how a president cares so much about winning elections and not just the president but anyone elected and NOT what is best for the country is sad.I do This was amazing I have been wrapped up in learning all the things I did not know from my school instructors or from TIME magazine, and this helped, along with so many books on the sixties Days of Rage for example, and books on the war But to read actual words of the players was fascinating And now, in this time of political turmoil, to see how a president cares so much about winning elections and not just the president but anyone elected and NOT what is best for the country is sad.I don t fully fault Johnson though and that is clear here he did really want to do half of the things he did regarding the war, he knew it was a boondoggle but HE WANTED TO WIN It was so sad to realize that many of the people who were underlings , researchers or desk workers if you will, could have told the policy makers how wrong their assertions were The words of George Ball come to mind He was the only one who had a position of authority that was named in many works on the war, but he never wavered from his stance that this was not a winnable war The number of people that should take responsibility for the deaths of thousands of soldiers as well as Vietnamese people is amazing And yet we continue to play these war games for status, for position in the world, and for perceived wrongs done to us

  10. says:

    I ve had this book on my shelf for years, but with the release of the movie The Post I decided it was time to read it It is an exceptional look behind the scenes and into the minds and motivations of the major players in America s involvement in Vietnam, up to the spring of 1968 When I was about three quarters of the way through I realized I had the feeling of reading a novel in which the characters make one erroneous decision based on fear and that leads to one decision after another that suc I ve had this book on my shelf for years, but with the release of the movie The Post I decided it was time to read it It is an exceptional look behind the scenes and into the minds and motivations of the major players in America s involvement in Vietnam, up to the spring of 1968 When I was about three quarters of the way through I realized I had the feeling of reading a novel in which the characters make one erroneous decision based on fear and that leads to one decision after another that sucks them deeper into a whirlpool they can t figure any way out of so they decide Let s keep doing what we re doing it isn t working, but maybe it will work if we do it on a bigger scale Tragically, this isn t a novel, and their well intentioned actions cost tens of thousands of lives and began a distrust of government among Americans that has only gotten deeper over the decades since This is required reading for anyone who wants to understand how America got into the Southeast Asia quagmire

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