Daniel Ellsberg * 07.04.1931 — † 16.06.2023

Los Angeles Times:

He learned that, as far back as 1948, American advisors, impressed by the popular support enjoyed by Communist Party leader Ho Chi Minh, had warned against an intervention in Vietnam. But U.S. involvement gradually escalated under three presidents: Eisenhower, Kennedy and Johnson.

Ellsberg quickly reached the conclusion that the Vietnam War had never been a civil war, as historians had usually described it, but “a war of foreign aggression, American aggression.” He began to believe that the war had been wrong from the start — not just strategically misguided but immoral.

Rolling Stone:

“I think I was running the Xerox machine, and [my son] was collating. Or it might have been the other way around,” he told NPR in 2017. “He was then 13. And my daughter, who was 10, was cutting off top secret from the tops and bottoms of the pages with the scissors. The reason they were there was that I expected to be in prison very shortly… I wanted them to know that their father was doing something in a businesslike way — a calm, sober way that I thought had to be done. And I did let my older son know in particular that it might — in fact, would probably result in my going to prison. And that was an example that I actually wanted to pass on to my children — that they might be in such a situation.”

New Yorker:

Kennedy decided to seek out more detail on the effects of a nuclear war. He submitted a question, in writing, to the Joint Chiefs. The question was drafted by Ellsberg: “If your plans for general [nuclear war] are carried out as planned, how many people will be killed in the Soviet Union and China?’’ Ellsberg was shown the chiefs’ answer in the form of a graph—two hundred and seventy-five million would be killed initially, and fifty million more within six months, from injuries and fallout. If a U.S. first strike also included Warsaw Pact allies in Eastern Europe, and Moscow retaliated against our Western allies, the death-toll estimate would rise to six hundred million. “From that day on, I have had one overriding life purpose: to prevent the execution of any such plan,’’ Ellsberg would later write.

Angela Richter, :

Das alles gut ausgeht, sagte er mir, ist zwar „sehr unwahrscheinlich, aber nicht unmöglich“. Diese Möglichkeit des Nicht-Unmöglichen reichte ihm aus, um nicht aufzugeben. Es war allerdings keine naive Hoffnung, sondern eine realistische und weise Hoffnung, geprägt von einem langen, mutigen und ereignisreichen Leben.

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