Friday, October 7, 2016

From the National Archives: "Report of the Office of the Secretary of Defense Vietnam Task Force"

That's the official title of what is more commonly referred to as the Pentagon Papers. We've been discussing them in 2305 since the Nixon Administration tried but failed to prevent their publication through prior restraint. The freedom of the press, coupled with the unwritten right of the people to know, won out.

I've never actually read through them, but now's my chance - and yours.

- Click here for it.

The author of the study was Leslie Gelb, one of those figures you know little about, but seems to have spent time everywhere. Here's some of resume from Wikipedia. Think of this when we discuss the revolving door later this semester:

Dr. Gelb was Executive Assistant for Senator Jacob Javits from 1966 to 1967. He was director of Policy Planning and Arms Control for International Security Affairs at the Department of Defense from 1967 to 1969, winning the Pentagon's highest award, the Distinguished Service Medal. Robert McNamara appointed Dr. Gelb as director of the project that produced the controversial Pentagon Papers on the Vietnam War. From 1969–1973, Dr. Gelb was a Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution.
He was diplomatic correspondent at The New York Times from 1973 to 1977.
He served as an Assistant Secretary of State in the Carter Administration from 1977 to 1979, serving as director of the Bureau of Politico-Military Affairs and winning the Distinguished Honor Award, the highest award of the US State Department. In 1980 he co-authored The Irony of Vietnam which won the Woodrow Wilson Foundation Book Award in 1981. From 1980–1981, he was also a Senior Associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
He returned to the Times in 1981; from then until 1993, he was in turn its national security correspondent, deputy editorial page editor, editor of the op-ed page, and columnist. This period included his leading role on the Times team that won a Pulitzer Prize for Explanatory Journalism in 1986 for a six-part comprehensive series on the Star Wars Strategic Defense Initiative. In 1983, he also worked as a producer on the ABC documentary The Crisis Game, which received an Emmy award in 1984.
Dr. Gelb became President of the Council on Foreign Relations in 1993 and as of 2003 is its President Emeritus. From 2003-2015, he also served as Board Senior Fellow there. In addition to his work at Council on Foreign Relations, Dr. Gelb is also a member of the International Institute for Strategic Studies and is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
He served as the chairman of the advisory board for the National Security Network, which identifies itself as a "progressive" think tank, and served on the boards of directors of several non-profit organizations including Carnegie Endowment, the School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University, the James Baker Institute at Rice University, the Watson Institute for International Studies at Brown University, and the John F. Kennedy School of Government Center on Press, Politics and Public Policy.
He currently serves on the board of directors of the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America and is a member of the board of advisors of the Truman Project and America Abroad Media.[8] Dr. Gelb also serves on the board of directors of the Center for the National Interest[9] and of the Diplomacy Center Foundation.[10] He also sits on the editorial advisory committee of Democracy magazine,[11] on the advisory council of The National Interest magazine,[12]and on the advisory board of the Peter G. Peterson Foundation. Dr. Gelb also serves on several commercial boards including Legg Mason closed end funds (since 2003), Aberdeen India and Asia Tigers funds (since 2003), and Centre Partners (since 2005). He is Trustee Emeritus of Tufts University.

Just as interesting is the profile of Daniel Ellsberg, the man who found, copied an leaked the document.

Ellsberg entered Harvard College on a scholarship, graduating summa cum laude with an A.B. in economics in 1952. He studied at the University of Cambridge for a year on a Woodrow Wilson Fellowship, then returned to Harvard for graduate school. In 1954, he enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps and earned a commission. He served as a platoon leader and company commander in the 2nd Infantry Division, and was discharged in 1957 as a first lieutenant. Ellsberg returned to Harvard as a Junior Fellow in the Harvard Society of Fellows for two years, then began working as a strategic analyst at the RAND Corporation, where he concentrated on nuclear strategy and the command and control of nuclear weapons.
Ellsberg completed a PhD in Economics from Harvard in 1962. His dissertation on decision theory was based on a set of thought experiments that showed that decisions under conditions of uncertainty or ambiguity generally may not be consistent with well defined subjective probabilities. Now known as the Ellsberg paradox, this formed the basis of a large literature that has developed since the 1980s, including approaches such as Choquet expected utility and info-gap decision theory.
Ellsberg worked in the Pentagon from August 1964 under Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara as special assistant to the Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs John McNaughton. He then went to South Vietnam for two years, working for General Edward Lansdale as a member of the State Department.
On his return from South Vietnam, Ellsberg resumed working at RAND. In 1967, he contributed to a top-secret study of classifieddocuments on the conduct of the Vietnam War that had been commissioned by Defense Secretary McNamara. These documents, completed in 1968, later became known collectively as the Pentagon Papers.

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