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News Link • WAR: About that War

Daniel Ellsberg Sees Vietnam-Like Risks in ISIS War


Nor, he says, can the Administration do it even if the U.S. sends ground troops, contrary to Obama's repeated assurances.

Ellsberg described the similarities with Vietnam, Afghanistan, and Iraq, and the near-certainty of comparable failure. I interviewed him after his talk, and updated the discussion this week, after the US airstrikes inside Syria had begun. In his Press Club talk and with me, he read from some documents, as indicated below, and cited Web-links.

Q. Why are you urging Americans to be warned by what happened in Vietnam, half a century ago?

A. Well, that was my war. That makes me pretty old. And at 83, I am. This means I know what Vietnam means as well as Iraq, unlike most members of Congress. The New York Times noted on Sept. 18 that only a third of those voting on authorizing American advisers, arms, and trainers for Syrian rebels were in Congress the last time there was a vote on war, which was for Iraq, in 2002. It would be interesting to know what they learned from the earlier vote.

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