I just heard Les Gelb, who apparently “curated” the writing of the Pentagon Papers.
The specific component of that interview that seems to require scrutiny is that some of our leaders: Johnson and McNamara, didn’t think that the war in Vietnam was winnable.
That is genuinely amazing.
It is amazing because, except for a small group of deranged American officers and an even smaller group of deranged conscripts, the vast majority of all of us who were there could see that we were there to participate in a year long barbeque (they – the puppet masters - sent us a lot of frozen steaks, so we always had a lot of barbeques; those, and the annual Bob Hope show made it all worthwhile) after which, if we didn’t get killed, we could go home and pretend that we hadn’t been at the barbeque, that we had just been in an insane asylum for a year or so.
None of us thought the war was winnable.
Most of us thought that because we could see that we weren’t even trying.
Because trying would seem to imply that somebody thought that the thing was winnable.
Which nobody did.
We went to as many barbeques as we could fit in in a year, checked off the days on our figmo calendars and waited hopefully to not be required to give a shit.
I did that and I got home and I went on with my interrupted life.
So when the great Pentagon Papers hoorah came around the first time, I never paid much attention.
I was too busy being excited about working for IBM.
That has been true until this most recent reprise of The Papers.
Gelb’s testimony in tonight’s interview has been the last crystal in what has tonight become a several month developing super saturated solution.
And out of that super saturated solution there – for me – keeps thrumming a low frequency message: “you have written an addendum to those papers”.