Dan’s life and contributions to the fight against U.S. wars and the imminent danger of nukes, were momentous once he released the Pentagon Papers in 1971 and risked spending life in prison. He often said “courage is contagious.” We say – this is the kind of virus that should spread.
Dan wrote about joining the call “Bush Step Down” in 2006, when World Can’t Wait brought thousands to DC after Bush’s second selection.
byThis piece was first published by CounterPunch in February 2006. RIP, Daniel Ellsberg.I would not have thought of copying the Pentagon Papers, risking a possible lifetime in prison, without the example of thousands of young Americans who were doing everything they could–including non-violent disobedience to the draft regulations–to oppose a wrongful, hopeless war. They showed civic courage, and I can attest to its effectiveness; as a government consultant and former official, I felt its power on my own life.
In the face of a president blatantly violating the law, pursuing another stalemated, hopeless, wrongful war, and proclaiming his intent to continue both, civic courage is needed today from those who can hold him and his administration to account: members of Congress, journalists, potential whistleblowers inside the government, prosecutors and judges. “Everything they can do,” even at cost to their positions and careers, is what is needed from those in such strategic positions at this moment, and what we should demand of them, by our own example. Nothing less is appropriate to this constitutional crisis.
Courage is contagious. One way members of the public can awaken courageous initiatives by such people is by confronting them with the spectacle of masses of plain citizens showing their faces together in public streets and squares to express their outrage, their condemnation and rejection of official practices. Demonstrations scheduled for this Saturday in Washington, D.C. can, among other things, encourage Congressional representatives to use their full powers in upcoming investigations to expose and curtail governmental abuses –starting on Monday in the Senate Judiciary Committee on the blatantly illegal and unconstitutional domestic spying by the administration… full content.