Originally published 06/26/2013
Michael Kazin is editor of Dissent and teaches history at Georgetown University. His latest book is American Dreamers: How the Left Changed a Nation. For decades, Daniel Ellsberg, the leaker of the Pentagon Papers, has used his celebrated past to condemn the present. He has given hundreds of talks about the alleged crimes and deceits of every president from Jimmy Carter to Barack Obama; demanded the impeachment of George W. Bush; called on government employees to leak plans for bombing Iran; and been arrested on several occasions for protesting U.S. foreign policy.
Originally published 06/13/2013
Enough with the breathless comparisons. Edward Snowden is no Daniel Ellsberg. I know the latter has heaped praise on the former. But the high-mindedness of our present-day national-security leaker is nowhere near the gutsiness of the man who changed the course of the Vietnam War by releasing the Pentagon Papers more than 40 years ago.......If Snowden has the courage of his convictions why won’t he face the consequences of his actions here on U.S. soil in U.S. courts? Fine, he apparently has no faith in the rule of law in the United States or its courts. But why not ask the American people to decide his fate? He was fighting for us, so I thought. And this is where the comparison to Ellsberg rankles.