The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release
Contact: Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167

Ellsberg on Resignation Over Afghan Policy


Matthew Hoh, the first U.S. official known to resign in protest over the Afghan war, stated in a Washington Post forum Wednesday: "I found that the majority of those who were fighting us and the Afghan central government were fighting us because they felt occupied. ... We cannot justify the deaths of our young men and women for the goal of changing a society's internal cultural and familial norms. This is a goal best left to NGOs and IOs or through the U.S. government's strategic communications. ... Those organizations that work best are those that consist primarily of local staff led by well experienced expats who live and work with local populations. ... We've known for a long time that Wali Karzai has been involved in the drug trade."

Currently in D.C., Ellsberg is available for a limited number of interviews. He leaked the Pentagon Papers -- top-secret government documents that showed a pattern of governmental deceit about the Vietnam War -- in 1971. The Nixon White House attempted to prevent newspapers from publishing the documents and indicted him for a possible 115-year sentence, used the White House "plumbers" to burglarize his psychiatrist's office, conducted warrentless wiretaps against him and attempted to physically assault him at a Capitol Hill rally.

Ellsberg said today: "I'm very impressed by what Matthew Hoh has just done. Here's a former marine captain -- my own roots are as a marine -- who has resigned and refused high posts with Amb. Holbrooke in order to tell the truth. This is the highest form of patriotism. I'd like to see him sitting down with President Obama to tell him what the war looks like from the Taliban-controlled provinces he just came from and brief the Joint Chiefs of Staff -- he knows a lot more about the situation than any of them.

"I see the situation as Vietnamistan: If you put more troops in this year, the Taliban will be stronger next year. We recruit as we kill and support a corrupt, dope-dealing government. There's no way of making this government look like it really cares about the Afghan people. No foreign troops have ever carried out a successful counter-insurgency campaign in terms of actually winning over the population."

A new film, "The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers," premieres in D.C. on Thursday.

Ellsberg is author of Secrets: A Memoir of Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers and was a guest on C-SPAN's "Washington Journal" Wednesday.

A nationwide consortium, the Institute for Public Accuracy (IPA) represents an unprecedented effort to bring other voices to the mass-media table often dominated by a few major think tanks. IPA works to broaden public discourse in mainstream media, while building communication with alternative media outlets and grassroots activists.