Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers

The documentary Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers was a very insightful film. In my AP U.S. history class we barely have the time to cover anything after World War II and the only way we learned about history after WWII was by reading All the Presidents Men, which only covered the Watergate Scandal. I knew that the Vietnam War was wrong but I never learned the details behind why it was wrong because some people justified it by stating that the war helped suppress communism. This film reveals what really happened in Vietnam.

This film sheds light on how the public has the right to know what is going on. Out of all the men working in Washington who were involved in the Vietnam War only one man had the guts to come out and tell the truth. Daniel Ellsberg was that man; he put his career and life on the line when he decided to release the Pentagon Papers. One of the things that shocked me was how four of the presidents knew how bad the war was going yet they continued lying to the public about the U.S. winning the war. They were also responsible for ruining South Vietnam by preventing free elections and supported corrupt regimes.

The film was narrated by Ellsberg and it included actual footage from the event and it also has animation that showed what was happening in the scene. The film was easy to understand and it helped me realize that it is the job of the pubic to bring down the corruption in our government and that we can’t just hope for someone like Daniel Ellsberg to always come out and reveal to us the truth.

One of the other things I liked was the side story of how Daniel Ellsberg and his wife meet. That side of the story kind of cools us down when the story gets too serious. This documentary seems like a regular movie because of the variety of plots it includes like romance, action and lots of drama.

I think that Daniel Ellsberg should be considered a hero because without his help there would have been so many more lives ended. He was the right person to reveal the truth because he actually went to Vietnam to see how America was doing in the war. One of my favorite the part of the film was when he realized that he had to reveal the papers when his friend Randy Kehler was going to jail and he said he was happy to join his friends and that people will continue to resist the war. That part was made me realize how serious the situation was because so many people were willing to go to prison for many years as along as the war is ended.

This film also made me thankful of the first amendment that says freedom of press. So many newspapers were willing to put their newspaper company on the line to publish the Pentagon Papers even when the government had forbidden it. This demonstrates the importance of truth and why we should allow everyone to know what is happening to their country. I think that it was wrong of people to call Ellsberg a “whistle blower” because it is clear that he did the right thing even when no one else had the guts to do it.

Rating: 4 out of 5

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