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Reviewing the record of American intervention in Indochina in the Pentagon Papers, one cannot fail to be struck by the continuity of basic assumptions from one administration to the next. Never has there been the slightest deviation from the principle that a noncommunist regime must be imposed and defended, regardless of popular sentiment.
I would say that the Pentagon Papers case of 1971 - in which the government tried to block the The New York Times and The Washington Post that they obtained from a secret study of how we got involved in the war in Vietnam - that is probably the most important case.
It's very important to go back and keep in mind the distinction between handling these events as criminal acts, which was the way we did before 9/11, and then looking at 9/11 and saying, 'This is not a criminal act,' not when you destroy 16 acres of Manhattan, kill 3,000 Americans, blow a big hole in the Pentagon. That's an act of war.
Brainy folks were also present in Lyndon Johnson's administration, especially in the Pentagon, where Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara's brilliant 'whiz kids' tried to micro-manage the Vietnam war, with disastrous results.
Defense leaders should be searching for ways to reform out-of-date procurement processes, to collapse layers of Pentagon bureaucracy, and to restrain the growth in personnel and benefits costs. A critical first step in that process should be to conduct a full Pentagon audit to determine how DOD spends taxpayer dollars.
I think it makes people in the Pentagon kind of nervous to know that chemical agents and environmental factors could cause so much damage in terms of what may happen in the future.
I visited the Pentagon a few days after September 11, and I still remember so vividly the smell of terror surrounding the entire building and complex. I was angry that such a brutal act of violence was committed against innocent people.
In the Pentagon Papers case, the government asserted in the Supreme Court that the publication of the material was a threat to national security. It turned out it was not a threat to U.S. security. But even if it had been, that doesn't mean that it couldn't be published.
The most important thing you need to know about the Pentagon is that it is not in charge of today's wars but rather tomorrow's wars.
Thomas P.M. Barnett
There should be at least one leak like the Pentagon Papers every year.
There is no plausible theory under which the record of the Pentagon Papers can be interpreted as relating to the national defense.
In the early days of the military Arpanet, my daughter was studying in Nicaragua. Because the U.S. was essentially at war with them, contact was difficult. I managed to use MIT's Arpanet connection, and she found one, so we could communicate thanks to the Pentagon!
Here at home, when Americans were standing in long lines to give blood after the attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, we squandered an obvious opportunity to make service a noble cause again, and rekindle an American spirit of community.
I will never forget the bright September day, standing at my desk in the White House, when my young assistant said that a plane had hit the World Trade Center - and then a second one - and a third, the Pentagon.
More has been screwed up on the battlefield and misunderstood in the Pentagon because of a lack of understanding of the English language than any other single factor.
John W. Vessey, Jr.
The days of the Pentagon Papers debates seem long past, when a sudden transparency yielded insight into fights over war and peace and freedom and security; the transparency afforded by Twitter and Facebook yields insights that extend no further than a lawmaker's boundless narcissism and a culture's pitiless prurience.
The Pentagon got fed up with its recruits getting ripped off by payday lenders and in 2007 got Congress to make it illegal to extend such loans to members of the military. But civilians remain fair game.
Spending an extra dollar on the D.C. public school system isn't spending an extra dollar on education. Spending an extra dollar with the Pentagon doesn't buy you an extra dollar on defense. Republicans need to look skeptically at military spending.
The vast amount of waste and sheer stupidity in government - from the Pentagon to the Food and Drug Administration - could fill committee agendas for years.
Osama bin Laden organized an attack that was carried out against the United States, New York, Pentagon, and the other aircraft, with 19 attackers, 19 guys with box cutters. An attack that probably cost almost nothing.
The attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon shook our nation to the core. Americans were deeply frightened, sad, and angry, and they rallied around a President who, at the time, showed impressive certitude and calm.
I had a very normal, very typical American childhood. My father worked for the government at the Pentagon and my mother was an educator, so we had a very average upbringing, but that's helped me in my writing because I'm writing about ordinary things.
In hindsight, Watergate was a curse as well as a blessing for American journalism. The courageous reporting of the 'Post' and the 'New York Times' - coupled with the favourable Supreme Court rulings on publication of the Pentagon Papers - were landmarks for the interpretation of First Amendment rights and the freedom of the press.
Beginning to dismantle the Pentagon would save $1 trillion a year - a small government proposal if ever there was one.
Concerned Veterans for America (CVA) has called for an audit of the Pentagon, so that we finally have some transparency and accountability in how DOD spends taxpayer dollars.
Martin Luther King, Jr.
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