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Courtesy of Kovno Communications
In 1973, I spent six weeks in a Los Angeles spiritual training program which included Patricia Ellsberg as a participant. I knew next-to-nothing about her husband, Daniel, other than he made headlines at the time—something about sneaking out confidential information about the Vietnam War. From my direct contact with the Ellsbergs, I found the two as intelligent and warm people.
Had I known the dramatic and horrific details documented in The Most Dangerous Man in America, had I read The Pentagon Papers I would have been thoroughly intimidated and humbled in their presence.
The now-clichéd adage, ‘There’s a reason a cliché is a cliché,’ applies: "Those who ignore history are bound to repeat it."
Daniel Ellsberg revealed a pattern of United States government lies, cover-ups, and misinformation that supported the establishment and maintenance of a decades-long war in Southeast Asia. And, of course, history repeated itself, in a more transparent style, with the 2003 war in Iraq the consequences of which have become an ever-expanding endless nightmare.
Although the history of the United States government’s malfeasance is the primary reason this film is crucial, The Most Dangerous Man in America is much more than a history lesson. It is a classic story of conversion and redemption.
Ellsberg was a solid ‘patriot,’ a military man, a government man, a brilliant intellect and strategist, thoroughly dedicated to supporting military solutions to global issues. This film documents the emotional journey of discovery Ellsberg experienced as he learned of the malfeasance of which he was an unintentional yet integral part.
I was so moved watching this film that—as I write more and more about documentary films—if I was a Hollywood mogul I would immediately green-light a narrative film of Ellsberg’s journey.
The Most Dangerous Man in America is an absolute must-see.