What bokononists whisper whenever they think of how complicated and unpredictable the machinery of life really is.


By Elton Beard

There are two kinds of people in the world, those who divide people into two kinds and those who don't. I don't.


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ANNEX

An annex to this post.

CNN's fair, balanced and very, very thoughtful Aaron Brown interviewed famed peace activist Daniel Ellsberg today, employing his trademark fair, balanced, and highly thoughtful style.

Here is a transcript of the complete interview.

BROWN: Mr. Ellsberg, it's good to see you again sir.

The Iraqi political strategy is in large part to use the anti-war demonstrations around the world to create political pressure on the coalition governments to stand down, cease fire and stop the war. In that regard, are you playing into the hands of what I think you would even acknowledge is a very bad regime.

ELLSBERG: Certainly a very bad regime. Whose judgment were you just describing, that that's Saddam's strategy? I don't know what his strategy is, do you?

BROWN: Do you, do you dispute that this is a reasonable interpretation of what Iraqi political strategy is?

ELLSBERG: I really don't know. As a matter of fact it's clear that the advisors that Secretary Rumsfeld has been advising and relying on, including Richard Perle who apparently just left today, was extremely bad at understanding Saddam. Certainly I don't pretend to, I haven't been to Iraq and I guess none of them have.

I have been in combat, and I do have, as a civilian (I was a trained Infantry officer in the Marine Corps) and I do have some sense of how men in the field react, and I imagine that some of that applies to Iraqi soldiers as well as to American soldiers. I doubt very much whether either of them are looking principally at CNN, frankly.

BROWN: Well I hope that soldiers in the field aren't looking at CNN but I think, it strikes me, Dr. Ellsberg, that we veered a little there. Let me try and re-frame the question. If the Iraqi political strategy is to use the anti-war movement to put pressure on the coalition to cease fire, don't - whether that's the case or not -

ELLSBERG: That implies a rather delusional aspect of Saddam Hussein that I don't have any confidence in. If you really think that Saddam Hussein is relying on reading newspaper accounts or seeing media accounts of people, handfuls of people or thousands of people, lying in the streets, and relying on that to influence, shall we say, President Bush? I didn't see it happening in getting into this war, and I don't think Saddam is so foolish as to think that his own safety, as a tyrant in that country, depends on us. So I really think that's an irrelevant question.

BROWN: Do you not think that the anti-war movement -

ELLSBERG: In fact I think that's very naive. I think that one who thinks - that goes back - I think that's just a way, really, of the administration trying to quell dissent in this country. Such theories - and really, they're theories of Saddam Hussein - are not very good. That's a great part of the crisis this country is in, right now.

BROWN: Do you think the anti-war movement of this time will be, in any way shape or form successful in the way that ultimately the anti-war movement was in encouraging an end to the Vietnam War?

ELLSBERG: Well really the anti-war movement had it's effect primarily after months and years of body bags had come home and I pray, I hope that that is not going to be the basis for success - of any kind of - I hope that doesn't happen, in a word, and I don't know anyone, in the movement opposing this war, who wants that.

I would be very happy, by the way, to see Saddam leave, dead or alive at this moment, to see all of his troops defect, to se his generals defect as apparently was confidently predicted - that confidence was very foolish - and I think by the way, should undermine Bush's confidence in the judgment of the people who have been advising Rumsfeld, and think of replacing them, very quickly. I would like to see that but it doesn't seem to be happening at all. I never was confident that that would happen.

Really I don't think many people on those streets have very much confidence at all that they will influence President Bush. He doesn't seem to listen to a majority even, let alone a minority of the people, after all, a majority did not vote for him. I don't think they expect to be very move - or to move, either Saddam Hussein or George Bush. But I do think that they are speaking to each other, and to the country, and to the world and I think that's for the good of this country to hear, the world hear, that there are many Americans who feel this war is deeply wrong, and we're in a crisis.

BROWN: Dr. Ellsberg, I'm sorry to interrupt, thank you for your time and we appreciate your joining us tonight.

Did I mention that Aaron Brown is very, very thoughtful? Fair and balanced, too.

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What bokononists whisper whenever they think of how complicated and unpredictable the machinery of life really is.


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