Martin Luther King the Anti-War Advocate

19 01 2008

Every year around this time people often like to pay homage to Dr. King’s 1963 “I have a Dream” speech and praise his commitment to non-violence. But somehow his fierce opposition to the Vietnam war does not seem to attract the same attention as say the march on Washington or in Selma. I suspect this stems from people in America wanting to cheery pick Dr. King’s legacy to highlight what we do like, namely integration, but then ignore his unflinchingly criticism of the American condition broadly understood.

No matter our race or creed, Dr. King’s message is still too radical for our ears.

In that spirit, however, I thought it would be appropriate to post a video that illustrated Dr. King’s fervent anti-war advocacy and thoughtful criticism of America given our current state of affairs.

Money quote:

Don’t let anybody make you think that God chose America as His divine messanic force to be policeman of the whole world.

New figures from the “health, defense and interior ministries (say), 16,232 civilians, 432 soldiers and about 1,300 policeman died in 2007. The year before, the ministries said that 12,371 civilians, 603 soldiers and 1,224 policeman were killed.” For 2007, the count found that 18,610 Iraqis were killed.

As of this writing, 3,915 American soldiers died in Iraq since the beginning of the war.

From the start of the war in March of 2003 till June of 2006, 151,000 Iraqis died. Apparently, these statistics have not made an impression on everyone.

Watch as Senator McCain informs a group of voters at a New Hampshire town hall meeting that its possible that American soldiers could be in Iraq for 50 to 100 years.

I must confess that while I am not pacifist myself, I am generally highly skeptical of the utility or necessity of war as a means of achieving peace. That said, when we are told a war that should not have been waged in the first place should or could go on indefinitely, we should reflect upon our history and listen to critics of past military misadventures for guidance, even if it comes from unlikely sources preaching inconvenient truths.

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Update: For those of you interested in listening to Dr. King’s prophetic speech entitled, “Why I Oppose the Vietnam war” click here.

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