The Source of their Concern
In his famous Vietnam speech Martin Luther King Jr. said the following:
“Over the past two years, as I have moved to break the betrayal of my own silences and to speak from the burnings of my own heart, as I have called for radical departures from the destruction of Vietnam, many persons have questioned me about the wisdom of my path. At the heart of their concerns this query has often loomed large and loud: Why are you speaking about war, Dr. King? Why are you joining the voices of dissent? Peace and civil rights don't mix, they say. Aren't you hurting the cause of your people, they ask? And when I hear them, though I often understand the source of their concern, I am nevertheless greatly saddened, for such questions mean that the inquirers have not really known me, my commitment or my calling. Indeed, their questions suggest that they do not know the world in which they live.”
So I ask, what is the source of our concern today? Do we know the world we live in? I wonder. We caught a glimpse of that world recently, one that has largely remained hidden as if on the dark side of the moon in the form of a leaked video, or snuff film if you prefer, for it was pornographic in nature. It’s been about eight years before the mast of war in the Middle East where American troops and their partner in crime NATO have been slaughtering people every day just like in that wretched film, a piece of captured history showing humanity in its finest hour. And yet, and yet, …Americans view themselves as removed from this other reality, safe in their conviction that it couldn’t happen here. To believe that we could wage war for so many years destroying lives one city at a time, one nation at a time, looting, raping, torturing, and that there would be no backlash is to reveal an ignorance of human nature that is truly remarkable in its adamantine stupidity.
In another segment of the same speech King said the following making a connection between war and civil rights:
“Since I am a preacher by trade, I suppose it is not surprising that I have seven major reasons for bringing Vietnam into the field of my moral vision. There is at the outset a very obvious and almost facile connection between the war in Vietnam and the struggle I, and others, have been waging in America. A few years ago there was a shining moment in that struggle. It seemed as if there was a real promise of hope for the poor -- both black and white -- through the poverty program. There were experiments, hopes, new beginnings. Then came the buildup in Vietnam and I watched the program broken and eviscerated as if it were some idle political plaything of a society gone mad on war, and I knew that America would never invest the necessary funds or energies in rehabilitation of its poor so long as adventures like Vietnam continued to draw men and skills and money like some demonic destructive suction tube. So I was increasingly compelled to see the war as an enemy of the poor and to attack it as such.”
My third reason moves to an even deeper level of awareness, for it grows out of my experience in the ghettoes of the North over the last three years -- especially the last three summers. As I have walked among the desperate, rejected and angry young men I have told them that Molotov cocktails and rifles would not solve their problems. I have tried to offer them my deepest compassion while maintaining my conviction that social change comes most meaningfully through nonviolent action. But they asked -- and rightly so -- what about Vietnam? They asked if our own nation wasn't using massive doses of violence to solve its problems, to bring about the changes it wanted. Their questions hit home, and I knew that I could never again raise my voice against the violence of the oppressed in the ghettos without having first spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today -- my own government. For the sake of those boys, for the sake of this government, for the sake of hundreds of thousands trembling under our violence, I cannot be silent.
The greatest purveyor of violence in the world today, that’s us. But there are other connections to be made for just as war hindered the civil rights movement it is also being used as a tool to remove our rights, if we really ever had them in the first place. This is the nation that Obama sought to be president of and now he has declared open season on the TTP, the Pakistan Taliban in Waziristan right on the heels of the recent car bomb attempt in New York City where possible connections to the TTP have been found, well, depending on which day you read the news and who they happen to be quoting at the time.
ISLAMABAD - The approval given to the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) by the administration of President Barack Obama to expand drone strikes in Pakistan's tribal regions is on face value a declaration of war by the US inside Pakistan. The move comes at a time when Pakistan is trying to win some breathing space to delay an all-out operation in North Waziristan, home to powerful militant groups and an al-Qaeda headquarters.
The CIA was given authority on Wednesday to expand strikes by unmanned aerial vehicles against low-level combatants, even if their identities are not known. Obama had previously said drone strikes were necessary to "take out high-level terrorist targets".
However, official figures show that more than 90% of the 500 people killed by drones since mid-2008 were lower-level fighters; in effect, the new approval simply legitimizes the current situation.
Low level fighters or innocent civilians, I would guess the latter. And from the last part of the quote I gather that what Obama was doing before wasn’t legitimate but now that he has declared it legitimate, it is. That’s nice. All hail The Obama! And golly, he sure doesn’t sound much like Martin Luther King Jr. does he? So the source of our concern ought to be the wars for as long as the wars continue we shall never be able to resolve the numerous domestic problems we now face including the further removal of rights exemplified by Joe Lieberman’s charming plan to strip Americans suspected of being terrorists of their citizenship.
Truly these holy wars have brought us great things, tyranny by any other name.