Showing posts with label war. Show all posts
Showing posts with label war. Show all posts

Monday, January 15, 2018


Icon of MLK by Tobias Haller

From Martin Luther King's speech at the National Cathedral in Washington, DC, four days before he was assassinated nearly a half century ago. Reposted from eight years ago.

Through our scientific and technological genius, we have made of this world a neighborhood and yet we have not had the ethical commitment to make of it a brotherhood. But somehow, and in some way, we have got to do this. We must all learn to live together as brothers or we will all perish together as fools. We are tied together in the single garment of destiny, caught in an inescapable network of mutuality. And whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly. For some strange reason I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. And you can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be. This is the way God’s universe is made; this is the way it is structured.

The hour has come for everybody, for all institutions of the public sector and the private sector to work to get rid of racism. And now if we are to do it we must honestly admit certain things and get rid of certain myths that have constantly been disseminated all over our nation.

One is the myth of time. It is the notion that only time can solve the problem of racial injustice. And there are those who often sincerely say to the Negro and his allies in the white community, "Why don’t you slow up? Stop pushing things so fast. Only time can solve the problem. And if you will just be nice and patient and continue to pray, in a hundred or two hundred years the problem will work itself out."

There is an answer to that myth. It is that time is neutral. It can be used wither constructively or destructively. And I am sorry to say this morning that I am absolutely convinced that the forces of ill will in our nation, the extreme rightists of our nation—the people on the wrong side—have used time much more effectively than the forces of goodwill. And it may well be that we will have to repent in this generation. Not merely for the vitriolic words and the violent actions of the bad people, but for the appalling silence and indifference of the good people who sit around and say, "Wait on time."


There is another thing closely related to racism that I would like to mention as another challenge. We are challenged to rid our nation and the world of poverty. Like a monstrous octopus, poverty spreads its nagging, prehensile tentacles into hamlets and villages all over our world. Two-thirds of the people of the world go to bed hungry tonight. They are ill-housed; they are ill-nourished; they are shabbily clad. I’ve seen it in Latin America; I’ve seen it in Africa; I’ve seen this poverty in Asia. 

Not only do we see poverty abroad, I would remind you that in our own nation there are about forty million people who are poverty-stricken. I have seen them here and there. I have seen them in the ghettos of the North; I have seen them in the rural areas of the South; I have seen them in Appalachia. I have just been in the process of touring many areas of our country and I must confess that in some situations I have literally found myself crying.

And this can happen to America, the richest nation in the world—and nothing’s wrong with that—this is America’s opportunity to help bridge the gulf between the haves and the have-nots. The question is whether America will do it. There is nothing new about poverty. What is new is that we now have the techniques and the resources to get rid of poverty. The real question is whether we have the will.

In a few weeks some of us are coming to Washington to see if the will is still alive or if it is alive in this nation. We are coming to Washington in a Poor People’s Campaign. Yes, we are going to bring the tired, the poor, the huddled masses. We are going to bring those who have known long years of hurt and neglect. We are going to bring those who have come to feel that life is a long and desolate corridor with no exit signs. We are going to bring children and adults and old people, people who have never seen a doctor or a dentist in their lives.

Let me close by saying that we have difficult days ahead in the struggle for justice and peace, but I will not yield to a politic of despair. I’m going to maintain hope as we come to Washington in this campaign. The cards are stacked against us. This time we will really confront a Goliath. God grant that we will be that David of truth set out against the Goliath of injustice, the Goliath of neglect, the Goliath of refusing to deal with the problems, and go on with the determination to make America the truly great America that it is called to be.

Icon by Tobias Haller.

Text of the speech from Stanford University.

Sunday, November 10, 2013


My thoughts and feelings on this Sunday when many churches honor the living and dead veterans of our wars are far too conflicted for me to write at length and coherently about the day of remembrance.

A few questions:

Do we remember the glory of war more than the horror of war?

Why, as a country, are we so lacking in care and compassion for many of the living veterans of all our wars? Why do our deeds not match up to our patriotic words?

Thank you, veterans.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013


Former Senator Chuck Hagel was finally confirmed as Secretary of Defense, after his confirmation was stalled in the Senate by members of the GOP.  Senate Republicans view Hagel as a traitor to the party ever since he turned against the Iraq war and Bush's conduct of the war when he was in the Senate, which gave them reason enough to oppose his nomination.  Only four Republicans voted to confirm.

Back in late 2011, Senator Lindsey Graham, one of  the most vehement opponents of Hagel's confirmation, suggested the US might have to go to war with Pakistan.

From the AP:
A Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee said Sunday that the U.S. should consider military action against Pakistan if it continues to support terrorist attacks against American troops in Afghanistan.

"The sovereign nation of Pakistan is engaging in hostile acts against the United States and our ally Afghanistan that must cease, Sen. Lindsey Graham told "Fox News Sunday."

He said if experts decided that the U.S. needs to "elevate its response," he was confident there would be strong bipartisan support in Congress for such action.
From Juan Cole:
The GOP Orcs have a further list of countries they’d like to invade and occupy. Senator Lindsey Graham added Pakistan to the list. Does anybody else in the known universe think it is a good idea for the US abruptly to go to war with the world’s sixth-largest country, which is a nuclear power, and which is backed by China? I mean, shouldn’t this man just be declared clinically insane and mercifully put in an institution instead of being allowed to strut the halls of power?
I burst out laughing at Juan Cole's comments about Lindsey Graham's suggestion that we may have to go to war against Pakistan. Then I caught myself and realized that it's not funny at all that people like Graham and others in the Senate, who must always have a war going, operate in the highest halls of power in our country.  We can only hope that the "strong bipartisan support" in Congress for a war with Pakistan has evaporated, if it was ever present.

Sunday, November 11, 2012


I hate war. I hope and pray that our two most recent wars will be our last - a foolish hope and prayer perhaps, nevertheless...  

Oh, and one thing more...President Obama, please stop the drone attacks.  Innocent people get killed.  Thank you.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


Has the US ever been at peace since the end of World War II?  I do not refer only to declared wars,  but rather to any fighting in which US military forces were involved, either overtly or through surrogates.
They have treated the wound of my people carelessly,
saying, ‘Peace, peace’,
when there is no peace.

(Jeremiah 6:14)

Tuesday, May 29, 2012


Each Memorial Day seems sadder and more difficult to get through than the last.  Yesterday was a bummer, a miserable day.  Perhaps next year I'll ignore the holiday altogether, although I'll probably feel guilty if I do.  What are we celebrating?  Because of my ambivalence about celebrating the day, Charles Pierce's headline resonated powerfully with me. 
Loving the Warrior, Hating the Wars: Our Memorial Daze
The entire article is very good.  I linked to it yesterday and again today.  We are quick to go to war, but why then do we treat our veterans and their families so badly?

Does war lead to anything but more wars?  That is the question, as dithering Hamlet said.

Monday, May 28, 2012


Let us honor the fallen in our wars by caring well for the survivors, the wounded in body, mind, and spirit, the healthy, and the families of the military, both of those who have died and those who still live.

Saturday, March 26, 2011


From Bob Herbert in the New York Times:
So here we are pouring shiploads of cash into yet another war, this time in Libya, while simultaneously demolishing school budgets, closing libraries, laying off teachers and police officers, and generally letting the bottom fall out of the quality of life here at home.

Welcome to America in the second decade of the 21st century. An army of long-term unemployed workers is spread across the land, the human fallout from the Great Recession and long years of misguided economic policies. Optimism is in short supply. The few jobs now being created too often pay a pittance, not nearly enough to pry open the doors to a middle-class standard of living.

The U.S. has not just misplaced its priorities. When the most powerful country ever to inhabit the earth finds it so easy to plunge into the horror of warfare but almost impossible to find adequate work for its people or to properly educate its young, it has lost its way entirely.

The current maldistribution of wealth is also scandalous. In 2009, the richest 5 percent claimed 63.5 percent of the nation’s wealth. The overwhelming majority, the bottom 80 percent, collectively held just 12.8 percent.

General Electric, the largest corporation in the country, paid zero taxes last year. The company's CEO, Jeffery Immelt, is on Obama's Council on Jobs and Competitiveness.

The numbers of citizens in the middle class continue to fall. Government services for the people in the land continue to be cut. More and more, the US looks like the land of opportunity for only the rich. And yet, somehow the US can always find the money to start another war.

Read Herbert's entire excellent column, which is his valedictory.
This is my last column for The New York Times after an exhilarating, nearly 18-year run. I’m off to write a book and expand my efforts on behalf of working people, the poor and others who are struggling in our society. My thanks to all the readers who have been so kind to me over the years.

So long, Bob. I, for one, will miss you, but I'm encouraged that your voice will not be silent, that you will continue to speak out after your departure from the NYT.