MLK on Iraq

Every year the same MLK tug of war occurs, with school curricula and networks on the one side and progressives on the other. I Have a Dream vs. Beyond Vietnam (TEXT/AUDIO). Which speech to focus on?

This is, of course, false. They're part and parcel of a single ideal; that all need to recognize the humanity in the "other" (whoever that may be) in order to save both ourselves and that other. Recognition of the inseparability of our fate. Which also, incidentally, happened to be a thread that ran through Gore's speech with respect to our governing philosophy...

Noting that "We do not have Martin among us to guide us with his wisdom," Juan Cole extrapolates from Beyond Vietnam "10 things Martin Luther King would have done about Iraq (for the quotes, go here):


  1. Martin urged the end of the offensive bombing raids.
  2. Martin suggested that the US begin, on its own account, a cease fire.
  3. He urged that the widening of the war be stopped
  4. He insisted that the US recognize the widespread political support for the NLF (With regard to Iraq, this principle would imply that the US should recognize that the Neo-Baath Arab nationalist leaders, the Salafi Sunni revivalists, and local guerrilla chiefs have genuine popular support among Sunni Arabs)
  5. Martin supported a timetable for withdrawing US troops.
  6. It is necessary to understand the common people among the "enemy" if anything is to be accomplished
  7. Concern to save US troops from creeping cynicism must be paramount
  8. The initiative belongs to the US
  9. A revolution in American values away from consumer materialism and militarism is needed if we are not to go on having one Vietnam after another [Note MLK's considerable prognostication skills: "When machines and computers..."]
  10. Love and justice, not aggression and exploitation, hold the real hope for a peaceful and prosperous future
(Informed Comment)

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