On April 2, 1967, at New York City Riverside Church, Martin Luther King delivered an address titled “Beyond Vietnam—A Time to Break Silence.” In that speech, he stepped beyond his allowable terrain to attack US militarism, the day that I believe sealed his fate. A year later, MLK was executed on a Memphis balcony. The 1960s version of the State’s cancel culture.
He pointed out how the aspirations expressed in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution had transformed into what King labeled the “giant triplets” of racism, materialism, and militarism. He called out the hypocritical US government’s commitment to peace even though it had become “the greatest purveyor of violence in the world.” That has not changed. I would argue that the post-9/11 “Global War on Terror” solidified the number top spot.
The Washington war party and the Congressional bipartisan are again in the driver’s seat. They are unembarrassed by its failures in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, and Yemen. These policymakers have rediscovered the prospect of a “New Cold War.” A vehicle to enable the United States to relive the glory days of Korea and Vietnam, a nuclear arms race, and the CIA’s worldwide abominations.
Russian aggression in Ukraine has silenced critical analysis of the embarrassing debacle of the US withdrawal from Kabul in August 2021. Also, overnight the media diverted the “Covid crisis” to the “Ukrainian crisis.” The deceptive Russian threat has replaced any honest and critical discourse on Washington’s atrocities. A task that the state media completed in one news cycle and accomplished before people understood what was perpetrated upon them.
War hawks and the summer humanitarians are seizing that opportunity to encourage the United States to undertake massive investments in military forces for Ukrainian combat. Their cavalier willingness to confront Russian adversaries at risk of direct US war is remarkable. The Ukraine War will prove a disaster for all except the weapons manufacturers that feast on the world’s largest military budget.
In his Riverside Church speech, he said, “A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.” King called for “a radical revolution of values,” in which “we must rapidly begin the shift from a thing-oriented society to a person-oriented society.”
Is it too late?