Monday, January 17, 2011

Pentagon: MLK Jr. would liken Afghan war to the Good Samaritan

Posted By on Mon, Jan 17, 2011 at 12:46 PM

Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day. As we celebrate one of America’s most visionary, courageous leaders, let me ask a simple question: What is it with conservatives and MLK Jr? When King was alive and rocking the nation’s conscience, conservatives — particularly Southern Democrats — absolutely despised the guy. (Those Southern Dems, by the way, left their party in droves for the GOP after King registered his largest success, i.e., passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.) Conservatives in those times routinely called King a “socialist,” “troublemaker,” and even, of course, “communist,” along with more racially charged insults we won’t include here.  And when King won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964, conservatives went so ballistic, you’d have thought they were about to explode. Now that King is rightly recognized as an icon of U.S. history, however, some conservatives have been busy trying to rewrite history, claiming kinship with King’s ideas (I know: WTF?) and, in the case of the perpetually delusional Glenn Beck, comparing himself to the late preacher/activist.

Beck was bad enough, but now the Pentagon, in a breathtakingly cynical move, is trying to use Dr. King to sell its dirty little wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. As Alternet’s Robert Greenwald reports, the Pentagon held an observance of King’s life last Thursday, Jan. 13, during which Jeh C. Johnson, the Defense Dept.’s general counsel, gave the keynote address. Johnson’s message was that Dr. King would "understand" the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan because they’re not out of line with the Nobel Peace Prize winner’s teachings. Johnson went so far down the Alice In Wonderland memory hole as to claim that King would consider those wars as similar to the actions of the Good Samaritan from the New Testament.

Greenwald is part of a group called RethinkAfghanistan, which has produced a video debunking the Pentagon’s unbelievable lies about King and setting the record straight as to the civil rights leader’s views. See the 3-minute video below. If you don’t have time for the video, here are couple of excerpts:

King decried the awful willingness of his country to spend $500,000 per each killed enemy soldier in Vietnam while so many Americans struggled in poverty. Yet last year, a conservative figure for the amount we spent per killed enemy fighter in Afghanistan was roughly $20 million.

Dr. King spoke of the "demonic, destructive suction tube" yanking resources and lives out of the fight to get Americans on their feet. That tube is still demonic and destructive: we've spent more than $360 billion on this war so far and it will cost us roughly $3 billion per week in the coming year.

It’s safe to say that Dr. King would not regard any conflict that killed 10,000 people in a year as a humanitarian exercise. Nor would he "understand" how a nation in the grip of an economic meltdown like this one could again throw lives and resources away for almost a decade.

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