Jan 19, 2007
FOUND A PETITION HERE BY ONE REPUBLICAN AND ONE DEMOCRAT TO FORCE BUSH TO SIGN OFF WITH CONGRESS BEFORE IRAN ATTACK, CALLED THE "IRAN WAR POWERS RESOLUTION." PLEASE SIGN AND FORWARD TO EVERYONE YOU KNOW.
Just Foreign Policy News
January 18, 2007
Ask your Representative to Co-Sponsor the DeFazio and Jones " Iran War Powers" Resolutions
Representative DeFazio (D) and Representive Jones (R) have introduced resolutions re-affirming that President Bush cannot attack Iran without Congressional authorization. Ask your Representative to support them.
Just Foreign Policy on Daily Kos
Just Foreign Policy, writing on Daily Kos, encourages people to support the DeFazio and Jones "Iran War Powers" resolutions. If you're on Daily Kos, recommend this diary if you want others to see it.
ADD IN ON JANUARY 20, 2007: ROCKEFELLER HEAD OF SENATE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTE WILL COME OUT WITH IRAQ PRE-WAR INTELLIGENCE INVESTIGATIONS, AND HERE HE SPEAKS OF HIS OPINION ON THE IMPENDING BUSH ATTACK ON IRAN:
Leading Senator Assails President Over Iran Stance
By Mark Mazzetti
The New York Times
Saturday 20 January 2007
Washington - The new chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee on Friday sharply criticized the Bush administration's increasingly combative stance toward Iran, saying that White House efforts to portray it as a growing threat are uncomfortably reminiscent of rhetoric about Iraq before the American invasion of 2003.
Senator John D. Rockefeller IV, the West Virginia Democrat who took control of the committee this month, said that the administration was building a case against Tehran even as American intelligence agencies still know little about either Iran's internal dynamics or its intentions in the Middle East.
"To be quite honest, I'm a little concerned that it's Iraq again," Senator Rockefeller said during an interview in his office. "This whole concept of moving against Iran is bizarre."
Mr. Rockefeller did not say which aspects of the Bush administration's case against Iran he thought were not supported by solid intelligence. He did say he agreed with the White House that Iranian operatives inside Iraq were supporting Shiite militias and working against American troops.
Mr. Rockefeller said he believed President Bush was getting poor advice from advisers who argue that an uncompromising stance toward the government in Tehran will serve American interests.
"I don't think that policy makers in this administration particularly understand Iran," he said.
The comments of Mr. Rockefeller reflect the mounting concerns being voiced by other influential Democrats, including the Senate majority leader, Harry Reid of Nevada, and Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr. of Delaware, about the Bush administration's approach to Iran. The Democrats have warned that the administration is moving toward a confrontation with Iran when the United States has neither the military resources nor the support among American allies and members of Congress to carry out such a move.
Because Mr. Rockefeller is one of only a handful of lawmakers with access to the most classified intelligence about the threat from Tehran, his views carry particular weight. He has also historically been more tempered in his criticism of the White House on national security issues than some of his Democratic colleagues.
Mr. Rockefeller was biting in his criticism of how President Bush has dealt with the threat of Islamic radicalism since the Sept. 11 attacks, saying he believed that the campaign against international terrorism was "still a mystery" to the president.
"I don't think he understands the world," Mr. Rockefeller said. "I don't think he's particularly curious about the world. I don't think he reads like he says he does."
He added, "Every time he's read something he tells you about it, I think."
Last week, the Intelligence Committee heard testimony from John D. Negroponte, the director of national intelligence, that an emboldened Iran was casting a shadow across the Middle East and could decide to send Hezbollah operatives on missions to hit American targets.
Mr. Negroponte testified the morning after President Bush had, in a televised address to the nation, said he was determined to confront what he called worrying activities by Iranian operatives in Iraq, and announced that the Pentagon was building up the American naval presence in the Persian Gulf and sending a battery of Patriot missiles to deter Iranian aggression.
Some Democrats have suggested that Mr. Bush's speech was the beginning of a meticulously choreographed White House campaign to demonize Iran, much the way the administration built its public case against Iraq.
In a speech on Friday, Mr. Reid warned the White House not to take military action against Iran without first seeking approval from Congress.
Gordon D. Johndroe, a White House spokesman, said in response to Senator Rockefeller's comments that Iran was taking provocative actions both inside Iraq and elsewhere, and that American allies were united in efforts to end what intelligence officials believe is a covert nuclear weapons program inside the country.
"It has been clear for some time that Iran has been meddling in Iraq, and the Iraqis have made the concerns known to the Iranians," Mr. Johndroe said. He noted that the administration has said the United States would be willing to begin direct talks with Iran - which have not occurred since the Islamic revolution of 1979 - if Iran agreed to suspend its uranium enrichment and reprocessing activities.
Gen. Michael V. Hayden, director of the Central Intelligence Agency, told lawmakers on Thursday that over the past year and a half he had come to a "much darker interpretation" of Iran's activities inside Iraq.
"I think there's a clear line of evidence that points out the Iranians want to punish the United States, hurt the United States in Iraq, tie down the United States in Iraq, so that our other options in the region, against other activities the Iranians might have, would be limited," he said.
Mr. Rockefeller's committee is working to complete a long-delayed investigation into the misuse of intelligence about Iraq in the months before the American-led invasion.
He said that the committee was nearing completion on one part of that investigation, concerning whether the White House ignored C.I.A. assessments made before the Iraq war that the country could disintegrate into chaos.
That report, Mr. Rockefeller said, could be released within months and was "not going to make for pleasant reading at the White House."
Mr. Rockefeller said that with Democrats now in charge of the Intelligence Committee, he expected the panel to be much more aggressive, both in investigating the use of intelligence to fashion White House policy and in subjecting secret intelligence programs to new scrutiny. He mentioned the C.I.A's network of secret prisons and the National Security Agency's domestic wiretapping program as likely subjects of investigations.
"We weren't able to drill down on a lot of stuff" during the years in which the Intelligence Committee was under Republican control.
SOURCE URL: http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/012007Z.shtml
Nov 12, 2006
||Texas, United States|
THIS SHARE'S ORIGINAL MATERIAL CAME FROM BARBARA MUTINY'S POST ON THE GROUP SAVE IRAQ'S CHILDREN: PLEASE SIGN THIS WITHIN THE NEXT 24 HOURS AND FORWARD TO EVERY ACTIVIST THAT YOU CAN THINK OF FOR THEIR SIGNATURE. WE ARE SERIOUS ABOUT GETTING OUT OF IRAQ, AND WE WANT IT DONE SOON, WITH THE HELP OF THE COALITION IN THE UK. THIS PETITION BRINGS THE WITHDRAWAL SOUGHT IN IRAQ TO THE ATTENTION OF THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY. YOU DO NOT HAVE TO BE A UNITED STATES CITIZEN TO SIGN THIS PETITION, EITHER:
THANKING YOU IN ADVANCE.
TIME-SENSITIVE PETITION TO PULL OUT TROOPS FROM IRAQ 11:33 AM
Important, Time-Sensitive Petition
Please sign and crosspost! we have about 48 hrs!
New global petition
Ceasefire Campaign: Stop the War
Sign the Petition
This week the American people voted overwhelmingly to reject President Bush's war in Iraq, and yesterday the key architect of the war, US military chief Donald Rumsfeld, announced his resignation. The winds of political change are sweeping the US, and the US-led Coalition in Iraq may -- finally -- be realising that they cannot win the war, and that they lack the legitimacy to bring stability and peace to the country without more help from the international community.
To seize this opportunity, we want to place ads in US and UK papers with a new global petition calling upon the Coalition to accept a larger role for the international community and a phased withdrawal of all its troops from Iraq. We'll publish the number of signatures we get in the ads, so we need AS MANY PEOPLE AS POSSIBLE to sign the petition in the next 48 hours. Please tell all your friends and family, and sign below:
Nov 3, 2006
LISTEN TO THE LATEST IMPEACHMENT MUSIC, ORIGINAL POST BY PAUL HIPP ON MY SPACE:
SUB-IRAQIAN HOMESICK BLUES
Ratings in the basement
Mixing up the President
People on the pavement
Wondering where their country went
War of aggression
No plan, wrong place
Based upon a flawed case
Hail Mary full of grace
Look out son
We can’t cut and run
God knows when
Until our troops are home again
Better duck from the IED
With armor that they didn’t send
The man in the four star hat
Who’d been to war
Asked for 300,000 troops
Rummy said what for?
W comes flat boot
Posing in a flight suit
Reading “My Pet Goat”
Freedoms on the march but
The phones tapped anyway
W and the N.S.A.
Gonzales says it’s okay
Welcome to the U.S.A.
Look out Y’all
They’re breaking the law
Soldiers going to jail for
Command chain failures
Men without masters
to torture bad guys
You don’t need a law degree
To know where the blame lies
Get back, Oh well
No insurance, go to hell
Big bills, No pills
Hang around the stem cell
Work force, Outsourced
Get sacked, Pay day
No way, Ken Lay
Welcome to your rainy day
Look out kid, you’re gonna get hit
By gas price, Melting Ice
Science is a dirty vice
diebold, lies told
Recruiters by the high school
Tell kids war’s cool
Don’t follow leaders
Oct 7, 2006
This Criminal Indictment Charges George W. Bush, Richard B. Cheney, Colin Powell, Donald H. Rumsfeld, John D. Ashcroft, Tommy Franks, and his successors as Commander of U.S. Forces in Iraq, George J. Tenet, L. Paul Bremer, III, John Negroponte and others to be named with Crimes Against Peace, War Crimes, Crimes Against Humanity and other criminal acts in violation of the Charter of the United Nations, International Law, the Constitution of the United States and Laws Made in Pursuance Thereof.
The Crimes Charged are:
- Waging a War of Aggression against the sovereignty of Iraq and the rights of its people, resulting in tens of thousands of deaths and injuries among the people of Iraq, most civilians, from military violence and thousands of U.S. G.I’s. War of aggression is defined as “the Supreme international crime” in the Nuremberg Judgment.
- Authorizing, encouraging and condoning the use of excessive force, in terrorem, tactics called “Shock and Awe”, targeting defenseless civilians, civilians facilities and indiscriminate bombing and assaults.
- Authorizing and ordering the use of illegal weapons including super bombs, cluster bombs, depleted uranium enhanced bombs, missiles, shells and bullets and threatening the use of nuclear weapons.
- Authorizing, ordering, concealing and condoning assassinations, summary executions, murders, disappearances, kidnappings and torture.
- Authorizing, financing, utilizing and condoning illegal violence, use of force and torture by highly paid paramilitary civilian forces operating anonymously and not accountable to U.S. supervisors for their acts, who kill, coerce, control and contain the Iraqi population.
- Authorizing, ordering and condoning the systematic destruction of economic, social, cultural, medical, educational, governmental and diplomatic resources, properties and facilities throughout Iraq.
- Authorizing, ordering and condoning acts designed to divide the Iraqi population to cause internal conflict and violence among major segments of the society, ethnic, religious, political and economic, in order to weaken and exhaust the population and bring all segments under the control of a new surrogate government submissive to U.S. command.
- Authorizing, imposing and maintaining a violent, criminal military occupation over Iraq which kills defenseless Iraqi’s daily and fans the flames of anti-U.S. anger worldwide.
- Defying and incapacitating the peace making capacity and role of the United Nations by unilateral actions to undermine its potential effectiveness while continuing to coerce and use the U.N. to pursue U.S. policies in Iraq and elsewhere, and coercing and enticing other nations to support U.S. policies and actions in violation of international law in the U.N. Security Council and against Iraq and other nations.
- Engaging in systematic acts to undermine and destroy international laws and treaties designed to prevent and control war, weapons of mass and indiscriminate destruction; limit participants in military service; protect the environment; prevent the economic exploitation of poor nations; and engaging systematic acts to obstruct justice by the evisceration of the International Criminal Court and manipulation or defiance of other international judicial and regulatory bodies that might seek to hold the U.S. accountable to international law and the will of the majority of the people of the international community.
- Manifesting their continuing commitment to world domination by ordering, directing and condoning violent regime change in Haiti in March 2004 to replace the independent, elected democratic President Jean Bertrand Aristide with a U.S. selected and controlled neo Duvalierist surrogate causing growing violence, hundreds of deaths and further improvishment of the Haitian people.
- Threatening the sovereignty and independence of nations, and acting to change regimes that refuse to yield to U.S. demands for economic subservience and political control for U.S. corporate and government interests, including most prominently Cuba, Iran, a divided Korea, the Philippines, Syria, Sudan and Venezuela; and supporting Israel’s illegal occupation, brutalization and expanding settlement of Palestine in defiance of the United Nations, international law and world opinion; all of which adds to international anger and violence against the United States and its citizens.
- Destroying the sovereignty, right to self determination, cultural integrity and control of its own resources of Iraq and its peoples by imposing an interim government headed by a long time C.I.A. asset who directed violence against Iraqi civilians for the U.S. in the 1990's; and manipulating procedures for the imposition of a new Constitution drafted by and installation of a new government chosen through controlled electoral processes and subservient to the will and command of the U.S. government.
- Usurping the war powers delegated in the constitution to the Congress to pursue wars of aggression and other unlawful military actions; and attempting to pack the federal courts with judges committed to ideologies in conflict with the Constitution of the United States to achieve judicial decisions supporting those ideologies.
- Systematically weakening fundamental human rights globally and the Bill of Rights of the U.S. Constitution within the U.S. enabling U.S. forces to unlawfully seize individuals in 100 countries, including U.S. citizens and arrest thousands of aliens in the U.S. and hold them, transport them, torture many, deny all access to courts to determine the legality of such seizures, arrest and treatment.
- Making Guantanamo a symbol of U.S. power to imprison and abuse persons on the soil of a foreign sovereign nation, Cuba, against its will and to publicize U.S. contempt for human rights by displaying its power to arbitrarily seize, confine and abuse persons without revealing who they are, any charges against them, or what their future may be, placing U.S. power above all laws, international and national, and beyond the reach of all courts, including those of the U.S.
- Giving economic preferences to favored corporations and business interests to extract enormous profits in both war and peace sectors of the economy from impoverished Iraq and U.S. taxpayers.
- Systematically utilizing, controlling, directing, manipulating, misinforming and restricting press and media coverage and deliberately presenting false and misleading reports to obtain support for U.S. military and political and actions; and to deprive the American people of knowledge essential to develop an informed opinion which is essential to democratic processes and elections.
- All for the purpose of dominating, controlling, and exploiting Iraq and other non compliant nations by military force and economic coercion.
In addition to full accountability for the foregoing crimes and full reparation to victims, the offenses constitute “high Crimes and Misdemeanors” under Article II, Section 4 of the Constitution of the United States requiring the removal from office of all the participating civil Officers of the United States upon impeachment for and conviction for their acts.
Dated: August 5, 2004
Apr 13, 2006
PLEASE SIGN PETITION AND JOIN ANTI-WAR MARCH IN APRIL:
Join Howard Zinn, Ramsey Clark, Bishop Thomas Gumbleton, Ervand Abrahamian, Tony Benn, Harold Pinter and thousands more in a growing movement to stop Bush's plans to attack Iran.
STOP U.S. nuclear threats against Iran!
Nearly 250,000 petitions have been sent to Bush, Cheney, Congress, and Halliburton via Stop War on Iran.
Once again, Bush is using outright lies about "weapons of mass destruction" to justify an attack as part of a long-term strategy to establish U.S. control over the oil-rich Middle East. He lied in order to lead the U.S. into a war with Iraq that has cost the lives of more than 100,000 Iraqi people. Now he's using the same lies to demonize the people of Iran and justify a war that may be much more destructive.
The time to act is now. President Bush, with the support of politicians from both parties, is already preparing for an attack on hundreds of sites in Iran, most of them located near major population centers. These strikes will kill tens of thousands if Iranian civilians. Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Seymour Hersh, who broke the story last year of US plans for an attack on Iran, and who has a decades-long record of investigative journalism, including exposes of the My Lai massacre in Vietnam and the U.S. torture chambers of Abu Ghraib, wrote in the April 17 New Yorker:
This article and similar articles in the Associated Press, Agence France Press, Washington Post (reprinted at the StopWarOnIran blog) and other major media outlets, attest to the very real threat of an imminent attack on Iran. Furthermore, there is evidence that the Pentagon is preparing for a possible nuclear strike against Iran. U.S. Navy aircraft, operating from carriers in the Arabian Sea, are flying simulated nuclear attack missions in preparation for such a strike. According to Hersh,
"The Bush Administration, while publicly advocating diplomacy in order to stop Iran from pursuing a nuclear weapon, has increased clandestine activities inside Iran and intensified planning for a possible major air attack. Current and former American military and intelligence officials said that Air Force planning groups are drawing up lists of targets, and teams of American combat troops have been ordered into Iran, under cover, to collect targeting data and to establish contact with anti-government ethnic-minority groups." (read the full article here)
"One of the military’s initial option plans, as presented to the White House by the Pentagon this winter, calls for the use of a bunker-buster tactical nuclear weapon, such as the B61-11, against underground nuclear sites."
After all of Washington's talk about weapons of mass destruction, it is the Pentagon that possesses the largest stockpile of nuclear weapons and is threatening to use them against civilian targets. Whether these threats are real or are just a tool of psychological warfare to intimidate and destabilize the Iranian government, it is clear that the real international danger is from Washington, not Tehran.
A global movement against a global empire
In the few weeks since StopWarOnIran was launched, nearly a quarter of a million petitions have been sent from all over the globe voicing growing opposition to the war. We've printed tens of thousands of leaflets and placards for distribution at protests, speak outs, and educational forums. Much more needs to be done in the next few weeks to alert the world to the growing danger of a new war.
We know that we cannot trust the politicians of either party to stop this drive to war. The only way to stop the war is by mobilizing a massive international grassroots campaign against a new war. The whole world knows that Bush and Congress lied in order to justify their war against Iraq, and everyone know that they are lying now. Opposition to Washington's agenda of endless war is growing--Bush's poll numbers are at an all time low and they continue to drop. But this growing opposition will only be a force for change to the degree that it becomes a massive movement determined to stop this new war.
How you can help:
1) Sign the petition
3) Link to us from your website
4) Keep informed - check out the StopWarOnIran blog for news updates. And don't forget to sign up for updates.
5) Carry Stop War on Iran placards and banners at the April 29 antiwar protest in New York City and in other progressive and antiwar actions.
Apr 9, 2006
PLEASE PASS ARTICLE ALONG, THE REAL REASONS, REGIME CHANGE, OIL, AND HEGEMONY:
THE ARTICLE CONTAINS MAINSTREAM SOURCES, ALSO, FROM THE PENTAGON AND FROM AMBASSADORS:
Back-up Information on Points Discussed - Real Reasons for Attack 1:49 AM
Below is an article that backs up my previous share on Bush's Armegeddon, out of the New Yorker, and should be read in its entirety. I've responded on several different group sites to someone here that accused me of sitting behind a PC and criticizing. You'll find within this article reasons outlined by AMBASSADORS and by WHITE HOUSE AND PENTAGON SOURCES that say the attack was planned out before Iraq; REGIME CHANGE WAS THE THRUST BEHIND IT, AND OIL IS THE MOTIVATOR.
THE IRAN PLANS
Would President Bush go to war to stop Tehran from getting the bomb?
Issue of 2006-04-17
The Bush Administration, while publicly advocating diplomacy in order to stop Iran from pursuing a nuclear weapon, has increased clandestine activities inside Iran and intensified planning for a possible major air attack. Current and former American military and intelligence officials said that Air Force planning groups are drawing up lists of targets, and teams of American combat troops have been ordered into Iran, under cover, to collect targeting data and to establish contact with anti-government ethnic-minority groups. The officials say that President Bush is determined to deny the Iranian regime the opportunity to begin a pilot program, planned for this spring, to enrich uranium.
American and European intelligence agencies, and the International Atomic Energy Agency (I.A.E.A.), agree that Iran is intent on developing the capability to produce nuclear weapons. But there are widely differing estimates of how long that will take, and whether diplomacy, sanctions, or military action is the best way to prevent it. Iran insists that its research is for peaceful use only, in keeping with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, and that it will not be delayed or deterred.
There is a growing conviction among members of the United States military, and in the international community, that President Bush’s ultimate goal in the nuclear confrontation with Iran is regime change. Iran’s President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has challenged the reality of the Holocaust and said that Israel must be “wiped off the map.” Bush and others in the White House view him as a potential Adolf Hitler, a former senior intelligence official said. “That’s the name they’re using. They say, ‘Will Iran get a strategic weapon and threaten another world war?’ ”
A government consultant with close ties to the civilian leadership in the Pentagon said that Bush was “absolutely convinced that Iran is going to get the bomb” if it is not stopped. He said that the President believes that he must do “what no Democrat or Republican, if elected in the future, would have the courage to do,” and “that saving Iran is going to be his legacy.”
One former defense official, who still deals with sensitive issues for the Bush Administration, told me that the military planning was premised on a belief that “a sustained bombing campaign in Iran will humiliate the religious leadership and lead the public to rise up and overthrow the government.” He added, “I was shocked when I heard it, and asked myself, ‘What are they smoking?’ ”
The rationale for regime change was articulated in early March by Patrick Clawson, an Iran expert who is the deputy director for research at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy and who has been a supporter of President Bush. “So long as Iran has an Islamic republic, it will have a nuclear-weapons program, at least clandestinely,” Clawson told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on March 2nd. “The key issue, therefore, is: How long will the present Iranian regime last?”
When I spoke to Clawson, he emphasized that “this Administration is putting a lot of effort into diplomacy.” However, he added, Iran had no choice other than to accede to America’s demands or face a military attack. Clawson said that he fears that Ahmadinejad “sees the West as wimps and thinks we will eventually cave in. We have to be ready to deal with Iran if the crisis escalates.” Clawson said that he would prefer to rely on sabotage and other clandestine activities, such as “industrial accidents.” But, he said, it would be prudent to prepare for a wider war, “given the way the Iranians are acting. This is not like planning to invade Quebec.”
One military planner told me that White House criticisms of Iran and the high tempo of planning and clandestine activities amount to a campaign of “coercion” aimed at Iran. “You have to be ready to go, and we’ll see how they respond,” the officer said. “You have to really show a threat in order to get Ahmadinejad to back down.” He added, “People think Bush has been focussed on Saddam Hussein since 9/11,” but, “in my view, if you had to name one nation that was his focus all the way along, it was Iran.” (In response to detailed requests for comment, the White House said that it would not comment on military planning but added,
“As the President has indicated, we are pursuing a diplomatic solution”; the Defense Department also said that Iran was being dealt with through “diplomatic channels” but wouldn’t elaborate on that; the C.I.A. said that there were “inaccuracies” in this account but would not specify them.)
“This is much more than a nuclear issue,” one high-ranking diplomat told me in Vienna. “That’s just a rallying point, and there is still time to fix it. But the Administration believes it cannot be fixed unless they control the hearts and minds of Iran. The real issue is who is going to control the Middle East and its oil in the next ten years.”
READ THE WHOLE ARTICLE, PLEASE, THEN COMMENT!!!!!
Jan 22, 2006
||Martin Luther King|
||Memorial (for the deceased)|
||Austin, Texas United States|
I KNOW THAT THIS PERSON HAS ALWAYS BEEN AN ICON AND FIGURE OF HISTORY THAT MOST OF US LOOK UP TO, THE PERSON WITH THE ASTONISHING FUTURISTIC VISION OF MANKIND AND WHAT MANKIND SHOULD ALWAYS ASPIRE TO, TRUTH AND LIBERTY!!!! HIS INTUITIVE AND CHILLING PROPHETIC VISIONS ON THE SUBJECT OF WAR IN VIETNAM HOLD AS TRUE TODAY, IN THE ATMOSPHERE OF PRE-EMPTIVE WARS AND ATTACKS UPON THE WORLD'S POPULACE BY OUR COUNTRY, ALL FOR THE SAKE OF "AMERICAN FINANCIAL INTEREST," THAT IT'S LIKE A WALK THROUGH THE HALLS OF THE GREATEST MINDS AND SPIRITS OF DEMOCRACY THAT THE WORLD HAS EVER KNOWN TO HEAR HIS ORATORY ON THE SUBJECT OF WAR. THE TRUEST PIONEER IN THE POLITICAL SYSTEMS AND POLITICAL THEORIES OF THE WORLD THAT THE 20TH CENTURY GRACED US WITH. HIS WORDS ARE AS ALIVE TODAY AS THEY WERE IN 1967, WHEN HE REMINDED US OF WHAT THE LORD'S INTENTIONS ARE FOR THE RIGHTEOUS OF THE CLERGY IN MATTERS OF PROTEST OF WAR:
Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence
By Rev. Martin Luther King
4 April 1967
Speech delivered by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., on April 4, 1967, at a meeting of Clergy and Laity Concerned at Riverside Church in New York City
[Please put links to this speech on your respective web sites and if possible, place the text itself there. This is the least well known of Dr. King's speeches among the masses, and it needs to be read by all]
I come to this magnificent house of worship tonight because my conscience leaves me no other choice. I join with you in this meeting because I am in deepest agreement with the aims and work of the organization which has brought us together: Clergy and Laymen Concerned about Vietnam. The recent statement of your executive committee are the sentiments of my own heart and I found myself in full accord when I read its opening lines: "A time comes when silence is betrayal." That time has come for us in relation to Vietnam.
The truth of these words is beyond doubt but the mission to which they call us is a most difficult one. Even when pressed by the demands of inner truth, men do not easily assume the task of opposing their government's policy, especially in time of war. Nor does the human spirit move without great difficulty against all the apathy of conformist thought within one's own bosom and in the surrounding world. Moreover when the issues at hand seem as perplexed as they often do in the case of this dreadful conflict we are always on the verge of being mesmerized by uncertainty; but we must move on.
Some of us who have already begun to break the silence of the night have found that the calling to speak is often a vocation of agony, but we must speak. We must speak with all the humility that is appropriate to our limited vision, but we must speak. And we must rejoice as well, for surely this is the first time in our nation's history that a significant number of its religious leaders have chosen to move beyond the prophesying of smooth patriotism to the high grounds of a firm dissent based upon the mandates of conscience and the reading of history. Perhaps a new spirit is rising among us. If it is, let us trace its movement well and pray that our own inner being may be sensitive to its guidance, for we are deeply in need of a new way beyond the darkness that seems so close around us.
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.
In the light of such tragic misunderstandings, I deem it of signal importance to try to state clearly, and I trust concisely, why I believe that the path from Dexter Avenue Baptist Church -- the church in Montgomery, Alabama, where I began my pastorate -- leads clearly to this sanctuary tonight.
I come to this platform tonight to make a passionate plea to my beloved nation. This speech is not addressed to Hanoi or to the National Liberation Front. It is not addressed to China or to Russia.
Nor is it an attempt to overlook the ambiguity of the total situation and the need for a collective solution to the tragedy of Vietnam. Neither is it an attempt to make North Vietnam or the National Liberation Front paragons of virtue, nor to overlook the role they can play in a successful resolution of the problem. While they both may have justifiable reason to be suspicious of the good faith of the United States, life and history give eloquent testimony to the fact that conflicts are never resolved without trustful give and take on both sides.
Tonight, however, I wish not to speak with Hanoi and the NLF, but rather to my fellow Americans, who, with me, bear the greatest responsibility in ending a conflict that has exacted a heavy price on both continents.
The Importance of Vietnam
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.
Perhaps the more tragic recognition of reality took place when it became clear to me that the war was doing far more than devastating the hopes of the poor at home. It was sending their sons and their brothers and their husbands to fight and to die in extraordinarily high proportions relative to the rest of the population. We were taking the black young men who had been crippled by our society and sending them eight thousand miles away to guarantee liberties in Southeast Asia which they had not found in southwest Georgia and East Harlem. So we have been repeatedly faced with the cruel irony of watching Negro and white boys on TV screens as they kill and die together for a nation that has been unable to seat them together in the same schools. So we watch them in brutal solidarity burning the huts of a poor village, but we realize that they would never live on the same block in Detroit. I could not be silent in the face of such cruel manipulation of the poor.
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.
For those who ask the question, "Aren't you a civil rights leader?" and thereby mean to exclude me from the movement for peace, I have this further answer. In 1957 when a group of us formed the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, we chose as our motto: "To save the soul of America." We were convinced that we could not limit our vision to certain rights for black people, but instead affirmed the conviction that America would never be free or saved from itself unless the descendants of its slaves were loosed completely from the shackles they still wear. In a way we were agreeing with Langston Hughes, that black bard of Harlem, who had written earlier:
I say it plain,
America never was America to me,
And yet I swear this oath--
America will be!
Now, it should be incandescently clear that no one who has any concern for the integrity and life of America today can ignore the present war. If America's soul becomes totally poisoned, part of the autopsy must read Vietnam. It can never be saved so long as it destroys the deepest hopes of men the world over. So it is that those of us who are yet determined that America will be are led down the path of protest and dissent, working for the health of our land.
As if the weight of such a commitment to the life and health of America were not enough, another burden of responsibility was placed upon me in 1964; and I cannot forget that the Nobel Prize for Peace was also a commission -- a commission to work harder than I had ever worked before for "the brotherhood of man." This is a calling that takes me beyond national allegiances, but even if it were not present I would yet have to live with the meaning of my commitment to the ministry of Jesus Christ. To me the relationship of this ministry to the making of peace is so obvious that I sometimes marvel at those who ask me why I am speaking against the war. Could it be that they do not know that the good news was meant for all men -- for Communist and capitalist, for their children and ours, for black and for white, for revolutionary and conservative? Have they forgotten that my ministry is in obedience to the one who loved his enemies so fully that he died for them? What then can I say to the "Vietcong" or to Castro or to Mao as a faithful minister of this one? Can I threaten them with death or must I not share with them my life?
Finally, as I try to delineate for you and for myself the road that leads from Montgomery to this place I would have offered all that was most valid if I simply said that I must be true to my conviction that I share with all men the calling to be a son of the living God. Beyond the calling of race or nation or creed is this vocation of sonship and brotherhood, and because I believe that the Father is deeply concerned especially for his suffering and helpless and outcast children, I come tonight to speak for them.
This I believe to be the privilege and the burden of all of us who deem ourselves bound by allegiances and loyalties which are broader and deeper than nationalism and which go beyond our nation's self-defined goals and positions. We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy, for no document from human hands can make these humans any less our brothers.
And as I ponder the madness of Vietnam and search within myself for ways to understand and respond to compassion my mind goes constantly to the people of that peninsula. I speak now not of the soldiers of each side, not of the junta in Saigon, but simply of the people who have been living under the curse of war for almost three continuous decades now. I think of them too because it is clear to me that there will be no meaningful solution there until some attempt is made to know them and hear their broken cries.
They must see Americans as strange liberators. The Vietnamese people proclaimed their own independence in 1945 after a combined French and Japanese occupation, and before the Communist revolution in China. They were led by Ho Chi Minh. Even though they quoted the American Declaration of Independence in their own document of freedom, we refused to recognize them. Instead, we decided to support France in its reconquest of her former colony.
Our government felt then that the Vietnamese people were not "ready" for independence, and we again fell victim to the deadly Western arrogance that has poisoned the international atmosphere for so long. With that tragic decision we rejected a revolutionary government seeking self-determination, and a government that had been established not by China (for whom the Vietnamese have no great love) but by clearly indigenous forces that included some Communists. For the peasants this new government meant real land reform, one of the most important needs in their lives.
For nine years following 1945 we denied the people of Vietnam the right of independence. For nine years we vigorously supported the French in their abortive effort to recolonize Vietnam.
Before the end of the war we were meeting eighty percent of the French war costs. Even before the French were defeated at Dien Bien Phu, they began to despair of the reckless action, but we did not. We encouraged them with our huge financial and military supplies to continue the war even after they had lost the will. Soon we would be paying almost the full costs of this tragic attempt at recolonization.
After the French were defeated it looked as if independence and land reform would come again through the Geneva agreements. But instead there came the United States, determined that Ho should not unify the temporarily divided nation, and the peasants watched again as we supported one of the most vicious modern dictators -- our chosen man, Premier Diem. The peasants watched and cringed as Diem ruthlessly routed out all opposition, supported their extortionist landlords and refused even to discuss reunification with the north. The peasants watched as all this was presided over by U.S. influence and then by increasing numbers of U.S. troops who came to help quell the insurgency that Diem's methods had aroused. When Diem was overthrown they may have been happy, but the long line of military dictatorships seemed to offer no real change -- especially in terms of their need for land and peace.
The only change came from America as we increased our troop commitments in support of governments which were singularly corrupt, inept and without popular support. All the while the people read our leaflets and received regular promises of peace and democracy -- and land reform. Now they languish under our bombs and consider us -- not their fellow Vietnamese --the real enemy. They move sadly and apathetically as we herd them off the land of their fathers into concentration camps where minimal social needs are rarely met. They know they must move or be destroyed by our bombs. So they go -- primarily women and children and the aged.
They watch as we poison their water, as we kill a million acres of their crops. They must weep as the bulldozers roar through their areas preparing to destroy the precious trees. They wander into the hospitals, with at least twenty casualties from American firepower for one "Vietcong"-inflicted injury. So far we may have killed a million of them -- mostly children. They wander into the towns and see thousands of the children, homeless, without clothes, running in packs on the streets like animals. They see the children, degraded by our soldiers as they beg for food. They see the children selling their sisters to our soldiers, soliciting for their mothers.
What do the peasants think as we ally ourselves with the landlords and as we refuse to put any action into our many words concerning land reform? What do they think as we test our latest weapons on them, just as the Germans tested out new medicine and new tortures in the concentration camps of Europe? Where are the roots of the independent Vietnam we claim to be building? Is it among these voiceless ones?
We have destroyed their two most cherished institutions: the family and the village. We have destroyed their land and their crops. We have cooperated in the crushing of the nation's only non-Communist revolutionary political force -- the unified Buddhist church. We have supported the enemies of the peasants of Saigon. We have corrupted their women and children and killed their men. What liberators?
Now there is little left to build on -- save bitterness. Soon the only solid physical foundations remaining will be found at our military bases and in the concrete of the concentration camps we call fortified hamlets. The peasants may well wonder if we plan to build our new Vietnam on such grounds as these? Could we blame them for such thoughts? We must speak for them and raise the questions they cannot raise. These too are our brothers.
Perhaps the more difficult but no less necessary task is to speak for those who have been designated as our enemies. What of the National Liberation Front -- that strangely anonymous group we call VC or Communists? What must they think of us in America when they realize that we permitted the repression and cruelty of Diem which helped to bring them into being as a resistance group in the south? What do they think of our condoning the violence which led to their own taking up of arms? How can they believe in our integrity when now we speak of "aggression from the north" as if there were nothing more essential to the war? How can they trust us when now we charge them with violence after the murderous reign of Diem and charge them with violence while we pour every new weapon of death into their land? Surely we must understand their feelings even if we do not condone their actions. Surely we must see that the men we supported pressed them to their violence. Surely we must see that our own computerized plans of destruction simply dwarf their greatest acts.
How do they judge us when our officials know that their membership is less than twenty-five percent Communist and yet insist on giving them the blanket name? What must they be thinking when they know that we are aware of their control of major sections of Vietnam and yet we appear ready to allow national elections in which this highly organized political parallel government will have no part? They ask how we can speak of free elections when the Saigon press is censored and controlled by the military junta. And they are surely right to wonder what kind of new government we plan to help form without them -- the only party in real touch with the peasants. They question our political goals and they deny the reality of a peace settlement from which they will be excluded. Their questions are frighteningly relevant. Is our nation planning to build on political myth again and then shore it up with the power of new violence?
Here is the true meaning and value of compassion and nonviolence when it helps us to see the enemy's point of view, to hear his questions, to know his assessment of ourselves. For from his view we may indeed see the basic weaknesses of our own condition, and if we are mature, we may learn and grow and profit from the wisdom of the brothers who are called the opposition.
So, too, with Hanoi. In the north, where our bombs now pummel the land, and our mines endanger the waterways, we are met by a deep but understandable mistrust. To speak for them is to explain this lack of confidence in Western words, and especially their distrust of American intentions now. In Hanoi are the men who led the nation to independence against the Japanese and the French, the men who sought membership in the French commonwealth and were betrayed by the weakness of Paris and the willfulness of the colonial armies. It was they who led a second struggle against French domination at tremendous costs, and then were persuaded to give up the land they controlled between the thirteenth and seventeenth parallel as a temporary measure at Geneva. After 1954 they watched us conspire with Diem to prevent elections which would have surely brought Ho Chi Minh to power over a united Vietnam, and they realized they had been betrayed again.
When we ask why they do not leap to negotiate, these things must be remembered. Also it must be clear that the leaders of Hanoi considered the presence of American troops in support of the Diem regime to have been the initial military breach of the Geneva agreements concerning foreign troops, and they remind us that they did not begin to send in any large number of supplies or men until American forces had moved into the tens of thousands.
Hanoi remembers how our leaders refused to tell us the truth about the earlier North Vietnamese overtures for peace, how the president claimed that none existed when they had clearly been made. Ho Chi Minh has watched as America has spoken of peace and built up its forces, and now he has surely heard of the increasing international rumors of American plans for an invasion of the north. He knows the bombing and shelling and mining we are doing are part of traditional pre-invasion strategy. Perhaps only his sense of humor and of irony can save him when he hears the most powerful nation of the world speaking of aggression as it drops thousands of bombs on a poor weak nation more than eight thousand miles away from its shores.
At this point I should make it clear that while I have tried in these last few minutes to give a voice to the voiceless on Vietnam and to understand the arguments of those who are called enemy, I am as deeply concerned about our troops there as anything else. For it occurs to me that what we are submitting them to in Vietnam is not simply the brutalizing process that goes on in any war where armies face each other and seek to destroy. We are adding cynicism to the process of death, for they must know after a short period there that none of the things we claim to be fighting for are really involved. Before long they must know that their government has sent them into a struggle among Vietnamese, and the more sophisticated surely realize that we are on the side of the wealthy and the secure while we create hell for the poor.
This Madness Must Cease
Somehow this madness must cease. We must stop now. I speak as a child of God and brother to the suffering poor of Vietnam. I speak for those whose land is being laid waste, whose homes are being destroyed, whose culture is being subverted. I speak for the poor of America who are paying the double price of smashed hopes at home and death and corruption in Vietnam. I speak as a citizen of the world, for the world as it stands aghast at the path we have taken. I speak as an American to the leaders of my own nation. The great initiative in this war is ours. The initiative to stop it must be ours.
This is the message of the great Buddhist leaders of Vietnam. Recently one of them wrote these words:
"Each day the war goes on the hatred increases in the heart of the Vietnamese and in the hearts of those of humanitarian instinct. The Americans are forcing even their friends into becoming their enemies. It is curious that the Americans, who calculate so carefully on the possibilities of military victory, do not realize that in the process they are incurring deep psychological and political defeat. The image of America will never again be the image of revolution, freedom and democracy, but the image of violence and militarism."
If we continue, there will be no doubt in my mind and in the mind of the world that we have no honorable intentions in Vietnam. It will become clear that our minimal expectation is to occupy it as an American colony and men will not refrain from thinking that our maximum hope is to goad China into a war so that we may bomb her nuclear installations. If we do not stop our war against the people of Vietnam immediately the world will be left with no other alternative than to see this as some horribly clumsy and deadly game we have decided to play.
The world now demands a maturity of America that we may not be able to achieve. It demands that we admit that we have been wrong from the beginning of our adventure in Vietnam, that we have been detrimental to the life of the Vietnamese people. The situation is one in which we must be ready to turn sharply from our present ways.
In order to atone for our sins and errors in Vietnam, we should take the initiative in bringing a halt to this tragic war. I would like to suggest five concrete things that our government should do immediately to begin the long and difficult process of extricating ourselves from this nightmarish conflict:
- End all bombing in North and South Vietnam.
- Declare a unilateral cease-fire in the hope that such action will create the atmosphere for negotiation.
- Take immediate steps to prevent other battlegrounds in Southeast Asia by curtailing our military buildup in Thailand and our interference in Laos.
- Realistically accept the fact that the National Liberation Front has substantial support in South Vietnam and must thereby play a role in any meaningful negotiations and in any future Vietnam government.
- Set a date that we will remove all foreign troops from Vietnam in accordance with the 1954 Geneva agreement.
Part of our ongoing commitment might well express itself in an offer to grant asylum to any Vietnamese who fears for his life under a new regime which included the Liberation Front. Then we must make what reparations we can for the damage we have done. We most provide the medical aid that is badly needed, making it available in this country if necessary.
Protesting The War
Meanwhile we in the churches and synagogues have a continuing task while we urge our government to disengage itself from a disgraceful commitment. We must continue to raise our voices if our nation persists in its perverse ways in Vietnam. We must be prepared to match actions with words by seeking out every creative means of protest possible.
As we counsel young men concerning military service we must clarify for them our nation's role in Vietnam and challenge them with the alternative of conscientious objection. I am pleased to say that this is the path now being chosen by more than seventy students at my own alma mater, Morehouse College, and I recommend it to all who find the American course in Vietnam a dishonorable and unjust one. Moreover I would encourage all ministers of draft age to give up their ministerial exemptions and seek status as conscientious objectors. These are the times for real choices and not false ones. We are at the moment when our lives must be placed on the line if our nation is to survive its own folly. Every man of humane convictions must decide on the protest that best suits his convictions, but we must all protest.
There is something seductively tempting about stopping there and sending us all off on what in some circles has become a popular crusade against the war in Vietnam. I say we must enter the struggle, but I wish to go on now to say something even more disturbing. The war in Vietnam is but a symptom of a far deeper malady within the American spirit, and if we ignore this sobering reality we will find ourselves organizing clergy- and laymen-concerned committees for the next generation. They will be concerned about Guatemala and Peru. They will be concerned about Thailand and Cambodia. They will be concerned about Mozambique and South Africa. We will be marching for these and a dozen other names and attending rallies without end unless there is a significant and profound change in American life and policy. Such thoughts take us beyond Vietnam, but not beyond our calling as sons of the living God.
In 1957 a sensitive American official overseas said that it seemed to him that our nation was on the wrong side of a world revolution. During the past ten years we have seen emerge a pattern of suppression which now has justified the presence of U.S. military "advisors" in Venezuela. This need to maintain social stability for our investments accounts for the counter-revolutionary action of American forces in Guatemala. It tells why American helicopters are being used against guerrillas in Colombia and why American napalm and green beret forces have already been active against rebels in Peru. It is with such activity in mind that the words of the late John F. Kennedy come back to haunt us. Five years ago he said, "Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable."
Increasingly, by choice or by accident, this is the role our nation has taken -- the role of those who make peaceful revolution impossible by refusing to give up the privileges and the pleasures that come from the immense profits of overseas investment.
I am convinced that if we are to get on the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin the shift from a "thing-oriented" society to a "person-oriented" society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.
A true revolution of values will soon cause us to question the fairness and justice of many of our past and present policies. n the one hand we are called to play the good Samaritan on life's roadside; but that will be only an initial act. One day we must come to see that the whole Jericho road must be transformed so that men and women will not be constantly beaten and robbed as they make their journey on life's highway. True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar; it is not haphazard and superficial. It comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring. A true revolution of values will soon look uneasily on the glaring contrast of poverty and wealth. With righteous indignation, it will look across the seas and see individual capitalists of the West investing huge sums of money in Asia, Africa and South America, only to take the profits out with no concern for the social betterment of the countries, and say: "This is not just." It will look at our alliance with the landed gentry of Latin America and say: "This is not just." The Western arrogance of feeling that it has everything to teach others and nothing to learn from them is not just. A true revolution of values will lay hands on the world order and say of war: "This way of settling differences is not just." This business of burning human beings with napalm, of filling our nation's homes with orphans and widows, of injecting poisonous drugs of hate into veins of people normally humane, of sending men home from dark and bloody battlefields physically handicapped and psychologically deranged, cannot be reconciled with wisdom, justice and love. A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.
America, the richest and most powerful nation in the world, can well lead the way in this revolution of values. There is nothing, except a tragic death wish, to prevent us from reordering our priorities, so that the pursuit of peace will take precedence over the pursuit of war. There is nothing to keep us from molding a recalcitrant status quo with bruised hands until we have fashioned it into a brotherhood.
This kind of positive revolution of values is our best defense against communism. War is not the answer. Communism will never be defeated by the use of atomic bombs or nuclear weapons. Let us not join those who shout war and through their misguided passions urge the United States to relinquish its participation in the United Nations. These are days which demand wise restraint and calm reasonableness. We must not call everyone a Communist or an appeaser who advocates the seating of Red China in the United Nations and who recognizes that hate and hysteria are not the final answers to the problem of these turbulent days. We must not engage in a negative anti-communism, but rather in a positive thrust for democracy, realizing that our greatest defense against communism is to take offensive action in behalf of justice. We must with positive action seek to remove thosse conditions of poverty, insecurity and injustice which are the fertile soil in which the seed of communism grows and develops.
The People Are Important
These are revolutionary times. All over the globe men are revolting against old systems of exploitation and oppression and out of the wombs of a frail world new systems of justice and equality are being born. The shirtless and barefoot people of the land are rising up as never before. "The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light." We in the West must support these revolutions. It is a sad fact that, because of comfort, complacency, a morbid fear of communism, and our proneness to adjust to injustice, the Western nations that initiated so much of the revolutionary spirit of the modern world have now become the arch anti-revolutionaries. This has driven many to feel that only Marxism has the revolutionary spirit. Therefore, communism is a judgement against our failure to make democracy real and follow through on the revolutions we initiated. Our only hope today lies in our ability to recapture the revolutionary spirit and go out into a sometimes hostile world declaring eternal hostility to poverty, racism, and militarism. With this powerful commitment we shall boldly challenge the status quo and unjust mores and thereby speed the day when "every valley shall be exalted, and every moutain and hill shall be made low, and the crooked shall be made straight and the rough places plain."
A genuine revolution of values means in the final analysis that our loyalties must become ecumenical rather than sectional. Every nation must now develop an overriding loyalty to mankind as a whole in order to preserve the best in their individual societies.
This call for a world-wide fellowship that lifts neighborly concern beyond one's tribe, race, class and nation is in reality a call for an all-embracing and unconditional love for all men. This oft misunderstood and misinterpreted concept -- so readily dismissed by the Nietzsches of the world as a weak and cowardly force -- has now become an absolute necessity for the survival of man. When I speak of love I am not speaking of some sentimental and weak response. I am speaking of that force which all of the great religions have seen as the supreme unifying principle of life. Love is somehow the key that unlocks the door which leads to ultimate reality. This Hindu-Moslem-Christian-Jewish-Buddhist belief about ultimate reality is beautifully summed up in the first epistle of Saint John:
Let us love one another; for love is God and everyone that loveth is born of God and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. If we love one another God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.
Let us hope that this spirit will become the order of the day. We can no longer afford to worship the god of hate or bow before the altar of retaliation. The oceans of history are made turbulent by the ever-rising tides of hate. History is cluttered with the wreckage of nations and individuals that pursued this self-defeating path of hate. As Arnold Toynbee says : "Love is the ultimate force that makes for the saving choice of life and good against the damning choice of death and evil. Therefore the first hope in our inventory must be the hope that love is going to have the last word."
We are now faced with the fact that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. In this unfolding conundrum of life and history there is such a thing as being too late. Procrastination is still the thief of time. Life often leaves us standing bare, naked and dejected with a lost opportunity. The "tide in the affairs of men" does not remain at the flood; it ebbs. We may cry out deperately for time to pause in her passage, but time is deaf to every plea and rushes on. Over the bleached bones and jumbled residue of numerous civilizations are written the pathetic words: "Too late." There is an invisible book of life that faithfully records our vigilance or our neglect. "The moving finger writes, and having writ moves on..." We still have a choice today; nonviolent coexistence or violent co-annihilation.
We must move past indecision to action. We must find new ways to speak for peace in Vietnam and justice throughout the developing world -- a world that borders on our doors. If we do not act we shall surely be dragged down the long dark and shameful corridors of time reserved for those who possess power without compassion, might without morality, and strength without sight.
Now let us begin. Now let us rededicate ourselves to the long and bitter -- but beautiful -- struggle for a new world. This is the callling of the sons of God, and our brothers wait eagerly for our response. Shall we say the odds are too great? Shall we tell them the struggle is too hard? Will our message be that the forces of American life militate against their arrival as full men, and we send our deepest regrets? Or will there be another message, of longing, of hope, of solidarity with their yearnings, of commitment to their cause, whatever the cost? The choice is ours, and though we might prefer it otherwise we must choose in this crucial moment of human history.
As that noble bard of yesterday, James Russell Lowell, eloquently stated:
Once to every man and nation
Comes the moment to decide,
In the strife of truth and falsehood,
For the good or evil side;
Some great cause, God's new Messiah,
Off'ring each the bloom or blight,
And the choice goes by forever
Twixt that darkness and that light.
Though the cause of evil prosper,
Yet 'tis truth alone is strong;
Though her portion be the scaffold,
And upon the throne be wrong:
Yet that scaffold sways the future,
And behind the dim unknown,
Standeth God within the shadow
Keeping watch above his own.
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TRIBUTE TO MARTIN LUTHER KING: BEARER OF THE INNER LIGHT FOR PEACE AND NONVIOLENCE IN THE 20TH CENTURY - THE TRUE WORK OF THE LORD FOR DEMOCRACY AND ITS HARMONY WITH RELIGIOUS/SPIRITUAL VALUES OF CHRISTIANITY
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