In his rousing speech to the NAACP, President Obama praised the civil rights leaders of the past whose sacrifices "began the journey that has led me" (to the White House). He neglected to mention, however, that the majority of those civil rights leaders, most notably Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., opposed the war in Viet Nam and, if they were alive today, likely would oppose his escalation of the war in Afghanistan.
"Painting himself as the beneficiary of the NAACP's work, Obama cited historical figures from W.E.B. DuBois to Thurgood Marshall, Martin Luther King Jr. to Emmet Till, to explain how the path to the presidency was cleared by visionaries," Associated Press reported. All that is true, of course.
And Obama brought the NAACP audience to its feet when he spoke about his vision for their children: "I want them aspiring to be scientists and engineers, doctors and teachers, not just ballers and rappers," Obama said. "I want them aspiring to be a Supreme Court justice. I want them aspiring to be president of the United States."
But there are disturbing reports of escalating civilian casualties emerging from Afghanistan, a war that is now very much Obama's War, and distressing photos being displayed of Afghan children lying in hospitals with burned faces and bandaged limbs. We might well ask, "What about their futures?"
Civilian deaths in Afghanistan jumped 24 percent over 2008 according to the United Nations, CNN reported July 31st. There were 1,013 civilian deaths in the first six months of this year and 30 percent of the slain were killed by Western military air strikes. The UN said the air strikes "remain responsible for the largest percentage of civilian deaths" attributed to foreign troops in Afghanistan.