One year before his death the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. gave a remarkable speech on the war in Vietnam, “Beyond Vietnam: Time to Break the Silence.” (The full can be seen at http://democracyrising.us/content/view/861/151/.) It was remarkable for its brilliant and honest review of the history of Vietnam, its connection of the Vietnam War to the injustices in U.S. domestic policy, and its connection of the Vietnam War to the need for a paradigm shift in U.S. values that would lead the world away from militarism and materialism to cooperation and brotherhood.
One of the lessons that applies today to all Americans is this is the time for action. King said: “A time comes when silence is betrayal. That time has come for us in relation to Vietnam.” The same is true today. All Americans know the devastation and destruction we have wrought on the people of Iraq and how this war is doing more harm than good. We know that hundreds of thousands of Iraqis have been killed and every week scores more die. We know the truth, we must act.