Because King was successful in the fight against racism, he is credited
with having make Obama's presidency possible.The two men, united the by
their prominence as brother black American leaders are easily presented
in commercial media as if Obama were of the same mind about his country
as King was.
However, their words and behavior project two entirely contrasting views of society, of America, and of the world in which it is the sole superpower.
Sadly, in school,everyone under fifty has been permitted to know King only as a great civil rights leader and kept from knowing anything of King's denouncing his government and condemning its wars for predatory investments.
Only the elderly can remember that the Martin Luther King, who mass media now lovingly acclaims as an American hero, during the last year of his life was vilified by these same media corporations, led by the NY Times, as a traitor, unpatriotic, a friend of America's enemies, and of diminished use to his people. King was maligned right up to the day he was shot, exactly one year to the hour after a sermon that made bold headlines across the world, "KING CALLS US GREATEST PURVEYOR OF VIOLENCE IN THE WORLD TODAY."
A tight information blackout has kept the young from knowing that King had condemned US wars, condemned the "unjust overseas predatory investments the wars are meant to maintain" and condemned Wall Street owned media's continual war promoting propaganda distorting history and deceiving the American public.
But suddenly, in this age of instant information technology more citizens are learning how King had stood up bravely to the military industrial finance complex and dared expose the lies justifying brutal US wars on poor countries.
They now are joining a growing minority who are aware of what has always been available on the Internet and libraries for all to know, and with this awareness a need to choose between what King came to stand for and what Obama stands for.
Yes, forced to choose! King condemned US Wars, analyzed them honestly, exposed what they were about, what was their purpose, and condemned them and condemned lying about them. King saw the wars preventing progress on poverty and injustice at home. Obama praises US wars as good wars, continues them, has started new wars and threatens to start even more and lies about why. This a not question of opinion, or about which fan club to join or drop out of. This difference glares at us from today's newspapers and documented history.
Seems it shouldn't be a difficult choice for most peace loving Americans. But for Americans who are the descendants of slaves, who have lived through, or are still living through discrimination, with collective memory of decades of the insanity of almost incomprehensible racist inhumanity, of knowing of a century and a half of commonplace mistreatment, often enough with the threat of it going beyond ugliness to deadly, having to choose between a black hero of liberation and a black president representing a singular improvement in the status of all his brothers and sisters has to be unimaginably painful.
One difference worth noting is that King is famous, respected and loved for what he accomplished, often at considerable risk to his life. Obama is a celebrity for being the first black man to occupy the highest political office in the world.
King took, and Obama has taken, positions on the American war in Vietnam that are irreconcilable.
In his inaugural address, Obama spoke, "For us, they fought and died in places like Concord and Gettysburg, Normandy and Khe Sahn [Vietnam]."
But King had said that Americans who died killing Vietnamese in their own beloved towns and villages were sent to maintain unjust predatory investments of wealthy Americans and French co-investors. (Another brother, Muhammad Ali, gave up his title in refusing to participate.)
In being so indiscriminately praising of the American war in Vietnam Obama was being outright dismissive of King, who had condemned the war as a long atrocity within a murderous foreign policy all around the world.
Why does an well informed and educated first black president feel obliged to praise participation in an imperialist war on an innocent colonial people that had looked up their American ally against the Japanese? And what kind of a message was the new President sending to the Vietnamese?
Obama surely had read King's famous sermon, in which King wrote, "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. They know they must move on 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 test out our latest weapons on them."
One would have liked to hope that calling the battle of Khe Sahn patriotic heroism was an oversight, but this praise of the Vietnam war came right after Obama callously maintained silence during a month long slaughter in Gaza that brought death to six hundred children from American made bombs and planes. During his three years the President has continued his praise of American military action in other peoples countries.
Although Obama immediately ordered 34,000 additional troops into Afghanistan and ordered bombing in Pakistan as he said would do if elected, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
Compare Obama's praise of good and necessary war in his Nobel prize acceptance speech with King's speech accepting the same prize forty-five years before.
From the speech of Martin Luther King Jr. accepting his Nobel Prize in 1964:
"I accept this award on behalf of a civil rights movement which is moving with determination and a majestic scorn for risk and danger to establish a reign of freedom and a rule of justice. I am mindful that only yesterday in Birmingham, Alabama, our children, crying out for brotherhood, were answered with fire hoses, snarling dogs and even death. I am mindful that only yesterday in Philadelphia, Mississippi, young people seeking to secure the right to vote were brutalized and murdered. Nonviolence is the answer to the crucial political and moral question of our time - the need for man to overcome oppression and violence without resorting to violence and oppression. Civilization and violence are antithetical concepts. Negroes of the United States, following the people of India, have demonstrated that nonviolence is not sterile passivity, but a powerful moral force which makes for social transformation. Sooner or later all the people of the world will have to discover a way to live together in peace, and thereby transform this pending cosmic elegy into a creative psalm of brotherhood. If this is to be achieved, man must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love."
And from Obama's Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech in 2009 (four times longer than King's):
"There will be times when nations -- acting individually or in concert -- will find the use of force ... morally justified.
I believe that force can be justified on humanitarian grounds
I face the world as it is, and cannot stand idle in the face of threats to the American people.
... all responsible nations must embrace the role that militaries with a clear mandate can play to keep the peace.
... we are at war, and I am responsible for the deployment of thousands of young Americans to battle in a distant land. Some will kill. Some will be killed.
The world...continues to support our efforts in Afghanistan, because of the ... principle of self-defense. Likewise, the world recognized the need to confront Saddam Hussein...
To say that force is sometimes necessary ... is a recognition of history; the imperfections of man and the limits of reason.
Whatever mistakes we have made, the plain fact is this: the United States of America has helped underwrite global security for more than six decades with the blood of our citizens and the strength of our arms. The service ... of our men and women in uniform has promoted peace and prosperity...So yes, the instruments of war do have a role to play in preserving the peace. . The soldier's courage and sacrifice is full of glory, expressing devotion to country, to cause and to comrades in arms.
...war is sometimes necessary, and war is ...an expression of human feelings.
I ... reserve the right to act unilaterally ... to defend my nation.
...the purpose of military action extends beyond self defense or the defense of one nation against an aggressor. More and more, we all confront difficult questions about how ... to stop a civil war. America's commitment to global security will never waiver.
But in many countries, there is a disconnect between the efforts of those who serve and the ambivalence of the broader public. I understand why war is not popular. But I also know this: the belief that peace is desirable is rarely enough to achieve it. ... NATO continues to be indispensable...... to those who violate international law by brutalizing their own people. -- there must be consequences. ... we will be faced with the choice between armed intervention and complicity in oppression.
... I prohibited torture. ...I ordered the prison at Guantanamo Bay closed. ...I have reaffirmed America's commitment to abide by the Geneva Conventions.
I have spoken to the questions that must weigh on our minds and our hearts as we choose to wage war. "
[click here for the complete official text]
Has torture ceased? Guantanamo has not been closed. Drone strikes destroying anyone nearby within the target zone? Seven years of occupation war in entire nation to search for enemies of America? Obama threatening other countries with nuclear attack? All this is not abiding by the Geneva Conventions or the Nuremberg Principles.
Obama used the speech to describe US foreign policy, making mention of Burma, Zimbabwe, Iran, North Korea, Congo, Darfur and Somalia as possibly needing military intervention on humanitarian grounds. US armed forces have invaded dozens of small nations for such reasons since end of WW II. bring death and destruction, not "peace and prosperity." The spectacle of Americans killing millions, Koreans in Korea. Vietnamese in Vietnam, to list only two, was not addressed, not explained. Last year, a civil war in Libya was called for from an London organization funded by the US, and a well armed insurgent force led by CIA connected Libyans attacked, prior to Obama ordering a missile bombardment along with NATO, restoring Western control in that oil wealthy African nation.
Obama spoke of justification for war on Saddam Hussein, and continues to do so, even though as a candidate he referred to Iraq as 'dumb war' and gained popularity among anti-war voters. He praised NATO, a military structure built up under the direction of U.S. supreme commanders during the early Cold War that was never disbanded afterward and is recognized by majority mankind, still under neocolonial economic exploitation after more than a century of military occupation by empires of nations that make up NATO. At Riverside Church in 1967, King said, "This need to maintain social stability for our investments accounts for the counterrevolutionary action of American forces in Guatemala. It tells why American helicopters are being used against guerrillas in Cambodia and why American napalm and Green Beret forces have already been active against rebels in Peru. During the past ten years, we have seen emerge a pattern of suppression which has now justified the presence of U.S. military advisers in Venezuela."
Finally, one should note the difference between King and Obama regarding economics - first quoting King:
"We must honestly admit that capitalism has often left a gulf between superfluous wealth and abject poverty, has created conditions permitting necessities to be taken from the many to give luxuries to the few, and has encouraged small hearted men to become cold and conscienceless so that they are unmoved by suffering, poverty-stricken humanity. The profit motive, when it is the sole basis of an economic system, encourages a cutthroat competition and selfish ambition that inspires men to be more I -centered than thou-centered, be more concerned about making a living than making a life. I have come to see that America is in danger of losing her soul
[How Should A Christian View Communism?] 1955
Obama has often said he saw capitalism to be the best system despite its shortcomings. After the 2009 G20 meeting, President Obama, defending the U.S. capitalist system, said Americans "don't resent the rich; they wanna be rich." Obama as president elect agreed with huge bailouts and as president has gone even further in bank bailouts without oversight that has resulted the disappearance of a trillion dollars. No word from Obama regarding the government itself hiring for needed public construction as FDR did to alleviate the mass unemployment caused by American investors investing then in low-wage Nazi Germany as now investors invest (even the bail-out money) in low-wage nations in Asia and South America.
"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 country. This is a role our nation has taken, " refusing to give up the privileges and the pleasures that comes from the immense profits of overseas investments. This is not just."
Choose the Martin Luther King Jr. way of thinking, before it is too late. Obama is at war in six Muslim nations and according to General Wesley Clark the Pentagon plans three more wars. There is massive investment in weapons of mass destruction as the US expands its seven hundred plus bases over the surface of the Earth.
There is new organization to promote King awareness, endorsed among many many others by former US Attorney General Ramsey Clark, author of both civil rights acts. It is the International Campaign for Awareness of Martin Luther King's Condemnation of U.S. Wars and Petition to Pastors of All Faiths to Condemn US Wars and the "Unjust Overseas Predatory Investments They are Meant to Maintain," Just As King Did.