When will we listen?
I am reminded of that anonymous quote: "Nobody knows the age of the human race, but everybody agrees that it is old enough to know better." It's not really Déjà Vu, all over, again... is it?
Something to think about:
We Still Don’t Hear Him
Bob Herbert, NYT:
“I come to this magnificent house of worship tonight,” said the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., “because my conscience leaves me no other choice.”
This was on the evening of April 4, 1967, almost exactly 43 years ago. Dr. King told the more than 3,000 people who had crowded into Riverside Church that silence in the face of the horror that was taking place in Vietnam amounted to a “betrayal.”
He spoke of both the carnage in the war zone and the toll the war was taking here in the United States. The speech comes to mind now for two reasons: A Tavis Smiley documentary currently airing on PBS revisits the controversy set off by Dr. King’s indictment of “the madness of Vietnam.” And recent news reports show ever-increasing evidence that we have ensnared ourselves in a mad and tragic venture in Afghanistan.
Dr. King spoke of how, in Vietnam, the United States increased its commitment of troops “in support of governments which were singularly corrupt, inept, and without popular support.”
It’s strange, indeed, to read those words more than four decades later as we are increasing our commitment of troops in Afghanistan to fight in support of Hamid Karzai, who remains in power after an election that the world knows was riddled with fraud and whose government is one of the most corrupt and inept on the planet. [...]
His bold stand seems all the more striking in today’s atmosphere, in which moral courage among the very prominent — the kind of courage that carries real risk — seems mostly to have disappeared.
More than 4,000 Americans have died in Iraq and more than 1,000 in Afghanistan, where the Obama administration has chosen to escalate rather than to begin a careful withdrawal. Those two wars, as the Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz and his colleague Linda Bilmes have told us, will ultimately cost us more than $3 trillion.
And yet the voices in search of peace, in search of an end to the “madness,” in search of the nation-building so desperately needed here in the United States, are feeble indeed.
Dr. King would be assassinated exactly one year (almost to the hour) after his great speech at Riverside Church. It’s the same terrible fate that awaits some of the American forces, most of them very young, that we continue to send into the quagmire in Afghanistan.
“I think that people want peace so much that one of these days government had better get out of their way and let them have it.”
~Dwight D. Eisenhower