Martin Luther King Jr.: Stop the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and Stop the Mugging of the Middle Class and Poor by the Wealthy

George Washington's picture

Washington’s Blog

The Defense Department’s general counsel said that he believed Martin Luther King, Jr., might have supported the current wars:

I believe that if Dr. King were alive today, he would recognize that
we live in a complicated world, and that our nation's military should
not and cannot lay down its arms and leave the American people
vulnerable to terrorist attack.

That is easily disproven.

As King said in 1967:

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 ask -- and rightly so -- what about
Vietnam? They ask 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… 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. And
history is cluttered with the wreckage of nations and individuals that
pursued this self-defeating path of hate.

King also proclaimed in 1967:

true revolution of values will lay hand on the world order and say of
war, 'This way of settling differences is not just.'... A nation that
continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than
on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.

King lamented
that the United States had become the “greatest purveyor of violence in
the world today, said the world "is sick with war", and said that "war
is not the answer." King said:

I never intend to become adjusted to the madness of militarism and the self-defeating method of physical violence.

he warned that the deep malady of the American spirit is our perverse
devotion to what he called the "giant triplets" of "racism, extreme
materialism, and militarism."

Indeed, if one understands King's core philosophies, the Pentagon's statement becomes even sillier.

Initially, as Pulitzer Prize-winning author Chris Hedges points out:

Anger at injustice, as Martin Luther King wrote, is the political expression of love.

In other words, King believed that his Christian faith required him to fight injustice. That is why King said that we have to fight against "systems of exploitation and oppression."

Moreover, King was an adherent of two philosophical concepts which Gandhi also followed:

1. "Ahimsa" - non-violence towards all




2. "Satyagraha" - truth is the only weapon needed

of the philosophy of ahimsa don't believe that some wars are jusitifed
... they believe that we shouldn't harm any person or even any critter if we can help it (the most extreme followers of ahimsa are the Jain sect of India. They are so extreme that they sweep the path ahead of them
when they walk so that they will not accidentally squish any bugs.
Neither Gandhi or King were Jainists, however, this extreme example
helps to explain the basic idea.)

Indeed, the following statements by King only make sense when one understands King's ahimsa philosophy:

  • "The
    ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral,
    begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. Instead of diminishing
    evil, it multiplies it. Through violence you may murder the liar, but
    you cannot murder the lie, nor establish the truth."
  • "Nonviolence
    is the answer to the crucial political and moral questions of our
    time; the need for mankind to overcome oppression and violence without
    resorting to oppression and violence. Mankind must evolve for all
    human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression, and
    retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love."

  • "Man must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects
    revenge, aggression and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is

    Returning violence for violence multiplies violence,
    adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars... Hate
    cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.

    We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools."

addition, adherents of the philosophy of satyagraha believe that truth
is the most powerful force in the universe. That is why both Gandhi and
King believed that non-violent resistance is the most effective form of
dissent: they believed that the "force of truth" would eventually
win out over the "force of violence".


And adherents of the philosophy of satyagraha believe that truth is the
most powerful force in the universe. That is why both Gandhi and King
believed that non-violent resistance is the most effective form of
dissent:  they believed that the "force of truth" would eventually  win
out over the "force of violence".

King Was Against Economic Injustice

Additionally, King fought against economic injustice as well. For example, he said:

never intend to adjust myself to the tragic inequalities of an economic
system which takes necessities from the masses to give luxuries to the

As Roger Bybee writes today:

As Norman Solomon and Jeff Cohen noted,

after passage of civil rights acts in 1964 and 1965, King began
challenging the nation's fundamental priorities. He maintained that
civil rights laws were empty without "human rights" — including economic rights. For people too poor to eat at a restaurant or afford a decent home, King said, anti-discrimination laws were hollow.

that a majority of Americans below the poverty line were white, King
developed a class perspective. He decried the huge income gaps between
rich and poor, and called for "radical changes in the structure of
our society" to redistribute wealth and power."

at the time of his death on April 4, 1968, Dr. King was deeply
immersed in the struggle of 1,300 black sanitation workers in Memphis
who had organized themselves into an AFSCME local.. At the same time,
he was also building a coalition for a "Poor People's Campaign" that
would assemble in Washington, D.C., to demand "economic rights" for
people of all colors. It was aimed at building a mighty coalition that
would span autoworkers in Detroit, discarded coalminers in Appalachia,
Latino farmworkers, and oppressed blacks in both the South and North.

In his new book All Work Has Dignity,
Honey pulls together 11 of King's speeches on labor and explains the
lasting significance of King's emphasis on the need for "economic
rights" for all.

People forget that Dr. King was
every bit as committed to economic justice as he was to ending racial
segregation. As we struggle with massive unemployment, a staggering
racial wealth gap and near collapse of our financial system, King’s
prophetic writings and speeches underscore his relevance for today.

so - if King were alive today - it is certain that he would be
demanding an end to the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere, and an
end up to the mugging of the middle and lower classes by the wealthy.



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benb's picture

King's opposition to the Viet Nam War got him killed. I think it's that simple. He was getting ready to go big anti-war; was being bugged 24/7 by US intelligence and since drafting poor blacks was to be a critical logistic the decision was made to eliminate him. James Earl Ray my ass. It was another shadow government hit. The decision was probably made at a Bilderberger meeting or by committee at The Council On Foreign Relations. To even intimate “That if King were alive today” he might support the Iran or Iraq slaughters/ genocides is some kind of a sick joke.

Shaktipalooza's picture

At least we still have Jesus on our side. . .

Lord Koos's picture

It's classic propaganda to take the memory of a popular leader (one who worked for all as opposed to the rich) and try to co-opt them for your own agenda. Goebbels would have been proud. 

I'm sure Dr. King would have been very disappointed to see one black man become president while a million black men are in prison.

AchtungAffen's picture

Poor MLKJ, he was born in the wrong country. Preaching Ahimsa to a nation that loves their guns more than their own lives? Satyagraha to a nation that believes Global Warming is a swindle by frustrated marxists with the help of Maggie Thatcher, Al Gore and the Climatologists Gild? SOCIAL JUSTICE in a country where such a phrase disqualifies you instantly as a commie?

He should have done as shown in that Boondocks episode: Fuck it, I'm going to Canada.

Big Red's picture

A recap of the civil trial and the players around the death of Dr. King can be found on today's edition of


blindman's picture

We are in a strange period of history in which a revolutionary has to be a patriot and a patriot has to be a revolutionary.


You and I both know that there can be no real solution of the Indian problem which does not also benefit Britain. Either we all live in a decent world, or nobody does. It is so obvious, is it not, that the British worker as well as the Indian peasant stands to gain by the ending of capitalist exploitation, and that Indian independence is a lost cause if the Fascist nations are allowed to dominate the world.


Between them these two books sum up our present predicament. Capitalism leads to dole queues, the scramble for markets, and war. Collectivism leads to concentration camps, leader worship, and war. There is no way out of this unless a planned economy can somehow be combined with the freedom of the intellect, which can only happen if the concept of right and wrong is restored to politics.


If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.


To see what is in front of one's nose needs a constant struggle.


What he feared most was the blind spot between us and the future, the space between identities where we could get lost forever.



In our age there is no such thing as 'keeping out of politics.' All issues are political issues, and politics itself is a mass of lies, evasions, folly, hatred and schizophrenia.
George Orwell



SoCalBusted's picture

Better yet, he would certainly approve of extramarital affairs!

AnAnonymous's picture

Dead man speaking...

Better to stay in the present.

Just take a walk, meet total strangers and during the convo, coin in a question to know whether they have first order/second order relatives in the army.

Notice how so many have relatives in the army.

The US army is the backbone, the heart and blood of the US society. It is impossible to diminish it. It has nothing to do with internal and external threats. Only that so many US citizens derive their money from the army.

People should now take a look at some past facts: US citizens started on the ground of freedom and maintained slavery. They recanted about private property and stole an entire continent.

Freedom is something alien to US citizens. Prosperity is not, though. And they will take any decision that prosperity requires to be expanded.

blindman's picture


well compiled and said.  the first link, council "said" ..., was taken down /

does not work.  that is fortunate because the idea that  mlk would support the

defense dept. in war is direct evidence that this council is incompetent and

should be disbarred from all council and should have their children taken from

them being deemed intellectually but mainly mentally incompetent. 

the world can be complicated but the occupation for resources taking place

is relatively simple.  mlk, unlike council, would see that.  what does council

have to say to this veteran, who is still alive.  nothing


Even Lost Wars Make Corporations Rich Posted on Jan 10, 2011

A young protester with a painted face demonstrates in central Athens during an anti-war rally back in 2007.

By Chris Hedges



Michael Prysner, a veteran of the Iraq War and one of the co-founders of March Forward!, gets it. His group is one of those organizing the March 19 protests. Prysner joined the Army out of high school in June 2001. He was part of the Iraq invasion force. He worked during the war in Iraq tracking targets and calling in airstrikes and artillery barrages. He took part in nighttime raids on Iraqi homes. He worked as an interrogator. He did ground surveillance missions and protected convoys. He left the Army in 2005, disgusted by the war and the lies told to sustain it. He has been involved since leaving the military in anti-recruiting drives at high schools and street protests. He was arrested with 130 others in front of the White House during the Dec. 16 anti-war protest organized by Veterans for Peace.


“I believed going into the war that we were there to help the Iraqi people and find weapons of mass destruction,” he said when we spoke a few days ago. “But it quickly became clear that these two reasons for the war were absolutely false. If you mentioned weapons of mass destruction to intelligence officers they would laugh at you. It was not even part of the mission to look for these things. If it was part of the mission I would have known because I was part of the only intelligence company in the north of the country. I thought that maybe we were there to help the Iraqi people, but all I saw when I was there was Iraqis brutalized and their living conditions deteriorate drastically. Iraqis would tell me we were worse than Saddam. I soon realized there was a different purpose for the war, that we were putting in place a permanent military occupation. It was my firsthand experience during my deployment that showed me the reality of the Iraq War and led me to begin to question U.S. foreign policy. I began to wonder what U.S. foreign policy as a whole was about. I saw that Iraq was a microcosm. The U.S. military is used to conquer countries for the rich, to seize markets, land, resources and labor for Wall Street. This is what drives U.S. foreign policy.”  .....

Silversinner's picture

Dr Martin Luther should have been first president

of US not this clown Obama.In my dreams he is.

Dr. Porkchop's picture

If MLK were here today, he'd bitchslap anyone trying to say he'd support the current war(s), non-violently of course.

Pitchman's picture

An interesting note:

Sunday's 60 minutes, with the help of the SS, was able to profile the whack job in Tucson in a way that "categorizes" anyone who dares verbalizes their displeasure with the Government as probably unstable and, a potential terrorist threat. Prepare your tinfoil hats ZH commentators they're coming for you!


blindman's picture

government, mainstream media and wall street are where you can find

your antisocial violent types / terrorists if you like the bush-

cheny coined and apparently universally adopted moronic linguistic

twist.  i remember the first time i heard a president refer to

what was formerly referred to as "fellow americans" , "citizens" etc.

as "folks".  the "patriot act" soon followed.  "folks" became suspects.

and their rights , un alien able,  protected,  were suddenly debatable

and revocable privileges enshrined in legislation no legislator bothered

to even read.  i'm not even sure anyone bothered to write alleged legislation?    

keep in mind that anyone who stands up in congress or meets in a governmental

committee is, in their need, desire and job description, invariably verbalizing

displeasure with the existing government.  that is the core, the heart of,

the essence of all government.  the demons and the angels travel that

same road.  and i don't worry about cnn and television and the stupid

shit some people get paid to say due to their total lack of comprehension

of the meaning of their lives, their times and place in history. 

could be youth is wasted on the young and the is wasted on people

who have nothing useful, intelligent or worthwhile to say.

High Plains Drifter's picture

Yes, Sunday on CNN they were talking about mental illness. Let me say that anyone who dissents, anyone who says what is on his mind, is mentally ill. This will be the way they play it, or at least one of the ways. I have no misconceptions about this.  As King said above, I am maladjusted to the wrongs that this government is doing to its people.

George Washington's picture

Government apologists are also eager to label anyone "taking a cynical stance toward politics, mistrusting authority, endorsing democratic practices, ... and displaying an inquisitive, imaginative outlook" as worthy of a Stalinist trip to the insane asylum.

Pitchman's picture


From: Inflection Point

What Would MLK Do in 2011 -A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

If ever there were a Black leader whose political motivations and inclinations could be predicted, it was MLK, one of the most documented leaders in American history. His steadfast, coherent, courageous positions on issues of peace and social justice remained consistent even as they evolved. If he were alive, Dr. King “would not be erecting a protective barrier around Barack Obama, the First Black President of the United States, but would instead confront him.”

"Dr. King would never passively tolerate the wholesale consumption of the American state by Wall Street."

See: What Would MLK DO, in 2011?


In 1967, King was the country's most prominent opponent of the Vietnam War, and a staunch critic our foreign policy, which he deemed militaristic. In his "Beyond Vietnam" speech (below) delivered at New York's Riverside Church on April 4, 1967 -- a year to the day before he was murdered -- King called the United States "the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today." 


Time magazine called the speech "demagogic slander that sounded like a script for Radio Hanoi," and the Washington Post declared that King had "diminished his usefulness to his cause, his country, his people.



It took 8 more years before the fall of Saigon.

If still alive, Dr. King would remind us today is the 50th anniversary of President Eisenhower's Farewell Speech where he warned us of LIVING BEYOND OUR MEANS and THE MILITARY INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX stating:

"In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted.  Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together."


“As we peer into society’s future, we – you and I, and our government – must avoid the impulse to live only for today, plundering, for our own ease and convenience, the precious resources of tomorrow. We cannot mortgage the material assets of our grandchildren without risking the loss also of their political and spiritual heritage.  We want democracy to survive for all generations to come, not to become the insolvent phantom of tomorrow.

Today those who benefit, justify our senseless wars in the name of democracy. While many at home are pushed to the edge, where military service is their only option.  The nations economic pursuits both foreign and domestic are unsustainable. As we draw closer to the event horizon of becoming an "insolvent phantom of tomorrow", the question is: As A Community, will we demand our birth right and reinstatement of THE RULE OF LAW! Or, will we cowardly shrink as our grand experiment decays into Chaos? -EC


"The problem in defense is how far you can go without destroying from within what you are trying to defend from without." - Dwight D. Eisenhower

"In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends." - Martin Luther King Jr.

jeffca's picture

MLK would support waterboarding

surfsup's picture

"...mugging of the middle and lower classes by the wealthy."

That is more a symptom than a cause.  It's also a game which has gone on for about 285 years so start your research book back about there.   The current play actors flicker by but the collective delusion of material gain at the expense of another as being truly profitable is going bye bye -- fast -- one at a time -- no matter the race nor the economic class.   Lots waking up and that is a good thing.

Health, Happiness, Success and Peace in that order is being truly profitable.  Many have number three all worked out (not) but are sadly missing 1,2 and 4 in any real manner. This is why JC among others said love those who hate you because if they hate you they are f'ked somewhere along 1,2 and 4.  What could you possibly add to their inexorable deterioration? 

Just sayin'  -->


midtowng's picture

I would like to oppose all wars, but I think that is unrealistic.

However, I can only think of two reasons to ever enter into a war: 1) to defend yourself (this excludes a pre-emptive attack, as we saw with Iraq), and 2) to stop genocide.

The second reason you could only use a couple times a century, as history shows.

High Plains Drifter's picture

There is no way, King would have supported any of these stupid wars because as was the case then, it is now, the same, all based upon lies and innocent people die to enrich the pockets of international jewish businessmen.

During his time , in the civil rights movement, he was moving the focus to anti war and also to international relations. As I stated earlier in the forum, it is my contention that he finally realized , he was onto something here and that he finally realized what was really going on in this world and that this whole thing he was involved in was bigger than himself. In the sixties, those who would crush dissent were very busy. Most Americans think they are free people, but in the sixties, if anyone cared to notice, the final solution, answer to any irritating problems in any of the Americans that got in the way, was used many times. I guess we never really understood that. Looking back now, it is easy to see. If you get out of line and you are considered a clear and present danger, you are eliminated. How can this be, when we are a "free people" ? We are as free as they want us to be.

Martin Luther King's movement had pissed off a lot of people, important people , in the south and elsewhere, especially jewish merchants in the south, who were losing money hands over fist by the boycotts that were organized and also jewish arms merchants involved in the military industrial complex, with all of his anti war talk and his fluent and logical and emotional speeches, appealing to the masses, as only he could, in this moment in time. For you see, he knew as well as anyone, that a falling star, only shines for moment and then is gone forever. I think he understood this and wanted to do the right thing.

Certain individuals considered him to be a loose cannon on deck and did not trust him. The final straw was his determination to start speaking out about the plight of the Palestinians. As they did in the Kennedy situation, they (mossad) decided to deal with Mr King as well. Ladies and gentlemen, you must, I repeat you must know who your enemy is and what he is capable of.

Dburn's picture

Really? it was just Jewish Businessman that were/are getting enriched? Only Jewish Businessman in the Military, Industrial, Congressional complex? Me thinks you should do some fucking research or stop fucking posting.

I don't know what the site owners goals are for this site, but as long as this bigoted shit keeps getting posted, be happy with what you got because it ain't going much higher, not with these assholes shitting on your board. 

Missing_Link's picture

GW, you're delusional.

Who is John Galt's picture


To think that MLK would have supported this ZOG government is what is delusional and an insult to us all!

HyperLazy's picture

Recently the CIA honored MLK and civil rights as well:

duo's picture

Dr. King would be surprised to find that a union garbage collector could pull down more than a starting electrical engineer 40 years later.

SwingForce's picture

Slow news day, "If Dr. King were alive today..." Yeah, right, and if JFK and brother Bobby were alive? And if all the outspoken Voices of Freedom in a Free Society were alive today? Light that crack pipe up, bitchez. 

"Remember, remember
The fifth of November
The gunpowder treason and plot.
I know of no reason
Why the gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot."

"But what of the man? I know his name was Guy Fawkes, and I know that, in 1605, he attempted to blow up the houses of Parliament. But who was he really? What was he like? We are told to remember the idea, not the man, because a man can fail. He can be caught. He can be killed and forgotten. But four hundred years later an idea can still change the world. I've witnessed firsthand the power of ideas. I've seen people kill in the name of them; and die defending them. But you cannot kiss an idea, cannot touch it or hold it. Ideas do not bleed, it cannot feel pain, and it does not love. And it is not an idea that I miss, it is a man. A man who made me remember the fifth of November. A man I will never forget."

-Evey Hammond, "V for Vendetta", Apropos.

SwingForce's picture

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Of course knew he was outspoken, he knew he was perhaps ruffling some feathers yet stimulating others to think. Yet NOwhere, I am sure, in his thoughts, was the chance that somebody would take his First Amendment Rights away, take his God given ability to THINK away, take his human bodily functions away; the ability to breathe the air, see the july sunrise, and hear the echoes of  laughter, not to mention to cause much sorrow to his family. 

America, admit we let him down.