[And Begins Again]
The indefatigable Glenn Greenwald has unearthed an even more appalling appropriation of Dr. King by the military — a Department of Defense news article entitled “King Might Understand Today’s Wars, Pentagon Lawyer Says.” The lawyer in question is none other than Jeh Johnson, former DoD General Counsel. Here is what he says:
In the final year of his life, King became an outspoken opponent of the Vietnam War, Johnson told a packed auditorium. However, he added, today’s wars are not out of line with the iconic Nobel Peace Prize winner’s teachings.
“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,” he said.
This is a stunning example of the myth I mentioned in my previous post — that US violence is always used for noble purposes and always promotes peace. Nearly everything that Dr. King said about Vietnam applies with equal force to the war on terrorism; now as then, instead of trying to understand the complicated relationship between the US and its supposed enemies, the US simply assumes it can kill its way to peace and security. Not to put too fine a point on it, but the idea that Dr. King would support the US drone program and the war in Afghanistan (to say nothing of the war in Iraq) is both completely absurd and an insult to his memory.