In 1977, U.S. President Jimmy Carter pardoned American Vietnam War-era draft evaders and ordered a case-by-case study of deserters.
The above, noted by KeShawn, is from UPI's "The almanac." Today is MLK's birthday observed. On April 4, 1967, he delivered his speech "Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence" at the Riverside Church (NYC). Information Clearing House has it (in full) here with audio. Below is an excerpt:
Since I am a preacher by trade, I suppose it is not surprising that I have seven major reasons for bringing Vietnam into the field of my moral vision. There is at the outset a very obvious and almost facile connection between the war in Vietnam and the struggle I, and others, have been waging in America. A few years ago there was a shining moment in that struggle. It seemed as if there was a real promise of hope for the poor -- both black and white -- through the poverty program. There were experiments, hopes, new beginnings. Then came the buildup in Vietnam and I watched the program broken and eviscerated as if it were some idle political plaything of a society gone mad on war, and I knew that America would never invest the necessary funds or energies in rehabilitation of its poor so long as adventures like Vietnam continued to draw men and skills and money like some demonic destructive suction tube. So I was increasingly compelled to see the war as an enemy of the poor and to attack it as such.
Perhaps the more tragic recognition of reality took place when it became clear to me that the war was doing far more than devastating the hopes of the poor at home. It was sending their sons and their brothers and their husbands to fight and to die in extraordinarily high proportions relative to the rest of the population. We were taking the black young men who had been crippled by our society and sending them eight thousand miles away to guarantee liberties in Southeast Asia which they had not found in southwest Georgia and East Harlem. So we have been repeatedly faced with the cruel irony of watching Negro and white boys on TV screens as they kill and die together for a nation that has been unable to seat them together in the same schools. So we watch them in brutal solidarity burning the huts of a poor village, but we realize that they would never live on the same block in Detroit. I could not be silent in the face of such cruel manipulation of the poor.
My third reason moves to an even deeper level of awareness, for it grows out of my experience in the ghettoes of the North over the last three years -- especially the last three summers. As 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 asked -- and rightly so -- what about Vietnam? They asked 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. For the sake of those boys, for the sake of this government, for the sake of hundreds of thousands trembling under our violence, I cannot be silent.
Remember that as the New York Times front pages War Pornographer Michael Gordon and Eric Schmitt's "Pentagon Weighs Top Iraq General As Chief of NATO." The same David Petraeus who lied to Congress is being geared up for a postion that, the scribblers note, would put him in place of NATO for the next president and a position that will be utilized to start the wars in Africa that so many War Hawks are 'itching' for.
Inside the paper, Richard A. Oppel Jr. and Qais Mizher offer "Bobmer Kills Sunni Allies Of the U.S." about the continued attacks on US collaborators belonging to the so-called "Awakening" Councils. It's the Falluja attack we noted last night. The reporters note the US military's claims that, in 2007, 2,400 "members of Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia" were killed and note:
Some critics contend that the stimates of insurgnets who actually belong to Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia, which American officials say is overwhelmingly Iraqi but has foreign leadership, tend to be overstated. Many insurgents who are lumped into the group, they say, are Sunnis who simply need money or who are angered by sectarian bias of Iraqi security forces, but who have no wider allegiances to Al Qaeda.
In either case . . .
Oppel and Mizher, before you start singing "Both Sides Now," there's another reality: the US military says 'insurgents' and 'terrorists.' Public record has easily proven by now that such assertions are not reliable. There have been to many retractions by the US military. Some come quickly, some come months later. Are we all supposed to forget that for months Abeer and her family were killed by 'insurgents' according to the military? (They were killed by, and Abeer was gang-raped by, US soldiers.)
The public record demonstrates all reporters should be skeptical of claims. "Skeptical" does not translate as "the military says they are 'insurgents' but another group says 'Only because they need money!'" That's the sort of fraudelent basis that allows the Brookings boys to be billed as "left" or "war critics" or both.
It's not reporting. It's blind faith. And that article is embarrassing.
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michael r. gordon
richard a. oppel jr.