George Santayana, Ibn Khaldun, King, and Hillary
[Posted 17 January 2006]
"Now, it should be incandescently clear that no one who has any concern for the
integrity and life of America today can ignore the present war. If America's soul
becomes totally poisoned, part of the autopsy must read: Vietnam. It can never be
saved so long as it destroys the deepest hopes of men the world over. So it is
that those of us who are yet determined that America will be are led down the path
of protest and dissent, working for the health of our land."
- Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: Beyond Vietnam -- A Time to Break Silence
Over the 3-day weekend, I managed to catch a few speeches by Dr. Martin Luther King,
Jr., and couldn't
help but notice that most of the points he made about Vietnam are just as valid
today concerning the Iraq War. Just read through King's speeches on Vietnam, and
almost all of his points can be replaced with details on the Iraq war.
A lot of people feel that King was assassinated specifically because he became
critical of the Vietnam War. President Johnson felt betrayed after
supporting King's civil rights movement, at least to the point that Johnson felt
feasible. And thanks to the FBI's famous cross-dresser and staunch racist, J. Edgar
Hoover, the government's apparatus to monitor King's every move was already in place,
perfect for assassination attempts. Factors were involved that are too large for the
scope of this rant -- for example,
some insiders have said that Vietnam was actually an oil war,
with dropping of unexploded bombs into the ocean used only
as cover for deliberate explosions on the ocean floor that mapped the bottom for
oil exploration, followed by oil drilling off the coast of Vietnam after
the war. Also, King's assassination is now widely believed to have been a
government operation, as detailed in the book An Act of State, and so on.
Even King's assassination as a powerful war opponent has a parallel in today's
Iraq War, with Senator Paul Wellstone having been threatened
by VP Dick Cheney and then subsequently killed in a highly suspicious airplane
But I digress. The point is, how many times does America have to repeat the same
fatal mistakes? I suppose blind stupidity with George W. Bush was unavoidable,
he doesn't read history, doesn't read much at all in fact, and is widely noted as
being moronistic. (As an
aside, a lot of his really dumb advice comes from Karl Rove, a/k/a "Bush's brain."
I can't believe anyone would PAY for advice that bad, but I guess being unable to
differentiate good advice from bad comes with the
territory of being a moron.)
Nevertheless, our government is made of more than just one man, or just one
Executive branch full of corruption. Did we have to kill this many, and lose so
many of our own soldiers, a/k/a Americans, loved sons and daughters, before others in
the government would finally acknowledge the obvious? Namely, that under false
pretenses covering for greed, we were led into another Vietnam?
I think Americans will be led down this path many times, at least as many times as
we forget our past. The problem these days is, how many people remember much
about the Vietnam War? How many bothered to educate themselves about the Iraq
situation before we were sucked into that war? And as a related issue, how many
kids are NOT spending a good bulk of their time on TV and video games?
This is what
called "The Deliberate Dumbing Down of America." Or George Santayana's
"Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it." Or Ibn Khaldun's
cyclical nature of empires. Namely, as many times as we can be fooled, we will be.
After hearing King on Vietnam again, I wondered if people in the media
deliberately selected his Vietnam speeches because they noticed the same parallels
to today's Iraq War. Everytime I hear King's speeches, I'm happy that people decided
to make his birthday
a holiday years ago. I remember it was somewhat controversial at the time, as
a lot of Republicans aren't exactly "minority-friendly." I just hope that more
people will take an interest in his work, and become politically educated and
ACTIVE. Our government rarely does anything through the wisdom of its leaders, who
are often nothing more than corporate hirelings. Most of the time, it
takes pressure from citizens
for anything to be accomplished ON BEHALF OF citizens. And while there have been
massive protests and marches against the Iraq War all over the world -- some of
the largest before the war started -- it will take much more to stop the
Iraq War, already threatening to become a perpetual involvement.
In other news on Martin Luther King Day, Senator Hillary Clinton FINALLY spoke
her mind. I was so tired of Clinton being soft on the tyrants in our Executive
and Legislative branches, but
now that Bush's popularity ratings have been lower than ever for WEEKS,
she finally came out and observed the obvious:
"When you look at the way the House of Representatives has been run, it has been run
like a plantation, and you know what I'm talking about... It has been run in a way
so that nobody with a contrary view has had a chance to present legislation, to
make an argument, to be heard."
"We have a culture of corruption, we have cronyism, we have incompetence... I
predict to you that this administration will go down in history as one of the
worst that has ever governed our country."
- AM New York, 17 January 2006, p. 6.
WILL go down? ONE OF the worst? Well, it already HAS gone down as THE worst, at
least so far. If Jeb or Condi cheats his/her way in, maybe "Little Bush"
will lose his title as "worst President ever." But thanks, Hillary, for finally
saying so. Honesty was a nice gift to give MLK for his birthday.