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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

"10. Fear we'll look bad if we back down now? Check.
"11. Corrupt corporate Texan in the White House? Check."

- The Vietnam II Preflight Check

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 was politically 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 crash.

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, since 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 Charlotte Iserbyt 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.

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