As we celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. day in the United States, MLKingwe are faced with the questions of antiquity that have bothered and constrained humankind: Do we still judge people by color?

Do we still prefer violence over getting along with each other and the world?

It is possible in any way to reclaim our tainted and lost humanity?

I wish those in the churches and the mosques and the community living rooms and the religious leaders would stand up to the politicians and say, “Don’t go to war in God’s name.

Don’t ask for our prayers to cover your bloodshed.

Don’t seek our religious protection for your unholy political wars.

Don’t ask for our faith votes in the polling place. Leave religion out of your killing fields.”

That kind of religious rebellion against the politicians would remove the brush cover from political fanatics who pretend they are doing God’s work in the fields of war by killing those who are of darker skin and lesser opportunity than those wielding the staff and the cross.

The lesson of Dr. King is one of patience and of loving each other no matter what faith you hold because, in the end, we’re either with each other or against each other and it is always better to choose life over promised death.

If Dr. King were alive today he would be appalled at how far we haven’t progressed and that the military juggernaut is still Racist in declaring war against those who have a deeper pigment to their skin than the majority of Americans and that fact is one that cannot be denied or covered because the faces of the recent foreign dead and vanquished are not Caucasian or Anglo-American or White.

We dither the color line with violence and call ourselves humanistic and we require God’s interleaving on the battlefield to shade our motives as peaceful and freedom-loving when we are nothing but Racist at heart and barbarians in our international policy.



  1. I was watching an interview of President Bush in “60 minutes” yesterday and I heard him saying – “we have to succeed before we get out”. I don’t run a country, I won’t ever – so with my limited understanding I was thinking – “from when ‘to succeed’ became equivalent with bloodshed”?

  2. We do have a separation between religious love and warring hate. There still seems to be a need to want the good from other lands and to take them by force.

  3. Hey Anne!
    There is a strange, paternalistic, colonialism going on in our current theatre of war in the Middle East.
    “The Military Channel” has a show called “Alpha 1 Diary” and it’s the everyday diary of a unit in Iraq and it is fascinating to watch. These poor soldiers have to go door-to-door and interrogate the citizens of Iraq, take names and search their houses and then take images and you can tell how much our soldiers hate it.
    You can also tell how much the Iraqis hate it and you know if the Iraqis were in the USA doing the same thing to us we’d shoot them and blow them up at every opportunity. There is a strange disconnect going on over there that would never in a thousand million years be tolerated, for even one instant, for a moment here.

  4. I’m surprised that show is allowed on the military channel and I am even shocked the military allowed that diary to be made in the first place. Any idea why that show was allowed to be broadcast?

  5. I was saying whether success was the other word for ‘winning’ here and if ‘winning the war’ was the only feasible solution before ‘getting out’ of there – is there any possibility the war to be stopped? I don’t think so.

  6. Here’s the Military Channel website, Anne:
    It’s part of the Discovery network. Yay! Discovery is my favorite series of channels.
    The show is called “Alpha Company: Iraq Diary” and there are three shows so far. It’s considered a “feature” and not a regular show, I guess.
    Watch it if you can. You really feel for our troops. Their lives dither between complete boredom and total terror.

  7. Hi Katha!
    I agree there will no movement in the current American regime until the war victory can be declared a second time — Bush already did that in his “Mission Accomplished” speech in his flight suit on the aircraft carrier.
    I don’t think we’ll make a budge out of Iraq any time soon. Bush wants to stay and keep trying to win. The Democrats live in fear of being labeled “wimps” by the Republicans for being “weak on terror” and that’s a recipe for continued death and disaster.

  8. Katha asks some good questions. This game of playing with words “escalation” and “infusion” and other re-defining of words should stop. We need simple words to explain what’s happening. Big words in war lead to fog and misunderstanding don’t you think?

  9. Right, Anne! We can use “death” and “dying” when it comes to describing any American troops situation or threat to their lives because those words are too real.
    It was a rich experience when Condi Rice was confronted by Senators on both sides of the aisle to stop using pretend words to describe real things during her testimony. She, and the White House later, were shocked at the refusal of the Senate to play along with their fantasy.

  10. Yes, you are right.
    I understand ‘winning’ is important, but at the cost of ‘what’?

  11. UPDATE:
    The Discovery/Times channel right now has a marathon called “Off to War” a documentary series about the Arkansas National Guard shipping off to Iraq in 2004. There are seven hourlong episodes on in a row.

  12. Oh, and I forgot to mention the National Guard documentary is fascinating watching but not as hardcore as the Alpha Company shows on the Marines unit.
    Alpha Company is breathless and claustrophobic while the National Guard show includes the families back home and other side issues.

  13. Thanks for the information, David. Sounds like good shows for today’s holiday. I will turn on my tv.

  14. It’s hard to fathom how religion, especially a religion like christianity whose icon is said to have lived a life respecting and promoting non-political models of “rightousness” that eschewed violence, that demanded that we “love your enemies” and do them good that “despitefully use you”. When did the Prince of Peace become the War Prince? How has it been so easy since Jesus’ death to use his very position to wage war in his name?
    I greatly admire those who rebel against this model and preach peace, like Dr. King. There are more today. It’s time that christians decided to honor him they confess by adopting his model.
    The seeds of respect and love lie in most religions it seems — it’s in the Quran, it’s in the words of Buddha, but it’s co-opted so easily by those with a political agenda. Even the refuge of atheism is no guarantee that one will “preach peace” — there are enough Christopher Hitchens out there to show that.

  15. Hiya Katha!
    The cost of winning is getting access to cheap oil — at whatever human or superhuman price — and if it means innocent people die, then so be it!
    Some national policy, huh? There is political and religious cover provided because we are fighting the infidel terrorists. Watching these documentaries really brings home the common horror of the everyday war and you just can’t help watching it and wondering, “Why?” Why are these men and boys and women getting killed and wounded? For national pride? For presidential prejudice?
    What are the answers, Katha?

  16. Hi Don!

    When did the Prince of Peace become the War Prince? How has it been so easy since Jesus’ death to use his very position to wage war in his name?

    Well said and that is the hardest thing to understand, Don.
    Both Bush and Blair have invoked God in their rationale for invading Iraq and I’m sure there’s nothing more that boils Muslim blood than being killed in the name of Jesus Christ.
    We can go back to 1905 and Mark Twain’s “The War Prayer” to read a satire on the need to invoke the Almighty in the shedding of war blood:

  17. You were right David – an excellent topic.
    We need another Martin Luther King – we need someone with the courage to say THIS STOPS NOW.

  18. I don’t know any simple answer for these David!
    The tragic thing is sacrificing young blood in the name of ‘national pride, policy or whatever’ under the sun…
    Is there a way out? Is the ongoing war is the only way? Aren’t we fooling ourselves by making us believe that ‘war is the only way to peace’?

  19. Hi Nicola!
    How did the Blair Trial turn out?
    I agree we need another MLKing. Jack Murtha, in many ways, came close when it comes to Iraq. He said a year ago we lost the war. As a war hero, he gave the Democrats some strength to go against the war and he helped win them the majority in both houses.
    He was attacked and reviled by the Republicans and many of his fellow Democrats. It’s too bad Pelosi didn’t have enough muscle to solidify him as her second in command. He’s the voice we need in the forefront. Not Steny Hoyer’s.

  20. Hiya Katha!
    We are flushing the youth of our troops down the Iraqi abyss. They don’t want us there and many of our troops don’t want to be there except for the duty of a paycheck. I don’t think there’s a long of Gung-ho patriotism left in Iraq on the English-speaking side.
    It’s the infusion of religion and politics that makes the entire effort so stomach-turning. If you are against the war you are against God and if you are against God you are against the United States.
    I don’t know if there’s a way out now that we’re in so deep. Radiation contamination from a nuclear bomb might be the only way to stop the fighting by poisoning the battlefield, but once you drop one bomb like that a plethora of similar bombs will be dropped in the future in retaliation against the initial aggressor and then soon there’s no safe land left to inhabit.

  21. Hi David,
    Maybe the way that good things become perverted is a sign that there is a real presence of evil in the world?
    Money isn’t necessarily bad, but people will do bad things to get money.
    Politics and public service shouldn’t be the road to ruin and jail sentences, but there are plenty of pols who end up behind bars after their grand schemes fail or sell their legislative services for a few bucks.
    Religions that preach peace and love aren’t bad, but some false prophets will twist words and ideas to gain power and riches.
    As someone mentioned before, even being non-religious could be perverted into an excuse to do as one pleases without considering its effects on others.
    Maybe that’s the goal of the Devil. Take good ideas and pervert them so that they’ll be discredited.

  22. David- The voice we need in the forefront is Howard Zinn. He has been correct to the point of going to jail many times for the past fifty years and was a personal friend of MLK. He says we need to start in the direction of total disarmament immediately, and lead the way in the direction of worldwide disarmament. Take these funds and have financial democracy, not just political democracy, and clean up the planet while we’re at it. All previous empires overextended themselves and imploded and we are obviously next unless we take the lead in other than “might is right and hypocricy.” Everyone please read “Declarations of Independence, -Cross Eaxining American Ideology” by Howard Zinn.

  23. Hi Chris!
    I don’t think “evil” is a word that should be used in the secular world because it is a creation of religious dogma.
    One person’s evil is another’s righteousness — it only depends on your point of worldview.
    I don’t think any nation –- Under God or not — should go to war for religious reasons under any circumstance.
    To invoke the Devil as the ultimate evildoer is to, once again, take a specific religious niche and pin it against the best interests of the entire earth and that, to me, is dangerous because there are more people than not who do not accept the Devil as an active entity.

  24. Blair Trial is tonight – about three hours time – we will record it and arrange for a DVD to be sent to you. Can yo uemail me a delivery address please. It may well have to wait for someone who” knows how to” – to lift it to DVD – but rest assured you will get it.

  25. I agree that Dr. King would be appalled at the lack of progress. It’s like nothing has changed. As he said: “We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.”

  26. One person’s evil is another’s righteousness — it only depends on your point of worldview.

    This reminds of me the line in Apocolypse Now when LTC Kilgore says sadly, “Someday, this war is going to end.”

  27. Love that quote, Chris! It is so true. I’ve been watching the “Off to War” marathon on Discovery/Times all day and it’s just such a sad thing to see these poor, rural, families broken by this war after serving 18 months in Iraq when they thought their duty would be 2 weeks a year, 2 weekends a month.
    After one unit’s 2,000 missions, one solider wonders what good they’ve done. That’s a sad, hard reality to face when you’re 19 years old and back from a war where the locals hated you.
    It’s hard to find a lot of “good” in this timeline:

  28. David – I don’t know the way out. I’d start with baby steps. Get the electricity and water on in Iraq. Bring our troops home. Close Guantanamo and secret prisons. Stop torturing people. Start behaving with civility as a nation, rather than being the world’s bully. Begin talking with nations we currently snub. Get serious about solving worldwide problems like climate change and poverty. Give people an honorable society to live in and ideals to live up to. There’s so much to fix.

  29. I agree there’s lots to fix, icedmocha, and you have pointed out the great job of fixing we need to do. I hope someone with enough power to make a difference will step forward and put things right again.

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