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King, Ike, and 20 Years of War in Iraq

Common Dreams - This year, two significant anniversaries occur on Martin Luther King Day. On January 17, 1961, President Eisenhower delivered his Farewell Address, warning about the dangers of the military-industrial complex. And on January 17, 1991, American forces unleashed the first massive air assaults against Iraq. The fact that we have been fighting with Iraq for twenty years-and in Afghanistan for nearly ten-reminds us of King's warnings about the dangers of militarism.

When King won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964, he said that war was becoming obsolete. And he argued that mankind's survival depended upon solving the problems of racial injustice, poverty, and war. In 1967, when he spoke out against the war in Vietnam, King said, "war is not the answer." And he warned that the deep malady of the American spirit is our perverse devotion to what he called the "giant triplets" of "racism, extreme materialism, and militarism."

In his Nobel Prize speech, King called for an ecumenical spiritual revolution grounded in love. He claimed that love is a force that "all of the great religions have seen as the supreme unifying principle of life." According to King this is a "Hindu-Moslem-Christian-Jewish-Buddhist belief about ultimate reality." Love is opposed to racism, to poverty, and to war. Read more.

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