Friday, February 05, 2010

Fulfilling the Dream?

In 1964, Martin Luther King had been asked to comment on a statement by Senator-Elect Robert F. Kennedy of New York to the effect that it might be possible to elect an African American president within 40 years. Martin Luther King responded, "I've seen levels of compliance with the civil rights bill and changes that have been most surprising. So, on the basis of this, I think we may be able to get a Negro president in less than 40 years." However, aside from being the first African American President, Martin Luther King would be disappointed in President Obama's seemingly infatuation with the establishment.

Not only does Obama continue his predecessor's escalation of the Military-industrial complex, his pro-business status quo bias - which favors incumbent firms over potential, big business over small, and corporate interests over consumer - is completely at odds with Dr. King's non-violent philosophy and commitment to ending poverty by championing the rights of the poor and marginalized in American society.

Consider the US military plans to more than triple its inventory of high-altitude, armed and unarmed drones capable of 24-hour patrols by 2020. President Obama has also made it clear that he concurs with President Bush's policy, that gives the President the right to assassinate American citizens - if suspected of terrorism - without a trial. (U.S. military teams, intelligence deeply involved in aiding Yemen on strikes).

After the Sept. 11 attacks, Bush gave the CIA, and later the military, authority to kill U.S. citizens abroad if strong evidence existed that an American was involved in organizing or carrying out terrorist actions against the United States or U.S. interests, military and intelligence officials said. . . .

The Obama administration has adopted the same stance. If a U.S. citizen joins al-Qaeda, "it doesn't really change anything from the standpoint of whether we can target them," a senior administration official said. "They are then part of the enemy."

Both the CIA and the JSOC maintain lists of individuals, called "High Value Targets" and "High Value Individuals," whom they seek to kill or capture. The JSOC list includes three Americans, including [New Mexico-born Islamic cleric Anwar] Aulaqi, whose name was added late last year. As of several months ago, the CIA list included three U.S. citizens, and an intelligence official said that Aulaqi's name has now been added.
Martin Luther King, once said the United States is, "the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today." Nothing has changed. The explosion of technology within the last decade has made it possible to engage in a very insidious form of violence with little to no accountability. Unmanned drones and adjunct private armed forces kill in such a way that leaves the U.S. accountable, liable, or answerable to no one.

On the other hand, in fairness to President Obama, one must keep in mind that never before has the state succeeded in maintaining unsustainable human practices without operating through violence, oppression, and the destruction of environment. Therefore, as long as we, the people insist on retaining the lifestyle to which we've become accustomed, President Obama does not have much choice.
Cowardice asks the question: is it safe? Expediency asks the question: is it political? Vanity asks the question: is it popular? But conscience asks the question: is it right? And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor political, nor popular – but one must take it simply because it is right. -- Martin Luther King, Jr.


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