On February 25, 1967 in Los Angeles, Martin Luther King Jr. made a famous speech in which he criticized the War in Vietnam by stating that President Lyndon B. Johnson’s “Great Society was shot down in the fields of Vietnam!”
The Great Society was the name that was given to Federal Program that created Medicare and other social programs to help the poor. King, with that quote, stated that the United States was using more of its resources and treasure to fight the war in Vietnam rather than help the poor.
President Obama appears to be doing the same. He proposed massive changes to Health care system. He outlined an ambitious plan to change the transportation system of the country (which includes the creation of high speed rails). While they appear to be important and necessary changes for the country, they will collapse due to the resources being consumed by the war effort in Afghanistan.
King states that the War Poverty is one of the casualties from the Vietnam War. He states that the pursues of the war has hurt the domestic welfare programs, “making the poor, white and Negro, bear the heaviest burdens, both home and at the front”
During the speech, King quotes that the United States spends about $322,000 for each enemy kill in
Vietnam, while only spending about $53 to help anyone considered to be poor.
The President will propose next week that the United States will send 34,000 more troops to Afghanistan. Thus expanding the eight year war to levels we have yet to see.
The increase in the number troops will hurt potential resources for domestic programs which are more essential now, at any point since the great depression. We have the great problem with national unemployment since the 1930’s. There is a record number of elderly individual turning to soup kitchens as they could no longer afford to buy food on a daily basis.
President Obama is making a terrible mistake. Not only is he putting a greater number of soldiers in danger by supporting a clearly unpopular and corrupt Afghan government, he is also pulling a greater number of Americans into poverty.
If we continue to send a large portion of our treasury to continue to fighting to increasingly pointless war, we face a greater risk of bringing the country back to the terrible times of the Great Depression.
I’m sure President Obama knows of the famous speech from King. He should read again as president. It would help if he could remember the quote about how the Vietnam War “challenges the imagination to contemplate what lives we could transform if we ceased the killing.
The President should then take a couple of hours to ponder its significance.