Defense Department general counsel Jeh Johnson is an African-American who graduated from Martin Luther King Jr.'s alma mater, Morehouse College, and went to school with his son, Martin Luther King III. Maybe it's this background that allows him to use the slain civil rights icon's legacy to promote America's current wars:
WASHINGTON, Jan. 13, 2011 – If Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. were alive today, would he understand why the United States is at war?
In the final year of his life, King became an outspoken opponent of the Vietnam War, Johnson told a packed auditorium. However, he added, today's wars are not out of line with the iconic Nobel Peace Prize winner's teachings.
"I believe that if Dr. King were alive today, he would recognize that we live in a complicated world, and that our nation's military should not and cannot lay down its arms and leave the American people vulnerable to terrorist attack," he said.Well, he believes it's true! Trying arguing against that.
It's doubtful, but suppose Martin Luther King Jr. would've liked our post-9/11 policy of endless wars everywhere that no one back home understands or has much ability to change. You'd still be allowed to disagree with him! And that's why there's no need for the Pentagon to bully the public with Martin Luther King Jr.'s ghost.
Martin Luther King Jr., by the way, was able to "recognize that we live in a complicated world" in the 1950s and '60s, too. He wasn't infallible. But he made his choices.
[Image of Jeh Johnson via AP]
Send an email to Jim Newell, the author of this post, at firstname.lastname@example.org.