Listening to Barack Obama mentioning Ghandi and MLK Jr. and then championing the state’s right and rightness to use force to enforce the peace.
Remember, MLK’s words:
“My third reason moves to an even deeper level of awareness, for it grows out of my experience in the ghettoes of the North over the last three years — especially the last three summers. As I have walked among the desperate, rejected and angry young men I have told them that Molotov cocktails and rifles would not solve their problems. I have tried to offer them my deepest compassion while maintaining my conviction that social change comes most meaningfully through nonviolent action. But they asked — and rightly so — what about Vietnam? They asked if our own nation wasn’t using massive doses of violence to solve its problems, to bring about the changes it wanted. Their questions hit home, and I knew that I could never again raise my voice against the violence of the oppressed in the ghettos without having first spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today — my own government. ”
Obama’s speech validates the use of force, and a government's ability to claim a rightness of cause. He also claims that the use of American force has been a counter to a force of evil in the world, rather than an instrument to open unwilling markets and foreign lands to extraction of resources. He claims a false history, one that denies Mossedegh, Allende, Lumumba and many more. He denies, “War is a Racket” as told by Smedley Butler.
Now, I am not quite so naive as to argue that Ghandi’s non-violence would have defeated the Nazis. But as Nietzche observed:
Be careful when you fight the monsters, lest you become one.
One might be reminded of Tom Lerher’s reaction when Henry the K won the Nobel Peace prize.
It’s enough to make one’s head spin. And as the Grateful Dead once observed, “The faster you go, the rounder you get!”