Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Another Empire Goal Reached

And I knew that America would never invest the necessary funds or energies in rehabilitation of its poor so long as adventures like Vietnam continued to draw men and skills and money like some demonic, destructive suction tube.
Martin Luther King, April 4, 1967

One tell-tale sign that things have gotten really bad in the American Empire is the recent news that the US military has reached its recruitment goals for the first time in 3 decades. It seems that this devastating recession has given young men and women the ultimate incentive to join up even though there is an absolute certainty that they will go overseas and fight in a war. Of course, as prophet Martin Luther King reminded us during our Vietnam escapades, it is the poor and marginalized who are called on to risk their lives in order to make our imperial dreams come true:

Perhaps a more tragic recognition of reality took place when it became clear to me that the war was doing far more than devastating the hopes of the poor at home. It was sending their sons and their brothers and their husbands to fight and to die in extraordinarily high proportions relative to the rest of the population. We were taking the black young men who had been crippled by our society and sending them eight thousand miles away to guarantee liberties in Southeast Asia which they had not found in southwest Georgia and East Harlem. So we have been repeatedly faced with the cruel irony of watching Negro and white boys on TV screens as they kill and die together for a nation that has been unable to seat them together in the same schools. So we watch them in brutal solidarity burning the huts of a poor village, but we realize that they would hardly live on the same block in Chicago. I could not be silent in the face of such cruel manipulation of the poor.

Yesterday, Progressive Christians Uniting's Peter Laarman called us to raise our voices, demanding that this military injustice not continue. His call is for suburban followers of Jesus (like us) who need not sacrifice anything--let alone even know anything--concerning wars fought thousands of miles away from our own comfort. Who will speak for these teenagers without economic opportunity who find 'solace' in committing to 4 years of combat in order to have health benefits, housing, an $18,000 signing bonus, a steady paycheck and a delayed opportunity to pay for college tuition?

--Theological Autopilot

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