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Two Discussions I need 2 Discussions. I need 250 words Initial Post and two replies on other students for each Discussion that I will attach later. I attached each topic Discussion readings, Pls read the readings and answer them. I need Initial Post asap

You must use the readings, no outside sources are allowed I come to this magnificent house of worship tonight because my conscience leaves me no other choice. I join
with you in this meeting because I am in deepest agreement with the aims and work of the organization which
has brought us together: Clergy and Laymen Concerned about Vietnam. The recent statement of your executive
committee are the sentiments of my own heart and I found myself in full accord when I read its opening lines: “A
time comes when silence is betrayal.” That time has come for us in relation to Vietnam.

The truth of these words is beyond doubt but the mission to which they call us is a most difficult one. Even
when pressed by the demands of inner truth, men do not easily assume the task of opposing their government’s
policy, especially in time of war. Nor does the human spirit move without great difficulty against all the apathy of
conformist thought within one’s own bosom and in the surrounding world. Moreover when the issues at hand
seem as perplexed as they often do in the case of this dreadful conflict we are always on the verge of being
mesmerized by uncertainty; but we must move on.

Some of us who have already begun to break the silence of the night have found that the calling to speak is
often a vocation of agony, but we must speak. We must speak with all the humility that is appropriate to our
limited vision, but we must speak. And we must rejoice as well, for surely this is the first time in our nation’s
history that a significant number of its religious leaders have chosen to move beyond the prophesying of smooth
patriotism to the high grounds of a firm dissent based upon the mandates of conscience and the reading of
history. Perhaps a new spirit is rising among us. If it is, let us trace its movement well and pray that our own
inner being may be sensitive to its guidance, for we are deeply in need of a new way beyond the darkness that
seems so close around us.

Over the past two years, as I have moved to break the betrayal of my own silences and to speak from the
burnings of my own heart, as I have called for radical departures from the destruction of Vietnam, many persons
have questioned me about the wisdom of my path. At the heart of their concerns this query has often loomed
large and loud: Why are you speaking about war, Dr. King? Why are you joining the voices of dissent? Peace and civil
rights don’t mix, they say. Aren’t you hurting the cause of your people, they ask? And when I hear them, though I
often understand the source of their concern, I am nevertheless greatly saddened, for such questions mean that
the inquirers have not really known me, my commitment or my calling. Indeed, their questions suggest that they
do not know the world in which they live.

In the light of such tragic misunderstandings, I deem it of signal importance to try to state clearly, and I trust
concisely, why I believe that the path from Dexter Avenue Baptist Church—the church in Montgomery, Alabama,
where I began my pastorate—leads clearly to this sanctuary tonight.

I come to this platform tonight to make a passionate plea to my beloved nation. This speech is not addressed
to Hanoi or to the National Liberation Front. It is not addressed to China or to Russia.

Nor is it an attempt to overlook the ambiguity of the total situation and the need for a collective solution to
the tragedy of Vietnam. Neither is it an attempt to make North Vietnam or the National Liberation Front
paragons of virtue, nor to overlook the role they can play in a successful resolution of the problem. While they
both may have justifiable reason to be suspicious of the good faith of the United States, life and history give
eloquent testimony to the fact that conflicts are never resolved without trustful give and take on both sides.

Beyond Vietnam:
A Time to Break Silence

Rev. Martin Luther King
April 4, 1967

Riverside Church, New York City
1

Tonight, however, I wish not to speak with Hanoi and the NLF, but rather to my fellow Americans, who,
with me, bear the greatest responsibility in ending a conflict that has exacted a heavy price on both continents.

Since I am a preacher by trade, I suppose it is not surprising that I have seven major reasons for bringing
Vietnam into the field of my moral vision. There is at the outset a very obvious and almost facile connection
between the war in Vietnam and the struggle I, and others, have been waging in America. A few years ago there
was a shining moment in that struggle. It seemed as if there was a real promise of hope for the poor—both black
and white—through the poverty program. There were experiments, hopes, new beginnings. Then came the
buildup in Vietnam and I watched the program broken and eviscerated as if it were some idle political plaything
of a society gone mad on war, 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. So I was increasingly compelled to see the war as an enemy of the poor
and to attack it as such.

Perhaps the 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 never live on the same block in
Detroit. I could not be silent in the face of such cruel manipulation of the poor.

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. For the sake of those boys, for the sake of this government, for the sake of hundreds
of thousands trembling under our violence, I cannot be silent.

For those who ask the question, “Aren’t you a civil rights leader?” and thereby mean to exclude me from the
movement for peace, I have this further answer. In 1957 when a group of us formed the Southern Christian
Leadership Conference, we chose as our motto: “To save the soul of America.” We were convinced that we could
not limit our vision to certain rights for black people, but instead affirmed the conviction that America would
never be free or saved from itself unless the descendants of its slaves were loosed completely from the shackles
they still wear. In a way we were agreeing with Langston Hughes, that black bard of Harlem, who had written
earlier:

O, yes, I say it plain,
America never was America to me,
And yet I swear this oath—
America will be!

Now, it should be incandescently clear that no one who has any concern for the integrity and life of America
today can ignore the present war. If America’s soul becomes totally poisoned, part of the autopsy must read
Vietnam. It can never be saved so long as it destroys the deepest hopes of men the world over. So it is that those
of us who are yet determined that America will be are led down the path of protest and dissent, working for the
health of our land.

As if the weight of such a commitment to the life and health of America were not enough, another burden of
responsibility was placed upon me in 1964; and I cannot forget that the Nobel Prize for Peace was also a
2

commission—a commission to work harder than I had ever worked before for “the brotherhood of man.” This is a
calling that takes me beyond national allegiances, but even if it were not present I would yet have to live with the
meaning of my commitment to the ministry of Jesus Christ. To me the relationship of this ministry to the making
of peace is so obvious that I sometimes marvel at those who ask me why I am speaking against the war. Could it
be that they do not know that the good news was meant for all men—for communist and capitalist, for their
children and ours, for black and for white, for revolutionary and conservative? Have they forgotten that my
ministry is in obedience to the one who loved his enemies so fully that he died for them? What then can I say to
the Vietcong or to Castro or to Mao as a faithful minister of this one? Can I threaten them with death or must I not
share with them my life?

Finally, as I try to delineate for you and for myself the road that leads from Montgomery to this place I
would have offered all that was most valid if I simply said that I must be true to my conviction that I share with
all men the calling to be a son of the living God. Beyond the calling of race or nation or creed is this vocation of
sonship and brotherhood, and because I believe that the Father is deeply concerned especially for his suffering
and helpless and outcast children, I come tonight to speak for them.

This I believe to be the privilege and the burden of all of us who deem ourselves bound by allegiances and
loyalties which are broader and deeper than nationalism and which go beyond our nation’s self-defined goals and
positions. We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls
enemy, for no document from human hands can make these humans any less our brothers.

And as I ponder the madness of Vietnam and search within myself for ways to understand and respond to
compassion my mind goes constantly to the people of that peninsula. I speak now not of the soldiers of each side,
not of the junta in Saigon, but simply of the people who have been living under the curse of war for almost three
continuous decades now. I think of them too because it is clear to me that there will be no meaningful solution
there until some attempt is made to know them and hear their broken cries.

They must see Americans as strange liberators. The Vietnamese people proclaimed their own independence
in 1945 after a combined French and Japanese occupation, and before the Communist revolution in China. They
were led by Ho Chi Minh. Even though they quoted the American Declaration of Independence in their own
document of freedom, we refused to recognize them. Instead, we decided to support France in its reconquest of
her former colony.

Our government felt then that the Vietnamese people were not “ready” for independence, and we again fell
victim to the deadly Western arrogance that has poisoned the international atmosphere for so long. With that
tragic decision we rejected a revolutionary government seeking self-determination, and a government that had
been established not by China (for whom the Vietnamese have no great love) but by clearly indigenous forces that
included some Communists. For the peasants this new government meant real land reform, one of the most
important needs in their lives.

For nine years following 1945 we denied the people of Vietnam the right of independence. For nine years we
vigorously supported the French in their abortive effort to recolonize Vietnam.

Before the end of the war we were meeting eighty percent of the French war costs. Even before the French
were defeated at Dien Bien Phu, they began to despair of the reckless action, but we did not. We encouraged them
with our huge financial and military supplies to continue the war even after they had lost the will. Soon we
would be paying almost the full costs of this tragic attempt at recolonization.

After the French were defeated it looked as if independence and land reform would come again through the
Geneva agreements. But instead there came the United States, determined that Ho should not unify the
temporarily divided nation, and the peasants watched again as we supported one of the most vicious modern
dictators—our chosen man, Premier Diem. The peasants watched and cringed as Diem ruthlessly routed out all
opposition, supported their extortionist landlords and refused even to discuss reunification with the north. The
peasants watched as all this was presided over by U.S. influence and then by increasing numbers of U.S. troops
who came to help quell the insurgency that Diem’s methods had aroused. When Diem was overthrown they may
have been happy, but the long line of military dictatorships seemed to offer no real change—especially in terms of
their need for land and peace.
3

The only change came from America as we increased our troop commitments in support of governments
which were singularly corrupt, inept and without popular support. All the while the people read our leaflets and
received regular promises of peace and democracy—and land reform. Now they languish under our bombs and
consider us—not their fellow Vietnamese—the real enemy. They move sadly and apathetically as we herd them
off the land of their fathers into concentration camps where minimal social needs are rarely met. They know they
must move or be destroyed by our bombs. So they go—primarily women and children and the aged.

They watch as we poison their water, as we kill a million acres of their crops. They must weep as the
bulldozers roar through their areas preparing to destroy the precious trees. They wander into the hospitals, with
at least twenty casualties from American firepower for one “Vietcong”-inflicted injury. So far we may have killed
a million of them—mostly children. They wander into the towns and see thousands of the children, homeless,
without clothes, running in packs on the streets like animals. They see the children, degraded by our soldiers as
they beg for food. They see the children selling their sisters to our soldiers, soliciting for their mothers.

What do the peasants think as we ally ourselves with the landlords and as we refuse to put any action into
our many words concerning land reform? What do they think as we test our latest weapons on them, just as the
Germans tested out new medicine and new tortures in the concentration camps of Europe? Where are the roots of
the independent Vietnam we claim to be building? Is it among these voiceless ones?

We have destroyed their two most cherished institutions: the family and the village. We have destroyed
their land and their crops. We have cooperated in the crushing of the nation’s only non-Communist revolutionary
political force—the unified Buddhist church. We have supported the enemies of the peasants of Saigon. We have
corrupted their women and children and killed their men. What liberators?

Now there is little left to build on—save bitterness. Soon the only solid physical foundations remaining will
be found at our military bases and in the concrete of the concentration camps we call fortified hamlets. The
peasants may well wonder if we plan to build our new Vietnam on such grounds as these? Could we blame them
for such thoughts? We must speak for them and raise the questions they cannot raise. These too are our brothers.

Perhaps the more difficult but no less necessary task is to speak for those who have been designated as our
enemies. What of the National Liberation Front—that strangely anonymous group we call VC or Communists?
What must they think of us in America when they realize that we permitted the repression and cruelty of Diem
which helped to bring them into being as a resistance group in the south? What do they think of our condoning
the violence which led to their own taking up of arms? How can they believe in our integrity when now we speak
of “aggression from the north” as if there were nothing more essential to the war? How can they trust us when
now we charge them with violence after the murderous reign of Diem and charge them with violence while we
pour every new weapon of death into their land? Surely we must understand their feelings even if we do not
condone their actions. Surely we must see that the men we supported pressed them to their violence. Surely we
must see that our own computerized plans of destruction simply dwarf their greatest acts.

How do they judge us when our officials know that their membership is less than twenty-five percent
Communist and yet insist on giving them the blanket name? What must they be thinking when they know that
we are aware of their control of

major sections of Vietnam and yet we appear ready to allow national elections in which this highly
organized political parallel government will have no part? They ask how we can speak of free elections when the
Saigon press is censored and controlled by the military junta. And they are surely right to wonder what kind of
new government we plan to help form without them—the only party in real touch with the peasants. They
question our political goals and they deny the reality of a peace settlement from which they will be excluded.
Their questions are frighteningly relevant. Is our nation planning to build on political myth again and then shore
it up with the power of new violence?

Here is the true meaning and value of compassion and nonviolence when it helps us to see the enemy’s
point of view, to hear his questions, to know his assessment of ourselves. For from his view we may indeed see
the basic weaknesses of our own condition, and if we are mature, we may learn and grow and profit from the
wisdom of the brothers who are called the opposition.
4

So, too, with Hanoi. In the north, where our bombs now pummel the land, and our mines endanger the
waterways, we are met by a deep but understandable mistrust. To speak for them is to explain this lack of
confidence in Western words, and especially their distrust of American intentions now. In Hanoi are the men who
led the nation to independence against the Japanese and the French, the men who sought membership in the
French commonwealth and were betrayed by the weakness of Paris and the willfulness of the colonial armies. It
was they who led a second struggle against French domination at tremendous costs, and then were persuaded to
give up the land they controlled between the thirteenth and seventeenth parallel as a temporary measure at
Geneva. After 1954 they watched us conspire with Diem to prevent elections which would have surely brought
Ho Chi Minh to power over a united Vietnam, and they realized they had been betrayed again.

When we ask why they do not leap to negotiate, these things must be remembered. Also it must be clear that
the leaders of Hanoi considered the presence of American troops in support of the Diem regime to have been the
initial military breach of the Geneva agreements concerning foreign troops, and they remind us that they did not
begin to send in any large number of supplies or men until American forces had moved into the tens of
thousands.

Hanoi remembers how our leaders refused to tell us the truth about the earlier North Vietnamese overtures
for peace, how the president claimed that none existed when they had clearly been made. Ho Chi Minh has
watched as America has spoken of peace and built up its forces, and now he has surely heard of the increasing
international rumors of American plans for an invasion of the north. He knows the bombing and shelling and
mining we are doing are part of traditional pre-invasion strategy. Perhaps only his sense of humor and of irony
can save him when he hears the most powerful nation of the world speaking of aggression as it drops thousands
of bombs on a poor weak nation more than eight thousand miles away from its shores.

At this point I should make it clear that while I have tried in these last few minutes to give a voice to the
voiceless on Vietnam and to understand the arguments of those who are called enemy, I am as deeply concerned
about our troops there as anything else. For it occurs to me that what we are submitting them to in Vietnam is not
simply the brutalizing process that goes on in any war where armies face each other and seek to destroy. We are
adding cynicism to the process of death, for they must know after a short period there that none of the things we
claim to be fighting for are really involved. Before long they must know that their government has sent them into
a struggle among Vietnamese, and the more sophisticated surely realize that we are on the side of the wealthy
and the secure while we create hell for the poor.

Somehow this madness must cease. We must stop now. I speak as a child of God and brother to the
suffering poor of Vietnam. I speak for those whose land is being laid waste, whose homes are being destroyed,
whose culture is being subverted. I speak for the poor of America who are paying the double price of smashed
hopes at home and death and corruption in Vietnam. I speak as a citizen of the world, for the world as it stands
aghast at the path we have taken. I speak as an American to the leaders of my own nation. The great initiative in
this war is ours. The initiative to stop it must be ours.

This is the message of the great Buddhist leaders of Vietnam. Recently one of them wrote these words:

“Each day the war goes on the hatred increases in the heart of the Vietnamese and in the
hearts of those of humanitarian instinct. The Americans are forcing even their friends
into becoming their enemies. It is curious that the Americans, who calculate so carefully
on the possibilities of military victory, do not realize that in the process they are
incurring deep psychological and political defeat. The image of America will never again
be the image of revolution, freedom and democracy, but the image of violence and
militarism.”

If we continue, there will be no doubt in my mind and in the mind of the world that we have no honorable
intentions in Vietnam. It will become clear that our minimal expectation is to occupy it as an American colony
and men will not refrain from thinking that our maximum hope is to goad China into a war so that we may bomb
her nuclear installations. If we do not stop our war against the people of Vietnam immediately the world will be
left with no other alternative than to see this as some horribly clumsy and deadly game we have decided to play.
5

The world now demands a maturity of America that we may not be able to achieve. It demands that we
admit that we have been wrong from the beginning of our adventure in Vietnam, that we have been detrimental
to the life of the Vietnamese people. The situation is one in which we must be ready to turn sharply from our
present ways.

In order to atone for our sins and errors in Vietnam, we should take the initiative in bringing a halt to this
tragic war. I would like to suggest five concrete things that our government should do immediately to begin the
long and difficult process of extricating ourselves from this nightmarish conflict:

1. End all bombing in North and South Vietnam.

2. Declare a unilateral cease-fire in the hope that such action will create the atmosphere for negotiation.

3. Take immediate steps to prevent other battlegrounds in Southeast Asia by curtailing our military buildup
in Thailand and our interference in Laos.

4. Realistically accept the fact that the National Liberation Front has substantial support in South Vietnam
and must thereby play a role in any meaningful negotiations and in any future Vietnam government.

5. Set a date that we will remove all foreign troops from Vietnam in accordance with the 1954 Geneva agree-
ment.

Part of our ongoing commitment might well express itself in an offer to grant asylum to any Vietnamese
who fears for his life under a new regime which included the Liberation Front. Then we must make what
reparations we can for the damage we have done. We most provide the medical aid that is badly needed, making
it available in this country if necessary.

Meanwhile we in the churches and synagogues have a continuing task while we urge our government to
disengage itself from a disgraceful commitment. We must continue to raise our voices if our nation persists in its
perverse ways in Vietnam. We must be prepared to match actions with words by seeking out every creative
means of protest possible.

As we counsel young men concerning military service we must clarify for them our nation’s role in Vietnam
and challenge them with the alternative of conscientious objection. I am pleased to say that this is the path now
being chosen by more than seventy students at my own alma mater, Morehouse College, and I recommend it to
all who find the American course in Vietnam a dishonorable and unjust one. Moreover I would encourage all
ministers of draft age to give up their ministerial exemptions and seek status as conscientious objectors. These are
the times for real choices and not false ones. We are at the moment when our lives must be placed on the line if
our nation is to survive its own folly. Every man of humane convictions must decide on the protest that best suits
his convictions, but we must all protest.

There is something seductively tempting about stopping there and sending us all off on what in some circles
has become a popular crusade against the war in Vietnam. I say we must enter the struggle, but I wish to go on
now to say something even more disturbing. The war in Vietnam is but a symptom of a far deeper malady within
the American spirit, and if we ignore this sobering reality we will find ourselves organizing Clergy and Laymen
Concerned committees for the next generation. They will be concerned about Guatemala and Peru. They will be
concerned about Thailand and Cambodia. They will be concerned about Mozambique and South Africa. We will
be marching for these and a dozen other names and attending rallies without end unless there is a significant and
profound change in American life and policy. Such thoughts take us beyond Vietnam, but not beyond our calling
as sons of the living God.

In 1957 a sensitive American official overseas said that it seemed to him that our nation was on the wrong
side of a world revolution. During the past ten years we have seen emerge a pattern of suppression which now
has justified the presence of U.S. military “advisors” in Venezuela. This need to maintain social stability for our
investments accounts for the counter- revolutionary action of American forces in Guatemala. It tells why
American helicopters are being used against guerrillas in Colombia and why American napalm and green beret
forces have already been active against rebels in Peru. It is with such activity in mind that the words of the late
John F. Kennedy come back to haunt us. Five years ago he said, “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will
make violent revolution inevitable.”
6

Increasingly, by choice or by accident, this is the role our nation has taken—the role of those who make
peaceful revolution impossible by refusing to give up the privileges and the pleasures that come from the
immense profits of overseas investment.

I am convinced that if we are to get on the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a
radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin the shift from a “thing-oriented” society to a “person-
oriented” society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more
important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.

A true revolution of values will soon cause us to question the fairness and justice of many of our past and
present policies. n the one hand we are called to play the good Samaritan on life’s roadside; but that will be only
an initial act. One day we must come to see that the whole Jericho road must be transformed so that men and
women will not be constantly beaten and robbed as they make their journey on life’s highway. True compassion
is more than flinging a coin to a beggar; it is not haphazard and superficial. It comes to see that an edifice which
produces beggars needs restructuring.

A true revolution of values will soon look uneasily on the glaring contrast of poverty and wealth. With
righteous indignation, it will look across the seas and see individual capitalists of the West investing huge sums
of money in Asia, Africa and South America, only to take the profits out with no concern for the social betterment
of the countries, and say: “This is …

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