Martin Luther King delivered this speech in regards to the United States’ involvement with the Vietnam War. However, King argues that these actions in Vietnam are linked to African American struggles for civil rights in the United States. He wants to bring it to the attention of the fellow Americans to reconsider the thoughts behind the involvement in the war and moreover, for people to reevaluate the government’s goals to see if they are truly beneficial to the citizens of the U.S. or the Vietnam people overall.
First off, King argues that the war was sending sons, brothers, and husbands, especially black men to fight for the cause of Vietnam. However, it is crucial to note that these were the men “who had been crippled by our society” and are sent to “guarantee liberties in Southeast Asia which they had not found in southwest Georgia and East Harlem.” The war sets up the cruel ironic situation where Negro and white ...view middle of the document...
Our government felt that the Vietnamese people were not “ready” for independence so we supported the France in its re-conquest of a former colony. By doing so, the U.S. again “fell victim to the deadly Western arrogance that has poisoned the international atmosphere for so long.” The U.S. came to a deep mistrust and therefore conspired with Diem to prevent elections that would have brought Ho Chi Minh to power over a united Vietnam. Moreover, the U.S. did not reveal the information about the purpose of the war to those on the battlefield as they follow orders to drop thousands of bombs and killing the lives of the innocent. King dwells on this subject due to his concern of the troops because “before long they must know that their government as sent them into a struggle among Vietnamese […] and surely realize that we are on the side of the wealthy and secure while we create hell for the poor.”
The war in Vietnam is linked to African American struggles for civil rights in the United States because the since the U.S. feels that they are not “ready” to govern their own country, we intervene and try to carry things out our way. However, the way that the U.S. handled things meant that the poor people’s voices are not heard and more sadly, lives on both sides are lost due to this intervention. The lives lost mostly include the poor and innocent, who do not have a voice against a strong nation such as the United States. King argues that a true revolution needs to include the “fairness and justice” for the poor people. He urges that we must clarify for the men in the military service about the nation’s role in Vietnam before anything else.
Lastly, King conveys that positive revolution of values is out best defense against communism, not war or atomic bombs and nuclear weapons. He warns that the United States must put aside its misguided passions and go towards a positive thrust for democracy, not engaging in negative anti-communism. Because communism is a direct response to the prior failures of the promises of democracy, King urges that the U.S. must venture out and recapture that revolutionary spirit and bring peace and justice for all people of the world.