Will Obama admire Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., or follow him?

When he spoke at the Midway Theatre on Martin Luther King Day, Senator Barack Obama admitted that Dr. King would probably have objected to the war in Iraq, but he did not mention his own strong support for the Bush administration’s Iraq policy.

In July 2004, Senator Obama called the Iraq War an “American commitment” whose “mission” can succeed only if the U.S. “maintain[s] a strong military presence” there until that happens. He proposed getting other countries to help with our “commitment” by offering them a share of the profits to be derived from reconstructing Iraq’s devastated infrastructure.

Well, what would Dr. King say?

It might well have been: “Somehow, this madness must cease.” That was Dr. King’s evaluation of U.S. policy in Vietnam back in 1967. His closest associate, Reverend Jesse Jackson, has condemned the Iraq War as a quagmire of death and destruction with no end in sight. “Dr. King,” he asked, “what are we doing?”

On Jan. 12, 2005, Illinois Congressmen Danny Davis and Jesse Jackson, Jr. and 14 of their colleagues sent a letter to President Bush requesting that U.S. soldiers come home. Senator Obama did not sign that letter. Does he still believe that we can succeed in Iraq when our “American commitment” has been shown to be built upon Republican lies about WMD and 9/11 connections?

In 1967, Dr. King called the U.S. government “the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today.” Clearly, nothing has changed. Is that OK with Senator Obama?

Reverend Jackson has said, “It’s easy to admire Dr. King. It’s a challenge to follow him.” Which will Senator Obama choose to do?

John M. Stassi is a Rockford resident.

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