Several weeks ago, I was invited to speak at the Martin Luther King, Jr. event at our independent living campus.  I met with the organizers and stated I would like to present King’s antiwar legacy, which has been virtually forgotten by celebrants who gathered around the country last Monday to honor the civil rights leader. 

I prepared my remarks by reading and rereading his April 4, 1967 speech, which he delivered at Riverside Church in Manhattan.  There was more than 3,000 in attendance.  His speech, “Beyond Vietnam:  A Time to Break Silence,” was criticized by several establishment media outlets such as the New York Times, because King conflated the Vietnam War with the plight of black Americans. 

As I was reading the text of his speech, I realized many of King’s remarks were familiar critiques of war and overseas interventions I had read over the past several decades.  When I came across insightful statements about the horrors of war, I would add them to my laptop’s quotations file. 

Below are the quotes from my file I shared with the 40 or so attendees and then elaborated them in my remarks, including why I was the antiwar candidate when I ran for the US Senate in New Jersey. 

I concluded my presentation with the assertion that King’s antiwar position is more important than his civil rights legacy.  In fact, without a peaceful foreign policy, the economy is harmed, our civil liberties are threatened, and the national debt explodes. 


“Wherever the standard of freedom and independence has been or shall be unfurled, there will be [America’s] heart, her benedictions and her prayers be. But she goes not abroad, in search of monsters to destroy.  She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all.  She is the champion and vindicator only of her own.”  John Quincy Adams

While I trust that liberty and free institutions, as we have experienced them, may ultimately spread over the globe, I am by no means sure that all people are fit for them; nor am I desirous of imposing or forcing our peculiar form upon any other nation that does not wish to embrace them.   Daniel Webster

"I helped make Mexico, especially Tampico, safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefits of Wall Street. The record of racketeering is long. I helped purify Nicaragua for the international banking house of Brown Brothers in 1909-1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for American sugar interests in 1916. In China I helped to see to it that Standard Oil went its way unmolested.” General Smedley Butler, twice awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor and author of War is a Racket

There are only two things we should fight for. One is the defense of our homes and the other is the Bill of Rights. War for any other reason is simply a racket. General Smedley Butler

Ludwig von Mises: "Society has arisen out of the works of peace; the essence of society is peacemaking. Peace and not war is the father of all things. Only economic action has created the wealth around us; labor, not the profession of arms, brings happiness. Peace builds, war destroys."

"Even if it were desirable, America is not strong enough to police the world by military force. If  Our Christian ideals cannot be exported to other lands by dollars and guns."  Howard Buffett

What difference does it make to the dead, the orphans and the homeless,  whether the mad destruction is wrought under the name of totalitarianism or the holy name of liberty or democracy?  Mahatma Gandhi  

Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.   Dwight D. Eisenhower

Can anything be stupider than that a man has the right to kill me because he lives on the other side of a river and his ruler has a quarrel with mine, though I have not quarreled with him? Blaise Pascal

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