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Critical Thinking about the Vietnam Conflict - Research Paper Example

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The Vietnam War: Struggle for and Against Land Reform and National Freedom Martin Luther King’s A Time to Break Silence During the heat of the Vietnam War, the United States’ own backyard was also wracked with domestic unrest brought about by a united opposition against the government’s belligerent approach…
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Critical Thinking about the Vietnam Conflict
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Download file to see previous pages There were a few major personalities in the anti-Vietnam War protest movement, however, who voiced out opposition from the perspective of the Vietnamese people. One of these is Dr. Martin Luther King, who at that time was already known as the principal leader of the African American civil rights movement. More popularly known as a great civil rights activist, King surprised many other participants of the civil rights movement when he explicitly presented his stand on the war. Interestingly, while King was not a firebrand like those who manned the barricades set up in the universities during violent anti-Vietnam war protest actions, his views on the issue was more radical in essence. He did not dwell on the superficial but related issues to the war. Instead, his opposition was firmly grounded on the fact that the Vietnamese people were merely struggling to assert national freedom and land reform. The war therefore was not one between the anti-Communists and the Communists; it was one that was fought between the forces that wish to achieve a Vietnam that is genuinely free from foreign control and those that seek to relegate it to a semi-colony; between the peasants who desire agrarian reform and the landlords and foreign businesses who seek to maintain ownership of vast tracts of land. In April 4, 1967, Dr. King delivered a speech in front of a large group of people at Riverside Church in New York City. The occasion was that it was a meeting attended by members of the Clergy and Laity Concerned. It was through this speech, which was aptly titled A Time to Break Silence that he first articulated his stand against the Vietnam War. Considering how influential he is not just among the blacks but the whites as well, there were concerted efforts from the Johnson Administration to belittle or to denigrate his arguments. The media also criticized his speech. There were certain parts of the speech that certain leading newspapers actually treated as almost traitorous when uttered in a time of war. The key reasons why he opposed the war were also the very points criticized by the Johnson Administration’s press officers. For King, the US role in the war was not that of a liberator but that of an aggressor. He believed that the presence of US troops in the Southeast Asian country was meant to control it and turn it into an American colony. In order to achieve this aim, the US government employed the vicious force of arms to subjugate the people. For this, he called the US government headed by Johnson as “the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today” (A Time to Break Silence). This label naturally incensed the Johnson Administration. In the speech, King also mentioned that the war has re-channeled government resources that could have been used to fund social services and other programs that were supposed to alleviate the conditions of the poor. Prior to the escalation of the war, the Johnson Administration was popular among the poorer sections of the population because of its War on Poverty program. However, with the increased presence of US troops in Vietnam, the military expenses grew considerably. As a result, “even before Congress forced the president to cut domestic spending in order to secure funding for the Vietnam War, the administration was willing to cut antipoverty spending on its own” (Campagna 61). King did not spare this particular action of the US government from criticism. Ultimately ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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