Over the past two weeks, there have been two stories on Democracy Now! that directly engage with two speeches that we have read in our class, Eisenhower's "Farewell Address" and MLK Jr's "Beyond Vietnam," relating these speeches to our present military occupation in Iraq and Afghanistan. I thought I'd share links to the stories because they are quite interesting and relevant. They testify to the power, significance, and relevance of these two canonical speeches, which are referenced in or even the centerpiece of (as we see in Smiley's story) political conversation several decades after their initial delivery.
In the first story, Nader references Eisenhower's warning about the military industrial complex (about 46 minutes into the piece, in which he is relating the cost of healthcare with the cost of war [aka that the war in Afghanistan is more than the supposed yearly cost of the health insurance bill).
Nader: "Eisenhower was so prescient when he warned the American people in 1960 about the the military industrial complex... its devouring over half of our operating federal budget.. the Pentagon budget is not even auditable.. "
In the second story, author Tavis Smiley draws a comparison between President Obama (who visited Afghanistan yesterday) and MLK Jr. regarding the issue of war and peace. In comparing the two leaders, Smiley directly looks at MLK Jr's speech "Beyond Vietnam." The full story can be seen on his PBS Special airing Wednesday night.