The way in which “America’s soul is totally poisoned” is evident in virtually every debate over US policies of militarism. Over the weekend, several pro-war national security “experts” argued: “I’d pay closer attention to critics of drone strikes if they explained their recommended alternative.” This is a commonly heard defense of Obama’s drone assaults: I support drones - despite how they constantly kill innocent adults and children - because the alternative, “boots on the ground”, is worse.
Those who argue this are literally incapable even of conceiving of an alternative in which the US stops killing anyone and everyone it wants in the world. They operate on the assumption that US violence is and should be inevitable, and the only cognizable debate is which weapon the US should use to carry out this killing (drones or “boots on the ground”?). Even though they have no idea who the US government is killing, they assume, with literally no evidence or basis, that those being killed are “terrorists” who want to attack the US and that therefore they - and anyone close to them - must be killed first. As Jonathan Swartz noted on Sunday, they have literally embraced the same mindset as the Terrorists they claim to loathe: we must use violence and killing, even if it means we kill innocents, because we simply cannot conceive of any alternative.
Never once do they stop and wonder: why are there so many people in the world who want to attack the US? Never once do they do what King so bravely and rather subversively urged: “the true meaning and value of compassion and nonviolence” is it “helps us to see the enemy’s point of view, to hear his questions, to know his assessment of ourselves”. King explained: “from his view we may indeed see the basic weaknesses of our own condition, and if we are mature, we may learn and grow and profit from the wisdom of the brothers who are called the opposition.” King thus urged the nation to “understand the arguments of those who are called enemy.”