US Military Says MLK, Jr. Would Be Proud of Its Weapons

by Project Censored
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The US Air Force attempts to use the image and words of Martin Luther King, Jr. to legitimize its military mission.  As Glenn Greenwald reports, in January 2013 the USAF’s Global Strike Command published a piece titled “Dr. King’s Dream for the Global Strike Team,” claiming that King “would be proud to see our Global Strike team…standing side-by-side ensuring the most powerful weapons in the US arsenal remain the credible bedrock of our national defense.”

The article appropriates King’s image, name and words, despite King’s often-spoken public opposition to militarism.  As David Sirota notes, in King’s 1967 Riverside Church speech, the famous preacher of nonviolence deplored “a nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift,” calling the US government “the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today.”

As the US military engages in a global bombing campaign that includes Afghanistan, Pakistan and Yemen, the exploitation of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s image and name amounts to repulsive “agitprop,” according to Greenwald.  Sirota notes that the Pentagon efforts to appropriate King’s image reflect an understanding that “more Americans are raising King-like questions about our government’s profligate defense spending and its attempts to preference militarism over other priorities.”


Glenn Greenwald, “US military Says Martin Luther King Would Be Proud of Its Weapons,” The Guardian (UK), January 22, 2013.

David Sirota, “Martin Luther King Jr., Champion of Military Defense?,” Salon, February 1, 2013.

Note:  As of March 27, 2013, the original Air Force Global Strike Command piece is no longer accessible.  According to the AFGSC website, “The requested story no longer exists or you do not have access to view it.”

Student Researcher: David Martinez, College of Marin

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