As Vietnam dragged on, and protests grew, the argument
to stop the war was made by people, not the government.
A common theme connects our civil rights and war:
the violence against the poor. To just ignore
destruction in the name of liberty,
to risk young lives to boost the wealth and mastery
of just a few Americans, is damnable.
Said Martin Luther King about a nation full
of poor who die a second time in war: aghast
is all the world at our behavior, arms amassed
against the world, and hopes destroyed at home. "Hell no,"
said demonstrators burning draft cards, "we won't go!"
A million gathered. "To be silent is to lie."
As advocates some higher-ups would qualify:
the Pentagon reports from Ellsberg criticized
our leaders; from the pulpit, war was demonized
by Daniel Berrigan. The SDS opposed
the war by organizing students. They proposed
controlled resistance, anti-war democracy -
but many were arrested. 1970,
Kent State -- the killings echoed nationwide.
(It seemed our country was committing suicide.)
All economic groups opposed the war. GIs
refused to fight. For blacks the regular reprise
of soldiers clenching fists in anger led to jail
for former 'heroes.' Most determined to assail
our role were Viet Vets Against the War: the bomb
and gun replaced by verbal thrusts as Vietnam
was falling -- Congress taking credit for the peace,
the public doing most to get the war to cease.