Opinion: Martin Luther King Jr. warned us about spending too much on war

A Lockheed Martin F-35B takes off from the amphibious assault ship USS America in 2016.
(Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: Bravo to Adam H. Johnson for reminding us of the human cost when our country’s leaders spend big bucks for “military adventurism” while “they complain that America is running out of money when it comes to helping the poor, people of color, the disabled and elderly.” He notes also the failure of the media to report the true cost of our wars. (“Why don’t deficit hawks care about the cost of military adventurism?” Opinion, June 26)

The rationale of “national security” to justify out-of-control military spending overlooks the most important source of true national security: human security. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s warning at the time of the Vietnam War rings true today: “A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.”

Cecil Hoffman, Pasadena



To the editor: The last time the accumulated national debt decreased was in fiscal years 1956 and ’57, when Dwight D. Eisenhower was president.

Many times during Ike’s presidency, his advisers urged him to dispatch the Marines to numerous places, but he resolutely resisted in his hunt for a better way. In retirement, he wrote about his resistance to taking military action:

“The United States never lost a soldier or a foot of ground in my administration. We kept the peace. People asked how it happened. By God, it didn’t just happen, I’ll tell you that.”

Writing after the Korean War, Ike stated there must be a “balance between minimum requirements in the costly implements of war and the health of economy.”


Norman G. Axe, Santa Monica


To the editor: Weapons of war and their capabilities are keeping some of our influential leaders starry-eyed and willing to spend billions on them with a disregard similar to that of purchasing 4th of July fireworks.

Meanwhile, the parts of government that serve the poor and the middle class are effectively shut down. This should break the hearts of everyone and compel us to revolt at the ballot box.


Mary Leah Plante, Los Angeles

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