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MONDAY, NOVEMBER 20, 2006
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EDITORIAL

Dr. King showed change possible without violence

Former President Clinton had some good advice for terrorists during last week's Washington groundbreaking for a Martin Luther King Jr. memorial.

Of course, Mr. Clinton was not trying to help the terrorists — just to point out that there is a better way than theirs to achieve what our U.S. Constitution calls "a redress of grievances."

Mr. Clinton contrasted terrorists' violent tactics with the U.S. civil rights movement, of which Dr. King was a leader. Dr. King preached nonviolence, drawing inspiration from Scripture and India's Mahatma Gandhi.

The results of the U.S. civil rights movement are dramatic. Four decades later, most Americans embrace human rights, and the law guarantees them. The situation is still not perfect, but millions of people have benefited.

Here's what Mr. Clinton said:

"When the real battlefield is the human heart, civil disobedience works better than suicide bombing. Fighting your opponents with respect and reason works better than aspersion and attack. I suspect that if he were here speaking at his own dedication, Dr. King would remind us that the best way to honor him is to pursue his dream and embrace his means to combat terror and create a world with more partners and fewer terrorists."

Such arguments are lost on al-Qaida, but maybe a few future leaders in the Middle East will pay attention to the examples set by Dr. King and Mr. Gandhi.

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