The National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance decided to send a letter seeking a meeting with President Obama to express our deep concern over killer drone strikes. A reply is not expected. However, we will post the letter on web sites and social media and bring it to D.C. on January 21. Those of us who participate in a die-in during the inauguration will introduce the letter during a subsequent trial.
Let us know if you can sign on to the letter. If yes, send your name, organization, city and state. Thanks for your efforts in bringing attention to the illegality of killer drone strikes.
President Barack Obama
The White House
Washington, D.C. 20500
Dear Mr. President:
Congratulations on being elected president for a second term. We expect you to now embrace your Nobel Peace Prize and end all of the U.S. wars.
As members of peace and justice organizations opposed to your continuation of the Bush administration’s failed wars, we are writing to condemn your use of unmanned aerial vehicles (or drones) to kill citizens in at least seven countries. Besides opposing your war policies, we have great concern for people caught up in conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Pakistan, the Philippines, Somalia and Yemen. The use of drones is wrong on many levels: the illegality and immorality of assassinations, the violation of international law and the Constitutional protection of due process, the targeting of civilian populations, and the disregard of sovereignty. We are especially troubled by your refusal to release the flawed document which purportedly gives you legal cover to determine who is on the kill list.
Your use of killer drones is and will continue to create more enmity toward the United States. Because of the lack of transparency, it remains unclear how many civilians are known to have suffered losses of life, limb or property as a result of strikes. The Bush administration did not seem to have any concern for the communities under attack. Sadly you have increased the use of drone strikes, and as a result there is rampant anti-U.S. sentiment throughout these areas in conflict.
Furthermore, we are also concerned that U.S. drones are used to eliminate political opponents of corrupt leaders. This happened in 2010 in Yemen, when a state governor who opposed President Ali Abdullah Saleh was labeled as a leader of Al Qaeda and killed.
We believe that you should issue a directive terminating the killer drone program. This would have a profound effect around the world, and could initiate a process of healing. As citizens, we do not see the people of Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Pakistan, the Philippines, Somalia and Yemen as enemies. These are our brothers and sisters. Instead of wasting billions of dollars on immoral drone strikes, take the money from the program and give it to non-governmental organizations working on providing jobs and incomes to people so that they do not join terrorist groups. There would be much support for such a program in these war-torn countries.
We believe U.S. wars and drone attacks have been demonstrable failures. Now is the time to take the risks of peace. Imagine leading a country which has denounced the madness of war, and instead wants to assist and make friendship with the people of the Middle East and Central Asia.
We look forward to your response. Should you agree to endorse a foreign policy with the goal of peace and justice, we will stand with you. Rejecting our proposal will mean more death and destruction. We will then continue to protest, risk arrest and denounce a foreign policy of endless wars.
We would be prepared to meet with members of your administration to discuss our proposal to immediately end killer drone strikes and to start a process of healing with the victims of U.S. wars. Please give serious consideration to our proposal of reconciliation and diplomacy rather than pernicious killer drone strikes.
Max Obuszewski, Baltimore, National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance
"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs