Thursday, June 27, 2013

It is Easy to Be Silent About Killer Drone Strikes!

It is Easy to Be Silent About Killer Drone Strikes!

by Max Obuszewski, a member of the National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance

In the USA first they came for the Muslims. I am not a reader of the Koran. Then they came for those who spoke out, including journalists. Why speak out? Then they came for the trade unionists. Who needs a union if you are experiencing economic bliss? Then they came for the whistleblowers. Why complain? Then they came for people of faith. But I am an agnostic. Finally they came for the activists, and by that time there was no left to speak up. Thanks to Pastor Martin Niemoller for his insight.

Let us explore his thoughts a bit further:

It is easy to be silent. It is easy not to see. It is easy to not notice. It is easy to not get involved. It is easy to theorize you cannot fight the power. It is easy to go about your life. It is easy to ignore injustice. It is easy not to hear the cries of pain and suffering.

Why bother to take action? Those drone strikes are killing terrorists. The National Security Agency and the Central Intelligence Agency are keeping us safe. There is a need for secrecy, as it saves us from information overload. The administration, Congress and the courts know better. Our elected officials are sure to do what is best for the people. Trust them. Go shopping. Buy duct tape. You can always vote.

Despite the fog machine which envelopes the majority of people, there are those who refuse to remain silent against a government bent on warmongering and empire building. In fact, it can be surprising to discover the pockets of people in many parts of the country who see that they have a civic duty to speak out and challenge the injustices which abound.

To focus on one issue, there is the nationwide movement against the unmanned aerial vehicular assassination program. In spite of assurances from President Obama that the victims of drone strikes are surgical targets, it has been reported that hundreds of victims who are innocent of crimes against the US have been killed including civilian men, women, and children. Furthermore, people attending funerals in Pakistan have been killed by drone strikes. These victims have names and families who love them.

Unfortunately, there is no transparency with this assassination program, and no legitimate Congressional oversight. Instead of oversight, Congress performs the role of a cheerleader for the program. One does not need to be a legal scholar to understand there are constitutional questions to ask about the killer drone strikes.

How can Congress and the courts not take action when four U.S. citizens have been assassinated without any pretense of due process. The American Civil Liberties Union and the Center for Constitutional Rights brought a lawsuit in US federal court against the Obama Administration regarding the assassination of one of the victims--Anwar Al-Awlaki. The suit was lost on procedural grounds; however, the judge in the case stated "Can the executive order the assassination of a US citizen without first affording him any form of judicial process whatsoever, based on the mere assertion that he is a dangerous member of a terrorist organization?"

Yes it is easy to remain silent, and to mind my own business. Why not just ignore my conscience? Let others step up to the plate. Taking on the greatest empire ever is a guaranteed failure.

But I know so many others who are jousting with windmills. And I am a member of the National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance, which opposed the machinations of the Bush-Cheney clique and now the failed policies of the Obama administration. As members of a peace and justice organization opposed to the continuation of the Bush administration’s failed wars, we condemn the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (or drones) to kill citizens in at least seven countries. Besides opposing these 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.

So I will be at the NCNR demonstration outside the Central Intelligence Agency on Saturday, June 29 at 3 PM. We have sent the director, John Brennan, a letter requesting a meeting to bring about an end to the use of killer drones by the CIA. It remains unlikely we will receive a response, so on June 29 we plan to demand a meeting. The most likely response will be the arrest of the citizen activists who believe they have a First Amendment right to petition government officials, especially when wrongdoing is the order of the day.

Will we be effective? Join us, observe the proceedings and pass judgment on this action. Once those of us who are arrested come to trial, we hope the court in Fairfax County, Virginia allows us due process before finding us guilty of some perceived crime. We hope to put the CIA on trial.

When the administration, Congress and the courts support an illegal and unconstitutional assassination program, it is the responsibility of citizen activists to challenge this immoral use of unmanned aerial vehicles. Because we take seriously our Nuremberg obligations, we will go to the CIA demanding that the US killer drone program be brought to an end immediately. Whatever happens at the CIA on June 29, we will continue to protest, risk arrest, and denounce the CIA and the U.S. military use of killer drones and a foreign policy of endless wars.


Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 E. 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218. Ph: 410-366-1637; Email: mobuszewski [at] Go to

"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

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