Chief Executive Officer and President,
Northrop Grumman Corporation
1580 W. Nursery Road A
Linthicum Heights, MD 21090
September 7, 2021
Dear Ms. Warden:
We are writing to you, as peace and justice activists who protested the Bush/Cheney invasion of Afghanistan. We predicted that the only victors of this imperial misadventure would be weapons contractors. This proved to be correct, but we did not envision that U.S. troops and contractors would be there for twenty years.
Nevertheless, the U.S.-sponsored carnage, death and destruction is as follows: “Over 775,000 US troops have fought in Afghanistan since 2001. Of those, 2,448 were killed, along with almost 4,000 US contractors. Approximately 20,589 were wounded in action according to the Defense [sic] Department. Afghan casualty figures are difficult to calculate, since ‘enemy deaths’ that include civilians are not counted. Carl Conetta of the Project on Defense Alternatives estimated that at least 4,200–4,500 civilians were killed by mid-January 2002 as a consequence of the US assault, both directly as casualties of the aerial bombing campaign and indirectly in the humanitarian crisis that ensued. By 2021, the Associated Press were reporting that 47,245 civilians had perished because of the occupation. Afghan civil rights activists gave a higher total, insisting that 100,000 Afghans (many of them non-combatants) had died, and three times that number had been wounded.” [Tariq Ali, August 16, 2021]
It was never the intent of the U.S. government to bring democracy to Afghanistan. It was instead an act of vengeance which cost the lives of so many people of Afghanistan who had nothing to do with 9/11. And Northrop Grumman was just one of the weapons contractors which profited from the invasion.
The debacle in Afghanistan occurred because weapons contractors are the tail that wags the dog. You are aware of how this deadly game is played. You use campaign contributions to buy legislators, your lobbyists make sure that the taxpayer trough is wide open for weapons contracts and you use the revolving door between Congress, the Pentagon and Northrop Grumman to promote war. In a 2018 report, the Project on Government Oversight, a non-partisan watchdog, counted 24 former senior defense [sic] department officials who were employed at that time by your corporation.
This is just one example. General Mark Welsh III, a former Air Force Chief of Staff, played a major role in expanding the drone pilot program as well as in directing air strikes in Afghanistan. Daniel Hale, a former drone pilot, informed a journalist that 90% of the drone killings were civilians. Nevertheless, Welsh was elected to the board of Northrop Grumman in 2016 just after he retired, where he was paid $299,261 a year, more than double what he would make if he had kept his Air Force job.
Northrop Grumman was awarded a $13.3 billion contract in 2020 to modernize the nation’s intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) system for the engineering and manufacturing development (EMD) phase of the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent (GBSD) program. Of course, the program is misnamed as an ICBM is not a deterrent. The fact is nuclear weapons are far too dangerous to possess, and only dumb luck has prevented their use for seven decades. This luck could easily run out.
Of course, nuclear weapons and climate chaos are existential threats to Mother Earth. So every tax dollar that is wasted on weapons, including nuclear, is a tax dollar which could have been used to mitigate climate chaos or to provide vaccines to poorer countries. In other words, spending tax dollars on weapons make us less safe.
The buying of members of Congress or former military is an assault on democracy. We do extensive lobbying promoting peace and justice. But we do not make campaign contributions, so why should members of Congress listen to our pleas?
We would appreciate if we could meet with you or one of your subordinates as soon as possible. We would request that Northrop Grumman get out of the weapons business and concentrate on humanitarian products. We ask you to discontinue your out-sized lobbying efforts, your outrageous campaign contributions and the use of the revolving door.
Work with us on making this a better country by engaging in efforts to secure our democracy. Buying members of Congress to do your bidding is anti-democratic.
We look forward to your response. Let us have a dialogue about strengthening our democracy, helping you to develop humanitarian products, and engaging you in promoting a federal discretionary budget where a majority of the tax dollars go towards health care, education, the environment, including the Green New Deal, and infrastructure. We are prepared to have this meeting at a time and date of your convenience.
Max Obuszewski, Baltimore Peace Action, 410-323-1607 or mobuszewski2001 at Comcast.net
Richard Ochs, Baltimore Peace Action
Jean Athey, Maryland Peace Action
Ellen Barfield, Baltimore Phil Berrigan Memorial Chapter Veterans For Peace
Gerie Bell, Baltimore
Fr. Robert Bossie, SCJ, Chicago, IL
Stephen A. Buff, Ph.D., Prevent Nuclear War, Howard County Peace Action
Marilyn Carlisle, Baltimore Peace Action
Tom Casey, Pax Christi Western New York
Charlie Cooper, Baltimore
Ronda Cooperstein, Baltimore Peace Action
Louis Curran, Prevent Nuclear War/Maryland
Jean Cushman, Baltimore Peace Action
Joanne Dresser, Baltimore
Gwen DuBois, president of Chesapeake Physicians for Social Responsibility
Lucy Duff, Prince George's County Peace & Justice Coalition, Lanham, MD
David Eberhardt, Baltimore Nonviolence Center
Mary Elieisar, Baltimore Peace Action
Joy First, Wisconsin Coalition to Ground the Drones and End the Wars
Suzanne Fontanesi and Jeff Ross, Streamside Catholic Worker, Baltimore
Bruce Gagnon, Coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space
Trish Gallagher, Dorchester, MA
Carol Gilbert, Dorothy Day Catholic Worker
Clare Grady, Kings Bay Plowshares
Jim Holmes, Maryland Peace Action and Prevent Nuclear War/ Maryland.
Tarak Kauff, Peace & Planet News, New York City Veterans for Peace
Ed Kinane, Upstate Drone Action Coalition, Syracuse, NY
Stephen V. Kobasa, Hartford, CT
Eleanor Levine, CodePink & Shut Down Creech Team
Dan and Rita Lucey, Florida
Nick Mottern, Co-coordinator, Ban Killer Drones.org
Patricia Anne Murphy, International Philosophers for Peace
Joan H. Nicholson, Kennett Square, PA
Cynthia Papermaster, CodePink Women for Peace, Golden Gate Chapter
Bob Prokop, Baltimore Phil Berrigan Memorial Chapter Veterans For Peace
Phil Runkel, Waukesha, WI
Manijeh Saba, New Jersey
Leslie Salgado, Howard County Friends of Latin America
Lisa Savage, Maine Natural Guard
Janice Sevre-Duszynska, Baltimore Nonviolence Center
Trudy Silver, Let Yemen Live Vigil of New York
Christian Stalberg, San Francisco, Shut Down Creech
Alice Sturm Sutter, retired family nurse practitioner, New York City
David Swanson, Executive Director, World BEYOND War
Brian Terrell, Catholic Worker, Maloy, Iowa
Carmen Trotta, Kings Bay Plowshares
Marge Van Cleef, Philadelphia
Fifty concerned citizens signed the letter to CEO Cathy Warden. Two of the signers were involved in draft board raids in the 1960s, three spent time in prison for engaging in Plowshares disarmament actions, at least four are veterans and most of the signatories have engaged in repeated acts of nonviolent resistance to war.