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The U.S. drone war is moving out of the shadows.
As the wars of Afghanistan and Iraq fade from Americans’ consciousness, a new covert war, led by the CIA and Special Forces, continues to operate. It is a war defined by deadly drone strikes against targets in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia.
Thousands have been killed, many of them children, planting the seeds of resentment, hatred and violence. It is a unilateral, institutionalized war that by-passes the rule of law through secret ‘blacklists’ and ‘kill-lists’, prolonging conflict and creating extraordinary long term insecurity.
Hidden from public view, the price of these covert actions in devastated lives, dashed trust, and outrage against the U.S. is mounting.
The former commander of U.S. and International forces in Afghanistan, Stanley McChrystal has said, “To the United States, a drone strike seems to have very little risk and very little pain. At the receiving end, it feels like war. Americans have got to understand that….”
The view from the ground is more unvarnished.
Farea al-Muslimi, a Yemeni testifying before a Senate Committee about a drone strike in his village, said, “What radicals had previously failed to achieve in my village, one drone strike accomplished in an instant: there is now an intense anger and growing hatred of America.”
Instead of investing in constructive and effective approaches that build Shared Security , we are taking short-sighted, short-term actions that yield extraordinary long-term insecurity for everyone.
The approval to conduct this covert war, like the devastation in Afghanistan and Iraq, is predicated on the Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) that was passed after 9/11, encouraging the U.S. to engage in military action against those responsible for the attacks. We now know it includes Al-Qaeda, the Taliban, and “associated forces.”
Shared security must rest upon a shared commitment to the rule of law, evenly applied. We must abandon strategies that rely on secrecy and violence, and that apply different standards to U.S. actions than we would want other nations to adhere to.
In other words, to build peace we must end the global war on terror. Send a message to your representative to repeal the AUMF.
November Days of Action:
The movement to stop drone warfare and surveillance is growing, and next weekend we will be participating in the 2013 Drone Summit to learn, strategize, and strengthen a U.S.-based network to stop these wars. Organizers across the country are planning November Days of Action with local actions focused on drone manufactures, research facilities, and existing and planned drone bases and war command centers. Check this page for developing news and resources.
The precedent being set by the U.S. with its targeted killing program is opening the door to profoundly troubling levels of insecurity and cycles of violence. Urge your representative to support the repeal of the AUMF as a concrete step toward stopping the drone war.
Mary Zerkel and Peter Lems