July 11, 2012
President Barack Obama
The White House
Washington, D.C. 20500
Dear Mr. President:
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 five countries. Besides opposing your war policies, we have great concern for civilians caught in conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen. The use of drones is wrong on many levels: the illegality 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, Pakistan, 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, 410-366-1637
Maria Allwine, Pledge of Resistance-Baltimore, October 2011 Movement; Rocky Anderson, former mayor, Salt Lake City; James Baldridge, The Phil Berrigan Memorial Chapter of Veterans For Peace [VFP], Baltimore; Ellen E Barfield, VFP, War Resisters League & National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance [NCNR], Baltimore; Medea Benjamin, CODEPINK, Washington, D.C.; Pat Birnie, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, Tucson, AZ; Sharon Black, All Peoples Congress, Baltimore; Toby Blome, San Francisco; Bob Bossie, SCJ, Chicago, IL; Brother Henry, FSC, Baltimore Green Forum; Linda K Brown, Baltimore; Judith Butler, Wilmington, DE; Claire Cafaro, Occupy Fort Collins, Colorado; Marilyn Carlisle, Baltimore; Joan Cavanagh, New Haven, CT, Sunday Vigilers; Tim Chadwick, Bethlehem, PA; Charlie Cooper, Generations for Peace and Democracy, Baltimore; Catarina Correia, Riverdale, MD; Frances Crowe, Northampton Committee to Stop War & Nuclear Free Future Coalition of Western Massachusetts; Robert Daniels II, LEPOCO Peace Center, Bethlehem, PA; Fran Donelan, Baltimore; Gwen L. DuBois MD, MPH, Crabshell Alliance, Baltimore; David Eberhardt, poet/activist, Baltimore 21218; June Eisley, Wilmington, Delaware Pacem in Terris; Dagmar Fabian, Crabshell Alliance, Baltimore; Sandy Fessler, Rochester, NY; Dr. Margaret Flowers, Clearing the FOG Radio Show, Baltimore; Betty Ford, member of the Peace Alliance of the Lower Shore, Ocean Pines, MD; Bruce K. Gagnon, coordinator, Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space, PO Box 652, Brunswick, ME 04011; Christine Gaunt, Grinnell, IA; Carol Gay, New Jersey Labor Against War and New Jersey Industrial Union Council; Jim Haber, Nevada Desert Experience; Carole B. Hamlin, 5903 Yorkwood Road, Baltimore 21239-2424; Paulette Hammond, Maryland United for Peace and Justice; Father G. Simon Harak, SJ, Marquette University Center for Peacemaking [www.marquette.edu/peacemaking]; David Hartsough, PEACEWORKERS, San Francisco; Tom H. Hastings, Whitefeather Peace House and PeaceVoice (a program of the Oregon Peace Institute); Debbie Hegedus, Newark, DE; Martha Hennessy, Vermont; Jeffrey Halpern, Saratoga Springs, NY; George Homanich, New York; Tarak Kauff, VFP, New York; Colleen Kelly, St. Louis Instead of War Coalition, Judith Kelly, Arlington, VA; Malachy Kilbride, Arlington, VA; Linda LeTendre, Saratoga Peace Alliance & Women Against War in the Capital District in Albany, NY; Julie Levine, Topanga Peace Alliance and MLK Coalition for Jobs, Justice and Peace, California; Lewyn Li, New Haven, CT, Sunday Vigilers, New Jersey; Terry Lodge, Northwest Ohio Peace Coalition, Toledo; Paul Magno, Washington, D.C.; Kevin Martin, director, Peace Action, Silver Spring, MD; Eli S. McCarthy, PhD, Justice and Peace Director, Conference of Major Superiors of Men (CMSM), Silver Spring, MD; Cynthia McKinney, former member of Congress, Atlanta; Dorothy Medeiros, Wilmington, DE; C. William Michaels, Esq., coordinator of Pax Christi Baltimore and author, "No Greater Threat: America After September 11 and the Rise of a National Security State" (Algora, 2002, second edition 2005); Sally Milbury-Steen, Newark, DE; Joe Morton, Baltimore; Nick Mottern, director, Know Drones Tour, Brooklyn; Don Muller, Sitkans for Peace and Justice, Sitka, Alaska; New York City Metro Raging Grannies; Richard Ochs, editor, www.occupyg8thurmont.net, Baltimore; Rev. John Oliver, Catonsville, MD; Gerald Paoli, Voices for Creative Nonviolence, Chicago; Cindy Parker, Chesapeake Physicians for Social Responsibility [PSR], Baltimore; Rafe Pilgrim, Florida; Ardeth Platte, O.P., Jonah House, Baltimore; Bill Quigley, Loyola University New Orleans, Professor of Law; Doris Rausch, Columbia, MD; James Reill, Wilmington, DE; E. Daniel Riehl, Lititz, PA; May Robinson, Baltimore; Stephen Roblin, Towson, MD; Phil Runkel, 1326 Lookout Dr., Waukesha, WI 53186; Anne J. Ryan & Frank Ryan, New York; Manijeh Saba, NCNR, New Jersey; Helen Schietinger, Washington, D.C.; Malgo Schmidt, Peace Resource Center, Frederick, MD, Frederick Progressive Action Coalition – FredPAC & Occupy Frederick; Paulette Schroeder, osf, Project Peace Tiffin, Ohio; David Schott, VFP, Baltimore; Josie Setzler, Tiffin Area Pax Christi, Tiffin, Ohio; Wendy Rambo Shuford, retired nurse, civilian and ANC reserves, Memorial Episcopal Church Peace and Justice group and PSR, Baltimore, MD 21210; David Soumis, chair, VFP Drone Working Group, Wisconsin; Mark D. Stansbery, co-coordinator, Columbus Campaign for Arms Control, 1101 Bryden Road, Columbus, OH 43205; Alice Sturm Sutter, retired nurse practitioner, 820 West 180 St #51, NY, NY 10033, North Manhattan Neighbors for Peace and Justice; David Swanson, author of WAR IS A LIE, [WarIsACrime.org], Charlottesville, VA; Rosemary Thompson, Mission Helpers, Baltimore; Marge Van Cleef, Bryn Mawr Peace Coalition, Pennsylvania; Edwina Vogan, Arizona Alliance for Peace and Justice and End the War Coalition, Mesa; Rabbi Arthur Waskow, director, The Shalom Center, Philadelphia; Jay Wenk, VFP, 307 Mead Mtn. Rd., Woodstock, NY 12498; Paki Wieland, Northampton Committee to Stop War(s), MA; Wisconsin Coalition to Ground the Drones and End the Wars— Bonnie Block, Joyce Elwanger, Joy First, Virgine Lawinger, Janet Parker, Lars Prip, Mary Beth Schlagheck, Roberta Thurstin and Don Timmerman; Diane Wittner, www.chesapeakecitizens.org, Baltimore; Ann Wright, US Army Colonel Retired and former US diplomat, Hawaii; Kevin Zeese, Clearing the FOG Radio Show, Baltimore; and Crystal Zevon & Ariel Zevon: Doo-Occupy, Barre, VT.