Sunday, May 27, 2012

THIS Memorial Day, Honor the Fallen: STOP Drone Killing!

This Memorial Day, commit yourself to something that America's fallen servicemen and women would want: an end to killing with drones.
One week ago in Chicago, we saw U.S. veterans give voice to the anguish of so many who have been caught up in U.S. war-making. They are tormented about the violence, injury, and pain to which they have contributed. They seek everyone's help in putting a stop to it.

Just 5 days ago, we saw the passing of Paul Fussell, a scholar who gave voice to the disgust with war felt by generations of veterans. Fussell built on his first-hand experience of war in Europe in 1943: "During his tour of duty he won the Bronze Star and two Purple Hearts — he was wounded in the back and legs — and he emerged with a disdain for those who would justify wars, especially those who never fought. He hammered the point in The Great War and Modern Memory and other books, including Wartime: Understanding and Behavior in the Second World War (1989), a relentless chronicle of everything that was dreadful or repugnant about the soldiering experience in World War II, and a memoir, Doing Battle: The Making of a Skeptic (1996)."

Today, ALL Americans have been made part of the "kill chain" by high-tech, hyper-modern killing with drones. It's time for us to see that this new type of killing has put ALL of us behind the trigger.

The bad news is drones have made all of us more implicated and culpable than ever. But the good news is that the drones also offer up clear pathway to putting a stop to the immoral, dishonorable, unlawful killing.

This Memorial Day, commit yourself to something that America's fallen servicemen and women -- and Iraq Veterans Against the War ... and veterans of all conflicts -- would want: an end to killing with drones.
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Painting: We Honor the Fallen by Ret. Sgt. Peter Damon from the Wounded in Action art exhibition.

Read about the May 17 Chicago protest against drone killings.
Get involved with the movement to end drone killings.

Related posts

In my opinion, the reason to focus on drones is this: when we focus on drones, the general public is able to "get," to an unusual extent, the degree to which popular consent has been banished from the process of carrying out state violence. (Sure, it was banished long ago, but the absence of a human in the cockpit of a drone suddenly makes a light bulb go off in people's heads.) It takes some prodding, but people can sense that drone use somehow crosses a line. And that opens up the discussion about how our consent has been eliminated from the vast range of US militarism.

(See "Why focus on drone attacks?")

Consider the moment in the film All Quiet On the Western Front when the young soldier returns to visit his old high school. The soldier visits the class of the teacher who had goaded him and many of his classmates to enlist in the first place. Encouraged by his teacher to tell about the "glories" of being a soldier, he delivers a damning verdict . . . .

(See Back to School (All Quiet On the Western Front))

It's time for us to get honest about the true costs of war, including the long term health consequences for people who serve in the military, and the corresponding long-term costs that our society must commit to bear.

(See How to REALLY Honor Veterans)