Monday, July 30, 2012

Mothers Don't Let Your Children Grow Up to Be Drone Pilots

The New York Times is trying to tell us something. "Look, I'm not your conscience," it seems to be trying to say. "I'm not responsible for getting everything ethically right: that's your job. I just lob stuff up for you to react to. Have you got a pulse? REACT!"

Let's start with the title of the article that appeared on the front page of today's Times. When a major newspaper uses the term "kill shot" in a headline without irony -- without quotation marks, as I just used -- it screams out for us to say "WAIT A MINUTE! We don't talk about killing and injury so glibly!" (See Elisabeth Bumiller, "A Day Job Waiting for a Kill Shot a World Away".)

Drone pilot console

Moving on to the first paragraph, we are reminded that the nation's newspapers long ago abandoned any pretense of judiciousness in reporting about the combatant status of the targets of the U.S. military and the C.I.A. The people in the story are "insurgents" and "militants" -- apparently because the military says so. The words "alleged" and "reported" and "suspected" are nowhere to be seen. And that's why we, the readers, need to mentally supply those words and restore some semblance of reality to the story.

The story goes on to report that drone operators might feel empathy for the people they follow with their video eyes ... but, on the other hand, they claim they don't lose any sleep over the attacks they carry out ... and yet they do know that it's more than just a video game ... at least when commanders "beat into their crews" the message that it's not just a video game.

Is that all clear?

Anyone trying to get a moral bead on the issue of drone operation could be forgiven for getting dizzy. Perhaps the most honest sentence in the whole article is this:
In his 10 years at Creech, he said without elaborating, "I've seen some pretty disturbing things."
Figure it out, reader!

The U.S. military is desperately trying to beef up the ranks of its drone pilots - to meet a "near insatiable demand for drones." There's only one way that's going to happen, and that's if we let our young people think that it's okay to sign up. The world of military service is more abstracted and foreign than ever. If ever there was a time that young people needed guidance from others about what military service might mean for them, that time is now.

The New York Times is putting us on notice -- this is where the real battleground is -- at the recruiting station. It's not the job of The New York Times -- or any other part of the media -- to pass judgement on the state of the world. Their job is just to tee up the issue. It's up to us, on the other hand, to face those issues head on, and to do something about them.

JOIN OTHERS NEAR YOU to oppose drones! See the full state-by-state list on the No Drones Network website.

Related posts

Grounded raises tough questions. I was hoping that the play would challenge the idea that killing people with drones is good. It's a reflection of the seriousness of this work that that is just one of the issues it raises; others include our society's willingness to destroy the people who we employ to "serve" ("serve our country," serve us in general), our culture's worship of violence / use of force, and the consequences of pervasive surveillance.

(See "Everything Is Witnessed": Searching for "the Guilty" in GROUNDED )

We need to do several things for our young people. First of all, we need to show them pictures of war and explain: "This is what real chaos looks like." And then we need to ask, "Still think this sounds appealing?"

(See The Few, the Proud ... and the Chaos)

A big Hollywood production of Ender's Game is scheduled for release on November 1. It's a perfect opportunity for us to ask: Are we happy seeing our schools turned into "Battle Schools"?

(See "Ender's Game" and the Militarization of Youth: Can We Talk About This? )

Ames serves a largely Spanish-speaking community. Is the militarization of Ames anything other than a signal of what the Democratic party means by equitable treatment for immigrants?

(See The Militarization of Ames: The Real Meaning of the DREAM Act )

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Nationwide: Getting SERIOUS About STOPPING the Drones Menace

KnowDrones replica in use at anti-drones protest at the White House.

I arrived in Dayton, OH, at 8 a.m. after driving through the night from Chicago. In the parking lot of Fritsch's Big Boy, I met up with two friends from No Drones Wisconsin. We were there to rendezvous with Nick Mottern and George Guerci from Know Drones, who were bringing MQ-9 Reaper drone replicas for us, as well as for anti-drone activists from Indiana.

I had rented a small van to take my new 8' drone replica back to Chicago; I knew that, even when it was broken down for transport, the drone replica and the display stand would require a bit of space. I was curious to see how Nick and George were managing FOUR drone replicas! Before long, Nick and George arrived from New York, via Columbus, towing a 12-feet-long enclosed trailer.

Delivery of KnowDrones replicas of the General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper
drone to antiwar activists from Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio.

My jaw dropped when they opened the trailer and I saw the four model drone fuselages resting on foam cushions, with their wings neatly strapped to the front wall of the trailer. "These are some very, very serious people," I said to myself.

The KnowDrones replicas include careful reproductions of the Hellfire
missiles and laser-guided 500-lb bombs carried by the Reaper.

And, indeed, the Know Drones Tour has taken their replicas to do anti-drones activism throughout the U.S. Northeast: in Brooklyn, NY, southern New Jersey, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and northern Maryland. A tour of Ohio is planned for September.

Perhaps more importantly, they have assisted the Upstate NY Coalition to Ground the Drones (in New York) in building Reaper replicas and provided replicas to the NH Peace Action (in New Hampshire), Code Pink (in Washington, DC), World Can't Wait (New York City) and to Larry Carter Center, a peace activist in Charleston, South Carolina, in order to boost the drone opposition movement that is becoming a nationwide phenomenon.

Nick, George, and their colleagues at Know Drones have recently figured out how to double the rate at which they can produce drone replicas, to enable them to deliver a dozen more models in the next 45-60 days. This will be crucial as the presidential election heats up in the U.S., and activists work to demand that drone killing and drone surveillance be talked about -- and NOT swept under the rug -- during this period of national debate. Plans are already under way for drones protests at the RNC in Tampa, Florida, at the end of August, and drones protests at the DNC in Charlotte, North Carolina, at the beginning of September. Drone replicas are already on order for delivery to activists in Oregon, Hawaii, and Delaware.

To get an idea of how activists are taking the "No Drones!" message to the general public and incorporating the drones replicas made by Know Drones, consider the case of Robert Rast ....

KnowDrones replica displayed by Robert Rast, whose son was killed by
"friendly fire" from a U.S. drone while serving in the U.S. Navy.

Mr. Rast's son, Navy corpsman Benjamin Rast, was killed accidentally in a Reaper drone strike in Afghanistan in April 2011; that strike also killed Marine Staff Sergeant Jeremy Smith. Robert Rast has set the replica up in his front yard and sits with it, telling those who stop what happened to his son.

KnowDrones replica on display in Madison, WI.

Meanwhile, in Wisconsin, the very active progressive community in Madison has had the chance to encounter drones model brought out by No Drones Wisconsin.

In Chicago, we've been pushing hard against the Obama administration's drone killings - starting with our protest against Eric Holder when he made his announcement "justifying" extrajudicial executions in Chicago, and continuing with our protests of the drone killings in Pakistan in March, our protest to make the drones killing 100% VISIBLE during the NATO Summit, and our protest against drones killings at the June 1 Obama fundraiser.

Making the drone killing 100% VISIBLE in Chicago.

No Drones Illinois will be featuring our new model as part of a large-scale antiwar outreach (including Chicago World Can't Wait, Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) Chicago Chapter, Occupy Chicago, Pakistan Federation of America Chicago (USA), and Wellington Avenue United Church of Christ) at the Chicago Air & Water Show on August 18.

As Nick Mottern has said, the proliferation of drones and the daily increasing reliance on drone warfare is carefully calculated by our government to discourage us from criticizing U.S. war-making and killing, or even thinking about it. In effect, the nameless, faceless drones are part of an effort to "systematically deprive people of empathy" for others. (This absence of empathy is a phenomenon I wrote about in a blog post entitled "Drone Victims: Just Dots? Just Dirt?") The Know Drones models are part of an urgent effort to reverse that trend. People begin to think about the significance of drones when they feel the model hovering over them. They can begin to get a sense of the size of the drones. They start to ponder the facelessness of the drone when they are looking at it and realize that there are no windows, that there is no on-board pilot. Most important, they get it into their heads that this problem is REAL, and they become unable to shake that thought.

So: New York, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, DC, Maryland, South Carolina ... Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, Ohio ... Oregon ... Hawaii ... and discussions are now underway with activists in Michigan, North Carolina, and Colorado, and others, on using replicas of the Reaper, which has become the primary work horse of drone killing, and which will be produced in larger and larger numbers in the coming years by its manufacturer.

Soon "No Drones!" groups -- with drone models from Know Drones -- will be active in every state. All of these groups are in urgent need of support from activists with a wide range of talents, to enable them to carry out the public outreach that is so desperately needed.

STOP THE DRONES! What are you prepared to do?

Related posts

Coming off our experience this past weekend once again protesting against drone killing, drone surveillance, and related acts of militarism at the Chicago Air and Water Show, I am more confirmed than ever in my view that air shows are a very effective place to get our message out to the public.

(See Why Air Shows Are a Very Effective Place to Protest Drone Killing and Drone Surveillance )

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?")

Check out these links to anti-drones activities that sprung up in 2012. Obviously, this is just a sampling of drones activism nationwide -- but a great place to start! (What are you prepared to do?)

(See Drones Activism: Big Stories in the No Drones Network on the No Drones Network website)

The April Days of Action Against Drones 2013 have been imaginative, colorful, powerful, and inspiring! Look at the images on this page and click through to learn more about the ones that you want to know more about.

(See April Days of Action Against Drones: HIGHLIGHTS! on the No Drones Network website)

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Drone Victims: Just Dots? Just Dirt?

People all over the country and all over the world are waking up to the drone menace. There is something about this weapon and the way it is used that is wrong - you can feel it in your gut.

I've been talking with people in the faith community in Chicago, trying to put into words just what is so wrong with drones. What is it about drones killing and drones surveillance that is qualitatively different? What makes it even worse than all the violence and war that we've seen carried out in our name to date?


For me, it started to become clear when I learned about signature strikes. Up until then, I had been hearing a lot about how drones could "see" people, and how what they "saw" was evaluated in some way, and some part of me had accepted the idea that there was something similar in the way a drone "sees" people and the way a person "sees" another person.

But signature strikes -- in which a drone detects some kind of human activity, and on the strength of a vague characterization of that activity unleashes a Hellfire missile -- make it clear just how people are "seen" when drones are being used.

There is a famous scene in the movie, "The Third Man," which characterizes this problem perfectly. In the film, the villain's childhood friend, Holly Martins (played by Joseph Cotton), meets the villain, Harry Lime (played by Orson Welles). They climb aboard a Ferris wheel that carries them high above Vienna. In response to the demand, "Have you ever seen one of your victims?" the villain yanks open the door of the Ferris wheel cabin menacingly and says:
"Look down there. Would you really feel any pity if one of those dots stopped moving forever? If I offered you twenty thousand pounds for every dot that stopped moving, would you really -- old man? -- tell me to keep my money? Or would you calculate how many dots you could afford to spare?"
(You can watch the Ferris wheel scene from "The Third Man" here. Then watch the infamous "collateral murder" footage - included two minutes into Kyle Broom's powerful short film, "Prevention of Injury (POI).")

With drones, people have become just that: dots. Bugs. In fact, the military uses the term "bug splat" for what's left after a drone strike. Of course, there are real people involved in operating drones -- "in the loop" is the Computer Science term for that "involvement" -- but we should be very, very clear that the role those people play is nothing like the role they play in any other kind of human interaction -- including other warfare and violence.


In a sermon about a year ago at the church I attend in Chicago -- St. Luke's Logan Square -- the Rev. Pieter Oberholzer of Inclusive and Affirming Ministries in South Africa spoke of the human impulse to dismiss other human beings as bugs and worse. He spoke of the Aramaic term raca -- literally, "spit"; essentially "trash" or "dirt". The "raca spirit," he said, is a worldview that allows us to pigeonhole some people as "dirt." And then he told us that the Good News of the New Testament can effectively be summed up as: we used to live in a worldview that allowed some people to be relegated to "dirt" -- unworthy of consideration -- but we now know that God values us all as people, and wants us to value all other people as people. Pastor Oberholzer commended to us the words of Desmond Tutu: "We are of ultimate worth" in the eyes of God. This translates, he told us, in African society, into the concept of ubuntu -- which he translated as, "I live because you live; you live because I live."

When I was a child, there was a public service announcement (perhaps for the National Council of Churches?) that ran on television. It was a parable of a rancher in the Old West, who was a pillar of his community and a stalwart of his church. This rancher had a very Old Testament view of the world, and when someone was caught stealing one of his cattle, he considered the person beneath consideration as a person. Here's a summary I found of that old PSA:
Once upon a time there was a wealthy rancher who had hundreds of cattle, and next door to his ranch was a poor farmer who could barely feed his family. One day the farmer decided he'd help himself to one of the rancher's cows, but (sounds of guns being cocked and the image of shotguns pointing at the farmer) he didn't get very far.
At the trial, the rancher told the judge, "String him up, it will teach him a lesson."
That night as the rancher slept he dreamed that he died, and was standing before God awaiting judgement.
And the Lord said, "Forgive him, it will teach him a lesson."
Those are words that I have never forgotten.


Graham Greene, who wrote "The Third Man" and set it in the ruins of war-ravaged Vienna, saw exactly where modern war was taking us. When we finally get around to understanding just how wrong drones are, that understanding is likely to crack wide open a recognition of the inhumanity of all the modern warfare we've been dragged into in the modern era. Like a frog that is in a pot of water whose temperature is gradually increasing until he is boiled alive, our society has stood still for advances in weaponry that allow victims to be dehumanized further and further and further. It's time to put a stop to it, and turn back the clock.

How far must we turn back the clock? I don't think we'll be done until we recognize that ever since weapons became the tools of Empire, people have been reduced to being the victims of signature strikes.

More at: Can we stop the DRONES?

* * * * *

The image "Collateral Damage" by Lillian Moats is from Windows and Mirrors: Reflections on the War in Afghanistan -- an art collection and traveling exhibition consisting of 45 murals created by artists from all over the world who have tried to capture the experience of the war in Afghanistan and to make it visible to people everywhere. Windows and Mirrors is a project of the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC).

For further thought:

Genesis 18: 32 -- "Then [Abraham] said, “May the Lord not be angry, but let me speak just once more. What if only ten can be found there?” He answered, “For the sake of ten, I will not destroy it.”

Galatians 3:25 -- "But now that faith has come, we are no longer subject to a disciplinarian."

Matthew 6:22 -- "The eye is the lamp of the body. So if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light."

Related posts

We will only deal successfully with the crimes being committed using drones when we understand them as part of the much larger war against communities of color . . . .

(See Drone Gaze, Drone Injury: The War on Communities of Color )

Palestine 30 CE - were Jews a "community of color?" And what was Empire doing to keep the community within "normal" or "right" or "acceptable" bounds? And what happened to people who looked like the "wrong" type?

(See Was the Crucifixion a "signature strike"?)

If the American public knew the nature of the crimes that its government was committing in Afghanistan, could it possibly sit still and not force an end to the war, and the removal of U.S. military, intelligence, and contractors from Afghanistan?

(See VAU Afgh 101: Attacks Against Civilians)

More posts about the immorality of drones at: Can we stop the DRONES?

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The Diogenes Project: Can Anyone Find an Anti-Drone Congressman?

It is said that the Greek philosopher Diogenes used to wander the market of Athens, shining a lantern in broad daylight, searching for an honest man.

Recently, some of us have been wandering the Twittersphere, searching for a congressman or congresswoman who will speak openly about their opposition to drone killing and drone surveillance.

The tweets keep going out, but all we can detect is darkness.

Maybe we need a brighter lantern?
* * * * *

Image of Diogenes with his lantern by Jules Bastien-Lepage from Wikipedia.

Related posts

Rep. Thomas Massie (R, KY) gives a convincing explanation of why Congress always ends up supporting the President's wars. It's a four step process that starts with pressure, and continues with arm-twisting, gets topped off with a dash of "secret briefings" . . . and then . . .

(See Zombie Alert! (How Government Secrecy Seduces Congress to Support War) )

In the past several weeks, the President of the United States tried to undertake an attack against a foreign country, but the American people said "Hell no!" and the Congress let the President know they couldn't support it. How often does that happen?

(See When THE PEOPLE Take Control: "Anything Can Happen")

First Reps. Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ) and Keith Ellison (D-MN) called the U.S. on the carpet for dodging the call from the international community to come clean about its drone killings. Then Reps. Adam Schiff (D-CA) and Walter Jones (R-NC) submitted a bill calling for drone transparency. So ... are we finally going to get the truth?

(See REAL Progressives Demand that the U.S. Come Clean on Drone Killings)

Monday, July 9, 2012

SPEAK NOW! or the Drones Killings Will Continue!

On Sunday, the New York Times Magazine published an unsensational profile of the drone pilot training facility at Holloman Air Force Base, in New Mexico ("The Drone Zone" by Mark Mazzetti).

It's important to recognize that the press gets access to a training program like the one described at Holloman because the military and the Administration are calculating how they want to influence public opinion.

In essence, the Mazzetti piece lays out the facts about the drone program -- or, more precisely, some of the facts -- and then leaves it to the American people to decide whether it cares about those facts or not. As Jimmy Carter pointed out several weeks ago in an important New York Times op-ed piece, there has been a stunning lack of "dissent from the general public" against the human rights abuses, such as the drone killing program, of the Obama administration.

So what's really going on here? The political elites of our country are engaged in their quadrennial election pageant, but the staggering truth is that the campaign season is proceeding with nary a word about the drones killing program, or, in fact, any of the national security practices of the Obama administration. It seems extremely likely that Barack Obama will be re-elected, and will claim a mandate to continue carrying out the drones killing. After all, why not? Has there really been any "dissent from the general public"? Where's the outrage?

Actually, there is every indication that Team Obama sees the drones killings as an unspoken plus for their candidate. After all, isn't that what the leaked story of Obama's "secret kill lists" was all about? In fact, the Obama campaign may be as much about "Betting on Drones" as it is about "Betting on America."

Here, then, are the facts laid out in "The Drone Zone". Decide for yourself if you want to give your tacit consent.

"It is widely known that the United States has three different drone programs. The first is the publicly acknowledged program run by the Pentagon that has been operating in Iraq and Afghanistan. The other two are classified programs run separately by the C.I.A. and the military’s Joint Special Operations Command, which maintain separate lists of people targeted for killing."

"Widely known"? Well, I guess it is now! How do you feel about this, America? Or doesn't it matter to you that one federal body after another is getting on board the extrajudicial execution train?

"[T]he Pentagon is increasing its fleet of drones by 30 percent and military leaders estimate that, within a year or so, the number of Air Force pilots flying unmanned planes could be higher than the number who actually leave the ground."

This fact should be taken together with the article that appeared in the previous day's New York Times ("Afghan Conflict Losing Air Power as U.S. Pulls Out" ), which stressed how expensive the old way was: only a tiny percentage (~5%) of sorties by fixed-wing aircraft in Afghanistan result in the use of ordnance, despite the $20,000/hour cost of those operations.

So ... what do you think, America? You're on board for this "new and improved" way of killing, right? After all, the price is right ....

"Pilots have flown missions over Afghanistan in the morning, stopped for lunch, fought the Iraq war in the afternoon and then driven home in time for dinner."

The end section of "The Drone Zone" attempts to get at some of the possible negative psychological impact on the pilots. But it is pretty thin gruel. We've never been serious about the damage to which we subject the members of our military. Why start now?

As "The Drone Zone" make clear, new military technologies were being advanced at Holloman long before anyone ever dreamed of operating drones ... and -- golly! -- after all, the geography around Holloman turns out to be a dead-ringer for the mountain/desert combination of war zones like Afghanistan!

So is this really so different?

Notably missing from "The Drone Zone" is any mention of the victims of the U.S. drones killing program. (The photo album that accompanies the article is one of the most sterile, anonymous, and scary portraits of a deadly industry in recent memory.) Ironically, the closest the article comes to suggesting the true human cost is when it describes trainees practicing by following cars on local New Mexico roads: "Wait, you guys practice tracking enemies by using civilian cars?"

Imagine what would happen if victims of drone killings were, instead, 100% VISIBLE. Would America have something to say about drones then?

* * * * *

If you see the urgency of raising your voice against the dangerous trend in drones killings, join others in your area to protest the drones -- before it's too late!

* * * * *

Image from The New York Times

Friday, July 6, 2012

Obama: "Betting On America"? or "Betting On Drones"?

Barack Obama has our number. He's figured out how to pander to the worse part of our nature, whether it's a matter of economics or national security.

As the Obama 2012 campaign winds its way through Ohio and Western Pennsylvania today and tomorrow, it travels under the banner of "Betting On America." On the topic of the economy and jobs, Obama knows exactly how to push the buttons of people in the Rust Belt: according to coverage in the New York Times, Obama is setting China up as the fall guy for his "us against them" election year drama.

Unfortunately, when you are addressing people who are going through a complex and painful economic transition, it is the easiest thing in the world to set up a foreign country as the enemy and make them a scapegoat. A part of every person's nature -- the darker part -- is willing to seize at the simple solution and blame someone else, especially someone who looks and sounds different than us.

The unexpressed but always present second banner of the Obama 2012 re-election campaign is "Betting On Drones." As was clearly demonstrated by the Obama administration's orchestration of the New York Times story on the "secret kill list" last month, Obama has similarly set up the rule of law as the second election year fall guy. Obama has figured out that, in some kind of creepy way, the American public likes the drone killings.

You may find it distasteful to acknowledge that approval of the drone killings reveals another dark aspect of American people's nature. But let's be honest: how else to explain the lack of dissent from the general public against Obama's program of assassinations?

In a sad footnote to the drones trend, there are significant business and career interests in the growth of the drone industry, which muddy the waters over the desirability of drone use even more than would otherwise be the case. We are seeing greater and greater exposure of these economic interests every day.

However, I think the business of drones is just a footnote to the main event: namely, the use by the Executive of the instruments that most effectively reinforce his exercise of absolute power. (As such, drones are just the latest, greatest tool in the exercise of permawar.)

So: ask not who the culprits are that bear responsibility for the success of Obama's bet on drones; the culprits ... are us ....

* * * * *

Image from The Washington Post

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

U.S. Drone Killing: "Without Dissent From the General Public"?

In an unprecedented op-ed piece that appeared June 24, 2012, former U.S. president Jimmy Carter took the United States -- and, in particular, the Obama administration -- to task for its "cruel and unusual record" of violating human rights. He described a course of action that "began after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and has been sanctioned and escalated by bipartisan executive and legislative actions, without dissent from the general public" (emphasis added).

Mass demonstration against U.S. drone killings - Chicago, May 2012
(Image: Reuters)

Jimmy Carter concluded his piece by saying,
As concerned citizens, we must persuade Washington to reverse course and regain moral leadership according to international human rights norms that we had officially adopted as our own and cherished throughout the years.

This resonated with a recent statement by David Cole:
In Power and Constraint, Jack Goldsmith attributes Obama’s counterterrorism policy not to indecision but to a national consensus that the status quo he inherited was legitimate.

(See "Obama and Terror: The Hovering Questions" by David Cole, New York Review of Books, July 12, 2012.)

Those of us who spend a lot of time protesting drones and other aspects of U.S. militarism and rights violations may find it difficult to accept the proposition that there has not been dissent from the general public, and that there is any kind of "national consensus" that what Obama is doing is legitimate. However, I think that what both Jimmy Carter and David Cole are pointing out to us is important: we have to raise the dissent to a level where it cannot be ignored.

There is a groundswell of opposition drone killing and drone surveillance. We have to work to translate it into undeniable, un-ignorable mass protest.

This is an election year. We do have to invoke the ultimate sanction against a sitting president whose violence we condemn: no 2nd term.

Congress does have the power over U.S. war-making. We have to tell every member to reign in the drones, or clear out and make way for someone who will.

REMEMBER: it doesn't rise to the level of "dissent from the general public" until it gets so loud that people in power are getting really uncomfortable.

Related posts

It seems clear to me that if Congress does not take steps to influence the President's behavior with respect to the NPT opportunity, and does not take steps to reduce nuclear weapons on its own in the months immediately thereafter, it will be high time for the people of the United States to recognize that "it's up to us" -- and us alone.

(See Countdown to U.S. Nuclear Disarmament (With or Without the Politicians) )

There was a lot of noise in Chicago during the NATO Summit. But one message we managed to get through -- at least to some people -- was that people in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and many other places are being injured and killed in their names ... and that if that bothers their consciences they can get active and do something about it.

(See Making Drone Killing 100% VISIBLE in Chicago!)

Now comes the messy part. We need many more people to engage with with the emotions aroused by drones. This is going to involve many different groups of people, engaging with this topic in many different ways: churches and faith groups . . . young people . . . . The point is: the discourse on drones is going to get out of our hands. It isn't always going to go the way we want. But the important thing is that many, many people are going to be talking about it in the ways that feel appropriate to them.

 (See Democracy vs. Drones)