We must end drone warfare

Only pressure from citizens can put a stop to these heinous operations

The author, a Chico resident, is a women’s health nurse practitioner.

On April 1, All Fools’ Day, I was arrested at Creech Air Force Base, 50 miles north of Las Vegas, for trespassing onto federal land. I was there to wake up America about the dismal failure of the U.S. drone assassination program.

Initially, it may have seemed like a good idea to do targeted killing of “bad guys” in order to save U.S. military service personnel. What has happened, though, is that large numbers of civilians have been killed, and the operation has become a recruitment tool for militants in what is generally referred to as the Endless War. The military, the CIA and the weapons-manufacturer lobby will never end the drone program, which is leading to an ever-growing arms-race risk. It is up to us to end these heinous operations.

Many former drone pilots have come out against this weaponry. In a letter to President Obama, four former drone pilots state, “This administration and its predecessors have built a drone program that is one of the most devastating driving forces for terrorism and destabilization around the world…. We witnessed gross waste, mismanagement, abuses of power and our country’s leaders lying publicly about the effectiveness of the drone program.”

On a local level, our attempt to shut down Creech may seem like fools’ play, but it builds solidarity in a growing movement of people willing to go to jail to draw attention to war crimes. Without international agreements, there can be only chaos, and we run the risk of future terrorist blowback such as has never been seen before.

We must end the drone assassination program. Under the Nuremberg principles, we are all complicit unless we stand against the immoral and illegal behavior of our country. If we don’t observe international law, why do we expect others to?

For five years, peace activists from all over Northern California have held monthly vigils and nonviolent direct actions at Beale Air Force Base near Marysville. Our next vigil is April 25. Please join our efforts. Google “Occupy Beale Air Force Base” for information.