On January 16, peace devotees will gather at Central
Intelligence Agency headquarters in Langley, Virginia to protest the use of
unmanned aerial vehicles (drones), operated primarily by the CIA to kill
al-Qaida in Iraq, Pakistan, and along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. These
attacks have killed many more civilians, children included, than the
�terrorists� they target.
I often wonder, especially when I�m trying to fade into
sleep, if many Americans are considering the collide-with-disaster tragedy our
leadership is directing. It seems the majority go about their lives as if the
most important contemplation is selecting a fast-food joint to patronize or what
to watch on television.
We are a country that now accepts torture. According to a
Pew report, 67 percent of Republicans and 47 percent of Democrats support its
use. We imprison and place in solitary confinement the young and the old, those
who may be guilty of one thing only -- being in the wrong place at a time when
justice has been rendered meaningless by something called the Global War on
Terrorism and the USAPATRIOT Act, a weird acronym for �Uniting and
Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and
Obstruct Terrorism Act.� This chilling mouthful, especially �Providing
Appropriate Tools,� describes a nation gone rogue.
For decades, we have endured inept lawmakers and cabinet
appointees. But 9/11 turned many into caricatures. The invasion of Afghanistan
with its resultant war fever added another level of absurdity. We witnessed
jaw-dropping, waste-of-time lunacy during the buildup to topple Saddam Hussein.
When France refused to sign on to the disastrous destabilizing of the Middle
East, french fries were renamed freedom fries on the menus of eateries run by
the House of Representatives. This derangement was contagious. Francophobes
poured French wine down sink drains. Restaurants removed it from their wine
lists. Germany weighed in on the side of France. Gerhard Schroeder, chancellor
at the time, said, �War may never be considered unavoidable.� His sanity was
anathema to a nation of warmongers. Soon, then-Secretary of Defense Donald
Rumsfeld referred to France and Germany as �old Europe.� All this would have
been farcical had the Project for the New American Century not been so
We have watched Congress become frenzied to avenge the
deaths of those who died on that September morning by funding operations that have
killed hundreds of thousands of civilians in Afghanistan and Iraq, creating a
widening gyre of violence that has expanded to Pakistan. The director of the
Afghanistan Rights Monitor, Ajmal Samadi, reports �at least three children were
killed in war-related incidents every day in 2009.�
At least a half million people who lived in the lands we�ve
ruptured have been displaced. Their countries are environmental disasters as a
result of our weaponry.
Army historians now say that early errors are to blame for
the current problems in Afghanistan. This is inaccurate because the initial
mistake was invading in the first place.
With the Christmas 2009 �incident,� Yemen has become the new
front in the war on terror. Yemeni
leaders stress that they don�t want our boots on their ground, and Obama�s top
counterterrorism advisor, John Brennan, said the US has no plan to deploy
troops to Yemen. But with Obama�s continuation of his predecessor�s policies,
the Bush Doctrine of preemptive war forebodes more aggression.
Each day of combat is another 24 hours of desolation
somewhere. Here at home with the ringing of the doorbell by a messenger of
death. In lands far away where entire families are incinerated by the
technology of drone warfare, war fire, war power.
We created what we�re fighting and we�ve become what we�re
fighting. Our troops are illegal enemy combatants.
So, how do we forge peace? What can we do to reach inside
our hearts and find humanity -- that which connects each of us regardless of
ethnicity, borders, religious beliefs, gender, philosophies? How can we hold
what seems to be moving inexorably from our grasp, nurture, and then deliver it
to those who will shepherd its safe passage through the tomorrows of our
children and grandchildren?
Only by taking nonviolent action can we stop the atrocities,
can we stop the dronings, stop the suffering, stop the wars.
Come to CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia on January 16
to protest drones. If you can�t make the distance, organize a rally in your
community. Also, participate in Peace
of the Action in Washington, DC, starting in March and continuing until our
troops come home.
lives in New York City. She�s written for National Public Radio and Nashville Life Magazine. An outspoken
critic of the Bush Administration and the war in Iraq, she�s a member of Gold
Star Families for Peace. She completed a novel last year, but since the death
of her nephew, Marine Lance Cpl. Chase J. Comley, in Iraq on August 6,� 05, she
has been writing political articles. She can be reached at: Missybeat@aol.com.