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Ground the Drones with
join Fellowship Of Reconciliation and say NO to DRONES
As representatives of faith-based communities, we are deeply concerned about the proliferation of lethal unmanned aerial vehicles, commonly known as drones. The United States is leading the way in this new form of warfare where pilots in US bases kill people, by remote control, thousands of miles away. Drones have become the preferred weapons to conduct war due to the lack of direct risk to the lives of U.S. soldiers, but these drone strikes have led to the death of hundreds of innocent civilians in countries where we are not at war, including Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia.
Some aspects that we find particularly disturbing include:
The President and his aides draw up a Kill List in which they play the role of prosecutor, judge, jury and executioner. People on this secret Kill List have never been charged, tried or convicted in a court of law, and are given no opportunity to surrender;
The labeling of all military-age males in a strike zone as combatants, thus justifying their murder, is an extreme and macabre form of profiling;
Drone strikes kill not only their intended targets, but innocent people, including children, violating the sanctity of human life;
Drone strikes violate other nations’ sovereignty (Pakistan’s elected leaders, for example, have repeatedly called for an end to the strikes);
Drones in the hands the CIA and the Joint Special Operations Command keep the program veiled in secrecy. The lack of transparency and accountability violate the basic tenets of a democratic society;
Drones make killing more abstract, impersonal, antiseptic, convenient and “easy”;
The Administration insists that because drones do not risk American lives, Congress need not be consulted, leading to a dangerous abuse of executive power;
Drone strikes have replaced Guantanamo as the recruiting tool of choice for militants. They fuel anti-American sentiment, radicalize local populations and perpetuate an endless cycle of violence.
The example being set by the United States that a nation can go anywhere it wants and kill anyone it wants on the basis of secret information is leading to a world of chaos and lawlessness.
The world’s great religions teach us to cherish human life. This impersonal, risk-free killing of people on the other side of the globe runs counter to religious belief and the teachings of our traditions.
We urge our government to put an end to this secretive, remote-controlled killing and instead promote foreign policies that are consistent with the values of a democratic and humane society. We call on the United Nations to regulate the international use of lethal drones in a fashion that promotes a just and peaceful world community, based on the rule of law, with full dignity and freedom for every human being.
Following is a message from Imran Khan. Imran Khan is a Pakistani politician, philanthropist, and former international cricketer. Please sign the petition.
Hundreds of thousands of people in my country, Pakistan, are under siege from US drones: robot weapons that indiscriminately kill children, and terrorise families every day. This weekend I am leading a peace march against this secret war, and if all of you join me virtually, we could create a public storm to stop this torment.
America’s deadly drones campaign is illegal and counterproductive -- instead of beating terrorists it is driving more people to anti-American extremism. Families across the border region in Waziristan, the flash point of this war, live in constant fear of being targeted, under the deafening buzz of these remote-controlled planes 24 hours a day. Extraordinarily, the US denies any civilian deaths, but will not reveal the names of those killed, while independent reports tell of the trauma and killing of hundreds of civilians, many of them children.
This weekend, if you join me on the march, we have the chance to bring global attention to this warzone and show the United States that people across Pakistan and the world want an end to this robot war. Sign the petition now and tell everyone. We will announce all those marching virtually to the media, we will carry a flag from every country where people have signed, and when we reach 500,000 signatures I will demand a meeting with President Obama to present the petition:
America is getting away with murder because the areas where drones are used are so remote that the media does not reach them. But I have seen photographs of children maimed and heard stories from families who say they are too scared to even help those injured by these robot fired missiles, as the drone will strike a second time and kill those helping.
The US says drones are accurate and are only killing Al Qaeda terrorists, but ludicrously defines “combatants” all men of military age killed in a strike zone. In fact, the strikes are a massive violation of international law, they are destroying lives and dangerously achieving the opposite of their aims: creating a ripe recruiting ground for terrorism.
The situation is simple: innocent people are being killed and traumatised by remote controlled killing machines and it is time to hold the US to account.
The people of Waziristan who live with this everyday have been powerless to draw national and international attention to their plight. But if enough of us join together now to stand with the voiceless victims and march for peace, we can create a PR nightmare for the United States and shame them to respond. Join me today.
With thanks and determination,