'You Have a Choice': Veterans Call On Drone Operators to Refuse Orders
Joint statement signed by 45 US military veterans urges drone operators to follow their consciences and say 'no' to surveillance and assassination missions
'You Have a Choice': Veterans Call On Drone Operators to Refuse Orders
By Sarah Lazare / commondreams.org
Jun 28, 2015

Dozens of U.S. military veterans released an open letter this week urging drone operators to "refuse to fly missions" or support them in any way—and letting them know that if they say "no" to surveillance and assassination orders, there is a whole community rooting for them.

"At least 6,000 peoples' lives have been unjustly taken by United States drone attacks in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Iraq, the Philippines, Libya and Syria," states the letter, which was organized by the education and advocacy organization KnowDrones.com.

"Those involved in United States drone operations who refuse to participate in drone missions will be acting within accordance of Principle IV of the Principles of International Law Recognized in the Charter of the Nuremberg Tribunal and the Judgment of the Tribunal, The United Nations 1950," states the letter. "So, yes, you do have a choice—and liability under the law. Choose the moral one. Choose the legal one."

The letter's 45 signatories include retired U.S. Army Colonel Ann Wright, who stepped down from her State Department position in 2003 to protest the U.S.-led war on Iraq.

Numerous veterans of the so-called "War on Terror" also signed the letter, including Aaron Hughes, Iraq veteran and organizer with Iraq Veterans Against the War. Hughes toldCommon Dreams that he backed the initiative because he thinks it is "extremely important for those who are flying those vehicles or doing logistics to know that there is a whole community out there that supports them in saying no."

Nick Mottern, coordinator of KnowDrones.org, echoed this point in a press statement released this week: "The people signing this letter know that they are asking drone operators to take a heavy step, but we feel it is perfectly legitimate to advise military people to stop taking part in illegal activity that has killed thousands without due process, is terrorizing thousands more and is wracking their own ranks with moral injury and PTSD."

"When our country unjustly inflicts violence on civilian populations it is our duty to resist." 
—Maggie Martin, Iraq Veterans Against the War

The Air Force recently revealed that, due to "stressors" of the job, the military is losing drone pilots and being forced to cut back flights. And in a Government Accountability Office report (pdf) released in April 2014, the agency warned that drone pilots are quitting far more quickly than they are being recruited.

In an article published this March in TomDispatch, writer Pratap Chatterjee asked, "Are pilots deserting Washington's Remote-Control War?" He continued, "Could it be that the feeling is even shared by drone pilots themselves, that a sense of dishonor in fighting from behind a screen thousands of miles from harm’s way is having an unexpected impact of a kind psychologists have never before witnessed?"

Former drone operators, including Heather Linebaugh, have testified to the horrors inflicted by the remotely operated lethal weapons. This reality is confirmed by civilians and reporters, including the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, which tracks the high number of civilian drone killings in YemenPakistanSomalia, and Afghanistan.

"When our country unjustly inflicts violence on civilian populations it is our duty to resist," Maggie Martin, Iraq veteran and organizer with Iraq Veterans Against the War, toldCommon Dreams. "Whether at home or abroad we have to take action to stand in solidarity with those facing state violence."

4.0 ·
2
Featured Pay Per View Films
Generation Revolution (2017)
72 min
A Quest for Meaning (2017)(Free till Jan 29th)
88 min
Fall and Winter (2013)
102 min
Trending Today
Samantha Bee Weighs in on Aziz Ansari and the #MeToo Backlash and It's Very On Point
8 min22,523 views today ·
The Invention of Capitalism: How a Self-Sufficient Peasantry was Whipped Into Industrial Wage Slaves
Yasha Levine17,866 views today ·
A Quest for Meaning (2017)(Free till Jan 29th)
88 min2,141 views today ·
Paramedic's Response to "Burger Flippers" Making an Equal $15/Hour is Beautiful
Craig Carilli1,701 views today ·
Today I Rise: This Beautiful Short Film Is Like a Love Poem For Your Heart and Soul
4 min1,633 views today ·
John Lennon's "Imagine," Made Into a Comic Strip
John Lennon. Art by Pablo Stanley1,218 views today ·
The Surprising Nobility of Shit: a Serious Response to President Donald Trump’s ‘Shithole’ Remarks About African Immigrants
Adebayo Akomolafe684 views today ·
Averting the Apocalypse: Lessons From Costa Rica
Jason Hickel631 views today ·
This Facebook Comment About the UK Election Is Going Viral
Chris Renwick553 views today ·
Load More


Love Films For Action? 

It's hard to rely 100% on ads to keep our organization going.
If you get some value from this library, consider making a donation today.

Support us on Patreon

Coming soon! We're days away from launching a Patreon campaign! We hope you'll be among the first to support this new direction for Films For Action. The goal is to go 100% ad-free by next year, and become 100% member supported!

Join us on Facebook
'You Have a Choice': Veterans Call On Drone Operators to Refuse Orders