10 Ways to Reduce the Threat of Terrorist Attacks on Americans
By Medea Benjamin / codepink.salsalabs.com

1. Declare a moratorium on drone strikes.
The head of Al Qaeda, Ayman al-Zawahiri, is calling on jihadists to retaliate for U.S. drone strikes in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Yemen. The Yemeni group Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), where the U.S. says the threats are emanating from, is also calling for retaliation for drones strikes (there have been four strikes in Yemen since July 28). Drone strikes have become the number one recruiting tool for extremists. By grounding the drones, we will stop creating new enemies faster than we can kill them.

2. Close the U.S. drone base in Saudi Arabia.
One of the reasons Osama bin Laden said he hated the United States was that the U.S. had military bases in the Holy Lands in Saudi Arabia. President Bush quietly closed those bases in 2003 but in 2010 President Obama secretly reopened a base there for launching drones into Yemen. It's a national security threat ripe for blowback. So are many of the over 800 U.S. bases peppered all over the world. We can save billions of taxpayer dollars, and make ourselves safer, by closing them.

3. Free the 86 Guantanamo prisoners cleared for release.
The U.S. treatment of Guantanamo prisoners, holding people indefinitely without charges or trials and brutally force-feeding the hunger strikers, is an affront to people throughout the Muslim world and a blatant hypocrisy of our American values. Of the 166 prisoners left in Guantanamo, 86 have been cleared for release, meaning the U.S. government has determined they represent no threat to our nation. President Obama can use the waiver system, certifying to Congress that it is in the U.S. national interest to release them. He just did this, for the first time, for two Algerian prisoners. He should do this for all 86 cleared prisoners, then bring the remaining prisoners to the U.S. for trials.

4. Apologize and compensate innocent victims.
There is a perception in the Muslim world that the U.S. government does not value their lives. Airstrikes have killed many innocent people and only in the cases of Afghanistan and Iraq has there been a way, albeit woefully inadequate, for aggrieved families to seek redress. The U.S. should agree to apologize and compensate the families of innocent people who have been killed or maimed by the U.S. armed forces or CIA.

5. Go for the "zero option" in Afghanistan: withdraw all U.S. troops.
The 11-year U.S. occupation of Afghanistan has provided fodder for the Taliban in both Afghanistan and Pakistan, while propping up an unpopular and corrupt regime in Kabul. And if the U.S. troops were not in Afghanistan, the Taliban would not be trying to cross the Pakistani border to kill U.S. soldiers. President Obama promised to end the U.S. occupation by the end of 2014, but is now weighing options for keeping thousands of troops and military contractors behind. Bad idea.

6. Sit down and talk. The Taliban opened an office in Qatar in June to finally start long-delayed talks with the U.S.. But due to President Karzai's objections, the talks were nixed. It's long past the time to talk to the Taliban, and then move on to talk to those elements in Al Qaeda who are more rational and open to negotiations. If you look at the Rand Corporation's study of the demise of 268 terrorist groups, 43 percent dissolved by joining the political process, 40 percent from better policing, and only 7 percent through military action. We've been using military action for over a decade; it's time for another approach.

7. Stop supporting dictatorships and repressive militaries.
The U.S. recently signed the largest arms deal in history with the monarchy of Saudi Arabia, the same government that rolled its tanks into neighboring Bahrain to crush the democratic uprising there. In Egypt, U.S. weapons and tear gas were used for decades against peaceful demonstrators, and continue to be used against peaceful protesters supporting ousted Muslim Brotherhood. While weapons sales to undemocratic and/or unstable regimes might be good for U.S. weapons manufacturers, they are bad for the reputation and security of the American people.

8. Support non-violent democracy movements.
Terrorists thrive best where there is chaos and instability. Nurturing democratic institutions and non-violent civil society are key to thwarting the growth of extremist movements. The U.S. needs to do more than support these efforts; it also needs to listen to them. In Yemen, the U.S. is helping to fund the 6-month experiment in democracy called the National Dialogue Conference, where 565 extremely diverse members of society are meeting daily to map out the nation's future. The conference recently passed, by overwhelming vote, a resolution declaring drones strikes and all extrajudicial killing illegal. Unfortunately, the U.S. has refused to abide by the popular will thus far.

9. Adhere to the international rule of law.
In its war on terror, the U.S. has been killing terror suspects with blatant disregard for international law and national sovereignty. A July 18 Pew poll of 39 nations found fierce global opposition to U.S. drone strikes, particularly in the Muslim world. If the U.S. wants help and sympathy in rooting out would-be attackers, it has to show the world it will stop using extrajudicial assassinations and start adhering to international law.

10. Spend foreign aid money on education, health care and lifting people out of poverty.
For a fraction of the money we keep wasting each month on the failed war in Afghanistan or supporting the already wealthy Israeli military, we could be building schools in Afghanistan and Pakistan, helping Yemenis find a solution to their water shortages, and providing humanitarian aid to Syrian refugees. We'll make a lot more friends building clinics, wells, electrical grids and schools than vaporizing people with Hellfire missiles.

This 10-point plan would significantly reduce terrorist threats, save taxpayers billions of dollars and make Americans more loved and admired in the world. After a decade of wielding the military stick, it's time for some carrots.

Medea Benjamin, cofounder of CODEPINK and Global Exchange, is author of Drone Warfare: Killing by Remote Control.



It’s not rocket science: if we stop killing people, they’ll stop threatening us.

If you like this list, help us share it by forwarding it to Samantha Power, the US Ambassador to the United Nations. Power concedes nothing without demand; we the people must lay the groundwork for peace!

3.5 ·
What's Next
Trending Today
Your Lifestyle Has Already Been Designed (The Real Reason For The Forty-Hour Workweek)
David Cain · 23,479 views today · Well I’m in the working world again. I’ve found myself a well-paying gig in the engineering industry, and life finally feels like it’s returning to normal after my nine months...
Dinosaur explains Trump policies better than Trump!
8 min · 16,038 views today · Donald Trump is actually the corporate triceratops, Mr. Richfield, from the 90's TV show sitcom, "Dinosaurs". 
Noam Chomsky Has 'Never Seen Anything Like This'
Chris Hedges · 7,756 views today · Noam Chomsky is America’s greatest intellectual. His massive body of work, which includes nearly 100 books, has for decades deflated and exposed the lies of the power elite...
No Moral Superpower: Arundhati Roy, Edward Snowden, and the Crimes of Empire
Jake Johnson · 5,612 views today · When Arundhati Roy was preparing, in 2014, for a trip to Moscow to meet Edward Snowden, she was troubled by two things. One of them was the fact that the meeting was arranged...
And After the Election, The Reaction
Ret Marut · 4,020 views today · Could there be any better illustration of the shortcomings of representative democracy than this year’s Presidential campaign? For months upon tiresome months, the whole world...
'The Climate of Fear Is Unacceptable' - Ken Loach on I, Daniel Blake
6 min · 3,333 views today · Ken Loach’s Palme d’Or-winning film I, Daniel Blake tells the story of a man who is denied disability benefit after a heart attack and who is then subsequently caught in a...
Three Massive Mergers - Millions for One Bank and a Disaster for Food, Water, and Climate
Wenonah Hauter · 2,700 views today · In addition to advising on all three mega-mergers, Credit Suisse is playing a big role behind the scenes of the Dakota Access pipeline.
Today I Rise: This Beautiful Short Film Is Like a Love Poem For Your Heart and Soul
4 min · 2,268 views today · "The world is missing what I am ready to give: My Wisdom, My Sweetness, My Love and My hunger for Peace." "Where are you? Where are you, little girl with broken wings but full...
What Makes Call-Out Culture So Toxic
Asam Ahmad · 2,117 views today · Call-out culture refers to the tendency among progressives, radicals, activists, and community organizers to publicly name instances or patterns of oppressive behaviour and...
Men Loving Men
Bianca Vivion · 1,799 views today · When my father was seven he and his best friend Phil cut their index fingers open and placed them together to create a “blood pact” that they would always be brothers. To this...
Social Geographer Shows How Much of You is Determined by Where You're From
3 min · 1,684 views today · The Professor of Geography examines social inequality and the geodemographics of the UK, using maps created by Oliver O'Brien (UCL, CASA) in 2012 and updated in 2015. You can...
Heartbreaking Animation Reveals Plight of Animals Under Threat of Extinction
3 min · 1,682 views today · This stunning and heartbreaking animation gives voice to animals under threat from human activity. Made as part of the Wildlife Conservation Film Festival, it features a...
A Beautiful Reflection on What It Means to Be Human
8 min · 1,643 views today · Hello! We are Oh Wonder, a musical duo from London. We believe that everyone is equal. We are all human. We all deserve the world. And we can build that equality by sharing...
Speaking Out Against Australia's Unforgiving Refugee Policy
42 min · 1,485 views today · The Forgotten Children: More than a hundred child refugees are stuck in asylum limbo on the island of Nauru as a result of Australia's harsh and unsympathetic border policies...
How Big Banks Launder Money and Get Away With It
9 min · 1,192 views today · 'I wrote about how money laundering was actually done... they spiked it.' Parliamentary Candidate David Malone was a popular second choice in the UK Green Party leadership...
Writers Tom Hayden and Naomi Klein Talk About Journalism and Activism
27 min · 1,163 views today · Author, Activist and Former California State Senator Tom Hayden talks in depth with the author of No Logo and The Shock Doctrine, Naomi Klein, about the state of the fourth...
Why I Didn't Vote Trump or Hillary
Joe Brewer · 979 views today ·   This is my ballot. It arrived in the mail where I live in Washington state — and I’ve already sent it back to the elections committee. Note how I didn’t vote for either...
Grow Heathrow: Residents Resisting Eviction Over 3rd Runway
4 min · 949 views today · On March 1st 2010 Transition Heathrow members swooped on an abandoned market garden site in Sipson; one of the villages to be completely tarmacked to make way for a third...
John Lennon's "Imagine," Made Into a Comic Strip
John Lennon. Art by Pablo Stanley · 795 views today · This is easily the best comic strip ever made.  Pabl
The White Man in That Photo
Riccardo Gazzaniga · 605 views today · Sometimes photographs deceive. Take this one, for example. It represents John Carlos and Tommie Smith’s rebellious gesture the day they won medals for the 200 meters at the...
Load More
Like us on Facebook?
10 Ways to Reduce the Threat of Terrorist Attacks on Americans