3 April 2009
Ground the Drones--Protests at USAF Base Against Pakistan Drone Attacks
By Billie Greenwood


Peace activists denounce US military drone attacks against Pakistan in protest vigils twice each day at the gates of Creech Air Force Base in Indian Springs, Nevada. Activists from across the nation, calling themselves "Ground the Drones," began the ongoing vigil earlier this week which will continue until April 10th.

Brian Terrell, an Iowa native, explained that they gather "in recognition of the urgency of the present moment. The drone attacks are exacerbating tensions right now, in Pakistan."

Creech Air Force Base is home to the latest high tech weapons that use unmanned aerial systems (UASs) to carry out both surveillance and lethal attacks in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iraq. Once Unmanned Aerial Vehicles become airborne in places like Afghanistan and Pakistan, teams inside trailers at Creech Air Force base in Nevada control them. Both the MQ-1 Predator and MQ-9 Reaper drones collect information through surveillance as well as carry weapons. The MQ9 Reaper drone, referred to as a "hunter-killer" vehicle, can carry two 500 pound bombs in addition to several Hellfire missiles.

Since many civilians are killed along with any intended targets, these missions provoke a violent response, say the protesters, rather than quell or demoralize the target communities. Proponents of the use of UASs, however, insist that there is a great advantage to fighting wars in "real-time" by "pilots" sitting at consoles in offices on air bases far from the dangerous front line of military activity. With less risk to the lives of U.S. soldiers--and thus to the popularity and careers of politicians--the deaths of thousands of "enemy" noncombatants can seem acceptable.

Protesters insist that waging war under the illusion that it exacts no domestic cost dehumanizes both the United States and its enemies. Drones foster a callous disregard for human life that can lead to even more recklessness on the part of politicians, they say. Peter Ediger of Las Vegas added, "We are here to declare our belief that peace will come through human interaction using negotiation, dialogue and diplomacy, and not through reliance on robots armed with missiles."

The group invites the public to join the vigil. More information about the vigil as well as about Predators and Reapers is available at their website http://NevadaDesertExperience.org

Global Network