Drone Warfare on Trial
Sept 30th, 2010
BOB KOEHLER FOR BUZZFLASH
Drone warfare - assassination by unmanned aircraft - is arguably one of the most hellish spawns of the modern military-industrial era, and its use is becoming routine in the Af-Pak war, yet (what else is new?) there's no debate about it at the level of national policy, just a shrug and a void.
The nation's future is itself on a sort of autopilot. It belongs to the market forces, in tandem with the reckless, short-term strategic interests of the Pentagon and the politics of empire. There's no moral voice at the core of this system - not even, any longer, a voice of common sense. We live in a spectator democracy: Our role is to gape at the spectacle. The news cycle runs 24/7 and tells us nothing, if the act of "telling" includes in its meaning an invitation to participate.
Like the students who sat in at segregated lunch counters and otherwise disrupted the nation's Jim Crow status quo nearly half a century ago, we have to find a way to interrupt the false consensus of military-industrial America at the level at which it wages war and engages with the rest of the planet. Doing so takes persistence and courage - and sometimes a breakthrough occurs.
I bring you the Creech Air Force Base 14: Father John Dear, Dennis DuVall, Renee Espeland, Judy Homanich, Kathy Kelly, Father Steve Kelly, Mariah Klusmire, Brad Lyttle, Libby Pappalardo, Sister Megan Rice, Brian Terrell, Eve Tetaz, Father Louis Vitale and Father Jerry Zawada.
A year and a half ago, they were part of a 10-day vigil outside the base in Indian Springs, Nev. (about 35 miles from Las Vegas), protesting the Predator and Reaper drone flights over Afghanistan and Pakistan that are remotely piloted from the base. At the end of the vigil, these 14 activists entered the base illegally, carrying a letter, according to Kathy Kelly of the Chicago-based Voices for Creative Nonviolence, "we wanted to circulate among the base personnel, describing our opposition to a massive targeted assassination program." They were arrested and charged with trespassing.
What happened at their trial in Las Vegas two weeks ago may turn the incident into more than simply a symbolic protest. What was supposed to be a cut-and-dried trespassing trial - a crime's a crime, the law's the law - ended up being something far larger than that.
Read more at link above...