So while the rest of us spent much of the week arguing about the debates between two of the five candidates for the presidency (and two of the five candidates for vice president), a court in Missouri sentenced two peace activists for the high crime of interfering with unmanned drone flights out of Whiteman Air Force Base. Actually, the two protesters were simply going onto the base to deliver a petition against the continuance of the drone assassination program that is eagerly embraced by our Nobel Peace Laureate President, a program begun under his predecessor which according to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, has caused some 474 to 884 civilian deaths since 2004, including 176 children.
Brian Terrell of the Catholic Worker in Iowa was sentenced to six months in prison for the high crime of walking uninvited onto Whiteman Air Force Base to deliver a letter and petition to the base commander. He will report to jail on November 30. His partner in petitioning, Ron Faust, will deal with five years of probation. The act they were protesting is the continuing use of drones in an assassination program against our enemies.
I’m sure there are people who stopped reading this post when I said something snarky about President Obama. This is not a partisan jab–and those of you who are busy defending Obama should consider for a moment the idea circulated by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, which has written that the drone program is a ‘loaded gun’ that is being delivered to President Romney should things turn out that way. And the drone strike program is a violation for both US and international law–it is an act of aggressive war being undertaken without a formal declaration. It is making us no friends in the Muslim world, and protests are now starting up in England over the siting of NATO drones there. I’d bet on the protesters in England.
Here is Brian Terrell’s Sentencing Statement. The group Trifecta Resista has been coordinating support for the protesters. Check out their website for more information. And if you want to know where the peace community has gone (its death, like the demise of Occupy Wall Street, is greatly exaggerated), I’d urge you to look up the group Voices for Creative Nonviolence.
One last thought: Six months in prison for delivering a petition? Really? Seriously?