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Interview with Judy Bello, Code Pink delegate and Fellowship of Reconciliation member, conducted by Scott Harris
A delegation of 31 Americans from all walks of life traveled to Pakistan in early October on a delegation organized by the group Code Pink Women for Peace, with the goal of witnessing firsthand the damage wrought by U.S. drone strikes. Delegates on the trip, coinciding with the eleventh anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan, traveled to the federally administered tribal areas of Waziristan, the first time that the Pakistani government has admitted foreigners to the region for nearly a decade. While in Pakistan, the Americans participated in an anti-drone rally in the city of Hatala, met with Pakistanis who have been victims of U.S. drone strikes and participated in a one-day fast in memory of the estimated 450 to 800 civilians, including 160 children killed by U.S. drones since 2004.
While the U.S. drone program is a contentious and divisive issue inside Pakistan, here in the U.S., there’s little disagreement among politicians or discussion of the topic in the nation’s corporate media. That was clearly illustrated in the last of three presidential debates on Oct. 22, when Republican candidate Mitt Romney, responding to moderator Bob Schieffer’s question on drones, expressed full support for President Obama’s policy of using unmanned weapons to attack terrorist targets inside Pakistan’s tribal areas near the Afghan border.
Between The Lines’ Scott Harris spoke with Judy Bello, an active member of the Fellowship of Reconciliation from upstate New York, who traveled with the Code Pink delegation to Pakistan. Here, she recounts the stories she heard from victims of drone attacks – and the message she carried to Pakistan: Americans care about their plight, and there is a clear distinction between the policies of the American government and its people.
For more information about the Fellowship of Reconciliation, visitforusa.org.