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A Call from former Military Personnel and Government Officials to Reject Nomination of John Brennan as Director of the CIA

As former military personnel and government officials, we are deeply concerned about the nomination of John Brennan to head the CIA. As President Obama’s current counterterrorism advisor, Brennan has been the mastermind behind the administration’s lethal drone program, which is killing innocent civilians abroad and sowing strong anti-American sentiment throughout the world.

Retired General Stanley McChrystal, former commander of U.S. troops in Afghanistan, recently said that the resentment created by American use of unmanned strikes is much greater than the average American appreciates. “They are hated on a visceral level, even by people who’ve never seen one or seen the effects of one,” he warned. This is dangerous for our national security. Just look at the case of Pakistan, where the CIA’s profligate use of drone strikes has led 3 out of 4 Pakistanis to believe that the United States is their enemy. Unfortunately, drone strikes now serve as the primary recruiting tool for anti-American militants.

We are particularly concerned about drones in the hands of the CIA. While the military has rules of engagement, more open procedures for the use of force, and a chain of command that is supposed to ensure accountability, the CIA does not. It is a civilian organization that, with its own fleet of drones, has been engaged in lethal actions veiled in secrecy and devoid of accountability.

We urge you to use the occasion of this nomination to not only question Brennan’s qualifications for this job, but to also conduct a serious evaluation of the CIA’s drone program. The CIA should revert back to being an intelligence-gathering organization and we need a CIA director who is committed to overseeing this transition.

Signed,

Iraq Veterans Against the War
Ray McGovern, veteran Army Intelligence officer and CIA analyst
Ann Wright, US Army Colonel
Leah Bolger, CDR, USN (Ret)
Mark Foreman, PO3, USN (Ret)
Tarak Kauff, USA
Nate Goldshlag, PFC, USA
Mike Madden, Member of Veterans For Peace, Chapter 27, St. Paul, MN

Matt Southworth | Truth Out

Since the US economy is the main issue on the minds of voters this election season, let’s talk about Unmanned Arial Vehicles strikes – drones strikes – in economic terms.

The use of drones for strikes in places like Yemen and Pakistan seems, to many, a justifiable short term investment. It’s less expensive in dollars than Special Forces operations or a full scale deployment and almost all of the human cost – on the US side – is removed. However, this is a very poor, shortsighted investment with huge longer term risk. The likely long term outcome will be great US losses, and, riskiest of all, moral bankruptcy.

The US is hedging its bet on this one by assuming we can kill more extremists than the policy of killing “them” will create. Alarmingly, this increasingly seems to be a policy of choice, as articles appearing in the Wall Street JournalNew York Timesand Washington Post in recent weeks indicate.

The CIA is intent on expanding its own fleet of – and use of – drones. The White House seems more than content overseeing these assassination operations, even of US citizens. Given both Gov. Romney and President Obama’s emphatic support for drones expressed during the third Presidential debate, the policy is unlikely to change even if the administration does. Congress, by and large, seems just fine turning a blind-eye in the name of National Security, a term itself frequently left undefined. The public, save for a few groups like mine, also seem content as long as these operations reduce the use of US troops and treasure.

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Veterans for Peace

For Immediate Release: October 5, 2012

Thirty-two U.S. peace activists, including 6 members of Veterans For Peace are taking part in a peace delegation to Pakistan organized by the anti-war group Code Pink.

See video: http://vimeo.com/50666774

Wednesday the delegation met with U.S. Charge d’Affaires Richard Hoagland.  U.S. peace activist Robert Naiman asked about reports of secondary attacks on rescuers of drone victims.  Ambassador Hoagland denied that rescuers are targeted, but not that strikes are launched on the same location just struck minutes before.

Hoagland also said that he agreed with President Obama that the number of civilian deaths was near zero, but later seemed to contradict himself when he said that number he believed was accurate was in “two digits.”  When asked to be more specific as to whether that number was closer to 10 or 99, he declined.

VFP President Leah Bolger asked:  “Since you know exactly where we intend to go, presumably the CIA and the DoD know as well, so can you guarantee us that there will be no drone strikes in the area while we are there?”  He then gave a 100% guarantee that there would be no strikes on the group.  Bolger followed up with: “So if we just position Americans throughout the region, can we guarantee the safety of the Pakistanis as well?”  He replied that most of the “militants” in the area are foreigners — not Pakistanis — and that they come in and take over.  He said that the local people would be very pleased to have them go.

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