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Drones are robots: unmanned - remote-controlled - aircraft. They are used for surveillance, assassination and bombing. Although they are unmanned robots, the drones do have "pilots." But these pilots are operating in cyberspace from control rooms thousands of miles away from the battleground. The US military is increasingly coming to depend on drones in its various wars overseas. Drones used in Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan are piloted from Creech Air Base in Nevada.
Syracuse, NY has become a hub of drone warfare and a hub of drone resistance. Hancock Airfield in Syracuse was one of the first places in the country to host a base from which drones are piloted. It is also a drone repair location. Almost immediately upon learning that drones were being flown by pilots in Syracuse, peace activists from the Syracuse Peace Council and from the Upstate New York region began resisting the drones. Protests against the drones have escalated in recent months with multiple arrests as activists have blocked the gates to Hancock Airfield.
In September 2012, NYU and Stanford Law Schools released a comprehensive study about the effects of drone warfare on its victims. Living Under Drones focuses on the emotional, economic and human tolls of drone warfare on Pakistanis from 2004 to the present. View the report here. Watch a video about the report below.
Five reasons why we must oppose the drones in our backyard:
- Many of us oppose these wars overseas. But without our consent, drones will make Central New York a part of the battlefield.
- Like many other high-tech weapon systems, drones tend to kill mostly innocent civilians.
- Because it's mostly civilians who are maimed and killed, the drones stir up deep hatred. This could lead to retaliation against U.S. civilians, not only overseas, but here. The cycle of violence cannot be stopped by more violence.
- Because the "pilots" themselves take no risks and never end up killed in action, drones make it easier to go to war. And they make it easier to escalate the wars we're already in. This leads to a state of perpetual war. As the Viet Nam War era saying went, "War isn't good for children and other living things."
- Drones are weapons of rich, powerful nations invading poor, weak nations with few defenses. There is no honor in this.