For WNPJ's 20th anniversary, a grassroots lobby day was held on February 23, 2011. One of the focus issues was the Proposed Drone Aircraft Facility. Below is information that was created for the lobby day and to help with on-going advocacy.
Issue Backgrounder: Proposed Drone Aircraft Facility
Plans are under way to build an $8 million drone training facility at Camp Williams in western Wisconsin, to be used for military personnel in learning to operate drones. About 95% of the money will come from the federal government, with the rest coming from the state, but that means about $400,000 will still come from state taxpayers, at a time Wisconsin has a huge budget shortfall. In addition, this facility would link Wisconsin to the drone bombings that occur in Afghanistan and Pakistan, which are illegal and cause untold suffering and death to innocent children, women and men.
The drones that will be used at Camp Williams are the “Shadow” drones which carry a camera, rather than a bomb. These drones will be used for target acquisition, aerial reconnaissance, and surveillance. Once the mission of the Shadow is completed, the “Predator” drone, a larger aircraft which carries a bomb will be called in for the attack.
ASKS FOR LEGISLATORS:
- To vote against any funding for the proposed drone aircraft training facility.
- To use their influence to call on other members of the state legislature and members of state Building Commission to refuse to provide approval and money for this facility.
WHY WISCONSIN SHOULDN’T BUILD THE DRONE FACILITY:
- The cost is too high. As Governor Walker and President Obama call for cutbacks in spending for programs that would help provide health care, housing, food, education, and other critical services to lower and middle-class families, we are against spending $8 million on a facility that would train people in the operation of drone aircraft.
- The use of drone aircraft in warfare is immoral and illegal. The use of drones constitutes extra-judicial killing which violates the United Nations Charter, the Geneva Conventions, the Hague Conventions, and the principles of the Nuremburg Tribunal. They are also against U.S. and other international human rights laws, the laws of war, and the law applicable to the use of inter-state force.
- Drones make us less secure. These attacks are not making us safer, as our government claims. It is becomingly increasingly apparent that drone strikes are being made based on faulty evidence, and thus mostly kill innocent civilians. The result is that the people of Pakistan and Afghanistan are becoming increasingly angry at the United States and are more easily recruited into groups that are ready to retaliate against the United States for the murder of their loved ones.
- Drones cause immense human suffering. It is estimated that approximately 2,000 people have been killed by drones over the last few years, with only 66 of the victims identified as members of al Qaeda. We are gravely concerned about the large numbers of innocent children, women, and men who are suffering and dying as a result of our government's actions with drone attacks. Though the people of the United States seem to be removed from the tragedy and consequences of the drones, it is critical that we understand what is happening to the people of Afghanistan and Pakistan.
WHAT YOU CAN DO AFTER LOBBY DAY:
- Join WNPJ’s anti-militarism work group, which is actively campaigning against the proposed drone aircraft facility, by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Attend WNPJ’s spring steering committee meeting on Saturday, April 16 in Mauston, near Camp Williams. The meeting will include a question and answer about the drone facility with a local military representative. Kathy Kelly, a human rights activist with Voices for Creative Nonviolence, also hopes to be present, to share her experiences on the ground with people in Afghanistan and Pakistan whose lives have been affected by drone attacks. For more information, check www.wnpj.org or call (608) 250-9240 in March.