Speaking before an audience of nearly 400 last night at a campaign stop at Humboldt State University in Eureka, California, Green Party candidate Jill Stein cited a report on drone warfare published today from Stanford and NYU researchers as evidence that her intention to stop drone warfare was the right course for America. The report documented the number of civilians being killed by U.S. drone strikes, as well as the antagonism that such strikes are producing among the affected populations.
According to Stein, "The Stanford and NYU report underscores the serious mistake that has been made by the Obama Administration in turning to this type of warfare. The inability of this technology to avoid civilian deaths is just the first of its many problems. In using it, the Obama administration has blurred the distinction between combatants and non-combatants, and between the battlefield and civilian communities. They have encroached upon the sovereign right of nations to have their airspace free of unauthorized foreign aircraft. And they have truly brought a reign of terror to entire populations. The arrogance with which the Administration dismisses the concerns over this weaponry is truly disturbing.”
"During the Vietnam war, it was said that the real battle being fought was for the 'hearts and minds' of the populace," Stein continued, "Nothing could be better calculated to lose such the hearts and minds of a people than subjecting them to a war of terror from the air using drone aircraft. The fact cited in the report - that 74% of the people of Pakistan now regard the United States as their enemy - is due, in part, to the use of drone warfare."
Green Party vice-presidential candidate Cheri Honkala added "Imagine what it must be like to know that wherever you go, bomb-carrying drones of a foreign power are circling overhead, watching you, and possibly deciding to bomb you based on their own secret and error-prone decision-making process. This sounds like the bleak future from a science-fiction movie. America is not winning friends with this approach."
George Martin, a longtime leader of United for Peace and Justice, expressed his agreement with Dr. Stein, saying that, "We are sinking into a moral abyss in which we apply the rich man's tools of terrorism to fight those whom we accuse of using the poor man's tools of terrorism. America must take a stand as a nation of peace and compassion, not as a nation of airborne terror with scant regard for innocent life. Let us tell the White House, with our voices and with our votes, that it is time to end drone warfare."