Truthout - July 26, 2019

... A coalition of humanitarian groups is challenging the Democratic field to pledge to cut Pentagon spending by $200 billion annually and to agree that the U.S. should not go to war without congressional authorization and identification of revenue sources to support such wars. The pledge calls only for a reduction in nuclear weapons, not elimination.

Abolition of U.S. nuclear weapons is, however, the goal of the presidential candidate pledge campaign of NuclearBan.US, which challenges the Democrats to “sign, ratify and implement the 2017 International Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.”

But why, given the enormous negative impact of Pentagon spending and the existential threat of nuclear weapons, are presidential candidates being challenged about killer drones in particular — machines that have miniscule death-dealing power compared to the entire U.S. arsenal and nuclear weapons?

Killer Drones vs. Nuclear Weapons

Day in and day out, the U.S. fleet of at least 300 Reaper drones is dispersed over at least eight nations, bringing a combined population of 375.3 million under threat of killer drone surveillance and attack. Any of these people are subject to drone stalking and assassination at the whim of U.S. politicians and military commanders, all in violation of international law and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which calls for protection of privacy, due process and life itself, and these attacks are conducted routinely.

While nuclear weapons threaten apocalypse, the bombs and Hellfire missiles of the Reaper drones are right now delivering terror and very personal apocalypses to some of the poorest people in the world, notably, people of color. The Bureau of Investigative Journalism reports that U.S. drones have killed up to 12,100 people in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia alone since the Bureau began collecting data in 2002.

This is a gross underestimate of total U.S. drone killing, however. U.S. drones have been, or are, also conducting uncounted attacks in Libya, Syria, Iraq and Niger.

Moreover, many drone attacks generally occur in remote areas where there is no reporting. The U.S. government provides no useful information about the extent of its drone war campaign, the numbers of people who have been killed or where killer drones are flying. The U.S. drone war is a secret war, conducted with no public accountability and no effective oversight by Congress. Meanwhile, President Trump has reportedly eased rules controlling drone attacks, undoubtedly leading to a dramatic surge in killing and wounding. ...
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