JOHN HEID ARRESTED AT DAVIS-MONTHAN AIR FORCE BASE, HOME OF ACTIVE COMBAT PREDATOR DRONE UNIT
“I saw men, women and children die during that time. I never thought I’d kill that many people. In fact I thought I couldn’t kill anyone at all.” --
The U.S. carried out 333 drone strikes in Afghanistan in 2012 alone – more than the entire number of drone attacks in Pakistan over the past eight years combined.
Davis-Monthan Air Force Base is the staging site for the 214th Reconnaissance Group of the Arizona Air National Guard, a Predator drone unit. Personnel of the 214th have conducted more than 3,000 sorties since 2007 and provided more than 55,000 flying hours of combat mission support from Tucson.
The U.S. military has begun to use the term “harvest” to describe the killing done in this push-button combat of drone warfare. Recently the Bureau of Investigative Journalism in Britain documented 178 children among over 900 civilians killed by U.S. drones in Pakistan and Yemen alone.
Why is there such an aversion to acknowledging the human cost? Our drones are harvesting their children. These revelations are too much to bear sitting still.
“They had their whole lives ahead of them, birthdays, graduations, weddings, kids of their own.” Thus said President Obama at the memorial service for the 20 children killed in a Connecticut school two weeks ago. The president added: “We’re going to have to come together and take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this.”
Today, December 28th, on the Commemoration of the slaughter of Holy Innocents, we embrace President Obama’s exhortation on behalf of the children by coming to Davis-Monthan AFB to call for a change of heart, of policy and practice. Cease drone operations immediately on behalf of the children and all victims of this warfare including U.S. drone pilots who are increasingly being diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress syndrome. Our plea is for an end to all warfare. May we pursue peace by peaceful means.