The 2013 DC Drones Conference: 5 Big Takeaways

by Joe Scarry

So much went on this past weekend at the  2013 CODEPINK Drone Summit“Drones Around the Globe: Proliferation and Resistance” in Washington, DC — before I head back to Chicago I want to emphasize the really big realizations that I’m taking away with me.

(1) The first-hand stories make this scourge un-ignorable

We’re all inundated with facts and figures about the killings being carried out with drones. But it’s the personal testimony of witnesses — like the relatives of victims who traveled all the way from Yemen to tell their stories and ex-military personnel like former intel analyst Daniel Hale — who play the most vital role in explaining why drone killing has to stop. (Listen for yourself.)

(2) A war against communities of color

In presentation after presentation — starting with the inspirational words of Cornel West, continuing with the testimony of representatives of Yemen, Pakistan, Afghanistan and other countries who came to tell their stories– and reinforced by comment after comment by conference participants, it is clear that we will only deal successfully with the crimes being committed using drones when we understand them as part of the much larger war against communities of color, and commit totally to resisting that larger war.

(3) The U.S. network against drones has taken off!

We held a session at 8:30 Sunday morning about building the U.S. network against drones. There was a huge turnout for a very effective session, and everybody left the room committed to pitching in to make the network successful. (Join the network yourself.)

(4) The global network against drones is coming

It’s clear that the beginnings of a global network are coming into place.  My prediction?  2014 will be the year that we see truly coordinated activism by people worldwide to put a stop to the misuse of drones.

(5) CODEPINK is awesome

This was a big event — about 400 participants with many moving parts.  It came off flawlessly.  I can’t say enough about what a great job CODEPINK did in putting the event together and carrying it out. (Watch for yourself.)

We’re all fortunate to have CODEPINK doing this important work.

Related posts

As I headed into the 2013 drones summit, I was thinking about the need for more transparency, the role of the faith community, the possible impact of the 2014 midterms, and more . . . .

(See The DC Drones Conference: What I’ll Be Thinking About)

To those of us who have worked hard to get U.S. troops out of Afghanistan, it is flabbergasting to see reports that U.S. officials see a “need” for someplace else to send troops and material: apparently, there’s no such thing as demobilization, only re-deployment.

(See AFRICOM: The Heart of Darkness)

In Chicago, there is a push to convert the Ames middle school, which serves a predominantly Spanish-speaking neighborhood, into a military academy.

What does this tell us about the real workings of the immigration policy that Obama and the Democrats have created?  What’s the real meaning of the DREAM act?

(See The Militarization of Ames: The Real Meaning of the DREAM Act )

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