As retired and former members of the U.S. military, we urge U.S. drone pilots, sensor operators and support teams to refuse to play any role in drone surveillance/assassination missions. These missions profoundly violate domestic and international laws intended to protect individuals’ rights to life, privacy and due process.
“According to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, as of September 1, 2015, up to 6,069 lives have been taken by U.S. drone attacks in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia. This figure does not include uncounted lives lost to U.S. drone attacks in Afghanistan before 2015, or in Iraq, Libya, the Philippines and Syria. All were killed without due process. These attacks, which are also terrorizing thousands, are undermining principles of international law and human rights such as those enumerated in the U.N. International Declaration of Human Rights, written in 1948 with the blood of the atrocities of World War II freshly in mind. The United States is a signatory to this declaration.”
“Those involved in U.S. drone operations who refuse to participate in drone missions will be acting in accordance with Principle IV of the Principles of International Law Recognized in the Charter of the Nuremberg Tribunal and the Judgment of the Tribunal, The United Nations 1950: ‘The fact that a person acted pursuant to order of his Government or of a superior does not relieve him of responsibility under international law, provided a moral choice was in fact possible.”
“So, yes, you do have a choice and liability under the law. Choose the moral one. Choose the legal one.”
The ad comes at a time of increasing drone surveillance and attack missions, which are now underway in Syria as well as Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia. A Bureau of Investigative Journalism report indicates that other areas under drone surveillance and potential places of attack include: Iran, North Africa, the Trans-Sahel (West Africa), Levant region (includes Israel, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey as well as Syria), Gulf States and territorial waters.