by Fr. John Dear, S.J.
Pax Christi USA Ambassador of Peace
This week, the president nominated the head of the U.S. drones program, responsible for killing hundreds, perhaps thousands, of innocent women and children in Afghanistan and Pakistan, to be his new head of the CIA. That is appropriate, because the CIA runs the U.S. torture, rendition, assassination and mass-murder program in conjunction with the Pentagon. Of course, all of this pure evil goes contrary to everything the nonviolent Jesus taught. What do we Christians do? We protest the ongoing killings by these evil U.S. drones in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Yemen; continue to call for nonviolent conflict resolution; try to build a movement of nonviolence; and take nonviolent risks to stop the killings.
My friend Brian Terrell has taken many nonviolent risks to say “no” to a future of drones and permanent war. A longtime peace activist, a member of the “Creech 14” and a founder of the Strangers and Guests Catholic Worker Farm in Maloy, Iowa, Brian is currently serving six months in the federal prison in Yankton, S.D., for protesting our evil U.S. drones program.
On April 15, Brian and two friends walked onto the Whiteman Air Force Base in central Missouri to present a letter to the base commander calling for an end to the U.S. drone warfare. They tried to make the case that dropping bombs on women and children in Afghanistan and Pakistan will not lead to peace — much less improve our own security — but will inspire thousands of people to join the violent movements against the United States. They were immediately arrested, tried and sentenced in federal court. While our recent government war criminals, Wall Street criminals and torturers go free, Brian is holed up in a cell in South Dakota.