Below are two versions of a suggested letter to your member of Congress or Senator. You can use Govtrack to identify and link to the address for the representative from your district.
Dear Rep./Sen. ______________,
Last month, 20 of our precious and innocent children were killed in a barrage of bullets from weapons carried by someone unknown to them. Our country still reels from the numbing news. We mourn for them, for their families, and for our country.
In Yemen and in Pakistan, countries with which we are not at war, at least 178 precious and innocent children have been killed by U.S. drone strikes launched by someone unknown to them. As a people, why do we not respond with equal revulsion and sympathy?
Are the children of foreign lands any less precious? And is the government that is responsible for their deaths any less guilty of murder than the Newtown gunman?
You hold in your hands, by the power of your office, the capacity to stop the carnage. In the name of decency, and in memory of the innocent children the world over killed by our drones, I ask you to co-sponsor HR 819, directing the U.S. Attorney General to transmit to the House any and all legal documents and memoranda relating to the use of drones by the U.S. government.
I will look to you, as my elected representative, to sign on to HR 819 before the end of this month. Your failure to do so will announce to the world your complicity in the murder by assault weapons of children no less precious than our own.
Dear Rep./Sen. _________________,
As members of local peace and justice organizations opposed to the continuation of the Bush administration’s failed wars, we are writing to condemn the Obama Administration's use of unmanned aerial vehicles or “drones”, to kill citizens in at least seven countries, including Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Pakistan, the Philippines, Somalia and Yemen. The use of drones is wrong on many levels: the illegality and immorality of assassinations, the violation of international law and the Constitutional protection of due process, the targeting killing of civilian populations, and the violation of national sovereignty. Equally wrong and quite disturbing are killings by U.S. drones of at least 3 U.S. citizens, including a 16 year old boy born in Denver, Colorado, all in violation of their right to due process. We are especially troubled by the Obama Administration's refusal to release, even to Congress, the documents which purportedly give the U.S. legal cover to determine who is placed on the "kill list." A recent House Resolution, HR 819, sought to make these documents public.
The use of killer drones does and will continue to create more enmity toward the United States. Because of the lack of transparency, it remains unclear how many civilians have suffered losses of life, limb or property as a result of strikes. A recent Columbia University study gives strong evidence to support high rates of civilian casualties. Another recent and important study by Stanford and New York Universities revealed in detail how communities living under drone warfare in Pakistan are being "terrorized" by the daily presence of these drones in their skies. High rates of psychological trauma, suicide, and PTSD are just a few of the symptoms, as well as the serious disruption of their entire social structure. We are providing copies of these studies to your staff, and hope that you will take the time to read them. Sadly, Obama has drastically increased the use of drone strikes compared to former President Bush, leading to rampant anti-U.S. sentiment throughout these areas of conflict.
Furthermore, we are also concerned that U.S. drones are used to eliminate political opponents of corrupt leaders. This happened in 2010 in Yemen, when a state governor who opposed President Ali Abdullah Saleh was labeled as a leader of Al Qaeda and killed.
We believe that Congress should uphold its responsibilities in providing the checks and balances needed to protect us from an executive branch that has run amok, acting in total disregard to International and Constitutional law. This would have a profound effect around the world, and could initiate a process of healing. As citizens, we do not see the people of Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Pakistan, the Philippines, Somalia and Yemen as enemies. They are our brothers and sisters. Instead of wasting billions of dollars on immoral drone strikes, take the money from the program and give it to non-governmental organizations working on providing jobs and income to people so that they do not join militant groups. There would be tremendous support for such a program in these war-torn countries.
The illegal U.S. occupations and proliferating drone wars have been demonstrable failures. Now is the time to take a bold step for peace. Imagine becoming a country which has denounced the madness of war, and instead wants to assist and make friendship with the people of the Middle East, Central Asia, and the entire world.
We are asking you to do the following:
- Sponsor a bi-partisan bill calling for an immediate moratorium on all targeted killing by drones, with the ultimate goal of an in-depth Congressional investigation into the ineffectiveness and illegality of U.S. drone warfare.
-Work diligently to get your Congressional peers to support the above bill, and establish Congressional oversight over the illegal practices committed by the Obama Administration, the CIA and the Pentagon, as is your obligation by the U.S. Constitution.
-Sponsor a bi-partisan bill to address some of the most egregious practices of U.S. drone warfare, calling for an immediate ban on:
a.) All extra-judicial killings of U.S. citizens by U.S. drones or by any other means, without due process. Stop the assassination of our own citizens.
b.) The practice of “Double-tapping”, or “secondary strikes”, by U.S. drones, which is clearly a war crime under international law, and has led to the killing of rescuers and medical relief workers, and has discouraged witnesses from providing aid to those injured in drone strikes.
c.) The practice of “signature strikes”, or killing of unknown individuals purely based on “suspicious behavior”, without any knowledge of their identity, which leads to very high rates of civilian deaths.
d.) The Obama Administration’s policy of calling all military-age males “militants” and therefore subject to being drone targets, which also leads to very high civilian death rates.
We would like a response to these requests in the next 30 days, for we feel the lives and well-being of every person that is potentially threatened by these drone attacks requires our and your urgent action. Should you agree to endorse a foreign policy with the goal of peace and justice, we will stand with you. Rejecting our requests will make you complicit in the immoral and lawless actions of the Obama Administration. We will then continue to protest, risk arrest and denounce a foreign policy of endless wars and illegal assassinations and hold Congress complicit with these policies.
We also request a meeting with you in the next month to discuss our proposal to immediately end killer drone strikes and to start a process of healing with the victims of U.S. wars. Please give serious consideration to our proposal of reconciliation and diplomacy rather than be complicit in the continued use of pernicious killer drones. We urge you to provide the necessary checks and balances against the executive branch, a responsibility required under the Constitution, which you have sworn an oath to uphold.
For a more peaceful world,