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Protesters at Whiteman AFB seek peace, deplore drone warfare

By Kristin Scheer

PeaceWorks Kansas City gathered 23 people together at Whiteman Air Force Base on the blustery morning of April 30. The base—near Knob Noster, MO—plays a part in US international drone operations. A slide show (https://peaceworkskc.org/drones/slide-show-depicts-4-30-drone-war-protest-at-whiteman-afb) by Kriss Avery depicts our witness in the wind.

In the words of Chris Overfelt, a Veteran for Peace and a member of the PeaceWorks Board, “We gather to celebrate peace and stand united with people around the world telling our governments that we do not want war in any form, anywhere.”

Peace folks, including Eric Garbison, right, hold signs and let the Ukrainian flag fly.

Brian Terrell, who visited Afghanistan 7 times between 2010 and 2019, reminded us we were at Whiteman AFB 10 years ago when he, Mark Kenney, and Ron Faust were arrested for attempting to deliver an indictment against drone warfare to the base commander. For their brave service, Brian served 6 months in federal prison, Mark was imprisoned for 4 months, and Ron was on probation a year.

Brian told us April 30, “War is never the way to peace, and the war always comes home. … The hard, pragmatic realism of the day is that war needs to be abolished. Faced with imminent global climate catastrophe and with both US and Russia for the first time imagining winning a nuclear war, humanity has no choice.” Please read his full statement: https://peaceworkskc.org/nonviolence/brian-terrell-at-entry-to-whiteman-afb-denounces-drone-warfare

Ron Faust, a leader in the Disciples Peace Fellowship, read his poem against drone warfare, “Benumbed,” https://peaceworkskc.org/drones/benumbed, including:

Operators peer at video screens …
  Without thinking about collateral damage
    So far away, so removed from reality
      Just meaningless drivel, drones of society
Until we protest the numbness of our dumbness
  And wake up to awaken another …
    For we are the ones who can cease
      The numbing of our conscience.

Jean Rosenthal’s message about drone war: Stop!

We also heard from Frank Lawrence, of the Green Party, who said, “War is profitable business, and I am disturbed by it.” He asked if the rest of us were, and we hollered in reply, “Hell, yes!”

Our climate sign gets good play near the road..

Ann Suellentrop—a leader in the Alliance for Nuclear Accountability, PeaceWorks, and Physicians for Social Responsibility—pointed out that the US military emits more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than entire countries, such as Denmark or Portugal. Our April 30 event was cosponsored by PeaceWorks, Veterans for Peace, and EarthDayStrike2022.org (including the Green Party).

After our event, while we shared a meal, Brian gave us these words of Cornell West, words that held special meaning for us: “People don’t act because they hope. They hope because they act.”

Kristin Scheer takes notes for this story.

Kristin Scheer, once a Greenpeace activist, serves on the PeaceWorks Board of Directors. © 2022, Kristin Scheer, Christopher Overfelt, Kriss Avery, Brian Terrell, Frank Lawrence, Ann Suellentrop, Ron Faust, Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike 4.0 International License.

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