Pizza, Lemonade and Crudités

vfp_logo_200IOWA CITY— I dropped off a check at the Waterfront HyVee last night to reimburse the airfare of Daniel Hale, a veteran who worked with the armed drone program in Afghanistan, to come to Iowa. When I arrived, a group of about 25 people had just partaken of pizza, lemonade, coffee and crudités.

It was the beginning of a gathering of Veterans for Peace and Catholic Workers to protest the U.S. unmanned aerial vehicle program. Saturday at 10 a.m., there is a demonstration at the Iowa Air National Guard base in Des Moines. Monday, Saint Patrick’s Day, dozens of Midwest Catholic Workers are expected to commit nonviolent civil disobedience during a second protest at the base. The events have been well choreographed, and it’s not the first rodeo for most of the folks expected to participate.

Hale spoke of his experience in Afghanistan as an intelligence soldier, focusing on a particular mission where one target was killed, along with four other people. He had no idea whether the four others were combatants, even as the military identified them as such. What he described was consistent with other narratives about how drones are used. The event was life changing for him, and should be for the rest of us.

We’ll see if the corporate media covers the story, and importantly, whether the demonstration makes a difference in U.S. policy toward drones.