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Vets for Peace president on drones

Leah Bolger is national president of Veterans for Peace
Leah Bolger is national president of Veterans for Peace. (Photo by Frank Cordaro.) Photo: AFSC

(More AFSC Iowa photos available here.)


On bitterly cold January night, 50 show at Central IA Library to hear Leah Bolger

DES MOINES - (Catholic Peace Ministry news services/Jeffrey Weiss) Leah Bolger has been trying to draw attention to the use of drones in warfare for years but says participation in a delegation to Pakistan and a renewed sense of activism to oppose their use brought her to Des Moines.

"The time is now as there is a sense both by some members of Congress and in our public that these policies are far out of line on many levels," said Bolger, a former Navy commander who served 20 years in the military and is the first female VFP President.

Bolger was speaking to an audience at the Franklin Library, an event hosted by Veterans for Peace Chapter 161, Catholic Peace Ministry, and AFSC Iowa.

In her lecture, Bolger emphasized that not only is the U.S. using drones in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas of Pakistan, but now 70 countries possess drone technology; if unchecked, the use of drones in our cities will threaten the Bill of Rights. 

"Even if you don't care about using these drones to kill foreigners, even children, there are more of us who will start to speak out against the loss of privacy.... You could see drones with the capability of tear gas or rubber bullets, for example."

Bolger described the people of Pakistan who welcomed a delegation last year of Veterans and members of CodePink as hospitable.

The key Pakistani hosts were members of the 'Foundation for Fundamental Rights, online at

Bolger said Pashtuns in the FATA region are civilian victims of drones. 

It is not surprising therefore, Bolger emphasized, that the Central Intelligence Agency pays people for information to find 'militants' (the term used to describe all military-aged males killed by Drones, by both the Obama Administration and corporate media).

Some of these people travel in tribal areas with 'GPS chips' and this creates suspicion. (Three out of every four Pakistanis in recent polls consider the U.S. to be the enemy, according to Bolger.)

"I talk about these regions as B.D. and A.D., before and after drones," said Bolger.

Stanford University Law School and New York University Law School published a lengthy document 'Living Under Drones' that drew international media attention. These noted law schools in their report accused the U.S. of 'terror' against the children of Waziristan.

A recent New York Times editorial  said the use of drones constitutes 'the new Guantanamo' as the leading recruiting tool for those who choose to attack the United States.

"We are creating enemies faster than we are killing them .... It keeps the military-industrial complex flowing ....We have to demand Pentagon cuts and especially before March 1," said Bolger.