Steve Schofield summarises, “Through invasion by ground forces and through air-strikes involving missiles and drones, the US/UK military axis has been responsible for the collapse of societies that has left hundreds of thousand of civilians dead or injured and millions more as refugees.
A Moseley reader sent a link to an article reporting that four former US air force service members who had extensive experience in operating military drones wrote an open letter to Barack Obama.
In it, they warned that the program of targeted killings by unmanned aircraft has become a major driving force for Isis and other terrorist groups. The letter, addressed to Obama, defense secretary Ashton Carter and CIA chief John Brennan, links the signatories’ anxieties directly to the terror attacks in Paris:
“We came to the realization that the innocent civilians we were killing only fueled the feelings of hatred that ignited terrorism and groups like ISIS, while also serving as a fundamental recruitment tool similar to Guantanamo Bay”.
They ended: “This administration and its predecessors have built a drone program that is one of the most devastating driving forces for terrorism and destabilization around the world”
Schofield looks ahead: “The UK could re-orientate its policy to UN peacekeeping and peacebuilding”:
“The Labour movement needs a much more ambitious arms conversion programme to challenge the embedded power of the military-industrial-complex with a broader critique of UK security policy and the subordination to the United States in global power projection to secure oil supplies and other natural resources.
“Substantial savings could be made in the arms budget, in turn providing a major source of funding for an ambitious arms conversion programme. Assuming savings of 50-75% in the arms budget, the government could provide at least £10 billion a year to an arms conversion fund that contributes to the new industrial regeneration policy.
“Employment in these new sectors far exceeds that from arms production – for example the German renewable energy industry employs 380,000 people and this is expected to rise to 600,000 by 2030 as the country increases the proportion of electricity generated from renewable sources.
“A combination of publicly-funded, national and regional investment banks for industries in the civil sector like offshore wind and wave power would channel these funds, ensuring an equitable distribution that also benefits the small group of arms-dependent communities, including Barrow-in-Furness, Glasgow, Preston, Aldermaston and Plymouth.
“The Labour movement has a strong and proud record of internationalism and it can offer a different vision of security where the UK has a progressive role in the world, signalled by deep cuts to military spending, and by a comprehensive arms conversion programme that creates new opportunities for socially-useful work . . .”
To read Dr Schofield’s paper, go to http://www.lessnet.co.uk/docs/arms-conversion.pdf