ACTION: Tell the Pentagon to Address Innocent Victims of US Drones

April 28th, 2023 - by Win Without War

Victims of the Pentagon’s wars of aggression.

ACTION ALERT: It’s Time to
Hold the Pentagon Accountable
Win Without War

(April 27, 2023) — For decades, the Pentagon has dropped bombs on communities from control centers thousands of miles away.

The New York Times found that one in every five people killed in the Pentagon’s lethal drone strikes are “ordinary” people. This is a shockingly high rate, and likely even to be an undercount.

When these tragedies strike, there is little recourse for their survivors. While Congress has allocated $3 million each year for condolence, or “ex gratia,” payments, too many victims never see a cent. The Pentagon’s track record is unconscionably low: In 2021, just one ex gratia payment was made, and NONE the year before. Instead, these millions roll back into the Pentagon budget — and too many wrongful victims are left to endure a tragedy without support or acknowledgment from the party responsible: the US government.

This system is broken, and even now, as the Pentagon updates its condolence guidelines, we’re hearing that they are unlikely to go far enough. The Pentagon is reluctant to use this money to pay victims of past strikes — preferring to pay only for future harms. 

That’s why advocates and activists alike are raising the alarm: This policy leaves past victims out in the cold, excluding the exact people it should be serving. Every wrongful victim of the Pentagon’s violence deserves justice and accountability. Let’s make sure Defense Secretary Austin hears from people across the country before the ink dries on another bad policy!

Together, we’ll call the Pentagon’s “proactive” approach for what it really is: petty and deeply unjust.

ACTION: Raise your voice with us: Tell the Secretary of Defense that we demand the inclusion of all strike victims in the new guidance on ex gratia payments.

Lethal drone strikes are the keystone of the US’s endless wars — they’re a crucial part of the current strategy governing the “war on terror.” They’re also reckless in their targeting. Among the targets of these US bombings have been parents in West Mosul driving a car with their children in the backseat, a family’s tent encampment in a Yemeni desert, and so many family homes in one Iraqi neighborhood that its inhabitants started sleeping in shifts.

With the US no longer willing to put service members in harm’s way to achieve the unachievable in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere, lethal strikes from above became a “low cost” means of waging conflict, all while disregarding human rights and life along the way.

The victims at the front lines of this violence deserve justice. Instead, $3 million sits on commanders’ desks every year, as our broken foreign policy continues to fail families who we’ve already torn apartNew policies about how to compensate victims are being drafted as we speak — and we have to act now to make sure these policies don’t ignore the same people that they should be helping.

The good news? It’s rare for the Pentagon to hear from activists like us, and when tens of thousands of folks like you make their voices heard, we CAN push even the most powerful generals to listen to the will of the people.

It’s time for the Pentagon to right its wrongs when it comes to compensating innocent victims of lethal drone strikes. Can we count on you to stand up for justice and accountability today?

ACTION: Call on the Defense Secretary: Include ALL strike victims in the new ex gratia guidance.

Together, we can hold the Pentagon accountable to those it has gravely failed, and push for a better future we know is possible: one where US endless wars are finally put to an end.

Thank you for working for peace,
Sarah, Yint, Shayna, and the Win Without War team

Related Articles from the New York Times:

•   Hidden Pentagon Records Reveal Patterns of Failure in Deadly Airstrikes, December 18, 2021

•   The Human Toll of America’s Air Wars, December 19, 2021

•   The Civilian Casualty Files, December 18, 2021

•   How a US Drone Strike Killed the Wrong Person, September 10, 2021

•   The US Military Said It Was an ISIS Safe House. We Found an Afghan Family Home, September 28, 2021

•   How the US Hid an Airstrike That Killed Dozens of Civilians in Syria, November 13, 2021

•   Civilian Deaths Mounted as Secret Unit Pounded ISIS, December 12, 2021

•   Documents Reveal Basic Flaws in Pentagon Dismissals of Civilian Casualty Claims, December 31, 2021