September 26, 2016
While the Clinton-Trump debate features two candidates who express strong support for the ongoing “war on terror,” delivery of a petition to the Pentagon on the same day presents a markedly different approach — calling for closure of the Air Force’s overseas hub for U.S. warfare in many countries.
The petition, which focuses on the key Ramstein Air Base in southwestern Germany and was signed by more than 20,000 people, will also be presented to the German government in Berlin.
“The Ramstein Air Base’s crucial role in relaying signals for drone strikes is binding the United States and Germany in an unconscionable program for extrajudicial killings,” the petition says. “That program receives major help from German intelligence agencies, which assist with drone targeting as they share surveillance data with the U.S. government.”
While U.S. activists will present the petition at the Pentagon, it will also be presented in Berlin by German activists along with two American veterans of the “war on terror.” They are Cian Westmoreland, a former Air Force technician who worked on the drone program in Afghanistan, and Matthew Hoh, a former Marine who was an officer in Iraq and became the highest-ranking State Department official to resign in protest of the U.S. war in Afghanistan.
In addition to the Ramstein base’s crucial role in the U.S. global drone program, “Ramstein is also central to many other military aspects of the ‘war on terror’ that continues to have such profoundly negative consequences in many nations,” the petition notes.
Addressed to President Obama, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the U.S. Congress and the German parliament, the petition says: “While urgently calling for the de-escalation of conflicts and for serious negotiations, we support nonviolent movements in opposition to the Ramstein Air Base and other U.S. military bases around the globe. We urge you to take immediate steps to close the Ramstein Air Base and not replace its functions at any other location.”
The petition includes thousands of individual comments written by signers from all over the world. The comments are posted online.
Initiated by RootsAction.org, the petition’s partners include 20 other organizations, which are listed on the petition’s webpage.
Available for interviews:
NORMAN SOLOMON, solomonprogressive [at] g
Solomon is co-founder of RootsAction.org and executive director of the Institute for Public Accuracy. He wrote “The Most Important U.S. Air Force Base You’ve Never Heard Of” for The Nation. His books include War Made Easy.
Additional background: Jeremy Scahill, The Intercept: “Germany Is the Tell-Tale Heart of America’s Drone War”