Minute Objecting to the Building of a Drone Support Facility at Volk Field

Written to the Governor of Wisconsin, President of the State Senate, Speaker of the State Assembly, Members of the State Legislature, Chair of the State Building Commission, the Adjutant General of the Wisconsin Department of Military Affairs and the Wisconsin Air National Guard at Volk Field.

We strongly object to the proposed $8 million, 10,298 square-foot building at Volk Field to provide training, maintenance, operations and storage space for the RQ-7 Shadow 200 Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV).  The Shadow 200’s camera is used to identify targets for the armed Predator drones being used in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan as well as Yemen and Gaza.

As Quakers we object to war as a means of solving conflict and we work toward preventing the occasion for war.  The use of UAVs, and drones particularly, does not sit well with us.  It creates distance between the operators and the people being watched, making it “easier” to ignore their humanity and to kill them.  It increases the likelihood that noncombatants will be mistakenly targeted.

In the six years that drone strikes have been used, researchers at the New America Foundation estimate that between 1,283 and 1,971 people have been killed.  Many more are wounded including children.  In July 2009, the Brookings Institution released a report stating that in the United States-led drone attacks in Pakistan ten civilians died for every militant killed.  As more civilians are killed or wounded, recruiting of militants increases and U.S. diplomatic efforts to prevent or curtail military action are undermined.  Any government that is seriously interested in reducing military interventions would not be well served to invest in increased use of UAVs.

The state is being asked to contribute $415,000 toward the cost of this 8 million dollar facility – at a time when we have a budget shortfall.  Even if you don’t agree with our stance against war you must take into consideration the use of our state and federal tax dollars when there are pressing needs at home – food and shelter for children and adults who are in need, including the one quarter of our homeless citizens who are veterans.

We ask that you not allow construction here in Wisconsin.

Minute approved at the May 1, 2011 Meeting for Business

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