An anti-war drone tour will launch a Miami Valley crusade next week to target the military’s use of unmanned aerial vehicles in overseas attacks and surveillance missions.
The “Know Your Drones” tour, with a large replica of a MQ-1 Predator, has scheduled stops at Wright State University on Thursday; the Dayton office of U.S. Rep. Mike Turner, R-Centerville, and Sinclair Community College, and the University of Dayton on Friday; a press conference Saturday in Brookville on green energy; and Wittenberg University in Springfield on Sunday, Sept. 16.
The tour claims U.S. aerial drone attacks have killed more than 2,000 people, including women and children, mainly in Pakistan.
“The current militarization of the world, and especially the United States, is just not the way to solve problems,” said Steve Fryburg, 58, of Bellbrook, a member of the Dayton chapter of Veterans for Peace. The group will be among several taking part in the tour. “The drone program is only making the United States more enemies, not solving our problems.”
The Miami Valley was chosen for the tour because Wright-Patterson Air Force Base manages Air Force UAV programs and the drones are flown remotely from Springfield Air National Guard Base, said Fryburg, an Army veteran and a retired police officer.
“With our economic situation the way it is, people are seeing this as an economic boost to the area, and it can be,” Fryburg said. “But the way we see it is economics based on militarization is temporary economics, not good economics for our area.”
Green energy is a better “peace economics” investment, he said.
A spokeswoman for the Arlington, Va.-based Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International defended the industry.
“Unmanned aircraft allow us to handle dangerous or difficult jobs safely and efficiently,” spokeswoman Melanie Hinton said in an email. “Right now, unmanned aircraft technology is transitioning from military applications overseas, to civil and commercial uses here at home.” The association also supports law enforcement privacy guidelines for the use of drone surveillance at home, and backs legislation affirming an individual’s constitutional Fourth Amendment rights on search and seizure, she said.
The Pentagon has used drone attacks to hunt and kill terrorism suspects. Wright-Patterson spokesman Daryl Mayer said: “While we can’t comment on the specifics (of the protest), we strongly support the rights of every American to be heard.”
The drone tour will head to Columbus on Sept. 17.