Protesting drone and nuclear warfare at Whiteman Air Force Base

Brian Terrell, Bennette Dibben, and Chris Overfelt discuss a demonstration against drone and nuclear warfare at Whiteman Air Force Base, roughly 60 miles southeast of Kansas City.  The host unit at Whiteman is the 509th Bomb Wing, which operates the B-2 Spirit stealth bomber.  They can launch combat sorties directly from Missouri to any spot on the globe, engaging adversaries with large payloads of traditional or precision-guided munitions.  Whiteman is also one of roughly 28 locations in the US from which Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (“drones”) are controlled.  They are joined by Radio Active Magazine host Spencer Graves.

Brian Terrell is outreach coordinator for Las Vegas based Nevada Desert Experience. He visited Afghanistan seven times during the US war there and participated in the first nonviolent direct action against drones at Creech Air Force Base in Nevada in 2009. Since then, he has witnessed against killer drones around the US and abroad.  In 2012 he was sentenced to six months in federal prison for an anti-drone protest at Missouri’s Whiteman Air Force Base. He currently lives on a Catholic Worker farm in Maloy, Iowa.  After President Biden officially ended the US-led war in Afghanistan last August 31, Terrell noted that that Biden continues to authorize many drone strikes that kill people, 90 percent of whom are not the intended target, according to whistleblower Dan Hale, who is currently in a federal prison for informing the public that only 10 percent of the people killed by drones are the intended target.  Terrell says that’s murder.

Bennette Dibben is a Volunteer Staff Member of Peace Works Kansas City. She is concerned that those on the receiving end of the drone strikes never get a fair trial.  They are rarely the intended targets.  Each drone strike that kills people or destroys property that does not obviously threaten the US manufactures enemies for the US.  Drone pilots are not likely to be killed in combat, unlike “boots on the ground”. However, some have concluded that what they have done is so grossly immoral they’ve committed suicide, like US Air Force Captain Kevin Larson, featured in a story that started on the front page of the New York Times, 2022-04-17.

Chris Overfelt is a member of Vets for Peace and the Board of PeaceWorks Kansas City.  He served in the Air National Guard in Topeka, 2002-2011, during which time he was deployed to Turkey and Qatar.  He says that the War on Terror has increased, not decreased, the number of enemies we have.  We are spending trillions to manufacture enemies for ourselves, while we claim we cannot afford to provide health care for our citizens.

The discussion also mentioned an op ed by  and It’s time Russia and NATO stop playing games with nuclear war“:  The article cites a 2002 study that concluded that if only 300 Russian warheads got through to cities in the United States, roughy 90 million people would be killed in the first afternoon.  In addition, most of the infrastructure would be gone, which would lead to the deaths from starvation, exposure and disease of most of those who survived the initial attack.

In addition, the economic infrastructure of the United States would be gone. There would be no electric grid, internet, food distribution system, banking or public health system, or transportation network. In the months following, most of those who survived the initial attack would also die – from starvation, exposure, disease and radiation poisoning, the same study found. A US attack on Russia would produce the same destruction there, it said.  And the fires caused by these attacks would put millions of tons of soot into the upper atmosphere, blocking out the sun and dropping temperatures across the globe to levels not seen since the last ice age. Food production would crash, triggering a global famine that would destroy modern civilization.  This is not the opinion of a couple of paranoid whackos:  It’s consistent with published positions of former US Secretaries of State Kissinger and Shultz (Republicans) and Secretaries of Defense McNamara and Perry (Democrats), among others.


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