Peace Action Claims Military Bias in 60 Minutes Predator Story

For Immediate Release

Organization Profile: 
Contact: 

Paul Kawika Martin, Policy Director
Phone: 951-217-7285
Email: pmartin@peace-action.org

Peace Action Claims Military Bias in 60 Minutes Predator Story

WASHINGTON - Peace Action, the nation’s largest peace organization, commented on the
CBS 60 Minutes segment, “America's New Air Force,” with the following
statement by Paul Kawika Martin, political director:

“I usually enjoy 60 Minutes and expect some decently produced segments.
 Who doesn't love Andy Rooney? ‘America's New Air Force’ is the worst
story by 60 Minutes that I have every seen. It’s more military
propaganda and a commercial for the contractors of the Predator drone,
than investigative journalism.  How did 60 Minutes get so hoodwinked?

“How do you do 13-minute story interviewing the Pentagon, without
interviewing one critic?  What about talking with NGOs on the ground in
Afghanistan that can talk about the effects of civilian casualties
caused by drone strikes?

“Instead, there is zero facts on civilian deaths and suffering.  There
are dozens of facts, and figures about the technical and cost
specifications, but not one figure about how many lives cost or saved
from these missions.  Lara Logan doesn't seem to realize that she is no
longer an "embedded journalist."  While I'm sure it is exciting to get
special access to secret technology, that does not make an
investigative journalist.  Anyone can report statistics fed to him or
her by the military or military contractors.  Isn’t it the job of 60
Minutes to rise above and think about the larger meta issues?

“The military uses the secrecy frame to entice reporters to get the
inside scoop.  Real reporting is questioning why are air strikes and
Predator strikes classified in the first place.  Why do only a limited
handful of members of congress and staff get briefed?  Where are the
non-classified reports on the efficacy of air and drone strikes? Why
hasn’t the Government Accountability Office looked into the efficacy of
these missions?

“A counterinsurgency expert and former advisor to Gen. David Petraeus,
Dr. David Kilcullen, claimed, ‘If we want to strengthen our friends and
weaken our enemies in Pakistan, bombing Pakistani villages with
unmanned drones is totally counterproductive.’  Colonel Lawrence B.
Wilkerson, a retired United States Army Colonel and former chief of
staff to United States Secretary of State Colin Powell went further by
saying the U.S. should halt all Air and Predator drone strikes.  Of
course, Afghanistan President Karzai, aid organizations and other
military strategists have said this, but 60 Minutes isn't doing the
reporting.

“I'm no journalist, but I can think of some interesting and important questions:

“Why do you believe these tactics are worth the civilian deaths, trauma
and loss of the hearts and minds of Afghans?  Are we really getting rid
of more terrorists than we are creating?  What are the metrics that
show the success of these missions and that they are making Americans
safer?  What are the precautions the U.S. is taking to preserve
innocent life as required by international law?  What about the rule of
law and arresting and taking suspected terrorists to trial?

“60 Minutes needs to provide balance with another 13-minute story
partly ‘embedded’ with NGOs on the ground in Afghanistan, partly
talking to some critical experts and partly finding out why congress is
not playing it's role of a check and balance to the Pentagon.”

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Founded in 1957, Peace Action, the United States' largest peace and disarmament organization with over 100,000 members and nearly 100 chapters in 34 states, works to achieve the abolition of nuclear weapons, promote government spending priorities that support human needs and encourage real security through international cooperation and human rights.

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