An Apology

President Barack Obama,

Rafiq ur Rehman and his family deserve an apology. One year ago, You ordered the drone strike in Pakistan, which inexplicably seemed to target his mother, Mammana Bibi, and injured 3 of his children.

You don’t even have to travel to Pakistan. Rafiq ur Rehman and two of his children have come all the way to Washington, DC to testify before Congress.

Not that that many representatives showed up. I am very glad to see that my new (due to redistricting) Representative Jan Schakowsky was there.

Please personally meet with Rafiq ur Rehman. What we did was wrong. More importantly, stop this policy. Announce next Tuesday morning at your counter-terrorism meeting, that the United States is going to stop this demonic program.

Drone Statistics

President Barack Obama,

I saw the following statistics on the Covert Drone War page over at The Bureau of Investigative Journalism.

The price is too high. It is not known how many we kill with these drone strikes; yet even with what is publicly known, these “covert” programs are an abomination. Every citizen of the United States should be deeply ashamed that these activities are conducted on our behalf, supposedly to protect us.

Casualty estimates

Reported deaths and injuries

Pakistan 2004–2013  CIA Drone Strikes

Total strikes: 376
Obama strikes: 325
Total killed: 2,525-3,613
Civilians killed: 407-926
Children killed: 168-200
Injured: 1,117-1,505

Yemen 2002–2013  US Covert Action

Confirmed drone strikes: 54-64
Total killed: 268-397
Civilians killed: 21-58
Children killed: 5
Injured: 65-147

Possible extra drone strikes: 82-101
Total killed: 289-467
Civilians killed: 23-48
Children killed: 6-9
Injured: 83-109

Other covert operations: 12-77
Total killed: 148-377
Civilians killed: 60-88
Children killed: 25-26
Injured: 22-111

Somalia 2007–2013  US Covert Action

Drone strikes: 3-9
Total killed: 7-27
Civilians killed: 0-15
Children killed: 0
Injured: 2-24

Other covert operations: 8-15
Total killed: 48-150
Civilians killed: 7-42
Children killed: 1-3
Injured: 13-21

Please stop these acts of aggression. Killing both terrorists and innocent people overseas is not keeping United States citizens safe. These acts can only lead to more deaths.

Obaidullah

President Barack Obama,

I found a remarkable document on the USA Amnesty International website last week – ‘I AM FALLEN INTO DARKNESS’. It is the story of a 19 year old Afghan man named Obaidullah who was swept up in one of our raids in Afghanistan in July of 2002. He was imprisoned at the United States Bagram Military Airfield in Afghanistan, where he was tortured (The torture is described in great detail in the ‘I AM FALLEN INTO DARKNESS’ document above – you should read it – since your government is responsible for not prosecuting anyone from the George W. Bush administration for the war crimes documented therein.) He was then transferred to the United States Military Prison on the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base on 28 October 2002.

The torturing of Obaidullah continued at the Prison on the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base. At some point in the past 11 years we stopped the overt torture. Obaidullah has not given up, even to the point of participating in a hunger strike with his fellow prisoners from February to July of this year. (During his hunger strike, we responded by putting Obaidullah into solitary confinement.)

The United States Supreme Court has refused to hear Obaidullah’s Habeas Corpus appeal.

The United Nations Working Group in Arbitrary Detention in May of this year concluded that Obaidullah’s detention is arbitrary and violates international human rights law and that an adequate remedy would be to release him with compensation.

Obaidullah wrote the following verse in 2011 – it is from his poem ‘Separation in the Real World’.

Give me a hand through my dream,
I am fallen into darkness.
Although I am alongside others’  laughter,
I have been living ever in deep sorrows.
I am living on a great ocean’s shore,
But always in shackles.

These men have suffered enough. Please let them go.

You could pardon them. You could do it today.

Courage

Jeff Stratton, President, McDonald’s USA, LLC
One McDonald’s Plaza
Oak Brook, Illinois 60523

Jeff Stratton,

Last Friday, you were confronted by courage in the person of Nancy Salgado. And you responded in the way that we have come to expect from the 1%. Instead of thanking Nancy Salgado for her 10 years of service, you first had to say that you have been working for McDonald’s for 40 years, while your thugs had her arrested for daring to ask for a living wage.

I was curious how much you are compensated – the only information I found was something from 2013 (using 2011-2012 data), where the top CEO compensation was given as a multiplier of the median compensation of the lowest paid workers. For McDonald’s this figure was 351 when James Skinner was CEO. This is a better (lower) ratio that many US companies. But I believe you can do better.

Please consider what is going on in our country and the world. There is unrest nearly everywhere in the world, it is only a matter of time before we have it here in the United States. What happens when all the Nancy Salgado’s demand a living wage? Start building some good will now – announce that McDonald’s will set top executive compensation for the restaurants you control to some multiplier of the least paid employee. Get in front of this issue, with fairness. I know that it may not be that simple – you have franchise owners, etc., but you are in a position to set an example. To display fairness to your workers will differentiate the McDonald’s brand more than any product offering, slogan, or gimmick.

By our actions we make the world what it is.

Please do your part to make our world a better place.