Jay Wittmeyer, executive director of Global Mission and Service, met with White House officials to raise concerns about the US drone warfare program. The meeting in Washington, D.C., included other denominational leaders from other faith traditions with statements challenging US drone warfare.
The Church of the Brethren was one of the first denominations to speak out against the military use of drones, which have caused widespread civilian casualties in places where the US has not declared war. The Church of the Brethren statement was adopted by the Mission and Ministry Board in 2013, guides the Office of Public Witness’ work on this issue. This meeting was part of ongoing advocacy by the Office of Public Witness with the goal of eliminating drone warfare.
Following the meeting, Wittmeyer noted the significance of the Director of National Intelligence report on drone warfare released on July 1. “While the number of combatant deaths are significantly lower in the DNI report than those of the Bureau of Investigative Journalism,” he said, “the Obama administration is beginning to take the right steps of making its covert operations of drone warfare program more transparent.”
Find the “Summary of Information Regarding US Counterterrorism Strikes Outside Areas of Active Hostilities” released by the Director of National Intelligence at www.dni.gov/files/documents/Newsroom/Press%20Releases/DNI+Release+on+CT+Strikes+Outside+Areas+of+Active+Hostilities.PDF .
Find the report “Drone Warfare: Obama drone casualty numbers a fraction of those recorded by the Bureau” from the Bureau of Investigative Journalism at www.thebureauinvestigates.com/2016/07/01/obama-drone-casualty-numbers-fraction-recorded-bureau .
Wittmeyer and Office of Public Witness director Nathan Hosler, also met with several State Department officials, and with staff of ecumenical and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) to support ongoing Church of the Brethren work. These meetings aimed to expand partnerships on Nigeria and to address the rapidly deteriorating situation in South Sudan.
Wittmeyer was interviewed for a podcast of the National Council of Churches, after the round of meetings at the White House and the State Department. Listen in to his eloquent witness to Brethren peacemaking at http://nationalcouncilofchurches.us/missions-and-peacemaking-in-nigeria-and-at-home-jay-wittmeyer