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33 Groups Oppose Use of Military Force in Africa | FCNL

January 17, 2013

Dear President Obama:

We write to express our alarm at recent reports that your administration may request a new Authorization for Use of Military Force in certain African countries. While we understand that the U.S. maintains deep concern regarding militant extremism in Africa, we – as a diverse group of faith-based, human rights and other organizations – fear that current and future military operations will harm U.S. and African interests and communities. Rather than repeating violent, short-term responses that have proven unsuccessful in ending the spread of militant extremism over the past decade, we urge you to instead emphasize support for African-led efforts to non-violently address root causes of instability and build security through prioritizing justice, peace and civilian safety.

Past U.S. attempts to counter violent extremism through military operations in Afghanistan and Pakistan have led to prolonged war and the deaths of thousands of civilians and U.S. servicemembers. Despite the massive cost in lives and in dollars – with more than $1.4 trillion already spent on the “Global War on Terror” – these operations have not contained the threat of militant extremism around the world. Authorizing the use of additional force in African countries will put more civilians and U.S. servicemembers at risk, while further militarizing conflict-affected areas could undermine the prospects for peaceful solutions.

We are also concerned by the potential for expanded use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicle strikes in targeting militants in African countries. Recent reports – including one from the Stanford Law School and New York University School of Law and another from the Center for Civilians in Conflict and Columbia University’s Human Rights Law Clinic – provide empirical evidence that the cultural and psychological impacts of U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan could irreparably harm U.S. security interests. Strikes already conducted in Somalia may have the same effect, indicating that an extension of this program to additional countries in Africa will result in more, rather than fewer, militants.

For more on this story, visit: Friends Committee on National Legislation | 33 Groups Oppose Use of Military Force in Africa.

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