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“I Refuse to Support U.S. Armed Drone Policy”: Army Chaplain Reads Resignation Letter to Obama

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Former U.S. Army Reserve Chaplain Captain Chris Antal reads his resignation letter to President Obama. “I resign because I refuse to support U.S. armed drone policy,” Antal wrote. “The Executive Branch continues to claim the right to kill anyone, anywhere on earth, at any time, for secret reasons, based on secret evidence, in a secret process, undertaken by unidentified officials. I refuse to support this policy of unaccountable killing.”

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This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: Reverend Chris Antal, I was wondering if we could end with you reading your resignation letter to President Obama in your own words.

REV. CHRIS ANTAL: I’d be glad to do that.

“Dear Mr. President:

“I hereby resign my commission as an Officer in the United States Army.

“I resign because I refuse to support U.S. armed drone policy. The Executive Branch continues to claim the right to kill anyone, anywhere on earth, at any time, for secret reasons, based on secret evidence, in a secret process, undertaken by unidentified officials. I refuse to support this policy of unaccountable killing.

“I resign because I refuse to support U.S. nuclear weapons policy. The Executive Branch continues to invest billions of dollars into nuclear weapons, which threaten the existence of humankind and the earth. I refuse to support this policy of terror and mutually assured destruction.

“I resign because I refuse to support U.S. policy of preventive war, permanent military supremacy and global power projection. The Executive Branch continues to claim extra-constitutional authority and impunity from international law. I refuse to support this policy of imperial overstretch.

“I resign because I refuse to serve as an empire chaplain. I cannot reconcile these policies with either my sworn duty to protect and defend America and our constitutional democracy or my covenantal commitment to the core principles of my religion faith. These principles include: justice, equity and compassion in human relations, a free and responsible search for truth, a commitment to the democratic process, and the inherent worth and dignity of every person.

“Respectfully submitted,

“Christopher John Antal”

AMY GOODMAN: Reverend Chris Antal, minister for the Unitarian Universalist Congregation now at Rock Tavern, New York, founder of the Hudson Valley, New York, chapter of Veterans for Peace. He has served as a U.S. Army chaplain in Afghanistan, before publicly resigning over the Obama administration’s drone warfare program. He wrote that letter to President Obama in April.

This is Democracy Now! When we come back, we hear more about the story of Kalief Browder. Kalief, a 16-year-old arrested in New York, falsely accused of taking someone’s backpack, he spent three years at Rikers Island without trial. Ultimately, he was released. He would commit suicide a few years later. Today, we bring you Part 2 of the story of the life and death of Kalief Browder. Then, the former president of the Maldives, known around the world as a voice dealing with climate change, now freed from the Maldives. He’s gotten political asylum in Britain. He’ll speak to us from London. Stay with us.

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“A School for Suicide”: How Kalief Browder Learned to Kill Himself During 3 Years at Rikers Jail

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