Thirty-two Americans associated with the feminist anti-war activist group Code Pink are in Pakistan for a march from Islamabad to that country's tumultuous tribal belt to protest American drone strikes that reportedly kill civilians along with their terrorist targets.
Code Pink members donned giant vagina costumes at the Republican National Convention in August, but according to two group members contacted by U.S. News, participants will be modestly dressed in the conservative Muslim area.
Alli McCracken, who said she was one of the 24 American women in the contingent, said via an E-mail that Obama is "worse than Bush in some respects; he uses drones significantly more than Bush ever did, allowing him to carry out covert wars all over the world with zero accountability to Congress or the American public."
Obama, according to McCracken, has shown "total disregard for international law" when authorizing these strikes. Asked if Obama had authorized "murder," McCracken said, "Yes, as far as we know - and we know very little, since the drone program in Pakistan is operated by the CIA, and therefore cloaked in secrecy."
Medea Benjamin, one of Code Pink's leaders, is also in Pakistan for the march. We "are concerned about our safety, but more concerned about the safety of the people on the region, who live everyday with the threat of being obliterated by a hellfire missile," Benjamin said in an E-mail.
The destination of the march, the city of Miramshah in Waziristan, is a hotbed of Islamic fundamentalism and reportedly the headquarters of the militant Haqqani movement. New York Times reporter David Rohde was kidnapped in Afghanistan in 2008 and was transferred to a location near Miramshah. Rhode escaped his captors in 2009.
Taliban members in Waziristan regularly kidnap workers and battle government troops. In August, eight construction workers were kidnapped in the area, and in 2009 the Taliban brazenly kidnapped over 300 Pakistani army cadets and teachers, according to news reports.
The female Code Pink members will be wearing white shawls on the march in the company of the women’s wing of the political party Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf.
Ahead of the protest march, the Associated Press notes that local press is buzzing with news of possible suicide attacks against the activists. The AP notes that a Pakistani Taliban spokesman denounced the march, saying "[we] don't need any sympathy" from "secular and liberal" protesters.
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Steven Nelson writes for U.S. News & World Report. Follow him on Twitter.