Anti-war activist runs for spot on Boeing board of directors
Interview with Kait McIntyre
Fight Back!: You’re running for the Board of Directors of the Boeing Company (NYSE: BA) on an anti-war platform. Your main goal is to stop them from building a new combat drone for the Pentagon. What’s that about?
Kait McIntyre: Currently, Boeing is competing with other weapons manufacturers to win the Navy UCLASS combat drone contract. It is a larger drone that flies faster and farther, carries a greater payload of bombs and missiles, and can be launched and landed on an aircraft carrier. I oppose this because the U.S.’s use of drone warfare – targeted killing and attacks in countries where we have not declared war – violates international law. Furthermore, U.S. drones have led to the death of many innocent civilians, including children, and I stand in solidarity with those around the world whose lives have been lost and or devastated by drone warfare. While the Phantom Ray is Boeing’s first combat drone prototype, they have been and continue to make surveillance drones that are used to bully and help carry out assassinations overseas. I oppose this as well. We need to end wars, not build a new generation of deadly weapons.
Fight Back!: What do you hope to accomplish through your candidacy and the anti-drone war campaign against Boeing?
McIntyre: If we can help stop them from winning this contract, it will be a blow to the war machine. The Antiwar Committee Chicago’s Midwest Action Against Drones, one of the largest anti-drone marches in 2013, brought together 200 people representing six different states to rally around the demand that Boeing cease its pursuit of this Navy contract and end production and development of the Phantom Ray. What we hope to do with this campaign is to offer a model for other cities with weapons manufacturers to oppose U.S. drone warfare by focusing on a local target. In Chicago, where we have suffered austerity measures such as public school and mental health clinic closings while Boeing receives millions in tax breaks, we felt it was important to highlight how, in the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, “the bombs in Vietnam explode at home.”
Fight Back!: You include an environmental plank in your platform. What is the environmental record of Boeing?
McIntyre: To start with, depleted uranium (DU). Tens of thousands of pounds of micro particles of radioactive and highly toxic waste contaminate the Middle East, Central Asia and the Balkans from the use of DU by the U.S. military. Boeing added to this problem by providing to Israel the depleted uranium bombs that were dropped on Gaza in 2008 and 2012. The Palestinians who did not die as a result of these attacks will likely see the same sharp increases in birth defect rates as the people of Iraq. Israel has used Boeing bombs to poison the earth in Gaza for millions of years.
Fight Back!: Your campaign video says you want an end to corporate warfare. Explain that.
McIntyre: In January, Boeing forced workers in Washington state to accept historic concessions to keep their jobs, starting with elimination of their defined benefit pension. When current CEO James McNerney talked about cutting jobs across the country, he said he knew he was “beginning to sound like Darth Vader.” But, for the workers who lose their jobs, the consequences are in the here and now, not in a galaxy far away. Furthermore, after McNerney cut thousands of machinists’ pensions, he spent $7.2 million dollars on a home in Miami. This type of behavior is unacceptable. Boeing paid no federal income tax in 2013 and has used loopholes to dodge paying taxes in previous years. With Boeing’s enormous profits, it is morally reprehensible that they do not give back to the communities where they operate.