An interesting film to watch is Gavin Hood’s 2015 Eye in the Sky. It captures the tremendous tension of a joint US/UK drone missile ‘ Kill ‘ mission in Kenya. The movie had to make the targeted terrorist cell look extremely dangerous. The two most dangerous ones were a British citizen working hand in hand with her Al Qaeda type Arab husband. Of course, she and her husband were high up on the ‘ East Africa Kill List’ of the allies. To really make the plot thicken more, the script threw in two suicide-to be bombers also at the said target house. Not to spoil things for you, the movie offers the old standby for action movie uncertainty, that of possible Collateral Damage.
The reason why this film is so intense is just the idea of assassinating people from thousands of miles away, from the sky. The drone operator is an Air Force Lieutenant sitting in front of a screen in Las Vegas, Nevada. Connected by monitor to he and his assistant are British officials somewhere in the UK, with others working on surveillance screens in Kenya and elsewhere. This whole amalgamation of force is dependent upon the drone aircraft releasing a Hellfire missile when the Lieutenant is ordered to . Is this just fiction, or does ‘ Art imitate Life’ ? Folks, this is all real! This is what 21st Century Empire is all about. How more sanitized can killing become, except for those in the missile’s path?
IN 2007 Wiki Leaks released the video of the Apache Helicopter massacre of a score of Iraqi civilians casually strolling in the street in Baghdad. The audio of that event tragically showed a bunch of US servicemen playing some perverse video game, before, during and after their attack. What Eye in the Sky alludes to is even more surreal. This is about the business of killing, push button killing of anyone the powers that be want eliminated. Maybe the victims in the film were terrible people. Does that justify the murder of innocents who happen to be in the way? On top of that, in the film they even explain that this drone missile assassination was taking place in another sovereign country, Kenya. When this writer runs up against folks who always seem to justify such killings, I offer this analogy: I ask the person who says this is just part of the war on terrorism, what if? What if a Palestinian engineer, a neighbor of yours, is known by the Israelis to be giving money to groups who are enemies of Israel? What if the Israelis track this person, this neighbor of yours, with such intricate surveillance, right to his house, which happens to be next door to yours? What if they go ahead and send a drone missile to destroy him when he is at home? They succeed, but you get that phone call that we all dread, saying that your house had collateral damage, as in your wife and kid were killed in your house when the missile tore into it as well?
These are the reasons why so many of us on the ‘ Left’ , as well as those on the Libertarian Right, are so dismissive of this modern era of satellite surveillance and of course actions like those above. Our nation has become the Sky God of this planet, and it is sure as hell disgusting!!
April 30, 2020