Deciding how to use your power to make a decision…

Ironically, after seeing Eye in the Sky last night, with an excellent performance by Helen Mirren as Colonel Katherine Powell, I read this morning in the New York Times, that an American drone strike in Somalia last Thursday is believed to have killed a key leader of the Shabab militant group.  

Helen Mirren as Colonel Katherine Powell in EYE OF THE SKY.  

As Col. Powell, Mirren is the UK-based military officer in command of a top-secret drone operation trying to capture terrorists in Kenya.

The suspense is incredible as Col.  Powell and her colleagues have to decide if they have both the legal and the moral right to take out their desired target.  Without giving it away, the issue on the table is: What about the potential collateral damage if a particular target is struck?  That is, what about the possibility of innocent people dying, particularly children, if those in charge go through with the attack?  To put it mildly, the decision is not an easy one, and the movie centers on the difficulty of making the right decision, especially since time is of critical essence.

The movie puts the morality of drone warfare right in its crosshairs.  Indeed, drone warfare now can be “fought” smack in the midst of very crowded neighborhoods.  And while missiles can be programmed to hit a target with pinpoint accuracy — at least that’s the desired hope — the inevitability of innocent people getting seriously injured or killed is nonetheless high, an issue discussed this past week by President Obama. Obama acknowledged that innocents were killed in some American drone strikes in recent months.

Eye in the Sky is not a feel-good movie, as it definitely brings out the very serious questions of how war can and should be pursued in the digital age using weaponry (laser-guided missiles) that is so accurate it can be dropped right down a chimney.  

Very serious food for thought here…

Highly recommended!

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