#1122 – Dick Bernard: "Eye in the Sky" – a discussion about Drones

Thursday night, April 21, three knowledgeable people will discuss policy related to the use of Drones in Warfare. The flier is here, in pdf: Drones001, and below.
(click to enlarge)
Prof. Nelson-Pallmeyer is well known in the local community. Ms Thabet is a Child Protection Officer in Aden, Yemen; and Mr Ahmad is Chief of the Peshawar City Police in Pakistan. Both are participants in the Humphrey/Fulbright program of the Human Rights Center of the University of Minnesota Law School. They bring an extraordinarily important perspective to this conversation.
I have long had an interest in Drones as instruments of war in this new era of technologically driven warfare through terrorism (in which we Americans are at minimum equally complicit with the enemy; in fact, we have been the innovators and facilitators of ever more sophisticated tools of war).
There is room for differences in points of view.
Drones are with us, like them or not, and indeed they have long been with us. I recall the times, now many years ago, watching hobbyists flying radio controlled model airplanes. It was only a matter of time before advanced technology met up with a relatively old innovation. It is not likely this genie will be put back in the bottle. But that’s only my opinion.
Last week, I went to “Eye in the Sky“, the recent feature-length film on the use of drones in the war on terror.
If you haven’t seen it, I’d highly recommend it.
Eye in the Sky powerfully explores the issue of drones through a situation in east Africa involving an innocent young girl selling bread and a terrorist armed and ready to commit mayhem with the girl having no knowledge of the threat just out of her eyesight, and those in England and the U.S. who will supervise the use or non-use of a drone in this case, the ones having to make the life and death decision.
Among the key actors in this movie drama is a miniature drone, the size, shape and appearance of a large insect, remotely controlled, which can fly into spaces unnoticed and film what is going on.
The film goes on for 142 minutes, and unless one is absolutely married to one polar position or the other on drones, this viewer found myself wondering what would I do if faced with a similar situation.
My colleagues in the theater were, like myself, quiet and subdued. This was not a comedy.
I have written several times on the topic of Drones. Rather than give a direct link, for anyone interested, simply write “drones” in the search box of this blog.
What I will say, is that my passionate plea has been that we have to be willing to talk openly and honestly about this technology, and that we need to demand of our policy makers (Congress in particular) to engage in open dialogue and take responsibility for the policy of the United States of America.

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