Yesterday, we watched Drone – a documentary written and directed by Tonje Hessen Schei. It’s one of those films that has been on the Raggedy Man’s Netflix “to watch” list for a while. It’s heartbreaking and ache-making look at the use of un-manned drones by the US.
Schei takes us into Pakistan to meet families whose lives have been shattered by drone strikes and activists who are trying to help them. She introduces us to a few former drone pilots, a fellow who builds and sells drones, and Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, chief of staff to Colin Powell when he was secretary of state, who sums up the efficacy of using drones against terrorists incredibly well when he says,
How can we win this war when with every time we kill four, we create 10?
Col. Lawrence Wilkerson also makes it clear that the use of drones will spread. Near the end of the film, he says,
There has never been any technology of warfare that isn’t ultimately adopted by your enemy or enemies.
Then comes an aerial shot of Lower Manhattan.
The kids broke my heart, of course. Children in Waziristan playing with missile pieces in the rubble after their parents and siblings have been killed–the parents blown up beyond recognition.
Brandon Bryant broke my heart as well – a former drone pilot with PTSD who is now speaking out in support of restrictions on drone use.
It was a hard one to watch. But I’m glad I did. We can’t just close our eyes to this stuff.
Whenever I hear how many drone strikes there have been, how many deaths have occurred under Obama… I get so sad. The first time I heard it, I was shocked. Now I am just sad. What I NEED to get to is… angry enough or sad enough to…do something about it.
Maybe posting about this film is a wee step towards doing something. Not much, I know. But here it is.
Here’s a short review that appeared in the Montreal Gazette: http://montrealgazette.com/entertainment/movies/movie-review-tonje-hessen-scheis-drone-has-montreal-connection
And an interview with the filmmaker from when the film was screened at Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival in 2015: https://www.opencanada.org/features/the-trouble-with-drones-interview-with-filmmaker-tonje-hessen-schei/
Stay safe, my friends. But let’s not allow them to make us stay AFRAID. And silent.