Military Review English Edition November-December 2015 - Page 81

DRONES, HONOR, AND WAR home, and the highways and casinos of Las Vegas. Yet, of a sudden energetic, Egan reminisces: “I miss the fear. like many contemporary films about the post-9/11 wars, You are up in the sky; something can happen. There’s risk.” the movie is a study of alienation and anger. He craves the adrenaline rush and the danger, and he feels Within the first five minutes of the film, the audinone of this while controlling a drone: “I feel like a coward ence sees that drones can monitor, and on occasion kill, every day, taking pot shots from half the world away in an civilians. On repeated occasions, in fact, the drone crew air conditioned cubicle. Worst thing that could happen is ordered to deploy weapons that will kill both known to me is carpel tunnel, or spilling coffee on my lap. Most targets and noncombatants. Even children playing dangerous thing I do is drive home on the freeway.” in near by areas. Even people attending burials. Even whole families, in the middle of the night, while they Conclusion sleep. This is shocking to witness, because in American The use of weaponized drones has elicited nationwar movies, American soldiers are rarely seen killing al and international criticism. There is concern about unarmed civilians.25 In Good Kill, the viewer observes the morality of drone-mediated killings, and critics civilians being killed, but the victims do not see the denounce as excessive the collateral damage associated threat coming, and the perpetrator is immune from with the use of drones. Some pundits claim that the attack. The asymmetric relation between the victim Obama administration is in fact abusing its power. There and victimizer is highlighted. is a fear of surveillance and of creating and allowing a Egan is, clearly, increasingly tormented by his role. It is technology that can watch and kill remotely, both abroad not so much the killing that disturbs him as it is the method and, eventually, in the United States itself. The Amerof killing. Talking to the teenage cashier of a liquor store, ican Civil Liberties Union, for instance, has litigated he says, “I blew away six Taliban, in Pakistan, just today. numerous lawsuits on the American use of drones, and Now I’m going home to a barbecue.”26 He internalizes his it lobbies for increasing the accountability and transparanger and withdraws from his wife, who remarks that he ency of the drone program. The specter of technology always seems “miles away.” In a heated discussion with her, overpowering the human can be terrifying, and it precipEgan reflects on this: “I am a pilot, and I’m not flying. I itates questions about morality, war, and killing. don’t know what it is that I am doing, but it’s not flying.” Is drone warfare intrinsically morally apprehensiWhile flying is deemed honorable, operating a drone is ble? No, because it minimizes risk for the attacker and imagined as cowardly. In the city of replicas that only mirror the originals, Egan is imagined as fake pilot “flying” only in name. Egan is not a pacifist, and it is not war in general, nor the post 9/11 wars, that he opposes. In fact, he desperately misses flying and repeatedly begs for the chance to return to a war zone. In a dream sequence, images of fighter planes are romanticized much as they are in the film Top Gun.27 Flying is conceived as (Photo by Mohammad Hussain, Associated Press) American citizens hold a banner during a peace march organized by the party of Pakistan's cricket star exciting, fun, and dangerturned politician Imran Khan (not pictured) in Tank, Pakistan, 7 October 2012. The Pakistani military ous. Exhilarated with his blocked a convoy carrying thousands of Pakistanis and a small contingent of U.S. anti-war activists from memories of flying, and all entering a lawless tribal region along the border with Afghanistan to protest U.S. drone strikes. MILITARY REVIEW  November-December 2015 75