This morning, I went to see the 2015 British thriller movie Eye in the Sky directed by Gavin Hood, starring Helen Mirren, Alan Rickman, Barkhad Abdi and Aaron Paul. It is excellent – tense, understated, and a world away from the usual Hollywood pabulum.
It is a movie that realizes the moral and ethical dilemma posed by the philosophical thought experiment of who to kill for the greater good—is it better to kill one person to save many? The movie packages the questions raised by Reverend Barbara Prose during her 7 June 2015 talk entitled No Risk, No Reward.
Technology amplifies existing conditions, good or bad. I hope it is true that technology imposes the psychological and emotional pressure portrayed on the upper echelons of the kill-chain. People who start wars should certainly see and feel the consequences of what they wreak.
We who condone the actions of the imperium reap what the imperium sows: the imperium sows dragon’s teeth with every new technological advance in warfare, with every launch of Hellfire or other advanced weaponry. Nothing changes. When I was young, the news of the day was of political squabbles about the balance of power in the construction of dreadnought-class battleships; a decade later, nuclear weapons and submarines; then space-based weapons; now robotic warfare and mass surveillance in a global panopticon. It is a history of failure at peaceful coexistence. It is a history of profiteering by warmongers and overlords. We can’t afford the costs of war.
We create new, more fearsome dragons. If you do see Eye in the Sky, imagine the consequences of the final scenes on the ground. Who helped care for the collateral damage? What will replace the grief? Will the consequences for the Imperium be good or bad? What happens to all those individual links in the kill-chain? What is it like to live in a landscape of fear?
Terrorism and general unrest in the world are symptoms of failed and failing social policies and imperial ambitions. Governments like those of the UK and US keep doing the same thing expecting different results, only to make the world a less safe and more brutal place to live.
Instead of attempting to treat the symptoms with medieval remedies that never have and never will work, why not try something completely different that creates a more equitable, healthier environment in which the inhabitants have no motivation for revolution or terrorist activity?