We had a spirited discussion on the film and on other related topics. Thanks to all who came and thanks to Ed Flaherty from Iowa Veterans For Peace who provided the film free of cost.
A brief commentary: The film detailed policies and procedures of the USA's CIA and other agencies use of drones to kill supposed key enemies of the USA. In fact, as many now know , these "enemies" are frequently innocent of all the crimes we claim except possibly being in the wrong place at the wrong time. For instance, some were at a large gathering of leaders who were sitting down in the open to discuss regional problems as is common in their culture. Others were walking or driving or at a wedding, when targeted.
The concept of so-called signature strikes was shown/discussed wherein groups or individuals are targeted for death because of their "suspicious" behavior. President Obama has claimed, and Dianne Feinstein has backed him up, that no person is targeted unless there is clear evidence of their guilt and also there is no way to capture them. Feinstein once claimed that the number of civilians killed could be numbered on the fingers of one hand. (This after 30 some were killed in one attack in Yemen alone.) Yet signature strikes call down retribution upon their victims based upon what the drone pilots see in watching. This can be presence of what looks to be guns, movements they consider to be suspicious etc etc etc
Even regular supposedly well researched drone attacks looking for specific people are very often mistakes for a wide variety of reasons. One missing ingredient from the film is the role of Saudi Arabia, Much of the intelligence we get especially in the African area comes from Saudi Arabia. Unfortunately, that country is another despotic regime with much to lose should the "Arab Spring" ever come to their country. Remember, this is the country that helped suppress the riots and calls fot Democracy in Bahrain. So S.A. views any person or group trying to throw off despotic governments as the enemy. Obviously, this very well will distort their version of a "terrorist". Intelligence from this source is not too useful. But to our drone people those same people can easily be accepted as good targets since we really have a long history of backing despotic rulers...
The film pointed out in stark detail that these drone strikes are causing an area that once viewed the USA in a generally positive way to change pretty dramatically. Killing/maiming families and friends has a way of making such change happen.
Even if their were no innocent lives being taken and no little children killed/maimed/terrorized the entire drone war program is illegal, immoral, and not wise to paraphrase Jay Carney, Obama's press Secretary. Well actually that is the opposite of what he claimed...
Militarily, it is "unwise" in that it is easy, EVEN IF NO INNOCENTS ARE KILLED, to turn the program against us by rightly painting the program as impossible to carryout from 6000 or more miles away. Most real thinkers can see the problems yet more primitive peoples have a much harder time accepting that it is possible. In addition, there is the obvious stamp of the serious bullying by a foreign power in a power position that can only be viewed as exceedingly not fair. Yet,I suggest, that many of these supposedly primitive people will figure ways to pay us back in creative BLOWBACK that WE WILL call terrorism. And again we may hear our leaders say the reason for such attacks is "jealousy of our way of life" or hate based upon religion etc etc etc.