National Bird | Chicago Reader

National Bird

Documentary maker Sonia Kennebeck profiles three U.S. military veterans connected to the drone war in Afghanistan who have spoken out publicly against the program. Heather, a former drone imagery analyst, suffers from PTSD after watching remote video of people carrying away the body parts of loved ones; Daniel, a former signals intelligence analyst turned political activist, chooses his words carefully on camera to protect himself from prosecution but learns nonetheless that the government is investigating him under the Espionage Act; and Lisa, a former tech sergeant on a drone surveillance system, returns to Afghanistan to meet civilians victimized by U.S. strikes. The three subjects' personal stories don't really add up to a coherent critique of drone warfare, but their various experiences allow Kennebeck to attack the subject from multiple angles—not only its cruelty to innocent bystanders and its potential for tragic error, but also its role in the growth of pernicious global surveillance.

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