Eye in the Sky

Or “how to eliminate the bad terrorist guys without risking the innocent life of a girl who sold breads nearby”
In fancier phrase: minimizing the CDE (collateral damage effect).


So we have a terrorist couple here: a female Brit, with his Somali husband, who managed to recruit 2 young men (one of them was an American) to be suicide bombers,
not surprisingly. Thanks to a piece technology called unmanned aerial vehicle (called the Reaper), the British millitary could tracked then moving to a small house.
One tiny drone in the shape of a bug managed to eavesdrop them. The lady was probably doing some kind of brainwashing, while the man was preparing jackets loaded with bombs. Surely they were targeting a place, only God knows. Initially, they were planning to capture the couple, but after reconsidering the current situation, the plan was changed. They were going to eliminate them, instead.

After some quiet heated discussion on the legality of the attack, and estimation of the casualty, finally they got the approval the execute the attack. Phew!
Let’s get rid of those bad guys, shall we? Just lock the position and hit the trigger so the Reaper could send the missile. Bye bye terrorists…

Well wait. The Reaper managed to see a girl who was selling breads nearby. Now this is where real conflict begins. Lieutenant Steve Watts, the guy who piloted the Reaper, didn’t want to press the trigger once seeing the girl. He didn’t want to kill innocent peoples. On the other side, Colonel Katherine Powell, the commander of this operation,
positively convinced to continue the attack. One life is dispenseable to save the others. The girl was a necessary sacrifice in order to stop the terrorists from doing their mission.

While watching this movie, I reminded of Batman and Philosophy: The Dark Knight of the Soul chapter 1: “Why Doesn’t Batman Kill The Joker” (a really interesting book philosophy, BTW). Coloner Powell is a utilitarian: saving many lifes at the cost of one is justifiable. While Lieutenant Watts is a deontologist: ending innocent peoples lives, whatever the ends are, is just plain wrong. Not acceptable at all. Period.

Finally the attack was indeed executed. Not just once, but twice, since our Brit terrorist survived the first attack. Ouch, that must have been hurt 🙁
Of course in the end, the military attack was considered a success. I can easily imagine Lieutenant Watts will be having lots of bad dreams.

Overall, a pretty interesting discussion on ethics. I think 7.5 or 7.8/10 is a good score.

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