Movie Review: National Bird (2017)

They hate us because we blow all to hell their men, women, and children
Reviewed by Brian R. Wright

This film just fell into my lap one night as I was visiting a lady friend. She had downloaded it from PBS, where I believe you can watch it for free [Nope, the deal expired there]. I’m guessing it’s widely available on YouTube as well [Nope, as well. But trailers and clips are readily available and the full movie can be watched on your PC/TV for a $3.99 fee… extremely reasonable].

Basic Description per PBS:

National Bird follows the dramatic journey of three whistleblowers determined to break the silence around one of the most controversial issues of our time: the secret U.S. drone war, which has been waged globally for more than a decade. The film, executive produced by Errol Morris and Wim Wenders, gives rare insight into the program through the eyes of veterans and survivors, to explore the complexities of drone warfare from a human perspective.

“At the center of the film are three U.S. military veterans — Heather, Daniel, and Lisa. Plagued by guilt over participating in the killing of faceless people in foreign countries, each decides to speak out publicly, regardless of the consequences. Their stories take dramatic turns, leading one of them to Afghanistan, where she learns about a tragic incident involving drone warfare. But her journey also gives hope for peace and redemption.

National Bird explores the difficult circumstances faced by military personnel involved with combat drones, the use of which has transformed modern warfare. Missions are highly classified, and there are no official counts of military or civilian casualties. The need for operators and intelligence analysts is increasing, yet their experiences and perspectives have been largely neglected because of their distance from the battlefield. While it may be true that these veterans don’t sustain battlefield injuries, their psychological wounds can be substantial, leading some to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

“Pilots and analysts observe airstrikes live and in detail, including the aftermath, when survivors pick up human remains for burial. Yet due to the secrecy of their positions, they are prohibited from discussing the details of their experiences with anyone — even their psychiatrists. For some veterans these constraints are too much to handle.”

My Personal Reaction

It’s a hard film to watch: you’re constantly screaming “Who are you, you m*****f******? What makes you think this blatant, not to mention cowardly, murder of defenseless human beings is all right?” Anyone in the operator’s chair who pulls the trigger—and the film yields much footage of guys in the control seat getting their jollies from obliterating anything that moves with a flick of a switch, ESPECIALLY men, women, and children in a five-mile radius of their target—the very young and very old are icing on the cake. Collateral damage is intentional, even enjoyable for these American military scum.

Literally, if you were a patriot before watching this movie, you won’t be afterward. Not if patriotism to you has anything to do with the American government and its military forces.

These programs and drone killings are OUTRAGEOUS CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY. They must stop immediately, across the board. Anyone in the American armed services or in civilian superstructure responsible for a single drone strike against civilians [or really against any target at all, since these officials arbitrarily make civilian targets into military ones] must face war crimes prosecution, NOW!… including down to the operator level. We the people need to have our own little Nuremberg trials for these monsters. Better yet, turn them over to civilian justice in the streets and fields of the countries of their atrocities.

Soon to be on a doorstep near you. Everyone also needs to be made aware of the wide range of the drones and the destructive power of their Hellfire missiles. Nearly every square mile of the surface of the earth can be stealthfully attacked. There’s no defense. If President Trump, or some lower-level trigger man, wants to blow up your condominium with you inside—say, someone whispered the word ‘terrorist’ while you were having your picture taken at the DMV—put your head between your legs and kiss your a** goodbye.

In the meantime, in what comes off as almost anticlimactic, National Bird shows three individuals trying to come to terms with their own involvement in the drone-killing program. Each of them has his or her different way to absolve the guilt and make the nightmares go away, and to the extent they are open about the program itself, they run the real risk of prosecution for the 1917 federal crime of espionage… what our despicable, traitorous government is going after Edward Snowden and so many others for. You see, exposing government crimes is a crime.

It’s part of the end of times, the terminal corruption of government at all levels. The ONLY solution in the world of form is resurrection of PRIME (people’s restored independent multilevel everywhere) grand juries. The people themselves are the hidden (and suppressed) fourth branch of government… by means of their grand jury sword and shield authority. The drone programs are clearly in violation of American First Principles and the Bill of Rights. A proper grand jury would not only strike them down, it would initiate indictments (presentments) to court officials to bring those behind drone war crimes to justice and trial, at the very least, for violation of oath of office.

It’s a heartwrenching movie, one with the power to result in the overthrow of the entire mass-murdering system. But, I swear, my next two movies are going to be Bambi and Mary Poppins.

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