Student Reflections – National Bird

Reflection assignment for Wooster’s class on Globalization and Contemporary China. By Catherine Lockwood. 

Sonia Kennebeck’s National Bird (2016) discusses the negative effects of American drone strikes on Afghani people. The documentary focuses on three people that work in the Air Force, intelligence systems, and drone surveillance systems and that speak against the government for killing innocent people during drone strikes. The first person to be interviewed has post-traumatic stress disorder from her experience in the Air Force. Her job was to decide which people classified as terrorists they should attack in Afghanistan. While she received training to identify the right people, she also knew that she could never be completely sure who she was killing. She is particularly traumatized by the civilians she killed and the amount of death she was forced to see. Despite her clear long-lasting effects of directing drone strikes, the job was aimed at younger people between the ages of 18 to 24 just like her.

The Air Force is advertised to the public as a method of helping other countries defend themselves and protecting the United States from receiving more terrorist attacks. In fact, the government hides a great deal of information from the public on how they attack Afghani people and the anxiety it brings to people who work for the Air Force. The government does not provide help to people who fly drones because they do not consider them to have seen combat. Because of the lack of aid given to Air Force soldiers and the hidden information to the public, many people in Afghanistan die without reason. The United States government denies its citizens freedom of speech by limiting the American people in their ability to speak out about corrupt warfare that needs to be known to save humanity.


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