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Additional Discussion Questions:
      Subjects (Curriculum Topics)
      Social-Emotional Learning
      Moral-Ethical Emphasis
            (Character Counts)

Other Sections:
      Links to the Internet
      CCSS Anchor Standards
      Selected Awards & Cast


Additional Discussion Questions

7.   Why does the father take Alia's book away when the customer comes? Suggested Response: The militants who were in control of the district in which they lived did not approve of education for women.

8.   Why do the characters of the British politicians who have qualms about the strike come off as weak, while the American pilot who delays the strike to try to save Alia is presented as a hero? Suggested Response: The characters of the British politicians appear weak because they seem to be concerned with legalities or their political future, and unconcerned with what will happen to the child, while the character of the American drone pilot acts out of humanitarian concerns.

9.   Does the drone pilot do the right thing by refusing to fire the missile until a new CDE [Collateral Damage Estimate] has been run, possibly delaying the mission and allowing the suicide bombers to disperse? Or is the position of the White House that the operation should continue regardless of the near certainty that Alia will be killed, the correct position? Suggested Response: There is no one correct answer to this question. Here is how the director of the film, Gavin Hood, described the pilot's legal rights and responsibilities:
I spoke to people who train drone pilots. The line that Aaron Paul (2nd Lt. Steve Watts) gives, "I am the pilot in command responsible for releasing this weapon, I will not release this weapon until you read me a new CDE [Collateral Damage Estimate]" is an absolutely accurate line to train the pilots because drone pilots, not just as the person who pulls the trigger, have the right to confirm that that order is legal if they doubt it. ... If they follow an illegal order, they can be charged with a war crime. So the stakes are high for them. But once it's confirmed for him that that order is legal, if he doesn't follow it, he would be court-martialed. ...They have to follow orders provided those orders are legal. And how do you, as a young pilot, make that distinction? Tremendous pressure to know because if you disobey an order that is a big deal. Q&A: Discussing modern warfare and drones in 'Eye in the Sky' By: Oriana Pawlyk, March 13, 2016.


10.   Who bears the moral blame for Alia's death? Colonel Powell, the drone pilot, the U.S., the minister who gave the go-ahead, or the militants who assembled the munitions for the suicide vest in a house in a crowded city? Suggested Response: The militants bear most of the blame, but they would say that the righteousness of their cause justifies their actions. Colonel Powell bears a large part of the blame as well because she pressured her assistant to modify the numbers from the CDE [Collateral Damage Estimate] program falsely reducing the likelihood that Alia would be killed. The countries and their officials also bear some blame, but they are just doing their jobs with the information available to them.

11.   Do you agree with the Secretary of State character in this film that American citizens lose their rights to due process when the join a terrorist organization? Is this an accurate statement of the law? Suggested Response: The question is what if our intelligence is faulty and the citizen had not joined a terrorist organization and had not taken action against the U.S.? Doesn't the citizen have a right to defend him or herself from these charges? Apparently, once a citizen has joined a terrorist organization and taken action against the U.S., he or she can be executed in a drone strike. Look at the execution by drone of Anwar al-Awlaki. The better approach would have been to apprehend him and bring him back to the U.S. for trial. However, that may have been difficult because he was undoubtedly well-guarded. The ACLU objected to this killing stating that the program of killing American citizens participating in terrorist activities overseas " . . . is a program under which American citizens far from any battlefield can be executed by their own government without judicial process, and on the basis of standards and evidence that are kept secret not just from the public but from the courts." See ACLU Lens: American Citizen Anwar Al-Awlaqi Killed Without Judicial Process, 2011.

12.    Assuming that the U.S. intended to kill Osama bin Ladin in the raid that resulted in his death, was that the right thing to do? Suggested Response: The strongest response is that Bin Ladin was not an American citizen. He had admitted to organizing the terror attacks of 9/11, and he had declared war on the U.S. The U.S. was justified in killing him. — The fact that we had to violate the territorial integrity of Pakistan is the only argument that we can see against this operation. However, he was being sheltered in that country.

13.   One of the politicians in the movie states, "If they kill 80 people we win the propaganda war; if we kill this one little girl, they win." What do you think of these considerations. Are they ethical? Suggested Response: At first glance they are not ethical, but think about this. If the West wins the propaganda war, there will be many fewer casualties because there will be fewer recruits to the terrorist organizations and less acceptance of the terrorists by the population in the affected countries.

14.   It used to be that the U.S. was symbolized by the Statue of Liberty — Now, some say it is symbolized by the Predator drone. Do you agree or disagree that our national symbol has changed? Suggested Response: There is no one correct response, and possibly the image is now both of those symbols. It also depends on who is viewing the U.S. An immigrant looking for a better life will see the Statue of Liberty as our symbol whereas a terrorist or a civilian in the tribal areas of Pakistan may see the Predator drone as the symbol of the U.S. Perhaps this cannot be avoided. As afollow-up observation, look at what happened to the perception of Germany after it accepted more than one million Syrian and other refugees in 2015/2016. Isn't there an argument that the moral stain of its aggression in WWII and the atrocities of the Holocaust has now been erased? Is this an example of the lengths to which a nation must go to change its image of itself and its image throughout the world?

15.   What do you think of the actions of Colonel Powell? Suggested Response: See Discussion Question #1, Suggested Response.

See Discussion Questions for Use With any Film that is a Work of Fiction.

Social-Emotional Learning Discussion Questions


1.   Of all of the people friendly to the West involved in this operation, only one put himself at risk. Who was it? What did he do? Suggested Response: This was the Somali man who worked for the Kenyan security services. He displayed personal courage and initiative.


Moral-Ethical Emphasis Discussion Questions (Character Counts)
(TeachWithMovies.com is a Character Counts "Six Pillars Partner"
and  uses The Six Pillars of Character to organize ethical


(Be honest; Don't deceive, cheat or steal; Be reliable -- do what you say you'll do; Have the courage to do the right thing; Build a good reputation; Be loyal -- stand by your family, friends and country)

1.   How would you rate the character of Colonel Powell for her trustworthiness? Suggested Response: She was not trustworthy. She would lie to her superiors to induce them to adopt the policy that she thought was correct.

2.   What are the risks when a member of a large organization, such as the military, will lie to their superiors? Suggested Response: Decisions will be made based upon faulty intelligence. In the military, this means that soldiers may die.

See also Discussion Questions which Explore Ethical Issues Raised by Any Film.


Links to the Internet:

Common Core State Standards that can be Served by this Learning Guide
(Anchor Standards only)

Multimedia: Anchor Standard #7 for Reading (for both ELA classes and for History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Classes). (The three Anchor Standards read: "Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse media, including visually and quantitatively as well as in words.") CCSS pp. 35 & 60. See also Anchor Standard # 2 for ELA Speaking and Listening, CCSS pg. 48.

Reading: Anchor Standards #s 1, 2, 7 and 8 for Reading and related standards (for both ELA classes and for History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Classes). CCSS pp. 35 & 60.

Writing: Anchor Standards #s 1 - 5 and 7- 10 for Writing and related standards (for both ELA classes and for History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Classes). CCSS pp. 41 & 63.

Speaking and Listening: Anchor Standards #s 1 - 3 (for ELA classes). CCSS pg. 48.

Not all assignments reach all Anchor Standards. Teachers are encouraged to review the specific standards to make sure that over the term all standards are met.

Selected Awards, Cast and Director:

Selected Awards: None.

Featured Actors: Helen Mirren as Colonel Katherine Powell, Alan Rickman as Lieutenant General Frank Benson, Faisa Hassan as Fatima Mo'Allim, Aisha Takow as Alia Mo'Allim, Armaan Haggio as Musa Mo'Allim, Babou Ceesay as Sergeant Mushtaq Saddiq, Carl Beukes as Sergeant Mike Gleeson, Richard Stephenson as Staff Sergeant, Mondé Sibisi as Muhammad Abdisalaam, Warren Masemola as Agent Atieno, Phoebe Fox as Carrie Gershon.

Director: Gavin Hood.


See Links to the Internet Section above.

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