06-25-2007, 01:02 PM
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Las Vegas Nevada
Current Game: Dungeonseige series
War and the Jedi
Since my shorter answer may have sounded facetious, I decided to do what I am good at, explaining it using history.
I mentioned in an earlier article how an infantry unit moves, and the reason I did was the Banzai charge they show in Attack of the Clones, while spectacular, ends with most of the men you send on it lying dead. It is the most wasteful way to fight known to man. The worst thing is Human officers here on Earth have used it or something like it since time began. It was the winning tactic at Marathon, but they only faced bows and arrows.
While I am going to be speaking primarily about the war covered in the movies, what I am going to say would cover any war the Jedi ended up in. Larger or smaller, more modern or ancient, the same factors would affect the Jedi involved. Where History gives an understandable version, I will try to use it to highlight what I see in the SW universe.
WHY THE WAR BEGAN
There are times when a war is necessary, but if you have studied military history, you might be astonished to discover that I have found no war fought by the Americans since the war of 1812 except for Korea and Operation Desert Storm that was really necessary. Regardless of what history says none of them had to be fought. If you don’t believe me, PM me, and I’ll give you all the facts you can choke down.
The Chinook Indians were the most rational about it. They played a game instead of fighting wars. That game was named Potlatch, and all you risked was material possessions, not lives. But the rest of the human race never seemed to learn that.
Wars begin because people decide their way of thinking is right and proper, and others disagree. As the old saying about freedom goes, ‘your right to swing your arms ends where my nose begins’. As much as we are frustrated and appalled by the aftermath of the Iraq war, a world without Saddam and the Ba’ath party is better than one with it. Like Hitler, Saddam would have pushed until someone had to deal with him.
So let’s look at the Clone Wars and understand what caused it.
On one side you have a putatative democracy, but one that reminds me most of the old Polish government of the last century. In Poland, you had 800 nobles who in session were political equals, and a system where you must have not the majority, but unanimity. Think of the average family, and picture them all deciding where they will go on a weekend jaunt. But dad and mom don’t get to decide alone; they have to convince everyone else down to the youngest child able to speak that where they intend to go is the best place. As a child of a large family, I can tell you that if we had used Poland’s ‘democratic’ system we would have never left the house.
Yet the rule bound senate we saw was almost as bad. The Trade Union was still part of that senate, and like any rules merchant knows, there are loopholes you can use to tie up such a body. Anyone who has listened to a filibuster will tell you that. Parliamentary procedure can throw everything for a loop as easily as it can smooth the process when used by someone who thinks it should work their way. A perfect example is the rule that a motion to recess that has been seconded must be addressed this minute. Not when debate is done, not when you feel like it, this very minute. Chancellor Valorum faced this because while he agreed with Queen Amidala, and wanted to censure the Trade Alliance, the rules said they had to determine what was occurring before such a vote could be called.
This was where Palpatine was able to gain some control of the Republic Senate. He was the one that suggested to Amidala that they had to call for a vote of no confidence in Chancellor Valorum. Such a vote must be taken immediately, and while voting on his successor, nothing can be done by the incumbent. Even if Valorum wanted to send ships in to break the blockade, he would not have had the legal authority to do so. Later Palpatine was able to do the same when he suggested to Jar-Jar that without emergency powers, he could do little or nothing. Look at the US government of 2002. Bush could not have put us on the ground in Iraq without broader powers, but as much as the Democrats complain, they voted in lockstep with the Republicans to give him that authority.
As KOTOR and the movies have pointed out constantly, the Republic didn’t have a real military reporting directly to the Senate. The best example in history of this is the United States. When the American Revolution ended and the Constitution was written, a military was the farthest thing from their minds. Having just fought against one authority, they didn’t feel comfortable with creating yet another.
The 2nd Amendment, which said the people had the right to be armed, was written to protect the people not from an enemy, but from their own government. Madison, who wrote that amendment wrote in the Federalist Papers that ‘in the event that our own government sends troops in to subdue our own people, they will be met by men defending their homes who are their equal in weapons and training’.
Like the United States, the Republic had no National army. Instead each State could defend itself, and if not, could call upon the others for aid. It took less than 10 years from the signing of the Constitution to the formation of such a body however, because the Federal Government realized that they looked too weak to the world. To quote Michael P Kube-McDowell who wrote the Black Fleet Crisis trilogy, ‘You must plan and train for the battle you don’t want to fight, against the enemy you don’t want to fight on the ground you don’t want to defend. Then and only then do you have a credible deterrent’.
The Trade Union was able to because the Republic had no credible deterrent. Since any attempt to fight them required the Senate’s approval, they expected the ‘short victorious war’ the Russians assumed would occur when they fought Japan in the Russo-Japanese war. A war the Russians lost.
THE TRADE UNION
The Trade Union reminds me most of the conglomerates of the late 19th and mid 20th century, and especially the British and Dutch East India companies. Neither government could afford to maintain a presence so far from home, so they allowed companies that did business there do it for them. This has caused untold grief, because operations among the native peoples were driven not by military need. Rather they were driven by Trade considerations. While wearing the uniforms of their nation, they were run by the corporations that traded there. The Sepoy mutiny of 1855 was not against the government of the United Kingdom, it was against the traders using those troops to ‘pacify’ the native populations. Another perfect example is the Opium wars…
When the Government declared the war on drugs, I for one snickered. You see there has been one war fought over drugs already, and that had the drug dealers winning. In 1847, the Chinese rebelled against the practice of British ships coming from India and using opium as trade goods in their ports. Opium like it’s derivative heroin is highly addictive. Which meant someone who bought it the last time you came by would be standing there eagerly awaiting more.
Unlike gold, opium is a renewable source of income, weighs less, and was at the time worth its weight in gold in trade.
So the British East India Company made money hand over fist by selling the drug to Chinese locals through corrupt officials who then sold it to these addicts. Of course you had to have people to use it and it is those lives that were destroyed by the practice. The horror story of the opium dens where people would lay and literally smoke themselves to death rather than work or eat can be laid on that corporate step.
When a series of honest officials resisted, ‘John Company’ could honestly say that they were interfering with normal trade practices, and British warships were used to ‘subdue’ them.
The problem is that companies get used to having things their own way. The monopolies of the period mentioned had a status quo they enjoyed, because it was profitable for them. When that was threatened, they struck back. Whether it was rebellious workers, unions or encroaching companies, they dealt with them all in the same manner, by destroying the threat. Don’t look at the bloated leeches of modern unions; look instead at the beginnings, where the companies the unions resisted would murder casually to protect the bottom line.
Now translate this to Star Wars. The Trade Union is ticked because the Senate is suddenly taxing routes that until then had been left alone. They also faced the fact that while they have trade with the planets along that route, they aren’t the only ones. But if they replace those governments, they can achieve a monopoly. Everything they want will either be made by the Trade Union’s suppliers or must be carried in their hulls. If you look at the last major grain deal between
The US under Reagan and the old Soviet Union, you will see the primary sticking point was which ships carried that grain. As hundreds of thousand worried about starvation, the US and Soviets wrangled over whether US flagged or Russian ships would carry their bread.
So at the behest of Darth Sidious, the Trade Union decided to create a test case. They would blockade one minor insignificant planet, and see what the Republic did. If they didn’t arrive with a fleet to send them packing, it would then show that they could go further.
But if the ‘negotiation’ failed, the Trade Union would be ‘forced’ to react by invading and deposing Amidala. The reason Amidala was so important was because she was the only one who could sign a treaty that would give the Trade Union what they really wanted; control of the markets of Naboo. Saddam Hussein used the same rational in the war against Kuwait. He presented a list of demands, and told the Kuwaitis to accept them or else. Just as unreasonable as those levied by Hitler against France Czechoslovakia and later against Poland.
In the original march into the Rhineland, the German forces were pathetic. One regiment, less than 2,000 men; they depended on two things, that the citizens of the Alsace-Lorraine were still German at heart, and that the bloated French Bureaucracy would not willing to spend the money and lives it took to stop the take over. While the Germans had less than 100,000 men under arms, (Figure 9 divisions) France could muster 31.
Who do you think would have lost if the French had rolled tanks and said ‘oh no you don’t’? Rommel who commanded that operation was actually under orders to retreat rather than fight. But like any thief who runs into the liberal attitude of ‘just give him what he wants’, this merely convinced Hitler that he could do it again and again. Right up until September of 1939 when treaty obligation forced England and France to start fighting.
The Trade Union had expected a Neville Chamberlain who would write off Naboo and proclaim ‘peace in our time’, and instead got Qui Gon Jin and Obi Wan Kenobi.
TRADE UNION MILITARY
The Trade Union went not for soldiers, but for combat droids. While hideously expensive, it makes sense if you have a company rather than a nation to protect. First you have a perfect standard of what you want the troops to do, and all of the droids are programmed to that standard. You can drop companies (107) of droids on ten different worlds and they will all do exactly the same thing, something no other military unit can claim. By mass-producing them, you lower the cost. They don’t eat; require sleep or recreation, or much in additional supplies. The most important point is that you can also take all of those soldiers and merely shut them down and store them until the next time you need them.
Enmasse on a modern battlefield however, they would fail. Unless the objectives are simple, they would be overwhelmed by events. If you had just ordered them to kill everything moving a lot of trees plants animals and birds would have been destroyed, wasting a lot of energy to no purpose. That is why the Trade Union used a command computer on their ship to manage the battle. When that computer was shut down, the droids soon followed.
On a smaller level, the droids must obey orders from their biological superiors, but that adds other problems. In my own KOTOR novel I used the standard of programming against the Sith droids by placing the character directly beside an enemy soldier. As I mentioned if it had been another droid, they would have automatically opened fire. After all, a droid is by definition an expendable asset. But there has to be a circuit that assures the machines will not kill your own people.
To face the droids, a mass-produced army, you needed something that could fight them on an even level. But it takes years to build and then renew a military force. You can no longer just have them grab their gun and get in line. The modern American soldier takes the first two months of his four-year enlistment just learning the basics of his trade. With the technology of even the modern day instead of Star Wars at the end of those months you still have a grunt that cannot yet operate or maintain the more complex weapons systems such as Anti-aircraft batteries tanks and helicopters. That requires schooling in those systems, yet more time spent.
The US military runs schools from everything from typing to maintaining highly complex equipment such as jet aircraft with terms running from several weeks to several months of hands on training. So that soldier you see straggling off the bus at boot camp has the better part of a year or more before he is qualified to operate that gun he is assigned to later. But that same military runs into that time limit, because three years later that same guy you spent thousand training will be leaving unless he enjoys the life. So you have a constant renewal process, more men being trained to replace those you lose to civilian life.
Except for the skills that translate into civilian life, all of this is money you will never see returned. As an example, the only skill I attained in the service that was marketable was as a deckhand and helmsman. The other skills, the ability to kill a man at 500 meters with a rifle, are only useful if I wanted to be mercenary or mob gunman. That is why people scream about the waste of maintaining an army. But without one you are defended only by your enemy’s unwillingness to push you.
But the Republic didn’t have the years necessary to build such a military. They had to depend on the planets and combines who agree with them to fight the Trade Union. All of those who ‘wasted’ money on building their own militaries. They might have won in the end, but it would have been at a horrific cost.
The biggest problem with the clones is that they had to be grown at accelerated growth rates. This meant the clones were aging at about twice the normal rate. Not a major problem unless the war drags on.
Burt the numbers of the clones while impressive, are pathetic when you look at the reality of warfare. The Kamino said there were 2 million units ready to go. A lot until you look at the scope of the war in front of them.
There are about 100,000 member planets. Let’s assume that one quarter are planets already members of the rebellion against the Republic. That comes out to 25,000 planets you have to fight on. And let us also assume the rebels do not capture any other planets, which is bull, but will help you understand the scope of the problem
To take those 25,000 planets you must assault them individually. After a dozen assaults then garrisoning, you would have perhaps a quarter million left to go onto planet 13 or fourteen. Attrition and garrisoning you new prizes would eat them away rapidly. The total military forces used by all of the combatants during WWII were over 50 million troops. That is on just one planet.
Of the troops mentioned above, only about two million or so were the front line combat troops by wars end. It is an axiom of military logistics that it takes 100 men moving the supplies and guarding the captured territory for one man on the front lines.
In 1946, when most of the troops went home after the end of WWII, you still had over 2 million troops on the ground in Germany Japan and Italy doing nothing but garrisoning those captured nations. Mere pinpricks on our globe. So how were that many troops a valid threat to an entire planet?
The one thing they needed right at the start was not men ships and guns; those are already there. What they needed was troops already blooded in combat. Men that could be the sharp end of the stick. They needed the clones as shock troops. Men that take the ground those less capable men would later garrison.
One on one, the Clones were the equal of the battle droids they faced, and with the ability of the human mind to improvise, superior. But they were based on a bounty hunter, a man who worked most efficiently alone. They needed one thing, someone capable of leading them, at least at the start.
The Kamino mentioned that they had another half million that would be ready before too long, and undoubtedly were ready to deliver a few million more. But supply could never match the demand. War eats resources like a forest fire. Of those 50 plus million of that war the Russians lost 12 million, the Germans seven, the Japanese five, the French and Italians about a million each, the English and US about half a million each.
27 million of those men were dead when the final shots were fired.
There was something even more disturbing about the clones.
While the Kamino said that the Jedi Master Syfer Dyas ordered the creation of the clone army, I still wonder…
First, while I agree that such an army would have been necessary to fight the war, how was it paid for and how did Sidious gain control of it? The man used at the template, Jango Fett was obviously working for Count Dooku yet still being used by the Kamino. The fact that Dooku knew where to find Fett also suggests that Sidious knew about the clone army. But that begs one last question.
Who decided on their unswerving obedience to authority, something not natural in Fett? Was it Dyas, who understood that such an army could also be used to oppress? Or Sidious, who didn’t want an army he could not control personally?
As an example in the chase of Count Dooku during the climactic battle of Geonosis, Padme is thrown from the craft. A clone helps her up, and reports that they are to return to the command area. Padme refuses, and orders them to go with her. There is no long pause. The Clone immediately follows. Because she is a Senator, and therefore his superior, even if she knows nothing of warfare on this level or the tactical situation.
A normal army in such a situation would react as individuals, men deciding not to obey General order 66 as some few of the Clones did? The Jedi had led them, fought along side them, bled and died with them. If they had been normal human troops, it would have been a civil war. Yet the majority of the clones immediately turned on them and killed them.
quote & reply,
06-25-2007, 01:04 PM
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Las Vegas Nevada
Current Game: Dungeonseige series
As Visas said in my version of TSL, ‘to my master we were pawns to be expended. To you we are that for we play this game for the Galaxy itself. But as this game is played out, as we die, know this my heart. We know the player weeps for us. We know that part of you will die with each of us, and our dying will wound you. So we strive to live, to make sure that we will not wound you. For you are our heart and soul’.
Marai was to my mind the stereotypical good officer. Robert E Lee said to be a good general, you must love you army. But to do your job, you must be willing to let that which you love be destroyed. It may surprise you, but a good officer is the most conservative pacific person you will ever meet. He will vote for war only when he sees no other alternative, because his men and their lives are a sacred trust we have given him. It is their lives that some ignorant politician will spend to gain political coin, and the men who die know this. But when the war begins, that same peaceful man must march into the furnace, and because those men know their lives are valuable to him, they follow willingly.
However not all officers are good. During the first two years of the First World War, the British Expeditionary Force was decimated three times because of incompetent officers. Fifty years after Pickett’s charge proved marching toward an enemy across an open field was suicide, a British General sent 50,000 men marching toward the German trenches into the teeth of artillery and machine guns, not to mention rapid fire bolt action rifles, dressing their ranks as they did. Less than a tenth of those men lived through that one battle. The French Russia Austrian and Italian armies were no better led.
It says a lot about the officer corps of both sides when the ‘Christmas truce’ of 1914 happened. The soldiers on both sides in one sector, French, English and German refused to fight each other. They gathered in no man’s land, traded rations and small gifts of tobacco and treats from home. They played soccer, drank brandy and wine, showed each other pictures of their families. That truce lasted for five months
The only truly efficient army that fought that war was the Germans. Everyone else was fighting this war by tactics a century out of date. Only the Americans, who had started developing the theory of fire and maneuver, had a chance, and they only did because they came in after the Germans had been bled white.
In World War II, it was no better. Assuming the Germans would march down and attack exactly as they did in WW I, The French built the Maginot line. But they didn’t bother to extend it to the Ardennes forest because ‘everyone’ knew the forest was impassable to organized units and tanks. The Russians had gutted their officer corps in the 1936 purges, putting men considered politically reliable instead of competent in charge.
If you have not seen it, watch a movie entitled from Here to Eternity. One officer convinces his sergeants to brutalize an enlisted man because the man is an ex professional boxer. After killing a man in the ring, the boxer will not fight anymore, but this officer wants his army unit to win the boxing matches for the unit. While a minor part of the entire story, it tells you exactly what a lot of the American officer corps was like at the start of WWII.
Here in the US, we had more blindness at the upper echelon. In a 1935 war game two Carriers Lexington and Saratoga, launched an attack against Pearl Harbor that mirrored exactly what would happen six years later. The observing Admirals stopped the game, and declared that the Admiral in charge had violated the rules.
A year later Colonel Patton of WWII fame was assigned a tank unit in a war game in Georgia. Instead of staying and supporting the infantry, which was American doctrine at the time, he staged a massive fifty mile cavalry charge, punched through the lines and captured the enemy headquarters twelve hours into a six day war game. Again the observers intervened, and Patton was ordered back to the start line for ‘breaking the rules’. He actually earned a reprimand recorded in his records for that daring and quite plausible operation.
His tactics, based on the works of Erwin Rommel and Hans Guderian destroyed the Polish Army in a month, The French in two months, pushed to the gates of Moscow and shoved the British from Tunisia to the gates of Cairo.
During war, the warriors come to the fore, take the rank, and lead the men to victory. In peace it’s the bean counters and the politically astute that rise to greatness. But when the next war begins, it’s the bean counters in charge. As an example, when Douglas Macarthur, who had one time had been General of the Armies, (five stars) realized that war was inevitable, he requested a return to service. Then General of the Armies George C Marshall offered him a command as a Lieutenant General. In other words, sure, we’ll take you back. All you have to do is put on three stars. Macarthur refused, and became Marshal of the Philippines instead. When the war came, Macarthur, a Congressional Medal of Honor winner from WW I soon reached the rank of General again, but Marshall ‘decided’ that the Navy would carry the brunt of the campaign.
Did I mention that Macarthur had said of Marshall that he made an excellent company clerk?
So when I created Admiral Quintain in Return from Exile, I wasn’t creating a stereotype that didn’t exist. I based him on Elphinstone who lost 18,000 men in Afghanistan, on Haig in Flanders and Bazin who screwed up by the numbers in the Crimea. The officers who, in the words of Douglas Macarthur when seated on the board that turned down Dwight Eisenhower’s first attempt at a Colonel’s eagles said ‘as a colonel he would make an excellent captain of supply’.
These are the officers that the Republic had at the start. There is no record of what ships and men any of the individual planets had under arms at the start of the war, but men who age at a normal rate are not as easily replaced as clones and droids. It takes four years to train an officer until he’s considered competent to be a butter-bar second lieutenant. During the two world wars they cut that to three years, and were cranking out ROTC and CTMF (Civilian to Military Force) officers in less than two years, but the cream of those officers that didn’t stand in the long gray line came from OCS, officers who had started as enlisted men.
But these, even CTMF who went from induction to pinning on the bars in 18 months still takes time. Time the unprepared Republic did not have. It is no surprise that the Jedi would be thrust into that crucible.
JEDI AND WAR: OPPOSING VIEWS
Were the Jedi more competent? Before you answer, I don’t know who gave the order for that idiotic banzai charge in Attack Of The Clones, but I am willing to bet it was Yoda. He gave every other command in the movie.
But the Jedi have an advantage over those junior officers thrown into the crucible. They are adaptable, resilient and quite capable of defending themselves. As the Infantry School motto reads ‘follow me!’. They are not going to sit back at the headquarters tent and sip beer while the men die. They are going to be in the front, leading the attack.
But as I said in my own version of Knights of the Old Republic; ‘War is mankind at her best and worst. Best because She finds something beyond herself to care about, defends those that depend on her even unto death. Worst because sometimes the beast in all of us gets free, and won’t go back into its cage afterward’.
War is the most brutal occupation in history. That is probably why everyone automatically assumes men like the Mandalore are evil. Yet warrior societies tend to be stricter in what cannot be done to an enemy than other nations not so bound. A society raised to war considers honor more important than victory, and has the problem that they are as surprised by the things a less martial society might do.
The problem we had during WWII, is that both Japan and Germany, who were such societies had those who disdained those virtues in charge. The Prussian ethic was in direct opposition to the Nazi ethic. Yet the Nazi ethic directed that war. In Japan businessmen drove the military, which had returned to the Samurai ethics of the past. But it was an ethic twisted by those in charge, who were linked to those businessmen. One of the first acts of the Japanese was to set aside the Geneva Convention. Without it they assumed they had the right to treat their captives as they had in the past.
Yet there were those who resisted this. 9 Marine Raiders were captured after the Makin Island raid. In October of 1942, a staff officer from the Central Japanese Headquarters was visiting the island, and was asked for assistance by the Commander of Forces, Kwajalein. That officer replied “From this point on, they are to be dealt with where they are captured.” In other words, just kill them.
Vice Admiral Koso Abe knew this was in violation of International law. But he made his own commentary on it by the orders given for that execution. His orders were that the prisoners were to be given an honorable death. Even more honor, he required that the executioners be of Warrant rank or higher.
Lieutenant Commander Hisakichi Naiki chose The 16th of October for the execution. Again, a singular honor by their definition, since that is the day of the Yasakuni Shrine Festival. For you Americans, think of Memorial day here in the US. It is the day when the heroes of Japan are honored for their sacrifices.
On the 15th of October, the condemned men were given beer and sweet rice cakes as part of their evening meal. Again, the proper offerings for enlisted men about to enter the Yasakuni shrine.
The next morning, the men were taken to the chosen place, and one by one were made to kneel, and were beheaded. Present as witnesses (Again a singular honor) were both Admiral Abe and Captain Yoshio Obara. While an enlisted man had been called upon to be the pistoleer in the event that the beheading stroke wasn’t complete, his services were unnecessary.
A prayer was offered for their souls under the direction of the Admiral, then a mat was laid over the bodies, and the grave was filled. More prayers were given, then the execution party left. All of this was recorded by the Japanese along with the names of the men that had died.
By their actions, three men stood against their entire nation’s policies, shaming their own commanders by their actions. In return on 19 June 1947, after being tried for war crimes linked to execution of prisoners, Admiral Abe Captain Obara and Lieutenant Commander Naiki were hung by the neck at the order of a 1st lieutenant.
War is best described at 98 percent sheer boredom, with 2 percent sheer terror. For an infantryman it is slogging through blistering heat, savage cold, pouring rain, mud, dust and smoke. The fighting as I have described in my own works is glimpses of hell, where the reason you fight is to stay alive. Living through that first battle is indescribable. You are exhilarated by your survival, glad to take that next breath. At the same time, you are shamed by it, for others, friends and enemies both lie dead. No better no worse than you. Just it was their time to die, and not yours.
Now picture going through that day after day year after year because during WWII you enlisted for the duration plus 6 months. None of the points they used during Korea, not 364 days and a wake up like they used during Vietnam, no ‘rotation of forces’ such as they are using now in Iraq.
If you’ve seen the movie the Big Red One remember that they landed in North Africa in June of 1942. The unit fought through the North Africa Campaign, the invasion of Sicily, D-Day and the push to the Rhine, the Battle of the Bulge, and on into Czechoslovakia. Almost three years of battle after battle broken by brief R&R, and being reconstituted yet again to continue that fight.
People who fight wars come back changed. They are either quieter, less willing to harm others, try to return to their lives as if it were merely an unpleasant chore, enjoy the life so much that they stay in the Service, or become brutes.
Then there is the mid set that creates true monsters, for as war grinds on, some stop caring about anything but the thrill of combat. Some of these are good men who later stay in the military, and go on to fight in yet more wars. But some become monsters in human skins, searching for that thrill over and over.
They are the ones who during the wars commit the bulk of war crimes, the men who machine gun survivors, such as the Malmedy massacre of the winter of 1944, and the one truthfully recorded murder of survivors of a sunken ship by a German U Boat commander. The kind that among the Germans used Jews and Russian prisoners as slave labor, and among the Japanese drove the men who were forced to build the famous bridge on the river Kwai.
After every war you have those who can no longer deal with society. After the Mexican American War the number of men who merely went west and became mountain men climbed and western expansion increased. After the Civil War you had the gunfighter era, when men decided the way to deal with a problem was to shoot it. After WWI you had the rise of highly trained and motivated men joining organized crime, fueling the mob wars. After WWII came the birth of the motorcycle gang. The Hells Angels got their name because the founders were members of the US bomber group of the same name.
The mercenary units of modern history began with them, men who looked for a war, any war to fight. While they did great good, rescuing the Congo from barbarism, and crippling other revolutions, they also went out of control. Some of the same units that had rescued the Congo tried to overthrow the government in 1967, and had to be forcibly disbanded.
As much as we might admire the Jedi, they were still people thrown into that crucible. So say that they could fight day after day and not change is to deny reality.
War comes down to expediency. The faster you can end it, the sooner everyone can go home. To the average Jedi, this is not a foreign concept, but it is one that they would abhor. If Qui Gon Jin had been expedient for the galaxy, he would have merely turned aside from the mission to Naboo. After all, it is like the US sending a negotiating team to Mali in Central Africa. The number of people having problems is miniscule on the galactic scale, as horrible as it is for them personally.
I know that horrifies a lot of people, but the fact remains that for a rational government to get involved, there must be another reason. We stood by and allowed Nicaragua to go Communist, because they were far enough away that we did not face another Cuba and while foreign supported it was an honest internal matter.
Yet when the Cubans backed a coup on the miniscule Island of Grenada, we came down like the Hammer of God. Because Grenada is better positioned to give the US economy grief. Let’s ignore unimportant stuff like threats against American kids at the college there, or blatant interference with the Grenadine Government by an outside party. The same is true of our operations in the Gulf War. Saddam had no legal or moral right to overthrow the nation of Kuwait, and allowing him to succeed would have been as bad if not worse than actions that led up to World War Two.
So the Jedi need more than ‘moral authority’ to get into a war. But once they do, expediency comes into play. A Jedi like the Christian god is supposed to mark the fall of even a sparrow. But in war you cannot do that. You send hundreds if not thousands into battle, and when you do, you have to learn and accept the cant of the military officer. You must be willing to spend ‘acceptable losses’ in the attainment of your objective.
Remember that men that have been honored since, Carl Spaatz and Curtis Le May authorized ‘terror raids’ in their areas of operation. In Germany it was because the Germans showed no sign of their morale weakening. So a dozen cities were chosen to be systematically leveled. One of them was Dresden, which under international law of the time was not to be attacked because it was an open city with no defenses.
In Japan it was because a lot of their industry was still at the cottage level; small factories in residential neighborhoods. So to cut down on their productivity, entire cities were firebombed, assuring that the workers had nowhere to live. Both Dresden and Tokyo cost more lives than either atomic bomb, thought people tend to forget that. Hiroshima and Nagasaki ended that war. The firebombing of Tokyo and total devastation of Dresden didn’t even slow it down.
Yet neither man operated in a vacuum. They were authorized at the highest levels. So President Roosevelt reduced almost a million Japanese and about the same of Germans to ash just trying to convince their enemy to surrender.
Compared to the 184,000 killed by two atom bombs.
Luckily, the mindset of the Jedi’s opponents helped. The organizations that they were fighting were first and foremost economic organizations, the Trade Union and Banking Cartel as an example. War is only good for the economy in the short term, but if fought with the attitudes before the United Nations was formed, eminently profitable to the victor who now controls the resources of the vanquished.
Part of the reason the Jedi became so interwoven into the war was the fact that the Kamino programmed the clones to be obedient to authority; something the template Jango Fett was not. They needed someone to point and say ‘go there’ and that required someone in charge. Not that the clones were incapable of doing it, just that as it is even in modern day, officers plan the strategy at the staff level, and the officers in the field carry it out.
So 10,000 Jedi went to war. How many went to the dark side and had to be put down? How many came home and when General Order 66 was issued merely stood there and allowed themselves to be murdered? How many just threw the lightsaber away and left?
A lot of people here ‘assume’ that Revan had already turned to the dark side long before she(he) went searching for the Star Forge. I had an argument on this very board when I posted Return from Exile where my opponent claimed that the Battle of Malachor was staged just so Revan could kill all of the Jedi that would not back the later civil war. Again, the idea that warriors are automatically evil.
But what I see is this…
Think of coming into a war already 12 years gone. The enemy, small but aggressive have made great inroads, and the military you have come to support have been unable to stop them. Remember what Yamamoto said when asked if Japan could win a war against the US. His very words were that he could run wild for a year and a half, but we would out produce them and defeat them if it lasted any longer.
The Republic was massive in comparison to the Mandalorians. After less than five years, they should have hit their stride, been producing equipment and trained men faster than the Mandalorians could kill them. Yet still they were being beaten.
So the Jedi, like their brethren during the Clone Wars were being used primarily as small unit leaders and naval officers. But once that war ended you have the problem that the Jedi are smart enough to know exactly how incompetent the Republic was. That suggests problems not with the troops, but the leaders and by extension the government. Only governmental and staff level incompetence could have stretched out that war for so long yet not lose it.
Just look at the Vietnam conflict, where the President in charge (Johnson) spent too much time ‘sending messages’. The US forces took one hill six times, and then withdrew, allowing the enemy to recoup their losses, and forcing them to take it again. Accepting ceasefires that lasted just long enough for the enemy to rebuild shattered forces and start it all over again.
Revan realized this. Those 12 years of casualties and occupation of captured planets had been caused not by superior Mandalorian arms, but by the sheer stupidity of the leadership. That the 20 years before it had been used by the Mandalorians to test their resolve, just as 1935 to 1939 tested the will of England and France. If The French had marched into the Rhineland in 1935, if they had declared the Anschluss in Austria was illegal or acted as the Treaty of Versailles allowed in disarming Germany again in 1936, if Chamberlain had sent guns and material to Czechoslovakia instead of literally giving the nation away for ‘peace in our time’ in 1938, WWII would not have occurred.
Sworn to protect not the Republic itself but the People of the Republic, I am not surprised that Revan would eventually be forced to take up arms against it. The Senate and it’s stupidity were the blame for those years of inconclusive bloody combat.
Yet it begs the question. What would have happened if Sidious had been defeated before issuing General Order 66? Do you think for a moment the Jedi who had been in the forefront of battle, who had seen exactly how incompetent the Military was thanks to the Senate, would have merely returned and picked up their lives again? Or like Revan, would they have turned against that body?
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07-05-2007, 12:48 PM
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Las Vegas Nevada
Current Game: Dungeonseige series
Addenda: I am almost finished with Shatterpoint. At one point Depa, the Master assigned to a advise a guerrilla unit say something that is very germaine to the thread. She said a Jedi, thinking like a judiciar caused the slaughter of the Jedi on Geonosis. Instead of doing what was expedient, they did it the same old way, walking in as if the populace would merely stand by and let them arrest Dooku and Gunray. A General, she went on to explain, would have dropped a baradium bomb on the complex. It would have cost the Republic two Jedi and a senator, but it would have killed the entire command structure of the Seperatist movement with the exception of Greivious.
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