Do you consider SW to be a war story or a space opera a la the 1930s Flash Gordon serials? If the former then I can understand why it's a problem, but Lucas has been quite clear about SW' heritage as it were, being the latter! On deaths generally - a general counterpoint would be to ask why are the deaths in Allston's Wraith trilogy accepted in a way the NJO deaths are not? One answer is to say they arose from the story and were not foisted on the author in the way the NJO deaths were. Consequently they had a sense of authenticity that the NJO deaths lacked, being more artificial in how they were constructed.