PT The morality and ethics of using a clone army: The Official Thread

Discussion in 'Prequel Trilogy' started by MrFantastic74, May 5, 2011.

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  1. MrFantastic74 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 4, 2010
    star 4
    The morality of forming clone armies was neglected in the movies for reasons I don't understand. In itself, making clones, especially an ARMY of them, is a massive moral dilemma. It doesn't take much of an imagination to think of it as one; it would most certainly be a huge moral dilemma on Earth that would be debated to no end.

    How GL could introduce what is essentially a slave army and not even question the morality of it makes no sense to me whatsoever.

    Why do we not see a single jedi even question the use of this army to serve their needs in the war? "OK, so we grow these people in test tubes, only to immediately conscript them into the military without their consent? Sounds good to me!". It seems that it was even wise Master Yoda who made the final decision to make use of the army. Doesn't anyone here find that somewhat messed up?


    edit: made this the go-to place for all things cloning in the PT
  2. JediMaster1511 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 15, 2010
    star 9
    There wasn't a lot of time to address it, but it is touched upon. Bail in AOTC when the discussion of a GAR is being had and when it is said the debate is over, meaning it was needed, Bail responded, "Unfortunately the debate is not over." Also his physical reaction to the clone army at the end when he lightly punches the railing as he was overlooking the army. Yoda didn't seem to happy about it either when Obi-Wan said "I have to admit without the clones it would not have been a victory." and Yoda responded "Victory? Victory this was not. Begun the Clone Wars has." Also what Obi-Wan says "I have to admit..." sounds to me like he isn't too happy about the fact they needed the clones.

    You also have to approach it from this angle, as Generals, the Jedi had to make a decision, and the Senate has to consider this as well, use the clones to protect the Republic or not use them and allow millions of potential innocents to die.


    Essentially they were slaves, but the Senate and the Jedi were stuck between a rock and a hard place in this situation.
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  3. TragicHeroLover132 Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Dec 24, 2010
    star 3
    That has always bothered me somewhat. The Clones essentially are slaves. However, I do agree that the Jedi believed they were doing it for the Greater Good. That definitely quite justify what they did, though.
  4. ForceJumpAnakin Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 24, 2006
    star 3
    I guess I never looked at it that way. If I was Yoda and I visited Kamino, I would've produced unlimited soldiers right then and there, send them across the galaxy to search for the bad guys, then blast them into oblivion. He could've been a template himself, imagine, a million Yoda's vs One Palpatine. Epic Win.
  5. Darth_Nub Saga, Classic Trilogy and Film Music Manager

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    Apr 26, 2009
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    One would have to wonder how a former slave turned Jedi might have felt about it, too, but it doesn't come up.

    One has to consider whether or not the clones could be considered slaves. They were raised & trained specifically to be soldiers, but there are a number of societies which require military training or similar for children, followed by some period of military service.
    However, these societies don't then sell all these young people to whatever nation bids the highest.

    You can decide not to consider the clones to be human anyway - organic droids, if you like. This argument, however, also doesn't hold up - although the clones behave somewhat robotically & will follow orders blindly, this is purely a result of years of conditioning, not an innate attribute. Boba Fett is proof that a clone raised normally will act like a normal human being with free will.

    I'm sure GL doesn't actually consider the clones to be slaves, but I'm not sure how. Republic anti-slavery laws were mentioned in TPM, & although Kamino isn't a part of the Republic, the clone army serves it. Maybe Palpatine passed some law bypassing the regulations. Again, you'd have to wonder how Anakin would feel about it - he notably bristles in AOTC when Watto says that he sold Shmi, so it's clear that the very issue of slavery is still a sore point.
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  6. GTPodcast Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Feb 8, 2011
    star 1
    Nope, it was basically never questioned. This is one of the big reasons why I question whether the Republic was really as much of a "good guy" as they made themselves out to be, and as many people think they were.
  7. PiettsHat Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 1, 2011
    star 4
    There's several points to consider here. For one, the timing of the discovery of the clones played a major role in their use. Once Obi-Wan finds out that the Separatists are planning to attack with a droid army, the Republic's choices become very limited. They can either continue to rely on the Jedi or use the clones. Trying to build up an army, before the Separatists attack, is simply unfeasible given the amount of training or manufacturing time it would require. As we saw at the battle of Geonosis, though, relying on the Jedi would be impractical. Sheer numbers of droids would overwhelm them. In the arena battle, for example, most of the Jedi were killed and even Obi-Wan points out that they would have lost without the clones. Then, of course, there's the Senators to consider. With the attempted execution of Padme, the Separatists have been shown to be perfectly willing to kill Senators, so many of them likely see the use of clones as necessary for their own survival. Fear for one's life can readily motivate people to make morally questionable choices.

    We also have to look at the fact that the Jedi see their service to the Senate/Republic as their greatest duty. They must defend it with whatever means they have. Consider the fact that they train children in military combat (on the attack at the Jedi temple, for example, we see that a Jedi child is more of a threat than any individual clone). The Clone Wars reveal that these children are often sent into battle (Ahsoka is only 14, but she's well in the thick of things). So although they may find the use of clones morally repugnant, they feel their hands are tied by the actions of the Senate. It's a similar issue to Anakin's mother -- they never free her, or do anything about slavery on Tatooine, because the Senate is disinterested. As Obi-Wan points out: "Our allegiance is to the Senate."

    Just an addendum, but, if the Republic hadn't used the clones, then what would have happened to them? I mean, I imagine the first batch was already paid for, but they've been trained exclusively as soldiers so I can't see many other positions they would work in. Obviously, it costs a great deal of money to keep millions (or billions) of men housed and fed, so if the Republic is not going to take the clones, it makes me wonder what the Kaminoans would do with them. Sell them to the Separatists? Kill them? I don't know. What does one do with a pre-paid army that no one wants? Many of the Senators might have played up this fact as an excuse for using the clones in the war.
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  8. DARTH_DEEZY Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 4, 2011
    star 1
    but the Jedi didn't commision the creation of the clone army...they just acted as the commanders of the Clones on behalf of The Republic...what do you mean by "justify what they did"?
  9. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2000
    star 9
    A Jedi did commission the clone army; the Council just never found out about it until the war started.

    This particular idea is more or less the meat and potatoes of the republic commando books. However, it's less nuanced debate there and more OMG THE JEDI ARE TEH EVIL!!!ONE!!
  10. MrFantastic74 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 4, 2010
    star 4
    I'm not sure about that. I think Bail's apprehension had more to do with the formation of a Republic Army in general and the beginning of a war effort-- not specifically with the use of clone "slaves".

    More of the same here. It seems to me that Yoda's concern lies primarily with the fact that a large scale war had begun, and not with the fact that they were breeded human beings for use as soldiers. Whether Obi-Wan was concerned is also suspect. He did not seem to be concerned when he reported the news of the Army to the council-- he was more interested in the mystery of who ordered the clones.

    The ends justify the means? I suppose that is the rationale, but it is still a huge moral dilemma largely ignored in the plot.
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  11. MrFantastic74 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 4, 2010
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    One can argue that the clones are not slaves, but I can not see it any other way. The clones are not given a choice whether to fight in the war, and they certainly can not leave the army if they choose to. They are forced to fight and die.

    I agree that they are not mindless drones. They are human beings. The Clone Wars series has shown that individual clones have unique personalities and abilities. They appear to be able to construct independent thought.

    In fact, there was one episode with a deserter clone who was discovered AWOL. That right there implies that some clones are forced to fight against their will.

    I have a feeling George did not intend the clones to be slaves, but that is exactly what they are. They are used as a tool for war, and their personal rights are ignored. I am also surprised that Anakin didn't argue against the use of the army, having been a slave himself.
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  12. MrFantastic74 Jedi Grand Master

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    Oct 4, 2010
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    Before the PT, I always envisoned the Republic as somewhat Utopian, with the Jedi acting as "guardians of peace and justice" against forces that would disturb the ideal society. But now, post-PT, it seems to me that the Republic was deeply flawed, and the jedi were blind.
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  13. MrFantastic74 Jedi Grand Master

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    Oct 4, 2010
    star 4
    That is the "the ends justify the means" argument, which is, I suppose, what the Jedi have employed. However, if the Jedi had scrupples, they would have questioned the rationale of using a slave army. Which is better: Deploying thousands of slaves to combat a seperatist force that threatens the state of the Republic (and essentially beginning a huge war effort that may or may not be successful); or concedeing defeat to the seperatist forces and freeing the slaves?

    Would the Galaxy have been worse off under the rule of a new Seperatist (or whatever they would call themselves) government? One of the problems with the PT is that the motivations of the Seperatists were never really sketched out. Were they really an "evil" force that spelled doom for the galaxy? The movies told us they were "bad guys" because they were led by a Sith Lord and a crazy lightsaber-wielding cyborg, but that's all. I find it hard to believe that reorganizing the Senate with "Seperatist" ideals would have been that horribly bad for the Galaxy. The jedi should have been able to make a rational decision... use the slaves and -maybe- win, or just let the Seperatists have their say in the Senate? Hmmm...

    That seems like very blind allegiance to me. If the Republic was corrupt in any way, they should have considered alternatives. Not making the decision to free slaves seems morally corrupt to me.

    I don't know. Set them up in refugee
  14. PiettsHat Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 1, 2011
    star 4
    You're right that it's very much an "ends justify the means" argument. The issue here may be that we never know exactly what the Separatists are planning to do. There are some hints in ROTS, however, such as when Mace Windu says that "the oppression of the Sith will never return." Clearly, with the discovery that the Separatists are headed by a Sith Lord, there's everyone's freedom to consider. I can imagine the Jedi justified it to themselves because they realized that were the Separatists (and, by extension, the Sith) to win, then the clones would just be drafted into service in order to impose a military rule upon the galaxy. In this scenario, all the citizens would be oppressed and the clones would still be forced into military service and combat. They might have seen using the clones, at the time, as the lesser of two evils since, either way, there's a good chance they would have been conscripted by the Separatists should they grab power.

    Also consider that we've seen the tactics the Separatists employ with the blockade of Naboo. Nute Gunray, for one, tells Sio Bibble (in a private conversation) that his people are starving, so it's not as though we aren't aware that the Separatists are willing to use extreme measures to bring the populace under control.

    Yes, it is very much blind allegiance. I think that this was actually one of Lucas's points: that you cannot mix religion or moral authority with government. Church and state must be separate because whenever they mix, the morality of the church is lost and the state's actions can be too readily justified on ethical grounds. And it is morally corrupt, but we had already seen the Jedi's refusal to free slaves since TPM when they left Anakin's mother in bondage. It's an issue that's readily apparent in the PT: that by tying themselves to a political body, the Jedi have effectively surrendered their moral authority.

    A refugee camp for millions or billions of men? Where would the funding come from? Especially if the Republic is at war, they are not going to have any extraneous funds to cover the cost of caring for these men. And I do think it would be difficult to find non-military work for the clones. Let's not forget that they have had growth acceleration and have likely only been taught the skills they need to be effective warriors. I doubt they would know how to handle a civilian life, how to handle money, how to live in
  15. DARTH_DEEZY Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 4, 2011
    star 1
    I thought it had been confirmed that Dooku murdered Syfo Dias and ordered the clones and erased kamino from the archives
  16. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2000
    star 9

    No, he's not. Lama Su specifically says that the clones are modified to obey any order unquestioningly; Boba, Lama Su also specifically says, had no growth acceleration or docility tampering.

    Some types of clones (Republic Commandos and ARC troopers)have nearly unaltered genomes besides growth acceleration; the normal clones are emphatically not normal.
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  17. Valairy Scot Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 16, 2005
    star 5
    I =D= everyone for well-thought out points, and debating instead of the usual bickering.

    I think we all agree:

    GL did not think of incorporating moral ambiguity regarding these into his movies

    There wouldn't have been time in the movies to give the debate its due.

    With that said: what could the Jedi do?

    I agree the Jedi were caught between a rock and a hard place (as Sids intended) - there is no morally correct answer. Some group of people benefited and some lost by the choice to use clones.

    That's the trouble with wars - it leads to morally ambigious choices and sometimes the least objectionable means *has* to be chosen and pursued.


  18. janstett Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 29, 2004
    star 3
    For Palpatine's plan to work, everybody in the galaxy except Palpatine has to be an idiot.

    Idiots don't debate the morality of using a cloned army, let alone the more practical issue of where the cloned army came from and who asked for it.

    It seems the people of the GFFA, including the Senate and the Jedi, just say "OK, whatever" and move on, without questioning much.

    Not to mention, the clones are shown over and over as being disposable people, which makes those rare moments where the Jedi give a crap about them so out of place (such as when Anakin wants to turn back to protect one of the clone ARC pilots).
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  19. MrFantastic74 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 4, 2010
    star 4
    The Republic did not know Dooku was a Sith Lord until after they made use of the clone army, so I respectfully can not accept that argument. However, you have a valid point with your other agument that the Seperatists were likely to conscript the clones following a victory. Still, it's a big leap for the Jedi to assume what was on the Seperatist agenda. Nobody really knew what was on the Seperatist agenda.

    It's a shame if that was GL's intentions. The mythical, noble, righteous jedi knights were actually just pawns who blindly followed the Republic and not their own moral guidelines. I know that's harsh, but that's the way it seems to me now.

    The funding for the refugee camps could have come from the same coffers as those used to feed and house the clone army. It seems to me that a war effort would be even more expensive, what with arms and armor, weapons, machinery, training, etc. I do agree that the clones knew no other way of life, so anything but military service would perhaps not be agreeable to most of them. But I believe that each individual clone should have been given the choice to serve or not to serve. I mentioned (in a post above) the Clone Wars episode that featured an AWOL clone who chose desertion over serving the army. It seems to me that they have enough free will to make such choices on their own.

  20. MrFantastic74 Jedi Grand Master

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    Oct 4, 2010
    star 4
    Agreed.
  21. MrFantastic74 Jedi Grand Master

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    Oct 4, 2010
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    Even with altered genomes, they were still people with individuality, despite not being "normal". The Clone Wars series shows us that. Does their altered genetic code make them less human? Disposable?
  22. MrFantastic74 Jedi Grand Master

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    Oct 4, 2010
    star 4
    Even if the ends justify the means (at least in their opinion), they certainly jumped to conclusions about the Seperatist threat. They dove right into the war without analyzing the situation.
  23. CT-867-5309 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 5, 2011
    star 5
    Yes.

    I don't care what TCW says, Lucas' original intention was for the clones to be basically just droids with flesh.

    He had no idea fans would like the clones so much. This may be why morality wasn't covered much, he didn't see them as real people.
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  24. PiettsHat Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 1, 2011
    star 4
    True, I suppose I should clarify my point and say that the continued use of the clones was likely do, in part, to the realization of what kind of threat they were up against. The initial use of the clones was a rather desperate measure. And as for the Separatist agenda, we know that they were ready to use force to cause the Republic to capitulate, that they were actively seeking the death of a particular Senator, and that a member party had no qualms about starving a planet to ensure its rule. Under those circumstances, and with the multitude of battledroids at their disposal, the Separatists are a definite cause for concern. The discovery that they were being led by a Sith Lord likely compounded this exponentially.

    Not to be argumentative but, were the Jedi ever really that noble or righteous? Even in the OT, they watched over Luke for twenty years and trained him with the intention of having him become their assassin. Even if it was for a good cause, it's still a very "ends justify the means" type of mentality. At the very least, they could have told the poor boy the truth. Instead, they deliberately misled him on his parentage and what had happened to his father.

    Wouldn't that put twice the strain on the Republic's financial reserves though? Imagine if the United States had to pay for twice as many troops, and half of them were not even fighting. Already, the economic burden is enormous. And, I'll be honest, the fact that people were forced to serve in the Clone Wars is not a huge moral qualm for me. Although I dislike the idea of conscription, almost every Western democracy has employed it. Yes, people are forced to fight, but that is the duty of a citizen. My issue with the clones is that they are essentially children. Not one of them is over ten years of age and they have all been heavily indoctrinated since conception. The fact that people are forced to serve in the military, while unfortunate and often tragic, is not indicative of wider moral corruption. Forcing children to do so is ethically unsound, though.

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  25. JediMaster1511 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 15, 2010
    star 9
    No, if I remember correctly canon is that Dooku and Sifo-Dyas were close friends. Sifo-Dyas had a gift with precognition and foresaw a great war coming for the Republic, and secretly ordered the army so the Republic would be prepared. Sifo-Dyas told Dooku about the army and when Dooku had fallen told Sidious about it. Then Dooku was ordered to kill Sifo-Dyas and then he(Dooku) took over the project, which involved him erasing the archives to keep everything a secret.
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