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. Darth_Nub Saga, Classic Trilogy and Film Music Manager

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Apr 26, 2009
    star 4
    But there you go - they're not normal because of the modifications made to their physiology. Prior to that, however early, they're normal human life-forms.

    The real-world advances in genetic engineering have prompted a number of ethical debates - is it right to choose the gender of a child or potentially enhance its normal development?
    They're muddy areas, but I doubt anyone would disagree that it would be wrong to take things to such an extreme as creating armies of near-mindless drones with no freedom of choice - and then sell them.

    And no, I'm not one of those people who completely oppose real-world cloning, stem-cell research or the like on principle (or abortion, for that matter, but let's leave that one alone), just that certain applications of such technology could be considered wrong if not approached in an ethical manner. The Kaminoans are clearly in it for profit in AOTC, even if their involvement in TCW changes this angle somewhat.

    I'm not sure if anything ever came of it, but a few years ago, Australian scientists toyed with the idea of resurrecting the now-extinct Tasmanian Tiger through using cloning technology on a seventy-year-old preserved foetus. Given that the Tasmanian Tiger was wiped out through human involvement, such an idea didn't sound unethical or careless - until a few bright sparks suggested that they could enhance these clones to be stronger, with bigger claws, better this, better that etc so as to increase their chances of survival. What would the implications be for the rest of the wildlife being hunted for food by these super-creatures?

    Probably a few more extinct species, that's what. I'm not trying to start a debate about the ethics of real-world cloning, just pointing out that there are ethics involved with such practices, & the creation of clone armies in the SW Saga presents one of the most extreme scenarios, yet the ethics are never addressed.
  2. Arawn_Fenn Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jul 2, 2004
    star 7
    And you know this how? This is just scientifically debunked human exclusionism theory taken to an extreme: only completely unmodified humans may have consciousness.

    Don't forget that Lucas is heavily involved in TCW and it reflects his intentions.
  3. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2000
    star 9
    But there you go - they're not normal because of the modifications made to their physiology. Prior to that, however early, they're normal human life-forms.


    Except that those changes were made to Jango's DNA sample before the clones were even zygotes. It's as integral to them as full-color vision is to us Earth-type people.

    And before we start going on about the clone wars clones-watch Obi-Wan and Cody pre Order 66. Does Cody seem at all at odds with him? No. If anything, they come off as friends. It doesn't change Cody's automatic acceptance of Order 66 a dot, either. His only inner thought was that he wished he hadn't given Obi-Wan his sabre back before the order came down. Heck, in the novel his attempt at killing Obi-Wan is even more deliberate and lethal than in the film; he sets a deliberate long-range ambush with as much firepower as is available to him.

    edit: I should clarify that I basically agree with the thread author; the use of the clones was indeed pretty morally dodgy. That's the point of their being in the films at all. I could sit here and simply cite that according to the Supreme Court a genetically modified animal is patentable and ownable because it constitutes a unique creation, and that the Republic was probably entirely legally okay with the use of the clones. That doesn't make it particularly ethical, which I think is the whole point of the clones in general and the overarching theme of the prequels. Legality pervades the prequels, on the surface at least; Palpatine is elected Chancellor in what's technically a legal manner, the clones are probably patentable and ownable in a legal sense, the Jedi are arguably traitors for attempting to overthrow the Chancellor and install a new government. But there's alot more to all this then just what is on the surface of things; to quote everyone's favorite Richard Nixon/Abraham Lincoln mash-up, you need to sort through the haze of lies and half-truths to get anywhere with these films.

  4. CT-867-5309 Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jan 5, 2011
    star 5

    The clones aren't portrayed as real sentient beings in AOTC and ROTS. They aren't given much time at all, but all we see are the clones obeying orders without question. Cody, the only clone given a name, shoots his "friend" in the back without hesitation based on a single order from a hologram projected across the galaxy of a guy who's face he can't even see. Every other clone does the same.

    Plus I'm pretty sure GL said as much in an interview, I just can't find it. He talked about how the clones are basically just droids and that he had no idea that people would care about them so much. Can anybody help me out and find this interview?

    BTW, I don't care what Earth science says, this is the SW universe, not ours.
  5. TaradosGon Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Feb 28, 2003
    star 4
    All I can say is: It was Lucas' original intention that Leia would not be Luke's sister, things change.

    Most soldiers in today's armies would accept orders without question, and all that was said about independence is that they are less independent than Jango, with Jango being a lone bounty hunter (or OK, he has Boba) concerned about credits/his own personal wealth. The Clones as depicted in TCW (their personalities aren't really depicted at all in the films) as being brothers in arms with the Jedi and each other, considering fellow clones as being part of a larger family, and as fighting for a cause bigger than themselves - the defense of the Republic.

    These aren't a whole bunch of Forrest Gumps.

    Jedi: What is your sole purpose in this army?!
    Trooper: To do whatever you tell me!
  6. The_living_force Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 8, 2002
    star 1
    One thing that I thought about is that it seems that cloning is a well established part of the Star Wars universe although maybe not a widespread one. But we don't know how common clone armies are, it might be that this is an age old issue, and has been debated in the past and been finally settled in a way that has been morally accepted by societay at large. Although a complete consensus would probably never be reached a compromise might have met that would allow for the use of clone soldiers. We really don't know enough of this topic or the history behind it to form a complete picture. Perhaps it will be delved deeper into in the EU (although I know that wont do for some it is the only way to shed some sort of "official light" over the situation).
  7. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2000
    star 9
    The kaminoans created a fairly wide variety of sorts of clones; one of their programs was miners, iirc.

    To be fair the Republic doesn't do diddly about slavery in it's immediate neighborhood and that's alot more clear-cut than cloning probably is.
  8. Darth_Nub Saga, Classic Trilogy and Film Music Manager

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Apr 26, 2009
    star 4
    And again - Boba Fett is a clone, he just hasn't been messed with. He's not simply a "droid with flesh". The rest might as well be children brainwashed by a cult & pumped full of steroids year after year. Is that right?

    FWIW, I think it's something that was overlooked on all levels, rather than a genuine ethical concern in the SW universe. GL probably always meant them to be nothing more than organic droids, then developed them slightly more in ROTS in the form of Cody, but forgot that they really shouldn't have had more development than being able to say, "Roger, Roger" & "Uh-oh".
    An actual name beyond a serial number took it too far. TK-421 was never afforded such a luxury, & he mightn't have even been a clone.

    The personality & friendship that Cody appeared to have with Obi-Wan may well have been nothing more than what amounted to a programmed reflex built in to make the clones easier for the 'real' people to deal with, as opposed to anything genuine. Or maybe not. Not addressed, complicated by Boba Fett's existence, & complicated even further by TCW.
  9. I-poodoo Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 1, 2001
    star 4
    Was the use of the clone army morally irreprehensible? Yes.

    I think its clear that most of the Clones didn't see themselves as slaves. True that was the role in life they had. That life was all that they knew, and don't count out how much they identified with eachother. Most would not have even thought of deserting and leaving their brothers a man short on the battlefield. Its anathema to everything most of them individually as well as collectively believe in.

    Was the Jedi responsible for it? In a way yes. In a way no. It depends on that certain point of view thing. The Jedi was boxed into accepting the leadership of the clone army by circumstance-circumstance manipulated behind the scenes by their true enemy: the Sith. They at least had the decency to say if these men are to be used to fight our war for us we will stand and fight with them.

    What I find most morally irreprehensible is the attitude of the Republic at large. I can somewhat understand using the GAR to help fight during the first part of the war for they had no real alternative, but where are the troops from Naboo, Corellia, Alderaan during the middle or the end of the war. They didn't even try to train and mobilize the citizens of the republic as a professional supplemental force to the GAR to fight for the preservation of the republic. If that's all the conviction they can muster for their government its no wonder what happened to the democratic Republic at the end of ROTS, it was clapped and cheered into Palpatine's dictatorial police state. All the senators bemoan the terrible state of the galaxy where war rages, but them and their people seem really unwilling or fearful to do anything about it until A Droid army lands on their planet. They all spent their time cowering and whining, waiting for the Clones and Jedi to come save the galaxy from this horrible terrible war, instead of rallying themselves to stand against Dooku, Grievous, and the Seperatists and save freedom and democracy in the galaxy by their own hands. The rebellion showed us that they don't need midichlorians, a lightsaber, or an accelerated lifetime of training as a soldier to stand and fight for what they believe in.
  10. obi-rob-kenobi4 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 17, 2007
    star 4
    There is something i think everyone here is forgetting, witch is that this topics question WAS ALWAYS built right into the movie. The whole way the clone introduction scenes were filmed WAS intentionally supposed to feel creepy, very creepy. Yes its completely unnatural,cold, and questionable --JUST LIKE THE EMPIRE. Because the clone introduction scenes ARE the "birth of the empire" and/or "origins of the empire" scenes. Thats why it works so well imo.

    Haven't any of you guys seen THX1138? Well its like that for the clones.

    Lucas has this motif built specifically into the movie. The Clones are portrayed as poor, unknowing, unfortunate zombies/slaves in a society that KEEPS them that way (The empires perfect world). The planet Kamino really IS the world of the empire symbolically.

    The stormtroopers come from the STORM planet.;)

    Boba Fett names his ship "Slave One".;)

    Anakin fulfills the prophecy and "frees the slaves".;)

    Get it now?

    Its great for star wars in general because it takes the science fiction side of star wars and uses it to support the fairy tale side of the greater symbolism of introducing us to the very ideals of the empire visually by seeing first hand, taking a tour if you will (just like obi-wan in the film) of the "world" of the empire.

    Indeed, the stormtroopers come from the STORM planet.[face_coffee]
  11. TragicHeroLover132 Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Dec 24, 2010
    star 3
    That makes sense. Sorry to say to those of you who like the Jedi, but the Cloning is similar to slavery. Yes, they were manipulated by Palpatine, but so was *Anakin* and he still gets judged harshly.
  12. Valairy Scot Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Sep 16, 2005
    star 5
    Those who judge Anakin harshly do so because of his individual actions or behavior.

    I don't think you can entirely judge a GROUP of folks harshly when we're not even exposed to "most members" of that group - you can judge Yoda, or Mace, or even Obi-Wan harshly as members of the Order if you wish for not taking a stand against the use of the Clones or whatever reason you are currently using to show the double standard you see for all "those against Anakin."

    Is every thread now meant to contrast judging of Anakin against every else, or to discuss the topic question even when it doesn't involve Anakin?


    What I find most morally irreprehensible is the attitude of the Republic at large. I can somewhat understand using the GAR to help fight during the first part of the war for they had no real alternative, but where are the troops from Naboo, Corellia, Alderaan during the middle or the end of the war. They didn't even try to train and mobilize the citizens of the republic as a professional supplemental force to the GAR to fight for the preservation of the republic.


    And doesn't that seem a bit like real life, too, in some respects? (Not going to go beyond that.)

    Maybe we need to fault "human" behavior for not questioning the morality - not just the Jedi, but the politicians and the Republic citizens.

    Perhaps we should hold the Order to a higher standard than the rest - certainly that is a worthy debate for this thread - anyone want to tackle that?
  13. anakinfansince1983 Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Mar 4, 2011
    star 7
    I would love to. It could go in so many direction that I think it needs its own thread though.

    As far as the morality of the cloning--I also assumed that cloning was part of the Star Wars universe. Dex knew that the Kaminoans were cloners, which leads me to believe that the GAR was not exactly their first project. So getting away from RL opinions on cloning, which would best belong in the Senate Floor, I don't think the cloning itself was necessarily morally reprehensible--by GFFA standards.

    If I were told that a president/prime minister of a country on Earth were cloning soldiers to fight his or her war of choice, "morally reprehensible" would not cover what I think of it. But Dolly the sheep in the 90s aside, cloning is not commonplace here.

    The morally reprehensible part of the whole issue? Granting Palpatine emergency powers so that he could order the GAR without a vote. More than one person is responsible for that one, not just Jar-Jar for initiating it.
  14. I-poodoo Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 1, 2001
    star 4
    :confused: Anakin was one of the Jedi who never questioned using the Clone army. In fact he seems pretty gung ho about it in the TCW. In the EU there are lots of examples of Jedi who question the morality of using the clones like they are and Anakin is never one of them. (neither is Obi-wan to be fair). After the Clone wars is over and the Clones become Imperial Storm troopers Anakin or Darth Vader never tries to free them. He goes right on using them for another twenty years.

    This is no argument to justify any sort of double-standard we have on Anakin TragiHeroLover, the evidence is against him on this.
  15. Loupgarou Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 19, 2010
    star 3
    I feel bad for Droids, so i'm very much on the 'it was wrong to do' side of the equation. However, that's not really what this is about .It's more about whether or not the characters in the films put thought into the issue themselves. I feel they should have ,and the Jedi should have been conflicted. Some of them would think it was justified but there would have been outcry and refusal. I think it was a mistake to introduce such a huge issue and not show the main characters accepting/denying whether or not it's OK. Sure there are little lines, but they really do roll with it like it's nothing big, and it's a little annoying honestly.
  16. bluesaber70 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 25, 2007
    star 2
    First off great thread!!! Not to the topic at hind.

    It seems as if both sides are bent on winning the war at all costs. But, wait both sides are being lead by the same guy. That is the sheer brilliance of the PT.
  17. Space_Dementia Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    May 16, 2011
    Very interesting subject, the clones are more or less slaves, as a previous poster mentioned (sorry can't renember name :s), Boba Fett's ship was called Slave 1...so it was adressed.

    It was all touched on, but never really gone into deph, thats pretty much up to us to imagaine what they feeling and what goes on behind the scenes, if you know what I mean. This is a great examply of a comment Mark Hammil once made, 'The Star Wars movies can be as shallow as you make them, or as deep as you want them to be', might not be his exact words, but thats what he more or less said, and I agree, the movies can be as deep as you want to make them, alot of subjects are touched on, and its up to you to think about it, and discuss them as we are doing now, or just enjoy the movies for pure fun.

    I personlly think Palpatine brainwashed so many of the council and Jar Jar himself (who granted the chancellor emergancy powers), that even a debate over the morality of the cloning and using them as slaves to protect the Republic was never really going to happen...keep in mind, by then Palpatine had some, if not most, manipulation over the senate...
  18. Valairy Scot Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Sep 16, 2005
    star 5
    Ultimately, I think it's the fact that the SW movies are space fantasy that leads to the "glossing over" of issues we fans discuss.

    Action was emphasized over deep characterization - in fact, most of the characters gained depth only through EU and fanfiction.

    There was just wasn't time in 2 hrs/movie to introduce that kind of conflict and drama - and despite the subject matter, these movies were not drama.

    That's not a knock on them - I enjoy them enough to spend time on this board, after all.



  19. anakinfansince1983 Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Mar 4, 2011
    star 7
    Yes. Exactly.

    Of course I love the movies, but this is one reason I really enjoy the movie novelizations and the EU. It is practically impossible to get inside a character's thoughts using film, and I would say it is totally impossible to get inside several characters' thoughts and delve into their opinions on deeper issues, such as this one.
  20. DarthIktomi Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 11, 2009
    star 4
    THe Jedi are arrogant and corrupt at this point. Remember, Yoda, upon seeing a clone army created by a Jedi, says a Jedi wouldn't do this sort of thing. <godwin>Kind of like when people say Hitler wasn't a Christian.</godwin>
  21. Valairy Scot Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Sep 16, 2005
    star 5
    Disagree about the Jedi. Sure, they had their blind moments, their moments of arrogance. They're not perfect; they err.

    But what I take from your comments, rightly or wrongly, is a condemnation of everything about the Jedi. Heck, I don't even condemn Anakin 100% and he's not my fav character (big surprise there :p ).

    The Jedi Order did their best. They fell short. Some (many?) of their problems they brought on themselves.

    But they at least attempted to be the good guys doing the right thing. They deserve credit for that.
  22. jedislayer5000 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 28, 2010
    star 1
    lets see use a clone army or be crushed by the separatists and the fate of the entire galaxy changed... btw it was master sifo-dyas who made the decision, not the council or the senate in any way... they were screwed either way so they took the best of 2 bad things lol
  23. jedislayer5000 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 28, 2010
    star 1
    cant clone force sensatives, so.. little tiny green guys with no force = not a good army lol
  24. jedislayer5000 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 28, 2010
    star 1
    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.

    "This is a crisis. The Senate must vote the Chancellor emergency powers. He can then approve the creation of an army."
  25. Nordom Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 1, 2004
    star 4
    The clones would be slaves, they are property and they do any task that is given to them and they have no option to leave or quit. The clones would be slaves in a more absolute way than any other because those slaves have the option to refuse orders or try to run away. The clones can not do either. That the clones themselves do not see themselves as slaves matter little to me. If you brainwash someone so that they will accept being a slave that does not make it any less slavery.
    So it is passing strange that the anti-slavery laws gets no mention at all in relation to the clones.

    About the senate, it is rather odd that the senate do not want to vote to approve the clone army but are more than happy to give away all their power to Palpatine so that he can approve the clone army. So it seems like the senate is trying to circumvent itself. If there was enough support to have Palpatine approve the clone army, why not just approve the clone army?

    Regards
    Nordom

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