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

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

  1. Kev Snowmane

    Kev Snowmane Jedi Knight star 3

    Jan 1, 2013

    Whenever you hear the words "Greater Good", watch out. It's an easy argument to make, but a dangerous one. How far does that go? Ultimately, taken to it's logical extreme, anything can be justified if you can count up more people that it would "help" than people it would "hurt". This is a lesser discussed aspect of the "tyranny of the majority". It is also the ultimate in de-humanization, reducing individual persons to the status of mere means to serve larger ends.

    The Clone Army is one of the bigger examples of the moral and philosophical rot that had set in in the Republic. The Republic has laws against slavery, but not the will to enforce those laws where it is inconvenient (TPM), it displays further moral decay when it actively accepts slavery in the form of the Clone Army (AOTC). So either the Republic is insincere in it's decrying of slavery, or it is hypocritical.

    The CA also displays the moral cowardice of the Republic in another fashion: the Republic votes to send armies to fight the Separatists (as it frankly should, given their apparent agenda of economic enslavement of other planets) but the rank and file citizenry of the Republic refuse to risk their lives for decisions their elected representatives have made on their behalf.

    In real life we have the same problem all too often today in the US: the people who send our army to war often as not either haven't served at all, or used privilege and position to provide "token" service in some safe capacity where their lives are not at risk. (Not wanting to start a RL politics discussion, just pointing out the similarities.)
    MrFantastic74 likes this.
  2. Kev Snowmane

    Kev Snowmane Jedi Knight star 3

    Jan 1, 2013
    AOTC makes it clear in dialogue that Boba is an unaltered clone. He is simple a genetic duplicate of his "father", Jango.
  3. Kev Snowmane

    Kev Snowmane Jedi Knight star 3

    Jan 1, 2013
    They were also instituting military blockades against peaceful worlds trying to shake them down for "taxes". Look at the "prime movers" behind the Separatists: the Corporate Alliance, the Trade Federation, the Commerce Guild, the InterGalactic Banking Clan and the Techno Union. The CIS was nothing more than a group of business alliances that Sidious manipulated into trying to subvert the rule of law for their own financial gain.

    What happened to worlds they DID take over can be exemplified by what happened to Ryloth, where Loathsome basically looted the place. (If I may cross-genre for a moment another good example would be what happened to Bajor under Cardassian occupation.)

    It would be like Wal Mart, Enron, GE, Monsanto and HSBC building an army and declaring that the US had to surrender civil authority to them or else.
  4. Narutakikun

    Narutakikun Jedi Knight star 4

    Nov 8, 2012
    Exactly. The problem is that virtually everybody thinks the things they do, no matter how horrible, are for the "Greater Good". Not to go all Godwin here, but even Hitler, in his delusional mind, genuinely believed that he was committing the Holocaust to save his country from the Jews, who he was convinced were out to destroy it. I want to make clear here that I in no way think he was right to believe that - he was a paranoid, delusional nutcase - but I'm simply making the point that he believed that he was doing what he was doing for a "Greater Good", and that that justified it, no matter how horrible it was.

    To quote (or maybe misquote) the great philosopher Lisa Simpson, no more harm has ever been done in this world than by people who were genuinely convinced that they were doing the right thing. That belief blinds people to what they're actually doing; it makes them stop questioning whether they're still the good guy - something that leads down some very dark paths.

    As opposed to the Republic, I suppose - because if there's one thing a huge government with a big expensive army would never do, it's to shake people down for taxes.


    It wouldn't make sense for big corporations to declare war on the US government. Why destroy what they've already bought and paid for fair and square?

    Anyhow, are you really saying that you don't think the Republic under Palpatine is just as corrupt and beholden to shady interests as the Separatists are? I mean, at least the Separatists are open and honest about it.
  5. Kev Snowmane

    Kev Snowmane Jedi Knight star 3

    Jan 1, 2013
    The Republic, as the legitimate galactic government, had the right to collect taxes as determined by it's governing body.

    The CIS was NOT the legitimate galactic government, and had no legitimate taxing authority, and was attempting to impose it's will via force of arms, not under the aegis of a legitimate consent to be governed by the governed.

    Cute. The Republic didn't rape worlds (Ryloth, etc), nor did it EVER use a superlaser to blow one up (Alderaan).

    Yet that analogy is exactly what they did in CW and the PT. A group of bankers and corporate interests attempted to overthrow the legitimate government for their own pecuniary interests

    That doesn't make what they were doing right or praiseworthy.
  6. Narutakikun

    Narutakikun Jedi Knight star 4

    Nov 8, 2012
    "Legitimate" as defined by itself, according to its own standrds.

    As I've said before, all other things being roughly equal (and admittedly, sometimes they're not), I fully support the right of any people to leave a political union they are no longer happy with. To force them to stay against their will in such circumstances is oppression and slavery.

    That terminology is ridiculous. How do you "rape" a world? I didn't know worlds even had a vagina.

    The Republic did its share of highly morally questionable things - see the topic of this thread.

    One side wasn't any better than the other in this area.
  7. PiettsHat

    PiettsHat Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Jan 1, 2011
    I think, though, that in discussions of the clone army, one has to consider the fact that the Republic did not consider attacking until it became clear that the Separatists themselves intended to imminently attack the Republic in order to force the Republic to agree to any of their demands. Until that point, many of the Senators still hoped to bring them back through negotiation. That was, in fact, Padmé's primary concern in the creation of an army -- that such a move would simply escalate hostilities and push them into a civil war. Others in the Senate, though, would doubtlessly have felt threatened by the formation of a new major power in the galaxy and it is from this that the debate over the army began.

    The Separatists lose legitimacy when they make it clear that they intend to force the Republic to give in to their demands through military force. Not the least of which is building the Death Star. can be raped as well. And I believe the poster was referring to the following definition:

    an act of plunder, violent seizure, or abuse; despoliation;violation:
    the rape of the countryside.

    It's not really ridiculous, especially in terms of martial atrocities. There's a best-selling book about World War II called The Rape of Nanking after all.

    Of course, but there are degrees. You brought up Hitler earlier and while he certainly needed to be taken out, that does not make those fighting against him saints or lily-white heroes by any means. The United States had Japanese internment camps which, while certainly not on the level of concentration camps by any stretch of the imagination, were still decidedly wrong.

    I would say, though, that by the end, as the Republic transforms into the Empire, the distinctions aren't particularly clear anymore (as Padmé herself wonders if they are fighting on the wrong side), but I do think that, initially, there was a big difference between the Republic's actions and that of the CIS. The CIS wanted to leave the Republic (which in and of itself is not morally problematic) but they also intended to use military force to intimidate the Republic into acceding to any and all of their demands. Furthermore, they went and attempted to execute Republic citizens (including one Senator) without ever negotiating with the Republic.

    As a result of this, the Senate had an immense crisis on its hands and made a choice that was certainly morally questionable (using the recently discovered clones) but which they saw little alternative to at the time in order to protect themselves. I would say that these motives -- wanting to protect themselves and fear -- are reinforced by having Jar Jar of all people hand over power to Palpatine.

    That's not to say the use of the clones was right, but I think it's necessary to point out that the motives of the Republic (at least initially) were not as self-serving or oppressive as those of the CIS.
  8. Kev Snowmane

    Kev Snowmane Jedi Knight star 3

    Jan 1, 2013
    No as defined by any legitimate and reasonable standard.

    What then of how the Separatists treated their slave worlds (worlds they took by FORCE with their droid armies). Was it not the legitimate duty of the Republic to defend the freedoms of it's citizenry against the tyranny of the CIS?

    You know quite well what I mean. They pillaged and stole everything they could lay their hands on in a violent and violative manner.

    No one said the Republic was perfect, but Republic imperfection does not justify CIS criminality.

    Bull! The Republic was the legitimate galactic government with a democratically elected Senate. The CIS was a bunch of usurping megacorporations and corporate alliances with no political legitimacy or mandate from the citizenry.
    Valairy Scot likes this.
  9. Narutakikun

    Narutakikun Jedi Knight star 4

    Nov 8, 2012
    Uhh, no. If a group of people want to leave your political union because they're no longer happy with it, and you use violence to force them to stay, your "legitimacy" is gone.

    1) The CIS had that too - see TCW S03E10 "Heroes on Both Sides".

    2) Having a democracy is no guarantee of either legitimacy or liberty.

    As opposed to Palpatine.

    I'm sorry, and the Republic didn't use FORCE to take worlds? What was coming out of the flamethrowers we saw clone troopers using against Geonosians in Landing at Point Rain - cotton candy? That wasn't FORCE?

    Nope. If they want to go, let them go.

    That's not clear to me. As for their "demnds", why not just meet them? Just say: "You want to go? Then go." War averted, Sith plan defused, Empire canceled. Instead, the whole Republic, and even the Jedi, who should have damn well known better, went charging headfirst straight into a war and right nto Palpatine's clutches.

    I've heard the term, I just think it's a dumb - and needlessly emotionally charged - term.
  10. Kweh-chan

    Kweh-chan Jedi Master star 1

    Mar 7, 2006
    I have never liked the idea; it's one of the main reasons I'm unapologetically Separatist.

    The Clones are living, breathing, sentient beings; they have been genetically modified with accelerated growth and obedience for nothing but war. They are given no free will to decide for themselves, and yet they clearly develop unique personalities and characteristics which make them individuals. Regardless, they are treated as expendable as droids. It's one thing to sacrifice a machine for war without a thought, but it's a world away from sacrificing a life. At the same time, however, you can argue that they simply do not have "life;" they exist but do not live. It's the same problem. They are, effectively, slaves; they are created and exist only to serve and die, and their sentience is used not for any kind of advancement, but simply because it is more efficient than that of droid processor.

    I am also bothered by their blind obedience; they seem to think that if something is even remotely related to the Separatists, then it should be destroyed. One of my favourite episodes of TCW was "Heroes on Both Sides" because it clearly showed that the Separatists aren't necessarily "bad," and that ignorance can be extremely damaging. The Clones deal in absolutes: if you're not with the Republic, you're against it; if you're a Separatist, you shouldn't exist. Even more significantly, look at Order 66, where they massacred the Jedi without any question; I can't help but to wonder if the Clones are without morals, themselves (or are at least designed to be), and what "morals" they do possess, again, stem from this blind obedience and loyalty to whom they serve. They think and behave, in many ways, as droids, without being droids. It's a hypocritical situation on all fronts. If nothing else, I believe it makes us call into question our own loyalties and why we adhere to what we do.
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  11. Kev Snowmane

    Kev Snowmane Jedi Knight star 3

    Jan 1, 2013
    They didn't just "leave", they attacked peaceful Republic members and conquored them with military force (Naboo, Ryloth, countless others). By going on the offensive and assaulting Republic members who did NOT want to submit themselves to economic exploitation, the CIS lost it's moral legitimacy.

    Palpatine was not the Republic and the Republic was not Palpatine.

    They used force to liberate worlds. Ryloth, for example, was damn glad to see the Republic after being systematically plundered and starved by your oh-so-benevolent Separatists who in the end tried to genocidally firebomb the planetary population.

    You're seriously saying that Naboo, Ryloth, et al WANTED to become slaves of the CIS?

    Ok, you've just lost any legitimacy you had in this discussion.

    Bull! The Republic bent over backwards to appease the Separatists until they conclusively demonstrated with the Invasion of Naboo that they were not interested in simply leaving, but rather in conquest and exploitation.

    At that point, given the direct attack on a Republic world by the Separatists (Naboo), the Republic had every right to respond with deadly force to protect it's interests. But they in fact DIDN'T. They continued to negotiate for another 10 years (32BBY to 22BBY) until the discovery of the Droid Army foundries of Geonosis forced them into direct action.


    And if it were your world invaded, your land stripped of resources, your family starved and your lives destroyed, would you still think it "needlessly emotionally charged"?
  12. Narutakikun

    Narutakikun Jedi Knight star 4

    Nov 8, 2012
    Pardon me? The war started with the First Battle of Geonosis - a separatist world that the Jedi attacked with a huge military force. Or in other words, they started a huge galactic war just so they could rescue a couple of Jedi and a single Republic official, all of whom were arguable legitimately guilty of crimes on Geonosis (espionage, trespassing, property destruction).

    Oh yes they were. If they weren't Palps wouldn't have been able to use the Republic to give him an army, destroy his Jedi enemies, crush all opposition, and build his empire on top of.

    If there's one thing that the last hundred years of our own history shows, it's that every jackhole who ever shows up to take over a place says they came to "liberate" the people there. Mao Tse-tung called his army the "People's Liberation Army" - does that mean that Communist China was (or is - China's army is still called that) all about freedom and liberation?

    Nope - and Geonosis, Cato Nemoidia, et al didn't WANT to be part of the Republic anymore. Did that stop the Republic or the Jedi from invading them to force them to stay in the Republic? The Republic has zero moral high ground there.

    Which invasion of Naboo? The one in The Phantom Menace? That happened a decade before the CIS was formed. The war started when the Republic invaded Geonosis, which is why it was at the end of that battle that Yoda said "Begun, the Clone War has".

    Negotiate with who? The CIS did not fracking exist until ten years after TPM. This means that the Republic wasn't "negotiating with them" during this time, because there was no "them" to negotiate with.

    Don't try to evade by making this personal. This isn't about me.
  13. Arawn_Fenn

    Arawn_Fenn Force Ghost star 7

    Jul 2, 2004
    This seems to be contradicted to some extent by EU, and even some episodes of TCW.
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    TOSCHESTATION Jedi Master star 4

    Jan 17, 2003
    'Plot Demands' can be crazy sometimes....
  15. Kweh-chan

    Kweh-chan Jedi Master star 1

    Mar 7, 2006
    It was made pretty clear that Cut Lawquane, for example, who decided for himself to start a family, was not entitled to make such a decision and would face consequences if he did not return to duty. Perhaps I am misinterpreting what I saw, but to me, it seems that any sort of free will exists only within the scope of the GAR; it isn't provided to them beyond that. Whether they take it for themselves is another matter entirely. Is it the intent of a Clone to serve in the GAR? Absolutely. Is it morally right? Well, that's we're debating :)
  16. Kev Snowmane

    Kev Snowmane Jedi Knight star 3

    Jan 1, 2013
    The Separatists were plotting invasion and conquest, after having committed a series of terrorist attacks against public officials (such as the multiple attempted assassinations of the Naboo delegation).

    The Jedi were operating within their mandate as officials of the Republic Department of Justice in investigating these attacks, an investigation that led to the discovery of the droid foundries building armies with the explicit intent of attacking the Republic.

    Don't give me that crap. Palpatine's manipulation of the Republic did not make it any less the legitimate galactic government with full moral authority to use force to protect it's citizens and interests.

    Which has nothing to do with what happened in this case. A more apt analogy would be Desert Storm One, where a coalition of free nations with full authority under international law liberated Kuwait, unjustly seized and exploited by Iraq.

    I note you tried to sidestep the issue. The issue at that point was not what Geonosis, et al wanted...if they had gone peacefully on their way you MIGHT have a point (despite the numerous criminal acts both overt and conspiratorial against the legitimate government of the Republic), but they INVADED Nabo, they INVADED Ryloth, et al. Invaded, pillaged, and terrorized with ZERO moral legitimacy.

    The Republic had every right to respond with full military force to protect it's interests and citizens against unwarranted, unjustified, and immoral aggression by the Separatists.

    The Battle of Geonosis was the beginning of OPEN warfare after 10 years of criminal acts (Naboo invasion), terrorism and criminal conspiracy against the Republic.
    The Trade Federation plot on Naboo was part of the larger Separatist plan as orchistrated by Palpatine.

    Despite its grossly illegal activities at Naboo, the Republic still refrained from treating their acts as Acts of War and continued to persue legal and diplomatic options for another 10 years, hardly the blood-thirsty warmongering you accuse them of.

    It absolutely is. It's about you declaring that describing the invasion, oppression, and systematic rape of an innocent world is being "needlessly emotionally charged". You would not feel that way if it were YOUR home and YOUR people and YOUR life that was done to, and you know it.
  17. Samuel Vimes

    Samuel Vimes Jedi Master star 4

    Sep 4, 2012
    I don't think you can connect what the TF did on Naboo in TPM with the seps in AotC, the two actions are separate. Sure Sidious were behind both of them but that was not common knowledge. The seps did not exist at the time of TPM and at the start of AotC the TF did not seem to be a known member of the seps. Dooku told the other seps that the TF had agreed to join them and this the TF only agreed to under the assumption that Dooku killed Padme, So the actions of the TF in TPM does not have to reflect on the seps before AotC. Also, based on what Padme said in AotC, the seps seemed to be somewhat separate from the commerce guilds. She said "If the separatist feel threatened, they will turn to the commerce guilds for help." or something like that. If the commerce guilds are a part of the seps then her statement seem odd. Instead it seems like the commerce guilds are supportive of the seps but not an actual part of them.

    The negotiations in AotC seemed to be about dealing with systems wanting to leave the republic. Some in the senate wanted to make an army to prevent this. Which makes you wonder, is the republic really saying "Stay in the republic or we'll get ARMY on your ***:"
    The seps seem sometimes only to want to leave and if denied this it seems like they would resort to violence.
    I say sometimes because some say talk like the action of the seps leaving will be the same as the seps attacking, which is a bit odd.
    Letting the republic be split apart could be seen as less than good but was the option to allow the seps to leave in peace ever considered?.

    Sure with Geonosis the senate was told of an impending attack and their reaction is in part understandable.

    But it makes you wonder why in TPM, the senate did nothing. Instead of an impending attack, they were told of an ACTUAL attack on the republic and yet they did nothing, they did not even believe it had even happened. All they did was to fire their leader, making them effectively leaderless.
    It would be like the if US Senate in 1941 had been told about Pearl Harbour and not only did they not believe it, they removed the President from office instead.

    Bye for now.
    The Guarding Dark.
  18. MrFantastic74

    MrFantastic74 Jedi Knight star 4

    Oct 4, 2010
    Can we turn this discussion back to the ethics of using clone (slave) armies? ;)
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  19. Eryndil

    Eryndil Jedi Knight star 3

    Dec 18, 2012
    It's interesting that a fictional war can rouse such contentious debate - presumably this is because of its similarities to events that have taken place over centuries of real-life human history. Although it would be much simpler if everything was 'black and white', that only happens in fiction - and not always then. This is a case in point.

    Using clones to fight a war is certainly not ethical - nor was the war itself, nor was much of what the Senate (or mainly Palpatine) did in the lead up to ROTS. I think the point here is that Palpatine was manipulating a weak and (mainly) corrupt Senate to achieve his own aims. As a result, the Republic was no longer living up to its purpose. It had grown too large and too complacent in the end. Of course, the Separatists were no more moral than the Republic as their actions were motivated by greed and hunger for power. They weren't above attacking neutral planets and killing innocent civilians. Hence 'heroes on both sides' and also 'villains on both sides'. This is the messy reality of war.

    The Jedi Order seems to have been stuck in the middle of this, where they did not want to be. This was a consequence of allying themselves with the Republic centuries earlier (when it seemed like the right thing to do - and possibly was). Over the years, they had become so tightly involved with the Republic that they were left with a huge dilemma. I'm not even sure that they could have severed all their links with the Republic and still survived as an organisation. Without the approval of the Senate, they would have been something of a paramilitary vigilante group, accountable only to themselves - not a good image for them! Instead, they continued with their centuries-old role of serving the Republic. The Senate voted for the creation of an army (which, in essence meant the use of an army already created and manipulated by Palpatine) - the Jedi did as the Senate (ie Palpatine) bid them.

    It was a horrendous situation, where people would suffer and die whatever the Jedi did. Sadly, it's one that all too many people have found themselves in throughout history. The choice they made may not have been the right one (certainly not with hindsight, which makes the decision a lot easier for us!), but I hesitate to pass judgement since I have never been faced with such a terrible dilemma - and I hope I never will be.
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  20. VadersLaMent

    VadersLaMent Chosen One star 10

    Apr 3, 2002
    I'd pimp my clone.
  21. Julius Vernon

    Julius Vernon Jedi Knight star 3

    Nov 7, 2012
    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?

    This is something I've argued in other threads. I think it shows some of the moral/ethical lack of the PT Jedi Order. I don't think they are completely lacking moral character or fortitude because of their decision to use clones (and support of use of a slave army via the omission of actions on behalf of the clone's individual agency), but it is one of their shortcomings.

    I believe that the clones are still individuals and aside from the moral questionability of creating said clones with advanced growth techniques, genetic manipulation to alter their behavior and loyalty the idea of using an army that was created for the sole purpose of being an army is rather appalling.
  22. Valairy Scot

    Valairy Scot Backpacking One Pack a Day Mod of New Films star 6 Staff Member Manager

    Sep 16, 2005
    I think it shows GL's molding the movies into more space fantasy/opera than hard sci fi - those kind of questions just don't come up in space opera.
  23. Lord Tyrannus

    Lord Tyrannus Jedi Padawan star 4

    Oct 18, 2012
    I don't understand your opinion, Valairy Scot!!!!!!
  24. Valairy Scot

    Valairy Scot Backpacking One Pack a Day Mod of New Films star 6 Staff Member Manager

    Sep 16, 2005
    I merely mean GL designed the movies to be escapist fun entertainment with little thought as to the ramifications of some of his choices.
  25. darth.ender

    darth.ender Jedi Knight star 1

    Dec 28, 2012
    This is a fascinating topic. I too had the same thought, and even the Episode II novel only barely touched on it when Obi-Wan realized the clones had been created and had a horrified moment, but then it was never mentioned again. The clones are clearly deserving of human rights, and yet the noble Republic gives them no more opportunity than to become cannon fodder against the mechanical armies of the CIS. IMO, this was a dropped ball by GL, since most assumed the clones would actually work for the bad guys.
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