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Old March 23 2011, 06:32 PM   #458
Rush Limborg
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Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

David cgc wrote: View Post
Rush Limborg wrote: View Post
Section 31 is the equivalent, of a Cold War-era anti-Communist terrorist group running through the Soviet sphere of influence setting off tactical nukes.
And that's...bad?
Are you serious?

Let's put aside the obvious moral issue of nuclear terrorism and mass murder, which bad (yes, even when it happens to people leaving in a country governed by a party that is nominally hostile to our own). Didn't you read The Sum of All Fears? If some asshole is setting off nuclear bombs in Russia, who do you think the Russians are going to assume is responsible?

Probably not Sudan.

How do you think they'd respond?

Probably not with kindness.

The best-case scenario would probably be that the responsible parties didn't actually have anything to do with the United States. That way, after we were all killed in the ensuing nuclear war, we wouldn't have to deal with being in Hell on top of our other problems.

I get it, you're just tired of the discussion are trying to look so intensely doctrinaire that anyone who's contradicting you will just give up in frustration so you can have the last word, right?
Interestingly enough, this should bring up the question as to whether the US would jump to such conclusions, were the scenario reversed--or even be allowed to, in the international community.

If it's an "anti-Communist" group running around setting off nuclear weapons--weapons which the Soviet Union already had--that means it does not necessarily follow that they had any help from the US. All the Soviets would know is that it's a terrorist group taking advantage of embarrasing loopholes in security.

While I am getting a little bored with this long, drawn-out discussion, do not assume that I'm forcing things. That just makes things even more boring....

rfmcdpei wrote: View Post
Rush Limborg wrote: View Post
rfmcdpei wrote: View Post
When it came out in the mid-1990s that Spain's SOcialist government under Gonzalez created the illegal Grupos Antiterroristas de Liberación death squads to fight against ETA, for instance, that revelation cost the Socialists the election.
Well, I doubt 31 was created by a political party.
Yes. Section 31 doesn't have any political patrons invested in covering for it.
So therefore, no political patrons will take the fall, correct?

The Federation has parallels with real-world polities, and this is why it's important to provide specific reasons why real-world examples aren't relevant. "It's different" doesn't count.
Except, again, Section 31 doesn't really have a real-life paralell. It may be a combinations of many different real and fictional groups...but there's no honest-to-goodness comparison with anything in real life that I can think of. I could be wrong, though, but 31 strikes me as simply the DS9 writers thinking outside the box, as it were.

"As quickly as possible" being read to include "as quickly as possible with as few risks as possible", sure.

The Dominion was fine with committing genocide against other peoples, although that wasn't the Dominion's main strategy. The Dominion was fundamentally a protection agency: you can't protect a dead space.
Of course--but the point still remains: the UFP's enemies didn't care about "rules of war", or "values and principles". All they cared about were results. That, frankly, gave them an upper hand.

The vast majority of the populations of the Federation, Klingon Empire, and Cardassian Union--to name the major combatants which fought the Dominion on their territories--survived. Even on planets like Betazed, treated rather unkindly by their occupiers, the very large majority of the population survived.

The Dominion War was a classical war, fought over the control of populations and resources and territories. The Dominion War was not a war of annihilation.
Again, their desire for results was the key. The Dominion wasn't bound by "values and principles". All they cared about was conquest of the solids, and suppression of possible threats.

Rush Limborg wrote: View Post
rfmcdpei wrote: View Post
Section 31 is the equivalent, of a Cold War-era anti-Communist terrorist group running through the Soviet sphere of influence setting off tactical nukes.
And that's...bad?
Well, yes.

If you're nudge-nudge, wink-wink authorizing the indiscriminate use of proscribed weapons of mass destruction against the interests of your opponents, then you've not only established precedents for the regular use of proscribed weapons of mass destruction, but you've established precedents for their use in kind against your interests. There's also the risk of a creeping escalation towards targets of greater and greater importance and suffering an apocalypse that way, or simply have someone on one side or another make a misjudgement and do something that the other side will see as unforgiveable and start a catastrophe that way.
Except the morphogenic virus couldn't be used against solids. It was targeted--and as the series strongly implied, once it kicked in (circa "Treachery, Faith, and the Great River") it worked relatively quickly, to the point that Odo and the Female Founder were in really bad shape by "Extreme Measures" and WYLB, respectively.

The female Founder ordered the slaughter of the entire population of Cardassia Prime when she was dying, learned that Cardassian forces turned on the Dominion and that the Breen had abandoned the cause, and concluded that the only way to hold off the Alpha Quadrant would be to bleed it white. That was genocide as a planned preemptive tactic. There's also the attempted nova of Bajor's sun.
Of course--as I've just said.

Let's say that a little bird told her that her, and her entire species, were going to die because of a Federation bioweapon. Why wouldn't she order attacks in kind against the Federation Alliance?
Ah...because it was a little bird? Frankly, if her paranoia would allow her to accept that without question, that basically means she was already thinking it.

Even without species-specific agents, she could still deploy metagenic weapons against inhabited worlds. Maybe she would order a tit-for-tat approach; maybe she'd go for overkill; even in the less unfavourable scenario casualties would still rise exponentially.

Section 31 nearly made the Dominion War into one where the obliteration of planetary populations would have been an intentional strategy, against the wishes of the Federation government and everyone involved. How could this play to its benefit?
Again, if she were suspicious enough to accept the "hunch" that the UFP and allies were behind the virus (and to be honest, I'd wager her paranoia against solids did lead her to that conclusion), one wonders, then, why she didn't act as you describe.

Even if she didn't, she knew she was dying. She had nothing left to lose. If she was capable of having her revenge on The Solids as you describe, why didn't she?

Sci wrote: View Post
Rush Limborg wrote: View Post
BTW...some people have compared (I would say unfairly) to the CIA or MI6. I'd say it's more akin to the fictional IMF of Mission: Impossible ("If any of your team are caught or killed, the CIA will disavow any knowledge of your activities", etc.) or Area 51.
I'd say that if Area 51 were real, it would constitute a pretty horrific violation of U.S. law and democracy.
And what of IMF?

Frankly, the idea of keeping war free of "war atrocities" is fallacious. War itself is an atrocity. Making it clean and neat takes away the incentive to end it as quickly as possible.
Yeah, bullshit. Refusing to commit war crimes doesn't take away the incentive to end it, it's an attempt to protect the innocent during a war.

And, yes, there are many innocent Founders, as established both in the series (Changeling infants) and in The Dominion: Olympus Descending.
Sci, that mindset--and the enemy knowing you posses that mindset--has the immense risk of leading to human shields used by the enemy.

In war, innocents invariably get caught in the crossfire--and there's a price paid. Believe me, I find it every bit as distasteful and disgusting as you do--but that's the way things are in war. As I said, war itself is an atrocity. Sometimes, innocents are put in mortal danger from it. Sometimes, they perish en masse.

Kirk understood this in "A Taste Of Armageddon". Remember the reasoning behind Eminiar and Vendikar's system of "war"--so that it would be clean, neat, and pointed. As Kirk pointed out, the disgusting things in war which the worlds sought to avoid are precisely what make it a thing to be avoided.

Sisko also understood this when taking down Eddington. When he poisoned the atmosphere of the Maquis world, it was a distasteful, disgusting thing--which, to be frank, demanded an aftermath of soul-searching by Sisko which the audience was denied--

But as far as he was concerned, it was what he had to do.

As "The Man Trap" indicates, it's not immoral genocide if it's in self-defense.
Oh, bullshit. It wasn't genocide to kill the Salt Vampire because the Salt Vampire species was already functionally extinct. Yeah, there was one member of that species still alive, but it was never going to be able to reproduce anyway, because there was no one else left to reproduce with. So it wasn't genocide in any realistic sense, because realistically, the species didn't exist anymore. You can't commit genocide when you're too late!
Spock would seem to disagree with you. See his remarks in "Devil In The Dark", when he pointed out to Kirk that, as far as they knew at the time, the "creature" (the Horta) was the last of its kind.

And, no, genocide against a real, viable species (or socially defined grouping) is not justified by self-defense.
I assume you are accepting even the theoretical scenario in which it is either-or--us or them?
"The saying implies but does not name the effective agency of its supposed utopia.... 'Needs and abilities' are, of course, subjective. So the operative statement may be reduced to 'the State shall take, the State shall give'."
--David Mamet
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