Thread: Section 31...
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Old February 16 2013, 10:01 PM   #90
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Re: Section 31...

bullethead wrote: View Post
Sci wrote: View Post
bullethead wrote: View Post
That's the really sad thing about Trek Lit. They took this very interesting organization, which had its pros and cons, and just turned it into this strawman evil organization that's only rivaled by Mass Effect's Cerberus in stupidly evil actions.
There was never anything the least bit ambiguous about Section 31. They were quite unambiguously the bad guys from Day One in the canon, and Treklit just reflects that. (There is nothing "pro" about an organization that routinely appoints itself judge, jury, and executioner, and which engages in mass murder and genocide.)

You want moral ambiguity? Treklit's take on Starfleet Intelligence is very morally ambiguous.
I can think of plenty of pros and cons to Section 31's existence.

Pro
-No one knows or believes they exist, giving them all sorts of leeway to advance the Federation's best interests without dealing with the sometimes incompetent Federation leadership or negatively harming the Federation's reputation by being officially connected to the organization
This is not a pro, this is a con. This means that they are putting themselves above the law and above the democratic control of the people. This by definition makes them a threat to democracy and to the public. Nobody should ever be above the law.

-Small cells of individuals are able to undertake operations that have serious ramifications in interstellar politics with a minimum of collateral damage,
This is how any espionage network operates and is in no way unique to Section 31.

-Rigorous selection requirements ensure that individuals recruited into the organization are loyal to the Federation and principled enough to use the minimum force necessary
Says who? Them? What possible reason do we have to trust that Section 31's real loyalty is to the Federation and not to themselves? Why should I buy that they're loyal to the UFP when they won't submit to Federation governmental control?

-All agents are highly skilled and well trained, meaning that if one goes rogue, he or she might cause a lot of damage
Section 31 agents are by definition already rogue, because they are not under the control of the legitimate government.

When it comes down to it, I consider the guys who decided that genocide was the only way to decapitate the leadership of an empire with genocide and atrocity happy fascists to be the good guys because in the long run, they would've kept the other guys from killing even more people in their quest to bring "order" to the galaxy.
Or they would have taken the only leash off the Jem'Hadar, loosing a vast horde of now-uncontrolled drug-addled rage monsters on the galaxy, killing vastly more people.

Look up the term "blowback."

Would it have been great if Section 31 hadn't needed to deploy the disease?
It didn't need to attempt genocide. The Dominion War was won by conventional military forces, and by Odo's decision to offer the Founders mercy rather than certain death at Section 31's hands. Section 31, by driving the Female Shapeshifter mad with grief, had in fact nearly caused a Pyrrhic victory at the Battle of Cardassia due to her irrational order that Dominion forces fight to the last soldier rather than surrender -- and Section 31's genocide attempt did cause millions of civilian as a result of the Shapeshifter's grief moving her to order the extermination of the Cardassian people.

I see no reason to arbitrarily label people who go with the most logical and pragmatic solution to a problem as evil.
Section 31's genocide attempt was not pragmatic, and logic is only as good as the premises it starts from. There's nothing arbitrary about labeling would-be Hitlers as evil.

ETA:

T'Girl wrote: View Post
Mr. Laser Beam wrote: View Post
The very fact that S31 is not accountable to the Federation makes it impossible that they could possibly put the interests OF the Federation ahead of their own.
Impossible? S31 is a part of the Federation, it's agents (most of them anyway) are from among the Federation's population.
So is the Mafia. This is meaningless.

Its aims were not simply for the benefit of the small number of people who composed S31, but for the Federation as a whole.
So they say.

You might not like the tactic of biological warfare against the Dominion,
The comparable term in real life is "crime against humanity."

preferring conventional methods, but the S31 plan of introducing the sickness into the Founder population is what ended the war in the time frame we saw.
No, Odo's decision to offer the cure was what prompted the Female Shapeshifter to rescind her order that every Jem'Hadar and Breen fight to the last soldier. And the war in general was won through conventional military forces.

Conventional warfare very well could have eventually ended the war in the Federation's favor, but the war would have been longer,
The war was already over due to conventional forces. The only question was whether or not the Female Shapeshifter would order a battle to the last soldier -- an order she gave only because of her grief at the impending extinction of her species.

Had Section 31's crimes against sentience never taken place, the ever-pragmatic Female Shapeshifter would have accepted that the Dominion had lost and no doubt surrendered in order to reduce Dominion losses -- to say nothing of she wouldn't have ordered the extermination of the Cardassian people.

Regardless of any "unaccountability,"
No, not "unaccountability." Unaccountability, full stop, no quotation marks. Defiance of the law. Criminality.

It isn't a case of putting the Federation ahead of themselves, they are a part of the Federation.
Complete horseraddish. No organization that refuses to submit to the democratically-elected government is actually putting the nation ahead of themselves; their defiance of the rule of law automatically means they are by definition putting themselves ahead of the Federation.
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