Thread: Section 31...
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Old February 17 2013, 11:17 PM   #125
stj
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Re: Section 31...

Edit_XYZ wrote: View Post
...In DS9, the genocide on the founders is heavily justified - so much so that the arguments to the contrary are easily nullified.
That's because the entire situation was painted in such cartoonish black/white colors - uncompromising absolutes.

I can think of another similar situation - in nuBSG, genocide by biological weapon on the cylons is, again, heavily justified, for the same reason. The cylons/colonial situation is portrayed in such stark black/white colors.

But in real life? I cannot think of any situation along the same lines...As for other real life genocides and their "justifications" - well, let's just say they make the Hiroshima and Nagasaki excuses look extremely well by comparison.
I agree, too.

Sci wrote: View Post
Side note: When you look at the canon, Section 31 actually isn't portrayed as possessing particularly extraordinary powers.

We know of seven canonical operations Section 31 has undertaken:

- Kidnapping and torturing Julian Bashir in 2374 in order to determine whether or not he is sufficiently "loyal" to the Federation to warrant recruiting him ("Inquisition")

- Using Bashir in 2375 to manipulate Romulan Senator Cretak into discrediting herself to the Romulan Continuing Committee, leading to the ascension to said committee of Section 31 mole and Tal Shiar Chairman Koval ("Inter Arma Enim...")

- Infecting Odo with a contagious Founder disease while he was on Earth in 2372 in the hopes that he would spread the illness to the rest of the Founders -- a pre-emptive genocide attempt ("Extreme Measures")

- Spying on the administration of Federation President Jaresh-Inyo through an agent in the Cabinet in the 2370s ("Extreme Measures")

- Operations of an unestablished nature on Qo'noS in the 2370s ("Extreme Measures")...Of these operations, none are particularly magnificent demonstrations of power -- nor particularly competent, when one stops to think about it.
Omitting consideration of Section 31 in Enterprise.

Recruiting agents through abduction, sleep deprivation, and psychological torture? I can't imagine that's an effective recruiting strategy. Unless they're targeting people who are not themselves particularly mentally healthy in the first place. It certainly backfired with Bashir.
Given Bashir's special status from genetic engineering? But that part of Bashir's characterization was very inconsistent, so let's just assume Bashir was indeed treated just as every recruit to Section 31 was. Do the writers think the Section 31 recruiters are merely rationalizing their desire to inflict pain? The notion that a sufficiently brilliant interrogator can remold people this way seems to me to be a premise of the episode, and most decidedly not an idea under attack.

Manipulating the downfall of Cretak and the ascension of Koval? Clever, but not particularly effective in the long run. Koval must not have been a very good mole, since he failed to prevent the rise of Shinzon four years later, and Shinzon damn near used a thalaron weapon against Earth itself.
If he'd been a good mole he would be immune to sci-fi bomb blasts? Sorry, but the John Logan not writing Section 31 into Nemesis doesn't make the feat in Enim Inter Arma Silent Leges truly spectacular. Unblievably so.

The pre-emptive genocide attempt? Backfired spectacularly; it failed to prevent the Dominion War, and it led the Female Shapeshifter to become so mad with grief as to order the extermination of the Cardassian species and a Pyrrhic victory for the Allies at the Battle of Cardassia; only Odo's decision to thwart their operation by offering a cure saved thousands of Federation lives at that final battle.
First, how is the genocide of Cardassia by other hands a down-side for Section 31? Second, desirable as preventing any war with the Dominion is, the point was to win. Third, why would Section 31 regard the loss of Federation lives in final victorious combat as anything other than a regrettable price to pay. An odd thing about ruthlessness is that it is so easily expended not just on the enemy but on the cannonfodder as well.

Section 31 operations on Qo'noS in the 24th Century? Must not have been particularly effective, given that they failed to uncover the role of the House of Duras as Romulan puppets, to prevent the Klingon Civil War, or to uncover the Founder posing as then-General Martok who pushed Chancellor Gowron to go to war with the Federation.
Again, how are the machinations of the House of Duras and a Klingon Civil War undesirable? Seems like a win. As for being unable to detect the Martok-imposture, the Founders had nearly supernatural powers, which is why they had to be slaughtered en masse.

An excellent point -- this does fall into the tribalist trap of treating a foreign culture as one great, homogenous entity instead of a collection of unique individuals that people so often fall into. "The Other" as "they're all the same; they don't value life like we do." That kind of mindset is a function of great xenophobia and prejudice, of nationalism.

Though given that all of the "hero" characters were unambiguously opposed to the attempted genocide of the Founders, I suspect the writers didn't realize they had done this and that it was inadvertent. Particularly given that they had earlier established the presence of child Founders.
I don't think it was inadvertent that the Founders were given incredible powers of subversion, phenomenal malice and a monolithic Dominion that posed an existential threat, none of which had any place beyond cheap melodrama. Nor do I think that Bashir's unwilling cooperation constitutes serious opposition: Unwilling or not, it was still cooperation. Nor do I think the lack of desire on the part of any other "'hero' characters" to openly publicize the secret Section 31 and its deeds really constitute opposition. This conspicuous failure contradicts their feelings as professed on screen, so I conclude this reveals the writers' real attitudes.

T'Girl wrote: View Post

Edit_XYZ wrote: View Post
But in real life? I cannot think of any situation along the same lines.
The best known example would be Hirohima/Nagasaki ...
Describing the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki as genocide, or attempted genocide, is really stretching the meaning of the term.
Not in the sense of wholesale massacre of civilian populations as an end in itself. It's true that it doesn't quite compare even yet with the Nazi death camps, but nothing does. Many, many people try to stretch the word "genocide" to cover things much more unlike the atomic bombing of cities, something hoped to kill everyone, unlike any other type of indiscriminate bombing.

In this day of ready information, this persistent idea that both Hiroshima and Nagasaki weren't military targets defies belief.
It had not been found necessary or even particularly desirable to bomb these so-called "military targets." So, no, the actual behavior of the US shows that neither city was a significant military target. This is a particularly cynical and sleazy rhetorical ploy. Also, in this day, people are quite willing to believe that the city waterworks are legitimate military targets. The notion that our contemporary sensibilities are more refined and correct desperately needs some justification.

So you're saying that Great Britain would have been morally justified in killing every single German during World War II?
No, I'm saying that Great Britain would have been morally justified in killing the entirety of the Nazi leadership group. Genociding them, and them only, everyone of them, once the threat to Great Britain became clear.

The Nazis certainly saw themselves as a "ethnic and racial group," so genocide them.

Just them
What precisely was the threat to "Great Britain?" Were the Nazis going to dig up the island and leave them all swimming for their lives? The English went to war with Germany over a threat to Poland, i.e., the German threat to achieve dominance in Europe, diminishing English power. It is notorious that Hess, a major Nazi figure, believed that Germany could make peace with the English! Should the "genocide" of the Nazi leadership have omitted him?

And, pray tell, who were the Nazi leadership? Hitler, Goebbels, Goering, Hess, Himmler, yes, easily so. But, Ribbentrop, who didn't conduct any independent policy? And when the central leadership is gone, the colorless second-level bureaucrats, like Eichmann, move up? So, the top governmental and cultural figures should have been killed off too. And, Germany fought England in WWI without benefit of any Nazi influence, so the officer corps should have been killed off too. Really, this is all to silly and nasty for words. Perhaps you've been reading too much propaganda for drone murder.
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