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Trek Literature "...Good words. That's where ideas begin."

View Poll Results: Rate Rough Beasts Of Empire
Outstanding 36 25.53%
Above Average 58 41.13%
Average 25 17.73%
Below Average 13 9.22%
Poor 9 6.38%
Voters: 141. You may not vote on this poll

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Old March 22 2011, 04:48 PM   #451
rfmcdpei
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Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

Rush Limborg wrote: View Post
rfmcdpei wrote: View Post
Rush Limborg wrote: View Post

It depends on circumstances--particularly unrelated events, major or minor, affecting the quadrant, diverting the attention of the people. It's amazing what ten or twenty years can do.
This is the point when I ask you for real-world examples of how normal countries react to rogue state agencies responsible for terror within and without their borders.
And I would answer that that's something of a loaded question--31's actions could hardly be considered "terror". Remember, their actions are supposed to be in secret, in the netherworld of espionage.
OK. "This is the point when I ask you for real-world examples of how normal countries react to rogue state agencies responsible for murder within and without their borders."

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.

Because the question would inevitably arise as to whether the "norms" had, indeed, kept the Federation safe...or whether it was Section 31 which did the protecting.
What evidence is there for this?

Let's take the single example of the genocide attempted against the Founders. The deployment of the viral weapons was very high-risk: if the Dominion determined the cause of the sickness besetting the Great Link and the virus' origins in the Federation, what would keep the Founders from escalating the conflict further? Metagenic weapons are easy enough to make and deploy, likewise planetcracker and sunkiller weapons, and the Dominion didn't show any compunction against genocide against non-existential threats. What mercy against the foreigners who murdered their gods?

And even without the Dominion finding out, it's not obvious that the disease's progression did anything to weaken the Founders, who recruited the Breen as allies and were ready to bleed the Alpha Quadrant white notwithstanding the species' impending demise. Section 31's disease may have worsened the war.
There are those of us on the BBS--myself included--who contest that, and defend the decision. (See for a recent example the "Alternative History" thread in the DS9 forum.)[/QUOTE]

Genocide is a defensible military tactic?

Keep in mind that the Dominion was willing to use a sunkiller weapon to blow up the Bajoran sun as a preemptive tactic, not a reprisal for anything that had been done. If the Dominion found out that the Federation was responsible, shifting to the use of metaweapons as a revenge tactic wouldn't be a stretch at all.

Isn't triggering an apocalyptic war something that should be done--if at all--with the full knowledge of the legitimate authorities? 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.

This is not an argument in favour of the organization's survival.
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Old March 23 2011, 01:17 AM   #452
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Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

rfmcdpei wrote: View Post
Rush Limborg wrote: View Post
rfmcdpei wrote: View Post

This is the point when I ask you for real-world examples of how normal countries react to rogue state agencies responsible for terror within and without their borders.
And I would answer that that's something of a loaded question--31's actions could hardly be considered "terror". Remember, their actions are supposed to be in secret, in the netherworld of espionage.
OK. "This is the point when I ask you for real-world examples of how normal countries react to rogue state agencies responsible for murder within and without their borders."

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.

But anyhow--the Federation is not a real-world power. It has some parallels with, say, the US, but it has politics of its own.

I doubt there are real-world organizations that could legitimately be called "21st-century Section 31s".

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.

Genocide is a defensible military tactic?
As I said, extreme scenarios call for extreme measures.

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.

The best thing the Federation and its allies could do would be to win the war as quickly as possible. That preserves life in the long run.

As "The Man Trap" indicates, it's not immoral genocide if it's in self-defense.

Keep in mind that the Dominion was willing to use a sunkiller weapon to blow up the Bajoran sun as a preemptive tactic, not a reprisal for anything that had been done. If the Dominion found out that the Federation was responsible, shifting to the use of metaweapons as a revenge tactic wouldn't be a stretch at all.
So the Dominion was, in theory, perfectly fine with genocide.

Isn't triggering an apocalyptic war something that should be done--if at all--with the full knowledge of the legitimate authorities?
I think the Dominion War could reasonably be considered apocalyptic.

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?

This is not an argument in favour of the organization's survival.
On the contrary--I'd say it defends them quite well.
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Old March 23 2011, 01:52 AM   #453
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Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

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?
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Old March 23 2011, 03:50 AM   #454
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Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

Oy, this conversation has gotten thick and deep. Just a couple points of order about Batman since I don't know where to dive in:

In his early days he did kill (and carry a gun), but those comics are now not part of the "current" Bruce Wayne's history. However, he does carry a gun and shoot to kill the villain Darkseid in the recent comic "Final Crisis." His bullet isn't what ultimately kills the dark god, but that was his intention.

Also, saying the Gotham City PD is hopelessly corrupt isn't entirely correct. There's a significant amount of corruption, but whenever James Gordon is commissioner (as he is now in the comics) it's being rooted out.
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Old March 23 2011, 03:55 AM   #455
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Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

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.

Rush Limborg wrote: View Post
But anyhow--the Federation is not a real-world power. It has some parallels with, say, the US, but it has politics of its own.
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.

Rush Limborg wrote: View Post
The best thing the Federation and its allies could do would be to win the war as quickly as possible. That preserves life in the long run.
"As quickly as possible" being read to include "as quickly as possible with as few risks as possible", sure.

Rush Limborg wrote: View Post
So the Dominion was, in theory, perfectly fine with genocide.
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.

Rush Limborg wrote: View Post
I think the Dominion War could reasonably be considered apocalyptic.
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.

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.

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.

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? 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?
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Old March 23 2011, 04:43 AM   #456
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Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

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?


You cannot be serious.
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Old March 23 2011, 05:50 AM   #457
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Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

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.

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.

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!

And, no, genocide against a real, viable species (or socially defined grouping) is not justified by self-defense.
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Old March 23 2011, 07:32 PM   #458
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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.
Naturally.

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?
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Old March 23 2011, 11:48 PM   #459
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Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

Rush Limborg wrote: View Post
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.
The Soviets would be able to determine a fair number of things. Leaving circumstantial evidence aside, it's fairly trivial to determine, by the precise mixtures of isotopes left behind, which facility manufactured a weapon--The Sum of All Fears made use of that, if you're a Clancy fan.

There's also capability. Only a few states are capable of making nuclear weapons. (The terrorists in that Clancy novel "cheated" by salvaging a lost Israeli warhead.) Taking this over to the Star Trek context, only a few polities had the knowledge of Founder genetic coding necessary to make a lethal bioweapon.

Finally, condoning this sort of terrorist warfare, or even appearing to condone this sort of terorrist warfare, leaves you with no ground to oppose your enemies' escalation in kind.

Rush Limborg wrote: View Post
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.
No relevant parallels at all?

Rush Limborg wrote: View Post
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.
The conquest, yes, not their annihilation.

Rush Limborg wrote: View Post
Except the morphogenic virus couldn't be used against solids.
As you're doubtless aware, it's trivially easy in the Star Trek universe to come up with tailored, almost universally lethal, bioweapons aimed at any number of species.

Rush Limborg wrote: View Post
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.
Her warmaking machine was fragile. Leaving aside the need to keep the Cardassians from spinning completely out of control--as they did, anyway--there was the need to keep the Breen as allies. Presumably a Breen alliance would have been difficult if the Breen were convicned that the Dominion was about to start killing off civilizations.

Rush Limborg wrote: View Post
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?
When the Breen fled, the Cardassians defected to the Federation Alliance, and the prospects of a cure from Dominion laboratories for her disease disappeared, she odered the summary execution of every Cardassian on their homeworld and ordered every Dominion soldier to fight to the death, with the express aim of bleeding Federation Alliance forces white and vulnerable for a second Dominion offensive from the Gamma Quadrant.

When the Founder was convinced that defeat was imminent, she transformed the war from a conflict involving the conquest and continued control of populations and territories to their annihilation. Section 31's preemptive escalation to a war of annihilation against the Founder species could have triggered this shift earlier, at a time when the Founder commanded more military forces capable of attacks in kind.

Section 31 screwed up royally. It's a minor miracle that the Borg came to the Alpha Quadrant to find the Federation and its populations remaining.

Rush Limborg wrote: View Post
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.
Trying to minimize atrocities is one thing. Committing atrocities is another.

Last edited by rfmcdpei; March 23 2011 at 11:49 PM. Reason: typos
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Old March 24 2011, 05:19 AM   #460
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Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

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.
Actually, Area 51 is a real top secret testing facility in Southern Nevada. I've watched a show all about the real place on History Channel.
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Old March 24 2011, 05:56 AM   #461
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Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

rfmcdpei wrote: View Post
Rush Limborg wrote: View Post
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.
The Soviets would be able to determine a fair number of things. Leaving circumstantial evidence aside, it's fairly trivial to determine, by the precise mixtures of isotopes left behind, which facility manufactured a weapon--The Sum of All Fears made use of that, if you're a Clancy fan.

There's also capability. Only a few states are capable of making nuclear weapons. (The terrorists in that Clancy novel "cheated" by salvaging a lost Israeli warhead.) Taking this over to the Star Trek context, only a few polities had the knowledge of Founder genetic coding necessary to make a lethal bioweapon.
Ah...are we talking about the same thing? Because it had sounded like you were discussing these rogues blowing up Soviet nuclear arsenals.

Finally, condoning this sort of terrorist warfare, or even appearing to condone this sort of terorrist warfare, leaves you with no ground to oppose your enemies' escalation in kind.
Which is precisely the advantage of an agency being (in appearances, at least) autonomous and "rogue". It assists in the concept of plausible deniablility. The US publicly expressing that they do not condone these actions, thus provides the loophole.

Rush Limborg wrote: View Post
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.
No relevant parallels at all?
Again, that I am aware of.

The conquest, yes, not their annihilation.
Sure. But the F.C. made it clear that she was all too willing to go that far, if she deemed it necessary--and as the attempt to destroy the Bajoran sun indicates.

As you're doubtless aware, it's trivially easy in the Star Trek universe to come up with tailored, almost universally lethal, bioweapons aimed at any number of species.
And in the Trek universe, it seemes comparatively easy for Starfleet to derive cures for such weapons, as opposed to the Dominion.

Furthermore, as you yourself point out:

Her warmaking machine was fragile. Leaving aside the need to keep the Cardassians from spinning completely out of control--as they did, anyway--there was the need to keep the Breen as allies. Presumably a Breen alliance would have been difficult if the Breen were convicned that the Dominion was about to start killing off civilizations.
And:

When the Breen fled, the Cardassians defected to the Federation Alliance, and the prospects of a cure from Dominion laboratories for her disease disappeared
Interestingly enough, recall that Bashir noted that the Jack Pack theorized on exactly that--and anti-Dominon coup on Cardassia.

she odered the summary execution of every Cardassian on their homeworld and ordered every Dominion soldier to fight to the death, with the express aim of bleeding Federation Alliance forces white and vulnerable for a second Dominion offensive from the Gamma Quadrant.

When the Founder was convinced that defeat was imminent, she transformed the war from a conflict involving the conquest and continued control of populations and territories to their annihilation. Section 31's preemptive escalation to a war of annihilation against the Founder species could have triggered this shift earlier, at a time when the Founder commanded more military forces capable of attacks in kind.

Section 31 screwed up royally. It's a minor miracle that the Borg came to the Alpha Quadrant to find the Federation and its populations remaining.
Not necessarily. As you said, the Breen and the Cardassians abandoning the Dominion left them vulnerable--and frankly, the F.C. was all but out of resources. The allies were certainly prepared for a full-scale battle (that was what they were expecting)--and with the Cardassians now on their side, and the Breen retreating, the odds skyrocketed even futher in their favor.

Frankly, the F.C.'s gloating about her "making victory come at a cost" were merely empty words--and she knew it. She was simply trying to repair her damaged pride.

As for 31, it's worth noting that the Founders had obviously had the virus since before the wormhole was mined--they were probably infected in "Broken Link". (Oh, the irony....)

The fact that the virus wasn't activated until Season 7 implies that 31 waited until what they felt was the opportune moment--probably, when the Dominion felt the full effects of the Romulans joining the Allies.

Rush Limorg wrote: View Post
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.
Trying to minimize atrocities is one thing. Committing atrocities is another.
As I said, war itself is an atrocity. Trying to make it more or less of one is frankly meaningless--it's an atrocity, no matter how you want to paint it. Innocents will die in war--and more often than not, going out of your way to keep that from happening just prolonges the war--and therefore is self-defeating.

If you want to stop and prevent "war atrocities"--you have to win the war, ending it as quickly as possible.
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Old March 24 2011, 06:06 AM   #462
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Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

Rush Limborg wrote: View Post
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.
The fact that there was only one salt vampire left, is secondary. The use of the word 'genocide' implies deliberate, malicious intent.

If there is a creature who is trying to kill you, and you kill IT before it can, that is not genocide. It's pure, absolute self defense, which is everyone's right.

If, however, you say "I hate this race and want to wipe it out on general principles" and you do so, THAT is genocide.

To put it another way: If there had been other salt vampires in existence at the end of this episode, McCoy would not have hunted them all down to extinction. He killed this one because it was trying to kill Kirk. End of story.
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Old March 24 2011, 06:36 PM   #463
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Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

Rush Limborg wrote: View Post
rfmcdpei wrote: View Post
Rush Limborg wrote: View Post
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.
The Soviets would be able to determine a fair number of things. Leaving circumstantial evidence aside, it's fairly trivial to determine, by the precise mixtures of isotopes left behind, which facility manufactured a weapon--The Sum of All Fears made use of that, if you're a Clancy fan.

There's also capability. Only a few states are capable of making nuclear weapons. (The terrorists in that Clancy novel "cheated" by salvaging a lost Israeli warhead.) Taking this over to the Star Trek context, only a few polities had the knowledge of Founder genetic coding necessary to make a lethal bioweapon.
Ah...are we talking about the same thing? Because it had sounded like you were discussing these rogues blowing up Soviet nuclear arsenals.
The idiom I was using--"a Cold War-era anti-Communist terrorist group running through the Soviet sphere of influence setting off tactical nukes"--was fairly clear and seems to have been understood by other people.

For the purposes of the discussion, the distinction that you introduced between "setting off non-Soviet-made nuclear weapons in the Soviet sphere of influence" and "setting off Soviet-made nuclear weapons in the Soviet sphere of influence" is a non-starter: nuclear weapons are being set off, regardless.

Rush Limborg wrote: View Post
Which is precisely the advantage of an agency being (in appearances, at least) autonomous and "rogue". It assists in the concept of plausible deniablility. The US publicly expressing that they do not condone these actions, thus provides the loophole.
And past a certain point the United States just wouldn't be believed.

Bringing this back to the discussion about Section 31, its use of genocidal tactics against civilizations inclined to respond in kind is problematic enough. Its use of genocidal tactics without Federation policymakers' involvement is another thing entirely. Section 31 is quite capable of triggering an apocalyptic conflict without any legitimate decision-makers wanting to fight such a war.

Rush Limborg wrote: View Post
Frankly, the F.C.'s gloating about her "making victory come at a cost" were merely empty words--and she knew it. She was simply trying to repair her damaged pride.
Um, cite? The genocide of the Cardassians on their homeworld certainly happened--upwards of a billion dead--and the people involved saw a Dominion refusal to surrender as potentially catastrophic for everyone.

Rush Limborg wrote: View Post
As for 31, it's worth noting that the Founders had obviously had the virus since before the wormhole was mined--they were probably infected in "Broken Link". (Oh, the irony....)

The fact that the virus wasn't activated until Season 7 implies that 31 waited until what they felt was the opportune moment--probably, when the Dominion felt the full effects of the Romulans joining the Allies.
Was there evidence that the morphogenic virus needed a trigger?

This doesn't make Section 31 any better. If anything, it makes Section 31 worse: what was it doing infecting the Founders with a genocidal bioweapon when the Dominion and the Federation weren't even fighting a war?

As I said, war itself is an atrocity. Trying to make it more or less of one is frankly meaningless--it's an atrocity, no matter how you want to paint it.
That runs directly against the Just War principles that define the Federation's military policies.

Starfleet was willing to punish Worf for his destruction of a Klingon passenger ship at a time when the Federation and the Klingons were close to war; Worf was saved only when it turned out that there were no passengers on board.

Section 31's actions fall squarely outside the realm of the acceptable, in doing immoral and illegal things which place the Federation at risk of involvement in apocalyptic wars triggered by Federation operatives operating without anyone's consent. How is this going to work in its favour?
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Old March 24 2011, 07:29 PM   #464
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Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

rfmcdpei wrote: View Post
Rush Limborg wrote: View Post
rfmcdpei wrote: View Post

The Soviets would be able to determine a fair number of things. Leaving circumstantial evidence aside, it's fairly trivial to determine, by the precise mixtures of isotopes left behind, which facility manufactured a weapon--The Sum of All Fears made use of that, if you're a Clancy fan.

There's also capability. Only a few states are capable of making nuclear weapons. (The terrorists in that Clancy novel "cheated" by salvaging a lost Israeli warhead.) Taking this over to the Star Trek context, only a few polities had the knowledge of Founder genetic coding necessary to make a lethal bioweapon.
Ah...are we talking about the same thing? Because it had sounded like you were discussing these rogues blowing up Soviet nuclear arsenals.
The idiom I was using--"a Cold War-era anti-Communist terrorist group running through the Soviet sphere of influence setting off tactical nukes"--was fairly clear and seems to have been understood by other people.

For the purposes of the discussion, the distinction that you introduced between "setting off non-Soviet-made nuclear weapons in the Soviet sphere of influence" and "setting off Soviet-made nuclear weapons in the Soviet sphere of influence" is a non-starter: nuclear weapons are being set off, regardless.
But you noted that the Soviets would suspect the US because of the technology needed for nukes. If the rogues were simply blowing up the Soviet's own nukes, it would look like what it probably was: anti-Communist rebels.

And past a certain point the United States just wouldn't be believed.
Again, the "free world"--and the UN--has a tendency to give opposing nations against the free world the benefit of the doubt in such matters--accepting that it was a rougue group.

In "Zero Sum Game", for purposes of peace, the diplomatic channels accepted that 1) the thieves of the slipstram drive were working without the sanction of the Breen government; and that 2) there were no legit Federation spys working to stop the Breen research project, and the Aventine really was trying to save the station--it just got there too late.

Bringing this back to the discussion about Section 31, its use of genocidal tactics against civilizations inclined to respond in kind is problematic enough. Its use of genocidal tactics without Federation policymakers' involvement is another thing entirely. Section 31 is quite capable of triggering an apocalyptic conflict without any legitimate decision-makers wanting to fight such a war.
Capable, yes. Whether they would do it or not is another matter. Again, by the final battle, the Dominion did not have the resources to fight such a conflict.

The allies flew to Cardassia fully expecting a full-scale battle--with the Cardassian and Breen fleets on the Dominion's side--and they were also expecting to win.

Um, cite? The genocide of the Cardassians on their homeworld certainly happened--upwards of a billion dead--and the people involved saw a Dominion refusal to surrender as potentially catastrophic for everyone.
My line of reasoning before that line:

Rush Limborg wrote: View Post
As you said, the Breen and the Cardassians abandoning the Dominion left them vulnerable--and frankly, the F.C. was all but out of resources. The allies were certainly prepared for a full-scale battle (that was what they were expecting)--and with the Cardassians now on their side, and the Breen retreating, the odds skyrocketed even futher in their favor.
Moving along--

Rush Limborg wrote: View Post
As for 31, it's worth noting that the Founders had obviously had the virus since before the wormhole was mined--they were probably infected in "Broken Link". (Oh, the irony....)

The fact that the virus wasn't activated until Season 7 implies that 31 waited until what they felt was the opportune moment--probably, when the Dominion felt the full effects of the Romulans joining the Allies.
Was there evidence that the morphogenic virus needed a trigger?
The fact that it wasn't activated for years.

This doesn't make Section 31 any better. If anything, it makes Section 31 worse: what was it doing infecting the Founders with a genocidal bioweapon when the Dominion and the Federation weren't even fighting a war?
Yes, they were--just not a full-scale one. Recall "Homefront" and "Paradise Lost", the Klingon saga with the Martok-changeling (who was around since "Way of the Warrior"), etc.

In all those episodes, the Dominoon took actions intending to completely de-stablilize the Alpha and Beta Quadrants. In "Homefront/Paradise", in particular, they intended to bring Earth to destruction through implosion.

To paraphrase the 9/11 Commission Report, "They were at war with us. We weren't at war with them."

As I said, war itself is an atrocity. Trying to make it more or less of one is frankly meaningless--it's an atrocity, no matter how you want to paint it.
That runs directly against the Just War principles that define the Federation's military policies.
Principles which frankly need a lot of looking over. The Just War theory is good--in theory. However, many times, for the reasons I have stated, it's impractical and self-defeating.

Starfleet was willing to punish Worf for his destruction of a Klingon passenger ship at a time when the Federation and the Klingons were close to war; Worf was saved only when it turned out that there were no passengers on board.
And under normal circumstances, I would say Starfleet was wrong to be so willing. Of course, their reasons in that instance was that they were doing whatever was necessary to keep a war from breaking out.

Section 31's actions fall squarely outside the realm of the acceptable, in doing immoral and illegal things which place the Federation at risk of involvement in apocalyptic wars triggered by Federation operatives operating without anyone's consent. How is this going to work in its favour?
Obviously, the Section 31 agents in custody would be convicted--for the same reasons Starfleet was willing to convict Worf. It would be doing what would be necessary to maintain plausible deniability--and with it, the peace.
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Old March 24 2011, 07:30 PM   #465
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Re: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts Of Empire review thread

Mr. Laser Beam wrote: View Post
Rush Limborg wrote: View Post
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.
The fact that there was only one salt vampire left, is secondary. The use of the word 'genocide' implies deliberate, malicious intent.

If there is a creature who is trying to kill you, and you kill IT before it can, that is not genocide. It's pure, absolute self defense, which is everyone's right.

If, however, you say "I hate this race and want to wipe it out on general principles" and you do so, THAT is genocide.

To put it another way: If there had been other salt vampires in existence at the end of this episode, McCoy would not have hunted them all down to extinction. He killed this one because it was trying to kill Kirk. End of story.
There is nothing you say here that I disagree with.
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