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Old February 16 2013, 10:16 PM   #91
Edit_XYZ
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Re: Section 31...

Sci wrote: View Post
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."
An army of crazed killing machines bent of revenge is far LESS dangerous - both tactically and strategically - than an army of disciplined killing machines, obeying a long-term strategic vision which includes numerous genocides/conquest/genetic slavery/etc, etc.

The former is a pack of locusts - destructive, but transitory.
The latter is a meat grinding machine which will cause death and suffering for millenia - with impunity.

No, not "unaccountability." Unaccountability, full stop, no quotation marks. Defiance of the law. Criminality.
The law is not always equal to morality; or the actions that save the most lives/freedoms.
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Old February 17 2013, 12:01 AM   #92
Mr. Laser Beam
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Re: Section 31...

Edit_XYZ wrote: View Post
The law is not always equal to morality; or the actions that save the most lives/freedoms.
When the law is followed, there are checks and balances put in place. The possibility of abuse of power is minimized (if not eliminated) when there is absolute law, and accountability, and oversight. Remove those things, and you are left with Section 31, which literally does whatever it wants, when it wants. That is extremely dangerous.

And just because an action that is illegal might save more lives than one which is legal, doesn't make it right. You can't reduce democracy to a numbers game.
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Old February 17 2013, 12:55 AM   #93
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Re: Section 31...

Edit_XYZ wrote: View Post
Sci wrote: View Post
No, not "unaccountability." Unaccountability, full stop, no quotation marks. Defiance of the law. Criminality.
The law is not always equal to morality; or the actions that save the most lives/freedoms.
The law is not a sufficient condition for institutional morality, but it is a necessary condition for institutional morality. An institution that acts outside the law and outside of the authority of the democratically-elected government -- and therefore outside of the authority of the people -- is inherently corrupt and cannot help but to be so.
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Old February 17 2013, 01:14 AM   #94
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Re: Section 31...

Mr. Laser Beam wrote: View Post
And just because an action that is illegal might save more lives than one which is legal, doesn't make it right.
It does make it right. That scenario makes the illegal act the correct one, and the legal act the incorrect one.

Laws exist to serve the needs of the society, and to protect that society. Society should not be expected to experience damage, because of laws.

However, if upholding the law takes priority over saving the greater number of lives, preventing destruction of even more property, and possibly ending freedom in general, then by all means place legalities first.

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Old February 17 2013, 01:28 AM   #95
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Re: Section 31...

T'Girl wrote: View Post
Mr. Laser Beam wrote: View Post
And just because an action that is illegal might save more lives than one which is legal, doesn't make it right.
It does make it right. That scenario makes the illegal act the correct one, and the legal act the incorrect one.
By that logic, a nation that seeks to ensure that none of their citizens will ever die as a result of foreign aggression by committing genocide against all foreign nation is doing the "correct" thing.

Laws exist to serve the needs of the society,
No, more. They exist to create society. A society without laws is like a house without a roof.

Society should not be expected to experience damage, because of laws.
It should if it is a society dedicated to a higher ideal than mere survival.

However, if upholding the law takes priority over saving the greater number of lives, preventing destruction of even more property, and possibly ending freedom in general, then by all means place legalities first.
Except that by defying the concept of rule of law, Section 31 is by definition a threat to freedom, to saving lives, and to preventing destruction. These things cannot exist without the rule of law; Section 31 places itself above the rule of law and therefore threatens them.

Also, side note:

There is no evidence whatsoever that any Section 31 operations have ever enhanced Federation (or, before the UFP, United Earth) security. By contrast, the two largest Section 31 operations canonically established (the Founder virus and the abduction of Phlox to aid in formulating a cure to the Klingon Augment virus) demonstrably eroded U.E. and UFP security (the former, by prompting the Female Shapeshifter to order a Phyrric victory for the Allies at the Battle of Cardassia and the extermination of the Cardassian species; the latter, by almost leading to the destruction of Enterprise NX-01 and Columbia NX-02 by Klingon treachery).
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Old February 17 2013, 01:44 AM   #96
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Re: Section 31...

I'm not quite sure what the discussion is about. It's obvious that Section 31 was supposed to exist as stated, complete with awesome powers.

The story logic gives credit for victory in the Dominion War to Section 31 even while some scenes also suggests that Odo and Sisko's "sacrifice" were responsible for victory. Similarly the story logic and the oft-repeated theme about saints in paradise determined that Section 31's methods were a necessity (possibly tragic,) while some scenes showed a few of the more idealistic characters held that they were excesses that should be stopped...after this particular mission, of course.

There isn't sufficient detail, despite all those hours of episodes, to decide the issues associated wtih Section 31 by objective (in-universe, at least) facts. This is intentional, I'd say, a way of dodging the issue. You can present your characters as people who don't think their villains and give them their say. Neither the show nor the viewers are required to accept their rationalizations, only their humanity in clinging to them. That is, if you accept that their is such a thing as objective truth, which quite a few don't.

Since there's nothing really valid to say about the issue in the series' terms, we can only compare things to the real world. Some people believe that empire is good, that the natural state of humanity is war and therefore that Section 31 is fundamentally a good. (Again, possibly tragic according to the sentimentality of their personal tastes.)

My take is that empire is not a good, much less a necessity. Nor do I accept that the human condition is war.

Further, the absurd powers attributed to Section 31 falsely equate acceptance of both these reactionary propositions with a choice between life and death. One of the prime functions of civilization is to give us collectively the power to live without internecine violence. In the real world, the contributions of intelligence agencies is highly debatable. And the contribution of covert ops (which is what Section 31 really does,) is entirely negative. Covert ops are war, and war is no longer a necessity, but a crime.
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Old February 17 2013, 02:55 AM   #97
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Re: Section 31...

All you section 31 supporters do realize that the justification you are using to support them is the same one the changelings used to found the dominion?

They believe, in the interest of their security, that they are justified in doing whatever it takes to safeguard themselves. It does not matter who they have to kill or how many races they have to genocide. As long as the end result is their safety and security then it is the right thing to do.

Sound familiar? The dominion believes what it is doing is the right thing to safeguard themselves. Just like section 31. Are you 31 supporters sure you're not dominion agents?
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Old February 17 2013, 07:07 AM   #98
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Re: Section 31...

I'm not going to dig through the whole thread...but that 'OMGGENOCIDE thing' is just moralistic claptrap. Let's say Starfleet discovered the location of the New Founder planet while at the same time developing an advanced cloak. Am I to believe that Starfleet should surround the planet with a fleet and then demand the Founders surrender?

And are the Feds so naive/lacking in Intelligence as to not know that the Founders have no problem with genocide and are more than willing to do so to win this war that they have very nearly won more than once? And it's not like there are civilan Founders. Deciding to kill the Founders should easily carry more moral weight than bombing a city. Or blowing up a garrison.

The point of war is to win. Especially a war as uncomplicated as the one against The Founders. And all this angst over wiping them out is moral bedwetting. It really only makes sense if there ARE civilan/innocent Founders. And for the sake of this argument we will assume there arn't since we never heard a thing about "Oh, you know...many of my people did not want war with the Alpha Quadrant."
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Old February 17 2013, 07:14 AM   #99
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Re: Section 31...

[QUOTE=The Wormhole;7687822]But Sloan's only real interest with DS9 was with Dr Bashir, why would he be tailing Sisko and Odo two years before he began pursuing Bashir?

How does one keep a cabal larger than three secret for centuries? It's not possible.
Bashir said it would take some 76 people to create the Founder Virus. He even said something along the lines of, "Can you imagine the level of consipricy to keep that silent"

The only way Section 31 works is if you think of them as Masons. That's how their secrets are kept.
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Old February 17 2013, 08:13 AM   #100
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Re: Section 31...

Dale Sams, you are using the same justification the founders use to protect themselves from the 'evil' solids. To them there is no such thing as a 'civilian' solid. They see all solids as having the potential to hurt them just as you are saying all changelings have the potential to hurt solids.

Can't you see that what you are saying makes you just as bad as them? Genocide is evil and wrong when the founders do it, but its the right thing to do if humans do. Because we're the 'good guys' so anything we do is 'right'. After all we are just protecting ourselves, not like those evil founders.
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Old February 17 2013, 09:31 AM   #101
Edit_XYZ
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Re: Section 31...

EnterpriseClass wrote: View Post
All you section 31 supporters do realize that the justification you are using to support them is the same one the changelings used to found the dominion?

They believe, in the interest of their security, that they are justified in doing whatever it takes to safeguard themselves. It does not matter who they have to kill or how many races they have to genocide. As long as the end result is their safety and security then it is the right thing to do.

Sound familiar?
What you presented is a straw-man.
Sci wrote pretty much the same thing in his previous post.

Why is it a straw-man?
Because the federation, other races/other countries do NOT act with blatant aggressivity to reduce the founders/your country to slavery. And it is quite unlikely that they will act so.
Meaning, genocide-level response is not necessary in order to guarantee your freedoms/the lives of billions of your citizens. Consequently, such a response is utterly unjustified; as such, utterly immoral.

In the case of DS9 (the situation you distorted with your straw-man comparison):
The dominion/founders most definitely acted blatantly aggressively to reduce the gamma and alpha quadrants to slavery - and genocide was one of their standard methods of operation in achieving this goal.
Further, 10000 years of dominion history showed that the chance of the founders stopping from this endeavor is practically zero - as long as they exist.
Meaning, in order to stop the founders - the great link, the de jure/de facto head of the dominion meat grinding machine - killing most of the shapeshifting race is necessary; there is no other option for stopping them with a significant chance of succeeding.
There is the small chance that the founders will change their ways by some other means, but, as said, winning the lottery is more probable; and if you are idiotic enough to base your acts on faith in such improbabilities, your civilization and all it achieved will disappear, and very soon - the universe is not forgiving to suicidal fools.
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Last edited by Edit_XYZ; February 17 2013 at 09:44 AM.
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Old February 17 2013, 11:48 AM   #102
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Re: Section 31...

Sci wrote: View Post

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.
It was the sabotage caused by Damar that led to the Founder ordering the attacks on Cardassia. She wasn't mad with grief over the disease, she was PO'd about the betrayal by the Cardassians. If the Federation fleet had arrived and Odo made the offer of the cure before Damar could act it's possible that the Dominion would have surrendered without killing all those Cardassians.
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Old February 17 2013, 12:24 PM   #103
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Re: Section 31...

EnterpriseClass wrote: View Post
They believe, in the interest of their security, that they are justified in doing whatever it takes to safeguard themselves.
Correction, the Federation's security, and safeguard the Federation.

It does not matter who they have to kill or how many races they have to genocide.
And yet in spite of your contention, S31 never "genocided" the Romulans or the Klingons, the Klingons especially were a long time treat and opponent of the Federation. The 22nd century verison of S31 took steps to stabilize the Klingon Empire.

When the Federation was fighting a protracted boarder war with the Cardassians, S31 never "genocided" the Cardassians. There is no canon evidence that S31 goes around haphazardly killing people.

Sci wrote: View Post
By that logic, a nation that seeks to ensure that none of their citizens will ever die as a result of foreign aggression by committing genocide against all foreign nation is doing the "correct" thing.
But only if that foreign aggressor is actually going to be (or currently is) killing the nation's people, enslaving them, or is physically destroying the nation itself. Only if that foreign aggressor has credibly the mean to be that level of threat.

If a foreign nation of a hundred million, has a core group of say a thousand people, whose actions and decisions are actively killing your nations people, yes you should (as a nation) be able to genocide that core group of a thousand people, to safeguard your own nation's people.

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Old February 17 2013, 02:38 PM   #104
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Re: Section 31...

Section 31 was portrayed as having extraordinary powers so that its methods could be portrayed as being a genuine choice between life and death. Section 31 means life while ideals mean dying for them. The very possibility that living morally is a means to a fuller, happier and longer life is foreclosed as unimaginable. This says more about the writers as people than it does about the human condition.

The retorts above emphasizing the awesome power of the Dominion and the essential identity of all Founders as a single (im)moral agent, the Great Link, merely replicate the same kind of distortion. It would have helped if Star Trek had a greater emphasis on science. Being soft SF, Trek could conceive such absurdities as space war, interstellar empires, programmed loyalty in intelligent beings and so forth. The existential threat posed by the Dominion is Nonsense Taken Seriously. Perhaps getting all solemn and pompous adds to the entertainment value? Hard to imagine but tastes do vary.

But even if so, such foolish premises make the storyline irrelevant as a commentary on the human condition. There is no eternal empire, no monolithic ruling class, no military threat so grave that genocide is both justified and possible. By the way, the importance and relevance of simple physical possibility is sadly underrated. In practice, any storyline playing with genocide is bascially arguing that there is some dreadful enemy in real life against whom "we" must exercise merciless violence, in self defense of course. All the absurd powers imputed to the SF versions are mere expressions of hysteria about the RL foes.

Off hand, the only possible exception I can think of is the extermination of the Ori in Stargate SG-1. Although that series was very pro-military, the extermination of real "gods" also functions as a call for extremely practical atheism!
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Old February 17 2013, 02:53 PM   #105
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Re: Section 31...

Why did a super-secret covert organisation have a uniform - one that lasted for over two hundreds years? Nobody noticed that in lots of hot political situations, people in the same uniforms kept turning up?
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