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Old April 1 2013, 09:17 AM   #31
Timo
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Re: Star Fleet and Genocide

I am pretty sure killing a single being is not considered genocide in the same way as killing millions of people is.
In theory, killing millions of people is never genocide - you'd need to kill billions (that is, all people everywhere) to actually commit genocide against the genus H. sapiens. What people are hot and bothered about today is the murdering of a culture or a population, a subgroup of this planetwide genus of sentients.

However, the word is thrown around pretty casually both today and in Trek. And it is in the Trek context that the actual size of a genus can vary considerably. Here on Earth, there's only one genus anybody cares about; in Trek, there are hundreds, perhaps thousands. Some species, cultures or populations are really small and powerful, a rare case on Earth where small groups are frequently snuffed out of existence and nobody cares because there's no power associated with them. Some are vast and powerless, much as with the bisons on Earth.

Whichever way you look at it, genocide as a crime is not a potent charge in the Trek context. Anybody can come and claim "I'm the only Bolian-Kressari-Suliban-Gerbil hybrid currently in existence, so by killing me you commit genocide, nyah nyah!".

As regards the bioweapon against the Founders,

working on some sort of WMD as a contingency plan
is fine, but indeed

The question is whether the Founders were worth preserving
because

with the Federation withholding the cure until they had a promise of peace in place
the only thing they achieved was a brief respite. That is, they made the initial attack against the Alpha Quadrant stop, but at a cost that may have been too high to pay: now the Founders know for a fact that the Federation must be exterminated without mercy. Previously, they might merely have believed that an orderly assimilation into the Dominion at a pace of their choosing would take care of the potential threat.

The blackmail plan was tactically sound. Strategically it failed to achieve final or even particularly lasting victory, and made matters much worse in the long term. Now it's a fight to the death, and the UFP has already played its trump card.

Timo Saloniemi
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Old April 1 2013, 11:30 AM   #32
Shawnster
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Re: Star Fleet and Genocide

Starfleet has been about MAD (Mutually Assured Destruction, for you kids) and scorched-earth for over 100 years.


General Order 24: An order to destroy all life on an entire planet. This order has been given by Captain Garth (Antos IV) and Captain Kirk (Eminiar VII). On neither occasion was the order actually fulfilled. (TOS: "Whom Gods Destroy", "A Taste of Armageddon")
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Old April 1 2013, 03:37 PM   #33
sonak
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Re: Star Fleet and Genocide

Timo wrote: View Post
I am pretty sure killing a single being is not considered genocide in the same way as killing millions of people is.
In theory, killing millions of people is never genocide - you'd need to kill billions (that is, all people everywhere) to actually commit genocide against the genus H. sapiens. What people are hot and bothered about today is the murdering of a culture or a population, a subgroup of this planetwide genus of sentients.

However, the word is thrown around pretty casually both today and in Trek. And it is in the Trek context that the actual size of a genus can vary considerably. Here on Earth, there's only one genus anybody cares about; in Trek, there are hundreds, perhaps thousands. Some species, cultures or populations are really small and powerful, a rare case on Earth where small groups are frequently snuffed out of existence and nobody cares because there's no power associated with them. Some are vast and powerless, much as with the bisons on Earth.

Whichever way you look at it, genocide as a crime is not a potent charge in the Trek context. Anybody can come and claim "I'm the only Bolian-Kressari-Suliban-Gerbil hybrid currently in existence, so by killing me you commit genocide, nyah nyah!".

As regards the bioweapon against the Founders,

working on some sort of WMD as a contingency plan
is fine, but indeed

The question is whether the Founders were worth preserving
because

with the Federation withholding the cure until they had a promise of peace in place
the only thing they achieved was a brief respite. That is, they made the initial attack against the Alpha Quadrant stop, but at a cost that may have been too high to pay: now the Founders know for a fact that the Federation must be exterminated without mercy. Previously, they might merely have believed that an orderly assimilation into the Dominion at a pace of their choosing would take care of the potential threat.

The blackmail plan was tactically sound. Strategically it failed to achieve final or even particularly lasting victory, and made matters much worse in the long term. Now it's a fight to the death, and the UFP has already played its trump card.

Timo Saloniemi
eh? Is this bizarro world logic? The Soviets and the US both openly talked about MAD during the Cold War, and that conflict ended peacefully. The Germans engaged in attempted genocide against the Jews during WWII. Does that mean that the Jews should have realized that it was necessary to carry on a war against Germany after WWII was over because the Germans had shown how dangerous they could be?(I suppose this could go for the Slavs or any group hit particularly hard by the Nazi regime)
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Old April 1 2013, 06:12 PM   #34
BillJ
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Re: Star Fleet and Genocide

Timo wrote: View Post

The blackmail plan was tactically sound. Strategically it failed to achieve final or even particularly lasting victory, and made matters much worse in the long term. Now it's a fight to the death, and the UFP has already played its trump card.
Or like with the Klingons. The Federation and Dominion find common ground on which to build a relationship?

And just because they UFP played a trump card, doesn't mean they don't have any more in their deck or have quit working on developing more.
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Old April 1 2013, 07:48 PM   #35
Timo
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Re: Star Fleet and Genocide

eh? Is this bizarro world logic?
The only bizarro world would be the one where all conflicts are one and the same and end the same way...

The Soviets and the US both openly talked about MAD during the Cold War, and that conflict ended peacefully.
So, nothing at all in common with the case at hand, in which one side gave away its one and only trump card and can never use it again. Not to mention the two sides engaged in actual war here, using the weapon mentioned above, while the US and the USSR never did.

The Germans engaged in attempted genocide against the Jews during WWII. Does that mean that the Jews should have realized that it was necessary to carry on a war against Germany after WWII was over because the Germans had shown how dangerous they could be?
Well, Germany was totally defeated, unable to militarily resist even a sufficiently big mob of Jews with torches and pitchforks. The Dominion lost no men or materiel in its conflict with the Alpha Quadrant - save for whatever it built and bred locally after the wormhole was closed, which in itself proves the Dominion can trivially outproduce the entire Alpha Quadrant.

(I suppose this could go for the Slavs or any group hit particularly hard by the Nazi regime)
And they did understand that with Germany disarmed and no longer a threat of any sort, the inheritors of German technological might across the Atlantic would be the next big threat. Which is why a conflict against those inheritors continues this very day, with thousands of nuclear warheads in readiness.

The Federation and Dominion find common ground on which to build a relationship?
What ground? The only advantage the Federation could ever have utilized to appease this paranoid superpower, their record of good manners and benevolence, was completely lost with the use of the genocidal assassination scheme. Not only is the UFP as bad as all other Solids, with whom the Dominion has never found any common ground in the past ten thousand years - it is worse.

And just because they UFP played a trump card, doesn't mean they don't have any more in their deck or have quit working on developing more.
One should hope so. But the only vulnerable part of the Dominion appears to be the Founders themselves, and the trump cards don't fit that slot any more.

Timo Saloniemi
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Old April 1 2013, 08:01 PM   #36
sonak
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Re: Star Fleet and Genocide

Timo wrote: View Post
eh? Is this bizarro world logic?
The only bizarro world would be the one where all conflicts are one and the same and end the same way...

The Soviets and the US both openly talked about MAD during the Cold War, and that conflict ended peacefully.
So, nothing at all in common with the case at hand, in which one side gave away its one and only trump card and can never use it again. Not to mention the two sides engaged in actual war here, using the weapon mentioned above, while the US and the USSR never did.



Well, Germany was totally defeated, unable to militarily resist even a sufficiently big mob of Jews with torches and pitchforks. The Dominion lost no men or materiel in its conflict with the Alpha Quadrant - save for whatever it built and bred locally after the wormhole was closed, which in itself proves the Dominion can trivially outproduce the entire Alpha Quadrant.

And they did understand that with Germany disarmed and no longer a threat of any sort, the inheritors of German technological might across the Atlantic would be the next big threat. Which is why a conflict against those inheritors continues this very day, with thousands of nuclear warheads in readiness.

The Federation and Dominion find common ground on which to build a relationship?
What ground? The only advantage the Federation could ever have utilized to appease this paranoid superpower, their record of good manners and benevolence, was completely lost with the use of the genocidal assassination scheme. Not only is the UFP as bad as all other Solids, with whom the Dominion has never found any common ground in the past ten thousand years - it is worse.

And just because they UFP played a trump card, doesn't mean they don't have any more in their deck or have quit working on developing more.
One should hope so. But the only vulnerable part of the Dominion appears to be the Founders themselves, and the trump cards don't fit that slot any more.

Timo Saloniemi

the cure wasn't their one and only trump card, if one disease could be developed, what's to stop them from developing another one? Or a weapon of a different type? Maybe a virus that attacks the Jem'Hadar?

And I still don't see why the Dominion would want to return to a war they knew they were going to lose? The virus didn't change who WON the war, it just changed the length of time and the casualties. The balance of power wasn't going to suddenly change quickly.
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Old April 1 2013, 08:17 PM   #37
Timo
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Re: Star Fleet and Genocide

the cure wasn't their one and only trump card
No - using Odo as a vector was. And with Odo gone as an option, they're left with nothing, as far as directly attacking the Founders is concerned.

Fighting a conventional war with the Dominion, even with superweapons, is not going to work, as we already saw from the minor scuffle depicted in DS9 under the title "Dominion War".

And I still don't see why the Dominion would want to return to a war they knew they were going to lose?
The only reason the Dominion lost was because it fought with a tiny beachhead force (one that was backstabbed at the final hour, too). And that one nearly did in the combined forces of the Alpha Quadrant. Imagine the Dieppe raid resulting in the collapse of Nazi Germany and Stalin's Soviet Union...

By sidestepping the annoying wormhole and simply spending seven decades sailing towards the Federation, the Dominion can deploy another such beachhead force as the first wave - followed a month later by yet another, and so on for as many months as need be. Indeed, even with Alpha in total ruins, a couple of hundred such waves will still be arriving, having left the Dominion homeland before news of the victory reached home base.

It is just as well that we never learned the terms of the treaty signed at the end of "What You Leave Behind". By all rights, it should have been a Federation unconditional surrender!

Timo Saloniemi
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Old April 1 2013, 11:27 PM   #38
sonak
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Re: Star Fleet and Genocide

Timo wrote: View Post
the cure wasn't their one and only trump card
No - using Odo as a vector was. And with Odo gone as an option, they're left with nothing, as far as directly attacking the Founders is concerned.

Fighting a conventional war with the Dominion, even with superweapons, is not going to work, as we already saw from the minor scuffle depicted in DS9 under the title "Dominion War".

And I still don't see why the Dominion would want to return to a war they knew they were going to lose?
The only reason the Dominion lost was because it fought with a tiny beachhead force (one that was backstabbed at the final hour, too). And that one nearly did in the combined forces of the Alpha Quadrant. Imagine the Dieppe raid resulting in the collapse of Nazi Germany and Stalin's Soviet Union...

By sidestepping the annoying wormhole and simply spending seven decades sailing towards the Federation, the Dominion can deploy another such beachhead force as the first wave - followed a month later by yet another, and so on for as many months as need be. Indeed, even with Alpha in total ruins, a couple of hundred such waves will still be arriving, having left the Dominion homeland before news of the victory reached home base.

It is just as well that we never learned the terms of the treaty signed at the end of "What You Leave Behind". By all rights, it should have been a Federation unconditional surrender!

Timo Saloniemi

er, that's an interesting perspective.
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Old April 1 2013, 11:32 PM   #39
BillJ
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Re: Star Fleet and Genocide

sonak wrote: View Post

er, that's an interesting perspective.
They usually are when they come from Timo!
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Old April 4 2013, 02:36 PM   #40
137th Gebirg
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Re: Star Fleet and Genocide

Shawnster wrote: View Post
Starfleet has been about MAD (Mutually Assured Destruction, for you kids) and scorched-earth for over 100 years.


General Order 24: An order to destroy all life on an entire planet. This order has been given by Captain Garth (Antos IV) and Captain Kirk (Eminiar VII). On neither occasion was the order actually fulfilled. (TOS: "Whom Gods Destroy", "A Taste of Armageddon")
Heh...you beat me to it. Yes, in extreme situations, not only is genocide sanctioned by Starfleet, it's downright policy.
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Old April 5 2013, 04:04 AM   #41
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Re: Star Fleet and Genocide

T'Girl wrote: View Post
The "right" no, but likely Humanity would have faced annihilation if the Dominion had won.
Weren't they planning that anyway? I remember a conversation of Dukat and Weyoun discussing that Earth would need to be destroyed since it would probably be the prime source of any anti-Dominion resistance long term. Dukat wanted the Federation to learn that it was wrong to oppose the Dominion, THEN exterminate Earth, if necessary.
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Old April 5 2013, 04:10 AM   #42
FKnight
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Re: Star Fleet and Genocide

I think a bizarro definition of "genocide" is being used here. It has nothing to do with the taxonomic rank of "genus". We only need to go back 69 years and ask the guy who invented the word. It's the killing of groups. While killing "all homo-sapiens" would be genocide, it is not a requirement.
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Old April 5 2013, 07:50 AM   #43
Nightdiamond
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Re: Star Fleet and Genocide

137th Gebirg wrote: View Post
Heh...you beat me to it. Yes, in extreme situations, not only is genocide sanctioned by Starfleet, it's downright policy.
Starfleet will do extreme, almost immoral things when its survival is threatened. In The Pale Moonlight is a perfect example.

Starfleet doesn't believe in orbital bombardment of cities. During the war, they kept reaching to the Dominion for peace. They most likely let the Jem Hadar and their ships return to Gamma Quadrant after the war.

Picard let the Borg go, rather than unleashing a virus that would have destroyed them, under the weak notion that Hugh's individuality would affect the Borg. But it didn't work.

All the evidence says the Federation is just too nice to ever do such a thing, but when it gets desperate or scared, they just might resort to it.

It's a case by case basis. Not always an easy solution depending on who they're dealing with.

With the Borg and the Dominion, I don't think anyone would lose a whole lot of sleep about it, except for Bashir, Picard, Beverly Crusher and some others.

The Dominion was seen attempting genocide at least 4 times already.
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Old April 5 2013, 01:16 PM   #44
Timo
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Re: Star Fleet and Genocide

I think a bizarro definition of "genocide" is being used here.
Well, it's a bizarro concept. "Killing of groups" is meaningless. If I kill two people, it's certainly a group, but is it genocide? Only if it turns out those two were the entire population of Big Purple Rock Island, or the only two followers of the Lesser Pumpkin Fairy. If I kill sixty million soldiers, is that genocide? Only if they come from an all-warrior culture and it turns out I thus killed a significant percentage of that culture.

As used since its introduction, "genocide" is a thoroughly racist term, establishing that killing is bad if it touches a "preferred" group of people. Like libel, it's one of those crimes where the defendant cannot know for certain he is committing it until the plaintiff establishes that he indeed "experienced" the offense in that particular manner...

Starfleet doesn't believe in orbital bombardment of cities.
As per GO24, it does, at least to the same degree USAF believes in the nuking of Russia. But the UFP doesn't appear to believe it needs to have Starfleet exercise that option, as far as we know.

What we know is very little, though, as we only witnessed very small and peripheral elements of the Dominion War for the most time. The one big fight involving a planet (or a pair of those, apparently) was that of Chin'toka, but we can't really tell one way or another what was going on wrt orbital bombardment. And how does beaming down Klingon troops differ from orbital bombardment in the genocide sense?

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Old April 5 2013, 10:33 PM   #45
TheRoyalFamily
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Re: Star Fleet and Genocide

Nightdiamond wrote: View Post

Starfleet will do extreme, almost immoral things when its survival is threatened. In The Pale Moonlight is a perfect example.
Starfleet didn't sanction killing the senator, just forging the record. That other bit was all Garak; I doubt Sisko told Starfleet about that part, considering the end of the episode.
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