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Star Trek Movies XI+ Discuss J.J. Abrams' rebooted Star Trek here.

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Old July 5 2013, 03:43 AM   #226
Greg Cox
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Re: Scotty and his military comment

Crazy Eddie wrote: View Post
As I mentioned earlier, the primary advantage of not defining Starfleet -- or, if you must, defining it as a non-military organization -- is because it makes those kinds of stories easier to tell. The writer doesn't have to actually know anything about standard military procedures or the reasons behind them, and even if he does, wouldn't have to consult an expert on anything he doesn't. When the question comes up "How would Stafleet Command react to this?" you don't have to respect the real-world parameters of military discipline any more than you want to; you can discard what is inconvenient and invent what seems more interesting.
Well,I think the fact that we're in space in the 23rd century gives writers a certain amount of wiggle room. Nobody expects Starfleet to have precisely the same protocols or regulations as, say, the U.S. Navy. It's not like you're writing a Tom Clancy book or something. Plus, of course, you've got nearly fifty years of movies and scripts to emulate if you want to get the tone and the jargon right . . . .
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Old July 5 2013, 03:46 AM   #227
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Re: Scotty and his military comment

Belz... wrote: View Post
Don't you know it's bad form to turn someone's arguments around rather than address it ?
Don't you know it's bad form for the pot to call the kettle black?

I don't care one way or another about the military status of Starfleet, but the evidence is that there is no other such organisation within the Federation...
Even assuming the Federation even NEEDS an official military organization -- an assumption that is far from justified -- your argument roughly boils down to "Starfleet is the closest thing we've seen to it."

As if "Starfleet is the closest thing we've seen to a military organization" was ever in dispute...

That you see this as some sort of dogma...
It's an attempt to handwave out of existence a stated fact that clashes with your personal preconceptions. Put simply, the main characters in TNG said "Starfleet is not a military organization," a sentiment which was recently echoed in STID. You, for whatever reason, found these references disturbing, and you are performing an impressive bit of mental gymnastics to circumvent these references altogether.

So you appear to be demonstrating a strong bias. I call it like I see it.

First, I don't know why you're trying to pit one against the other since they lived in different eras, and the statements we're talking about weren't uttered by Cartwright.
Cartwright: "I must protest! To offer Klingons safe haven within Federation space is suicide, Klingons would become the alien trash of the galaxy. And if we dismantle the fleet, we'll be defenseless before an aggressive species with a foothold on our territory. The opportunity here is to bring them to their knees. Then we'll be in a far better position to dictate terms."

The first officer was presenting a strawman argument in the form of a loaded question. Cartwright was the only one who suggested -- not ASKED -- that it was even a possibility. You may have also noticed the "offering Klingons safe haven" is likewise a strawman; nobody was proposing THAT either.

Second, they are both Starfleet officers, and I'd wager that the admiral has more experience and knowledge of the inner workings of Starfleet than a captain.
It's not his knowledge that's at issue here. A man who is literally just a couple of days away from committing high treason against his own government probably isn't in a very rational state of mind. If his rant against the Klingons is any indication, he's already coming unglued before the meeting even starts.

You simply _agree_ with Picard, which doesn't make him right.
More importantly, I BELIEVE Picard, because he is known to be truthful and sincere, and because he has been entrusted to command the most powerful starship in the Federation, a responsibility that implies a very high level of competence.

I don't believe Cartwright, because in addition to the obvious fact that "dismantle the fleet" is a strawman against disarmament, Cartwright turned out to be a treasonous backstabber directly responsible for a series of murders, mostly of his own people.

Basically, in a disagreement between "Decorated officer with impeccable reputation" and "Incompetent traitor" I feel more confident siding with the former, not the latter.

Third, Picard isn't implying that Starfleet's only founding principle was finding new life
If Starfleet had OTHER founding principles, now is your chance to cite them.
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Old July 5 2013, 04:22 AM   #228
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Re: Scotty and his military comment

Crazy Eddie wrote: View Post
Belz... wrote: View Post
Don't you know it's bad form to turn someone's arguments around rather than address it ?
Don't you know it's bad form for the pot to call the kettle black?
Cut it out, both of you.
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Old July 5 2013, 10:48 AM   #229
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Re: Scotty and his military comment

Ok back to disspassionate debating.

Crazy Eddie wrote: View Post
Even assuming the Federation even NEEDS an official military organization -- an assumption that is far from justified
Well it needs armed forces for sure. It has hostile Romulans and Cardassians and Sheliak and Tzenkethi and Tholians and so on, all around it, and even the Klingons wouldn't mind breaking their alliance if they could just nab the Federation, I think.

-- your argument roughly boils down to "Starfleet is the closest thing we've seen to it."
Slight correction: it's the only thing we've seen that corresponds to the definition of military. We seem to be in agreement on this:

As if "Starfleet is the closest thing we've seen to a military organization" was ever in dispute...
...so I don't understand why we're still arguing.

Put simply, the main characters in TNG said "Starfleet is not a military organization," a sentiment which was recently echoed in STID. You, for whatever reason, found these references disturbing
Not disturbing. I found them in contradiction with a larger body of evidence.

Cartwright: "I must protest! To offer Klingons safe haven within Federation space is suicide, Klingons would become the alien trash of the galaxy. And if we dismantle the fleet, we'll be defenseless before an aggressive species with a foothold on our territory.
So in other words it wasn't a strawman and they are actually discussing dismantling the fleet. I believe that makes my point.

More importantly, I BELIEVE Picard, because he is known to be truthful and sincere, and because he has been entrusted to command the most powerful starship in the Federation, a responsibility that implies a very high level of competence.
It's not a matter of believing the character's sincerity. People can be sincere and yet still wrong.

If Starfleet had OTHER founding principles, now is your chance to cite them.
I have done so already. We've mentioned the line from The Doomstay Machine, by Decker Sr.
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Old July 5 2013, 01:58 PM   #230
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Re: Scotty and his military comment

Obviously Starfleet is a military organisation.

Its organisational structure mimics (if not exactly copies) Earth military structures. It has
officers, enlisted people, uniforms, people say yes sir and no sir to each other and salute.

If it looks like a duck and talks like a duck is it not a duck?

What I believe Scotty is saying (while knowing he is in the military) is are they going to go on military missions from now on, is the war (presumably with the Klingons) about to start? He's hoping or been led to believe that they'll be going on missions of discovery, or rescue, and so on, not ones with secret missions with illegal weapons on board.

If Picard said Starfleet is not a miltary operation then I think military means something different in the 24th century. He's in charge of a vessel that can destroy or save planets at the whim of an admiral.
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Old July 5 2013, 02:49 PM   #231
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Re: Scotty and his military comment

Whichever side of the argument though, we have conclusive proof on screen and in dialogue that BOTH viewpoints are correct!

Starfleet could well be "military", but the definition is completely different to what we, in 2013, would recognise.

The Royal Navy of the 1700s was both a military organisation, responsible for the defending of the British Empire and war/conquest if required, but also for exploration. Captain Cook, the HMS Bounty and even the later voyages of the HMS Beagle attest to that. This is the closest HISTORICAL equivalent we have to Starfleet, but depending on the era (and the episode/movie plot) the priority, either military or exploration/scientific, flip/flops as required.
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Old July 5 2013, 05:59 PM   #232
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Re: Scotty and his military comment

solariabsg25 wrote: View Post
The argument of the Marcus's would seem to indicate that the military and scientific "sides" of Starfleet did not always see eye-to eye, the scientific side wanting more labs on ships, the military wanting more phaser banks and photon torpedo stocks. The "kept the peace" line probably indicates that the two viewpoints reached a compromise that was acceptable to both.
No their argument was about Reliant coming to seize Genesis and whether Starfleet was using them to build a weapon of mass destruction or not.

Crazy Eddie wrote: View Post
And even Starfleet's shooting wars have historically been resolved through clever application of science and trickery. We like to forget that the entire Dominion war was rendered basically irrelevant by Section 31's Changeling Plague and that the Dominion only surrendered in the first place because Odo offered a cure in exchange for a truce; if he hadn't, the Changelings would have simply died and the leaderless Jem'hadar and Vorta would have committed mass suicide.
Last time I checked biological warfare was still a military thing and this was carried out by a terrorist organization, and all the virus did was end the war without the Dominion going out in the blaze of glory.

Seriously what is it about people not getting that Starfleet was at the freaking doorstep. The war was pretty much over at that point the virus just made the Founders decide on fighting to the last man instead of just giving up.

And Starfleet got to that point through military tactics not using fancy science equipment.
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Old July 5 2013, 07:44 PM   #233
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Re: Scotty and his military comment

Hartzilla2007 wrote: View Post

And Starfleet got to that point through military tactics not using fancy science equipment.
And some massive intervention from the Prophets.
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Old July 6 2013, 02:50 AM   #234
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Re: Scotty and his military comment

CommishSleer wrote: View Post
Obviously Starfleet is a military organisation.

Its organisational structure mimics (if not exactly copies) Earth military structures. It has
officers, enlisted people, uniforms, people say yes sir and no sir to each other and salute.

If it looks like a duck and talks like a duck is it not a duck?
Two different present-day real world examples have already been provided for organizations that are militarily structured and/or serve some military purposes without themselves being militaries: NOAA and Japan's Self Defense Forces. This is not to suggest that Starfleet is necessarily the same as either of these organizations (though there may be similarities) but it demonstrates that the premise "it looks and acts like a military, ergo it is one" is readily falsifiable.

And by the way, apropos of both your comment and those of others with reference to how SF was envisioned during the production of TOS, this is what the series guide for writers and directors said as of April 1967:

Is the starship U.S.S. Enterprise a military vessel?

Yes, but only semi-military in practice -- omitting features which are heavily authoritarian. For example, we are not aware of "officers" and "enlisted men" categories. And we avoid saluting and other annoying medieval leftovers. On the other hand, we do keep a flavor of Naval usage and terminology to help encourage believability and identification by the audience. After all, our own Navy today still retains remnants of tradition known to Nelson and Drake.
So yes, it is more or less correct to say that SF was "in the beginning" envisioned as military, but not without caveats. (I am leaving aside the fact that they didn't really decide right from the beginning what organization our heroes worked for, it being called various names in early episodes, including one that at least sounds distinctly civilian: the United Earth Space Probe Agency.)

In the movies, beginning with TWOK, creative control and production changed over into new hands, Meyer's and Bennett's, and a conscious choice was made to portray SF as more martial. When TNG began, Roddenberry and others went the opposite direction, partly to directly contrast with the choices made by Meyer and Bennett, which Roddenberry felt to be too militaristic. TUC, made after TNG had already been on for several years and gained wide popularity and cultural currency, was in many respects designed to "connect the dots" and show people how the world of the 23rd century morphed into the world of the 24th. Thus, we see Kirk and company struggling to adapt to a changing political situation with the Klingons and a corresponding shift in Starfleet's roles, and ultimately bowing out to pass the torch to the next generation.

After Roddenberry's departure, his hand-picked successor Berman continued at the reins, for his part mainly holding to Roddenberry's directives, but allowing DS9 and VGR to break out of the box because they dealt with main characters of mixed affiliations in remote settings and under unique pressures that made such deviations from "the vision" plausible and sensible. Later still, we got ENT, which elaborated on the early days of Starfleet (early being a relative term, as it was also indicated that SF had already been around for two decades prior to the time frame of the show) and the events that led to the founding of the UFP. Now, Abrams and his writers are at the helm and they obviously are walking a fine line between going their own direction and staying generally consistent with what's come before.

Belz... wrote: View Post
The Mighty Monkey of Mim wrote: View Post
Not really, because again, at its foundation Starfleet is a scientific and exploratory program.
Wait, how the hell do you know that ? Isn't that the whole question of the thread ?

His reply is a sideways way of saying they were going to get back to what they were really supposed to be doing and shed the excess built up in response to a threat that would no longer be posed by the Klingons.
Speculation.
You are of course right that I am to a degree speculating in interpreting the evidence, which is at times contradictory, and my conclusions are not the only possible or plausible ones. I said as much upthread and really, I thought that to be understood in the context of discussing a fictional TV/film franchise that someone comes along and to one extent or another remakes in his own image every decade or so. Any attempt to fit it all together requires some amount of conjecture.

No, this thread was not started to ask or answer this question and the original poster said this explicitly in his initial post. Nevertheless, it obviously has become the dominant area of discussion, apparently because it's a topic that lends itself to philosophical rumination and to debate, at times provoking marked contention and circular argument, which seems to be where we are at this point.

Anyone's supposition of what a character was going to say but didn't is of course pure speculation, but I suggest you revisit the film and reexamine its plot and theme to see if you really think the concerns of those characters were supposed to be seen as warranted, because when put in context of the story and the ultimate outcome, it's clear to me that they were not. Why you would view the alarmists and conspirators who are the villains in this film (or the jaded whelp who spews hostility toward SF in TWOK) as being more trustworthy than the respected protagonists of TNG and ENT, I do not understand.

In any case, while recognizing that this constitutes a tu quoque, you are doing the same thing of which you are accusing others by ignoring the multiple statements made by Picard, Forrest, et al, that indicate SF is not a military organization. If you want to just dismiss them and say they were wrong, I think you need to offer some kind of evidence that comes from within and is supported by the relevant story.

Saying Picard is an idealist is not good enough; he certainly is, but this alone does not mean we shouldn't believe him when he states a fact. (Besides, Kirk is an idealist too, or have you forgotten how every other episode of TOS featured him making a paternalistic speech about the morality of that week's antagonist or alien culture?) If Picard had been in denial of reality don't you think someone would have challenged him on his statements, like maybe the master military strategist he was talking to, or the lawyer whose very job it was to argue against him in court, no less? And how about Forrest, two hundred years earlier? Was just a crazy idealist too? And Hernandez? And now Scotty? They all directly or indirectly said SF was not military. That's how I "know" that.

My speculation that Starfleet militarizes and demilitarizes as required by circumstance, or that its non-military status may rest on some technicality, legal or otherwise, to which characters of differing viewpoints attach varying levels of philosophical significance, contradicts no onscreen evidence of which I am aware, and is supported by a substantial amount of it. (I earnestly welcome being reminded of datapoints I have overlooked.) The idea that SF is military, full stop, period, move along home, may be supported by some evidence but is also contradicted by multiple statements on multiple shows from 1987 to today, and even (to a lesser extent) the TOS writer/director's guide. I disagree with the idea on that basis, acknowledging that mine are not necessarily the only alternatives.

And phew, long post! Done now.
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Old July 6 2013, 07:08 AM   #235
Crazy Eddie
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Re: Scotty and his military comment

Belz... wrote: View Post
So in other words it wasn't a strawman and they are actually discussing dismantling the fleet.
It WAS a strawman, because Catwright was OBJECTING to the dismantling of the fleet, which was never proposed in the first place.

That's how the strawman argument works. When someone comes up with an idea you don't like, you construct an absurd version of that idea that's much easier to protest and argue against THAT instead. That's what Cartwright was doing, specifically because he doesn't like Klingons and thinks the Federation ought to be kicking the shit out of them instead of trying to make peace.

More importantly, I BELIEVE Picard, because he is known to be truthful and sincere, and because he has been entrusted to command the most powerful starship in the Federation, a responsibility that implies a very high level of competence.
It's not a matter of believing the character's sincerity. People can be sincere and yet still wrong.
And yet a man who is highly competent AND sincere probably isn't wrong.

Cartwright was neither.

If Starfleet had OTHER founding principles, now is your chance to cite them.
I have done so already. We've mentioned the line from The Doomstay Machine...
... is not a reference to Starfleet's founding principles. For all you know, Decker's referencing one of Starfleet's general orders on the response to extraordinary natural disasters or artificial hazards.

CommishSleer wrote: View Post
Obviously Starfleet is a military organisation.

Its organisational structure mimics (if not exactly copies) Earth military structures. It has
officers, enlisted people, uniforms, people say yes sir and no sir to each other
As monkey already pointed out, so do NOAA and the JMSDF.

and salute.
No they don't.

Hartzilla2007 wrote: View Post
And Starfleet got to that point through military tactics not using fancy science equipment.
Actually, reviewing the progress of DS9 it seems to me that Starfleet got their asses kicked almost every time they had to rely on military tactics alone. They were, for example, unable to hold DS9 from a Dominion attack, unable to get more than a single ship to DS9 in time to stop them opening the wormhole, unable to defend Chin'toka from the Breen. They were facing overwhelming losses in almost every battle, in some engagements loosing hundreds of ships.

But what about their victories?

At Chin'toka, they overcame the Cardassian defenses -- that were, incidentally, tearing them apart -- by locating the power source for the entire network and using a technobabble deflector pulse to trick the defense satellites into targeting it. Despite loosing DS9 at the outbreak of the war, they were able to stop the flow of Dominion reinforcements using self-replicating mines that they had only just invented a couple of days earlier (and when THAT stopped working, Sisko called in a favor from a group of incorporeal aliens that were living in the wormhole). When the Klingons were unable to take out the Monac Shipyard, Worf and Martok use a technobabble energy pulse to trigger a solar flare that destroys the whole thing. When the Breen rolled out a new energy dampening weapon, Starfleet quickly devised a technical countermeasure and fitted it on all of their new ships. The conclusion of the war was ultimately brought about by offering the cure to the female changeling, a cure which was obtained in the first place through a telepathic adventure by Doctor Bashir and Chief O'Brian.

Starfleet's battle record does not appear to contain a single victory that wasn't achieved through superior technology or ingenuity; even a hundred years earlier, we see Spock and McCoy hastily constructing a wake-homing sensor to shoot down Chang's ship instead of simply finding one in their arsenal that had been configured ahead of time. Starfleet relies so heavily on science that a galaxy class starship cannot shoot down a 40 year old Klingon bird of prey without using a technobabble energy pulse to first disable its shields.

The pattern I see is that Starfleet isn't being sent to defend the Federation because they're a strong military force. They're being sent to defend the Federation because they can use science to solve ANY problem, military or otherwise.
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Old July 6 2013, 11:21 AM   #236
Belz...
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Re: Scotty and his military comment

Crazy Eddie wrote: View Post
It WAS a strawman, because Catwright was OBJECTING to the dismantling of the fleet, which was never proposed in the first place.


Two officers started to discuss exactly that before he objected. I don't know what else you want.

... is not a reference to Starfleet's founding principles. For all you know, Decker's referencing one of Starfleet's general orders on the response to extraordinary natural disasters or artificial hazards.
Well in that case your opinion doesn't trump mine, and I think we are at an impasse.
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Old July 6 2013, 12:20 PM   #237
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Re: Scotty and his military comment

I agree that there are other organisations that conduct themselves in a military type fashion like the coastguard and probably the 23rd Chapter of the StarTrek fanclub, Las Vegas division, the police, even the TrekBBS gives its members honorary ranks.

However the difference between 'pretend' military organisations and real ones is that real ones have great big guns to back them up. If the Coast Guard or the 23rd Chapter used or had access to heavy or nuclear weapons then not only would I consider them military but would hope they would have a strict military structure under the control of the government.

I thought they saluted in STID, maybe I'll just have to see it again. LOL.
I know they didn't salute in TOS but Kirk dressed his people down just like they were in the military.

I've had a tiny bit of experience working with the military in a civilian capacity. When in an office type situation everyone called each other by their first names not by rank - sort of like in Star Trek. That may not be the case universally though.
And that scene in TUC where the waiter guy is setting the table, I've seen that take place in an officers mess a couple of times.

There's military and military though. I don't think Spock or Troi or Janeway or Crusher for example would join an organisation whose sole purpose was to battle Klingons or Romulans. I believe Starfleet was like someone has mentioned before, like the time of Captain Cooks voyage. He had scientists and map makers aboard.

In TOS they spent some of the time exploring, some of their time mapping the galaxy, some time supporting colonies and transferring grain/medical supplies, sometimes making first contacts and sometime making military patrols.

They even had an episode where they played wargames.
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Old July 6 2013, 04:59 PM   #238
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Re: Scotty and his military comment

Belz... wrote: View Post
Crazy Eddie wrote: View Post
It WAS a strawman, because Catwright was OBJECTING to the dismantling of the fleet, which was never proposed in the first place.
Two officers started to discuss exactly that before he objected.
One officer brought it up as a loaded question to which the CinC was in the process of (very diplomatically) answering. I'll again remind you that the people running this briefing were Spock and the Commander in Chief; if decommissioning actual starships was even being considered, THEY would be the ones to mention it.

Well in that case your opinion doesn't trump mine
Picard's opinion does.
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Old July 6 2013, 05:15 PM   #239
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Re: Scotty and his military comment

No offense to Jean-Luc, but Picard isn't the Pope. What about that excerpt Monkey posted earlier, from the original TOS writer's bible, that explicitly described the Enterprise as "a military vessel" with "semi-military" trappings?

And, again, I'm not sure Kirk would necessarily agree with Picard on this point . . . .

(Heck, Picard considered Kirk a "cowboy," so I'm not sure that makes him the final authority on all things Starfleet. Pike, in the new movies, seems to think that Starfleet could use a few more mavericks like Kirk.)
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Old July 6 2013, 05:21 PM   #240
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Re: Scotty and his military comment

Crazy Eddie wrote: View Post
One officer brought it up as a loaded question to which the CinC was in the process of (very diplomatically) answering. I'll again remind you that the people running this briefing were Spock and the Commander in Chief; if decommissioning actual starships was even being considered, THEY would be the ones to mention it.
I think 'Commander-in-Chief' pretty much says it all.
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