Discussion in 'Star Trek Movies XI+' started by Charles Phipps, Jun 24, 2013.
I thought we were supposed to drop this line of argument in favour of addressing the OP ?
Ed, I was about to give up on you but you finally made some interesting, cogent points rather than simply rehashing your previous statements.
Basically to highlight your comments.
You are correct. That's why there are 4 traits used to ascertain whether an organized force is definitely an "armed force" in terms of war conventions. Law enforcement forces can be exempted on a state by state basis (however if they meet the criteria - and they probably meet all but the conduct of war trait so once they start participating in a conflict - they would be classified as military no matter what claim the nation state makes). Some states choose to included them under the umbrella of armed forces and some do not.
However, how in your imagining of Starfleet universe is Starfleet not conducting operations in the conduct of war? If so then by participating in such conduct (even if participating with another "Starfleet Military Force" they would immediately forfeit any perceived non-combatant/law enforcement status and be deemed military.
Police departments that are not military are supposed to be treated as CIVILIANS in combat. The US determined that Iraqi Police were part of Saddam's armed forces and subjected them to the same kind of targetting as their official military. This is the important distinction. When occupying a foreign territory, if these law enforcement do not submit (in other words if they resist) they are no longer afforced the protections of civilian status and may be neutralized to whatever extent necessary.
Not only does Starfleet fail to submit/surrender/avoid contact in combat situations. They often LEAD the fight on behalf of the Federation. A paramilitary force is required to refrain from using their weapons against military forces or they will be considered a military target.
Do you get the gist of this and how important that would be? In an occupation of foreign territory you often want to use existing government institutions to maintain daily life including the law enforcement arms. By law once you destroy a foreign government or occupy territory YOU become responsible for the safety and welfare of their indigent population.
Any armed force that resists your military using force can be considered military (it loses its paramilitary/civilian protection) and treated (ie destroyed) as such.
Ummmm, we are using current definitions of armed forces and military to which legal agreements and precedents are important. Imaginary, fictional, non-existent entities do not play a part in this discussion. There is no vulcan, there has been no world war 3, there is no middle earth and one ring to control us all. You can't just intersperse your argument with opinions of an imaginary world of the future and use that as a basis of defining terms that human scholars have already defined for us. For all you know the Federation's charter closely mimics the Hague Convention. I mean, have you actually read it? Can you say it doesn't match current laws of armed conflict (rhetorical question, as the Federation is not real - so there is no need to respond to that question).
I understand that the laws of armed conflict, military organization and rules of engagement can be confusing and hard to grasp at times. Hell, the US military has created courses and requires ongoing training to ensure these topics are known to our military leaders.
Perhaps its a good time for a recap. The question was whether Starfleet is a military. By current convention a military is synonomous with a designation of "armed forces". There is an exemption for law-enforcement who can carry arms, wear uniforms, have a chain of command and yet be considered Paramilitary according to the laws of war (and thus be treated as civilians).
However any participation in the conduct of war revokes and claim of being a paramilitary law enforcement organization.
Since Starfleet exactly fits the definition of what an armed force is according to the laws of armed conflict, the only way they could say they were not military is if they claimed they were law enforcement and the Federation did not include them in their "armed forces" (assuming there was another military organization within the Federation).
But since they regularly engage in the conduct of war they would have no standing to make any such claim even if the Federation did try and declare Starfleet as a law enforcement only organization.
Thus Starfleet would unequivocably have to be considered a military organization no matter what other roles they fulfill within the Federation Government.
That's really the problem you're having.
Starfleet fits the criteria of an "armed force" pretty well: it is armed and it responds to its government's direction. But because it was not chartered primarily for the purpose of defense, it would not be classified as a military organization as such.
Unless they join the battle, in which case they cease to be civilians and are considered combatants.
Incorrect: a paramilitary organization is still a paramilitary organization regardless of its (non)combatant status.
The military of a given country can be assumed to be a combatant uniformly in accordance with the declared laws of its host state. Soldiers from a particular military who just happen to show up and participate in that war -- independent of any provable orders from their government -- would be considered combatants in that conflict, even though the rest of their military would not; the lack of commitment from their host government implies these combatants are acting independently and while they are technically part of that nation's military, they are not acting on its behalf.
I mention this because it's a two way street and not as clear cut as you have been implying so far. Furthermore, even under the current paradigm there are certain advantages to leaving your military forces formally undeclared; Rickover pulled this same trick with the NR-1, carefully avoiding the classification of "warship" to circumvent congressional/bureaucratic controls on military hardware. The Federation may similarly seek to avoid scrutiny from its rivals (or alienating potential allies) by leaving it completely ambiguous exactly how and and by whom their defense priorities are carried out. Indeed, under the Geneva Conventions, only those Starfleet units that actually participate in combat would be considered combatants; deep space vessels on the other side of the galaxy, unarmed outposts, exploration probes, telescopes and all kinds of other hardware could still be considered outside the scope of the conflict, and Starfleet would be free to explore beyond the battlefield without accidentally exporting the conflict wherever they happen to be. That would be a dirty little legal trick (and only applicable under CURRENT laws, actually) but for an organization that may have hundreds of starships prowling the limits of explored space, it would be essential to be able to conduct peaceful exploration without threatening the implicit neutrality of anyone who might aid or shelter them.
Or a space exploration agency. There's nothing in the definition of "space exploration agency" that precludes it being armed (as the Russian astronauts are, and have always been, even after it was transferred to civilian control).
Starfleet would be considered an armed force. It would not be a military organization for reasons I have already outlined.
Hey look, a bunny!
Bunnies have always been pawns of the military!
It is a military organization because it is a key role.
It is ALSO a space exploration and scientific organization, and a humanitarian organization.
So why does the primary role of exploration preclude it ALSO being military?
This is getting repetitive and boring, and we are now arguing about semantics in the face of common sense.
Have fun in the sandbox, guys.
I cannot and will not subscribe to your interpretation of this event.
Actually it is. Starfleet has uniforms, weapons, a chain and command and conducts war. It meets all of the criteria defining a military organization.
Your focus on "charter" is irrelevant and superfluous. A military can be a state military, private military or revolutionary (stateless) military. This assumption you keep championing for your basic premise is false. Any organization can become a military by meeting the above criteria. The Secret Service was never chartered as a protection service (it was limited to financial crimes) but you can't say they aren't such an organization now. And if they ever start participating in combat operations they will then be defined as a military. An organization's origins is only important to you, it is not a defining trait by any standard convention.
I'll just point out that Starfleet does build ships for fighting, even in the 24th century...
1. Galaxy-class (stardrive section with "battle" bridge)
2. Defiant-class (developed to fight the Borg)
3. Prometheus-class (multi-vector assault mode)
The whole scene was forced and made little sense. Original Kirk would have looked at the "classified" guy and said "He has need to know. I have need to know." Of course, that would either mean forcing the revelation of the absolute stupidity of the new torpedoes early, or Kirk going to Marcus and getting a blistering rebuke, then coming down on Scotty in the out of character heavy-handed fashion we saw. As for the actual comment referred to here, it was offensive. When Picard said it, it was stupid. When Scotty said it, it was gratuitous, and in both cases, it's patently untrue, and reflective of an unrealistic, idiotic world-view that holds the military in contempt with no understanding of what they really do. The scene was obviously a setup to the big reveal, and to get Scotty off the ship.
Just one more hole in the nu universe. Neither movie has made any sense. They do marvelous characterization and dialogue, then throw in nonsense, and string together a few plot points poorly, yet so many people are willing to accept it uncritically.
'Original' Kirk was older, wiser and far more level-headed. This Kirk lost his surrogate father and was letting his emotions do the thinking.
"These are the voyages of the Starship Enterprise. Her mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations. To boldly go where no one has gone before."
Sounds to me like the primary mission of the Enterprise and by extension, Starfleet, is one of galactic exploration. Scotty's complaint, and it was a proper one, was that the Enterprise was being dispatched on a covert mission of aggression.
Sure, that's why this forum is filled with nothing but love and flowers. This film had its plot problems, but they were far less severe than many of the Trek features that came before it.
Isn't that quite a leap though? Because they send one ship on a mission of exploration, it is the primary mission of the whole organization?
We honestly don't know what the mission of those other Constitution-class vessels were. Plus, how many of those missions of the Enterprise were pure exploration with no other concerns? We see them go on offensive missions, defensive missions, missions of pure espionage, missions of support for Earth/Federation colonies, diplomatic courier and emergency courier.
And yet, about the only thing that has ever been consistent in every Star Trek series is that every starship, no matter what its current assignment, will default to exploration as soon as all their government-mandated chores are done. Probably the most blatant example of this is in "Caretaker", where Janeway quotes a broad "directive" to "seek out new worlds and explore space," this despite the fact that they originally got into this predicament in the first place during a convoluted counter-terrorism assignment.
Basically, exploration is their DEFAULT assignment. Combat, patrol and police missions are relegated to a strictly "as needed" basis.
Exploration has often been the job of the military.
And mostly not for purely altruistic reasons.
Captain Cook's voyage of discovery was supposedly to investigate the transit of Venus and lo and behold they went on to discover a few countries to put in the British Empire. To keep it from the French???
You might be right, but then when exploring, it's expected that you'll meet other ships that are also exploring, so it's hard to extrapolate from the few ships we've seen on the show prior to DS9.
Eddie, remember Trek was based on the age of sail. Navy ships not in well charted waters explored whenever they weren't actually involved in other missions because there was so much unknown about the world. So that argument doesn't preclude them being a miltary. And, just because the Macarthur was a military exploration mission does not mean Starfleet has to follow Niven and Pournelle's lead on how it would operate. Different writers, different universes. Sparta grew it's empire out of the wreckage of the corrupt Co-Dominium, which stamped it's attitudes and development differently.
This whole resistance to Starfleet being a military was an inane grafting in TNG, and I believe it grew out of hippie protests in the 70's calling soldiers babykillers. Roddenberry should have made the point that Starfleet was a better military than today's, instead of repudiating his own service and making ridiculous assertions that fly in the face of logic. And sadly, many who grew up on TNG instead of TOS have bought the idea.
Except that, without actually sitting down and doing the math, "as needed" seems to be a large chunk of the time. Heck, every other episode in the third season of TOS seems to have the Enterprise in the middle of delivering vital medical supplies to an imperiled colony somewhere or ferrying a diplomat to a vital conference or some such errand. Just looking at TOS, I'm not sure that the majority of the eps actually have the Enterprise just toodling through space, exploring, and not dealing with some sort of crisis . . ..
EDIT: Okay, just for fun, I looked at the first season of TOS, which can be presumed to set the tone for the rest of the franchise. By my count, only 9 out of 29 episodes had the ship engaged in pure exploration. The rest of the time they were responding to distress signals, checking on remote colonies, investigating lost colonists and ships, dealing with diplomatic and/or military crises, transporting VIPs from place to place, assisting endangered mining operations, and so on.
In other words, the "default" to exploration can be seen in only about one-third of the episodes . . . .
Not to mention the fact that they were always close enough to Federation space to undertake all those other types of missions.
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