Scotty and his military comment

Discussion in 'Star Trek Movies: Kelvin Universe' started by Charles Phipps, Jun 24, 2013.

  1. Crazy Eddie

    Crazy Eddie Vice Admiral Admiral

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    The shuttle crew WAS part of the military while the military payloads were being deployed; they'd have been breaking quite a few laws if they weren't. That is, incidentally, one of the reasons why NASA has always kept a stock of inactive (not retired, not discharged) military personnel as part of its astronaut program: for legal reasons shuttle's military missions required the reactivation of the crew for the duration of the flight.

    OTOH, it could just as easily be true that Starfleet takes part in combat on behalf of the Federation military without actually becoming part of it. That would put Scotty's comment into an interesting sort of perspective. Picture that same conversation taking place on the ISS with a pack of orbital bombardment missiles being offloaded from a cargo ship. "This is clearly a military mission. Is that what we are now? Because last time I checked, we were scientists."

    That is, in fact, the entire premise of the movie. Marcus was envisioning a MILITARIZED Starfleet, one in which ships like the Vengeance would be the norm rather than the exception. It would be a massive paradigm shift away from everything Starfleet had ever been, away from all of its previous priorities, all its existence principles and values.

    What's also telling is that Marcus only could have made that transformation happen in the event of a massive and devastating war with the Klingon Empire. Marcus himself believed that Starfleet wasn't a proper military, and was willing to do some rather crazy things in order to change that. If Starfleet was ALREADY a fully prepared combat force, then the construction of the Vengeance and the destruction of the Enterprise is impossible to justify.

    Even more interesting is that Khan doesn't seem to think so either, since he mentions Marcus' "dream of a militarized Starfleet." Think what you will about Picard's moral pretenses, but I'm sure that Khan of all people knows a military when he sees one.
     
  2. LobsterAfternoon

    LobsterAfternoon Commander Red Shirt

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    That's interesting about the real-life NASA stuff. So it's sort of a hybrid agency? Civilian leadership but with occasional military employees/missions?
     
  3. LobsterAfternoon

    LobsterAfternoon Commander Red Shirt

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    But aren't Khan and Marcus' views subjective? Given that, as you said, Marcus wanted a "proper military", and that Starfleet is certainly the governmental organization that would have to deal with the Klingons, doesn't that tell us that they are indeed a military organization, just one that is more varied in purpose and perhaps overstocked with scientists?
     
  4. Crazy Eddie

    Crazy Eddie Vice Admiral Admiral

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    No, it's a government agency that does whatever the hell the government tells it to do. The only reason they have to include military personnel on military missions is a legal technicality that bars civilians from participating in those kinds of operations (UCMJ and the Geneva Conventions, among others).

    I figure Starfleet works more or less the same way, except the Federation has a different legal framework pertaining to the use of deadly force. In OUR system, for example, only military personnel empowered through an act of congress can legally use deadly force against foreign nationals, and they cannot use it AT ALL against our own citizens. Neither of those restrictions apply to Starfleet; we've seen them operating in a law enforcement capacity numerous times in Federation space (even on Earth, in fact) and they are fully empowered to use deadly force against Federation citizens for all the usual reasons. At the same time, they are ALSO empowered to engage in combat with alien forces for any reason they see fit, and in that regard are limited only by the Prime Directive.

    I would even speculate that the Federation's definition of "war" is merely a declaration that the Prime Directive no longer applies to a particular government or a region of space. IOW, a letter to Starfleet Command saying "A Klingon fleet has conquered Organia; you are hereby authorized to interfere with the internal politics and development of Organia. Go interfere the fuck out of them."
     
  5. Crazy Eddie

    Crazy Eddie Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Which is kinda my point in the post above: the whole point of having a professional military is having a dedicated organization whose job it is to defend the homeland from external threats. For historical and political reasons, that organization is tightly controlled and has a lot of limits on what it can and cannot do, and when and where. This distinguishes military organizations from, say, law enforcement, privateers, mercenaries and local militias. It's not the mission role that defines it, but the nature of the organization used to fill that role.

    Starfleet is a whole different animal. To begin with, the Federation doesn't seem to CARE who defends its interests, they'll send anyone they think can get the job done. They also have extremely lax controls over what Starfleet does and to whom, the only real restriction being a blanket prohibition on interfering in the affairs of pre-warp civilizations or the internal politics of foreign governments. It's an entity that can do many things traditionally done by other types of organizations, but Starfleet's FOUNDING goal is the exploration of space, and therefore it is, by definition, a space exploration agency. It's ability to participate in war doesn't make it a military organization any more than its ability to arrest criminals makes it a police force; going by mission roles alone, the mission on Nibiru would otherwise suggest that Starfleet is the galaxy's most powerful fire department.

    Marcus, on the other hand, wants to transform Starfleet into a full military organization that specializes primarily in combat and warfare. Again, such an organization would be able to fulfill a wide variety of roles, but the political and legal and eventually even MORAL implications of that would be quite troublesome in the long run. Starfleet would have to change fundamentally the way it does ALOT of things, and also change the kinds of things it is and isn't allowed to do.
     
  6. Silversmok3

    Silversmok3 Commander Red Shirt

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    Marcus' point in reviving Khan was to ENHANCE Starfleet's combat repertoire. He felt, rightly or wrongly, that Starfleet was not martially prepared to take on the Klingons and win. Hence his "thawing" of Khan and the creation of the Vengance, which is the largest Federation ship yet seen in the series.

    Just because a military force isn't experienced doesn't make it any less of a military. Lets look at the combat record of Starfleet in the new universe.

    Starfleet gets curb stomped by a future Romulan spacecraft. 6 billion dead, an entire planet w/ attendant resources and culture savagely destroyed, and half of Earth's fleet is lost with all hands. To put that in modern perspective, that would be akin to half of the US Navy being wiped out by ONE ship.

    Now, decades later, there's a good chance of a for-real war. Considering Starfleet got its hiney kicked in the last battle, we really can't blame Admiral Marcus for having a crisis of confidence in the fleet. A real-life historical analogue would be the US Military in the early years of WWII. Many of our ships, aircraft, and infantry tactics were severely out of date compared to the modernized forces of the Axis. That didn't mean we didn't have a military, just one without modern battle experience.
     
  7. Belz...

    Belz... Commodore Commodore

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    You have zero evidence to support this speculation. MACOs are only seen in ENT. The fact remains that Starfleet is CALLED the military at several points in the franchise, acts like the military in several ways, and has military structure and traditions, in addition to being the only branch of the Federation we EVER see engaged in battle.

    Your objection that Trek is about Starfleet fails because A) It's actually about a specific set of characters and B) We still manage to see non-Starfleet character. Seriously, with the DOMINION WAR, wouldn't you at least expect some other military branch to be mentioned ?

    I'm sorry, but this other UFP military you're talking about you just made up.

    That doesn't tell us what the ships do most of the time, and contradicts some of the dialogue as well.

    Right, like the regular military.

    I expected you to address my points.

    So Sulu is a scientist ? And Uhura ?

    That they learned some science in their training doesn't make them scientists. Otherwise pretty much everybody in the edcucated world today is a scientist.

    Most battles appear ? We have seen a grand total of ONE ground battle, in DS9. Where do you get this stuff, anyway ?
     
  8. The Wormhole

    The Wormhole Admiral Admiral

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    Really, all we need to do is go back and watch TOS. Starfleet is very clearly the military and was depicted as one. Even in the other shows everything we see Starfleet doing is consistent with what a military does and is expected to do. So we have a few characters in the other shows actually stating Starfleet isn't military. That's more a reflection of ignorant writers than it is any canonical fact.
     
  9. Crazy Eddie

    Crazy Eddie Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Actually, twice.

    Once by David Marcus in a fit of frustration (to which Carol disagrees) and once by Ben Sisko in reference to Leyton's coup. Both times the comparison is made is when Starfleet caught doing something INCREDIBLY illegal, and I don't think that's a coincidence.

    All of whom are IN STARFLEET.

    OTOH, we do have some non-Starfleet characters in the Bajoran Militia -- a military organization -- for whom it is apparently common knowledge that Starfleet "doesn't believe in warships."

    I would have expected ALOT of things to be mentioned in the Dominion War. Especially telling is the fact that we never see or hear anything about Klingon or Jem'hadar troops in a land action until the Siege of AR-558, which appears to be atypical in every possible way.

    But that's Star Trek for you: it's a drama, not a documentary. If it isn't relevant to that particular episode or one particular character, nobody's going to mention it.

    Much like the MACOs were "just made up" fifteen minutes prior writing the script for "The Expanse." And where were they, exactly, when Klaang running around in Broken Bow being chased by Suliban?

    It contradicts NONE of the dialog. Only Defiant and Vengeance have EVER been described as built primarily for combat, and both times it was considered a pretty big deal.

    Which I did. You implied these points were relevant to the definition of "military organization." They are not.

    In his TOS debut, Sulu was a botanist.

    Xenolinguist. Judging by her ability to stare down pissed-off Klingon troopers, she's also an aspiring anthropologist.

    That they use their science background to expand their knowledge, to interact with and study other cultures, and collect data for analysis and scholarly debate back home, DOES.

    Yes. Especially in the 24th century we encounter a dizzying number of worlds torn by decades of intense ground combat, including:
    Setlik III
    Minos Korvo
    Turkana IV
    Solaris V
    Kespritt
    Angosia
    Acamar III
    Mordan IV
    Krios Prime
    Occupied Bajor (and later, the Bajoran Civil War).

    That, just off the top of my head, is ten instances of extensive land wars, many of which involved the entire population of their planets for years or decades, resulting in millions of deaths and massive worldwide destruction. By comparison: Starfleet in the 24th century is depicted as having a handful of skirmishes in deep space resulting in the loss of perhaps a few dozen vessels and rarely anything amoounting to a full-scale war. The biggest combat operation of the TNG era is the Borg Invasion of 2367, involving an armada of 40 starships and over 12,000 officers.

    Put that in perspective for a moment: Starfleet sees less combat in half a century then any of the above planets in a bad year. That is what I mean when I say that most combat takes place on the ground: because most WARS take place on the ground.

    And lest you try to claim the Domion War changed all that, I'll remind you that Bashir's thinktank concluded that the Federation stood to loose up to nine hundred billion lives if they didn't find a way to beat the Dominion. Starfleet may be big, but it sure as hell doesn't have half a trillion officers, which means that the Dominion War NECESSARILY has a ground phase in which all of those civilians would be in the direct line of fire. Nine hundred billion casualties in a GROUND WAR would be the equivalent of every war Earth has experienced in the last 100 years, all happening simultaneously and duplicated on hundred different planets and a thousand different colonies. That would require a massive ground force -- not less than half a billion soldiers -- spread across the entire Federation.

    You expect there's half a billion Starfleet officers? Somehow I doubt it. What's more, if you're going to maintain a land force with tens or hundreds of millions of members whose job it is to fight ground battles against outside invaders, you probably wouldn't call that STARfleet.
     
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2013
  10. BillJ

    BillJ Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Yet the Klingons classify the Enterprise as a "Federation battlecruiser" in The Search for Spock. Twice in TOS it's mentioned that a Constitution-class starship can devastate the surface of a planet (A Taste of Armageddon/Bread and Circuses). Starfleet carries out wargames (The Ultimate Computer/Peak Performance).

    And I would classify the Defiant as a warship.
     
  11. Crazy Eddie

    Crazy Eddie Vice Admiral Admiral

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    What's ignorant about it? The writers CONSCIOUSLY chose to depict Starfleet as being something other than a military organization. There are alot of reasons for this, the main one being an attempt to start a conversation about the nature and scope of militarism in civilized society (a conversation that Americans are uniquely uncomfortable having).

    OTOH, your position is that it is inconceivable that any organization could participate in combat WITHOUT being a military; it is a possibility of which you are choosing to remain ignorant. ;)
     
  12. BillJ

    BillJ Fleet Admiral Admiral

    But they aren't just a participant in combat. We see Starfleet making battleplans and never in conjunction with another body that could be claimed to be the military arm of the Federation. Never once has such a body been mentioned in the Federation-era even though they were close to war several times and we know they fought several conflicts. When they went to show the flag on the Romulan border in Angel One, it was Starfleet doing it.

    If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck... its usually a duck.
     
  13. LobsterAfternoon

    LobsterAfternoon Commander Red Shirt

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    Wasn't it a Starfleet official who signed the treaty that ended the Dominion War?
     
  14. Crazy Eddie

    Crazy Eddie Vice Admiral Admiral

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    They also described Genesis as a "doomsday weapon" and referred to the Federation as "a gang of galactic criminals."

    This, from a species that didn't have a word for "peace" until Kurzon Dax taught it to them, isn't all that surprising.

    So would Kira. Hence her amazement.
     
  15. BillJ

    BillJ Fleet Admiral Admiral

    You're fighting awfully hard against a whole lot of evidence. When was the last time we sent NOAA or NASA to fight a war instead of the military?

    Plus, the Genesis device could easily be seen as "doomsday weapon". David Marcus, McCoy, Khan and Kruge could all see the devastation such a device could easily create if misused.
     
  16. Crazy Eddie

    Crazy Eddie Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Argument From Ignorance Redux: Not only can you not imagine Starfleet being anything other than a military, you can't imagine any OTHER military organization existing at all.

    Which means to you, Starfleet is the Army, the Navy, the Air Force, the Marines, the Military Police, the NSA, the CIA, the FBI and the Coast Guard all rolled into one. Because surely a Federation of planets with a hundred different members and nearly a trillion citizens only has room for ONE organization to do anything ever.

    And Starfleet doesn't walk or quack like one; really, your argument boils down to "Well it has feet and flies... what else could it be?"
     
  17. Crazy Eddie

    Crazy Eddie Vice Admiral Admiral

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    1992.

    Besides, Kira's statement is evidence TO THE CONTRARY: Starfleet really doesn't believe in warships, and Defiant is the exception that proves the rule.

    Yes, in exactly the same way that Starfleet could easily be seen as a military organization.

    It's a matter of definitions in how those two things are INTENDED to be used. If the situation called for it, there's no doubt the Federation would use the Genesis device to cleanly eliminate one of its enemies and then pave over their transformed corpses with a new colony world. But "Doomsday Weapon" isn't what Genesis was created for in the same way that "space military" isn't what Starfleet was created for.
     
  18. BillJ

    BillJ Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Just one piece of actual evidence of the existence of another military organization? You should be able to come up with one in six-hundred hours of material.

    Face it, in a society of a trillion people, the only time we ever see anyone do anything of a military nature it's connected with Starfleet.

    Just a few quick questions: with Worf being a Klingon, wouldn't he actually want to join the Federation's military arm? Wouldn't the Klingons want to deal with the actual military arm of the Federation if they value strength? Same for the Romulans? When the Federation wants to make a show of strength, why do they always send Starfleet? When a war is about to break out why is it always Starfleet on the front-lines?

    Twice, during battles with the Borg (Wolf 359, Sector 001) all we see are Starfleet ships. When the Federation decides to blockade the Romulans, it's Starfleet ships doing the blockading. When we see planetside fights, it's Starfleet.
     
  19. BillJ

    BillJ Fleet Admiral Admiral

    I said "fight a war" not used for a military purpose.
     
  20. Belz...

    Belz... Commodore Commodore

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    Even once is enough. And twice is "several".

    She disagrees with his interpretation of Reliant's message, not the use of the word "military".

    You also forgot Star Trek VI, which suggests "dismantling" Starfleet twice in response to the Klingon threat dissapearing, which despite the idiocy of the suggestion, implies that Starfleet's primary mission is safeguarding the Federation.

    We've seen characters from outside Starfleet as regulars. Tom Paris, Quark, etc. So, no. Not "all". In fact, you admit so in your next sentence !

    Dedicated warships. Even runabouts have weapons.

    Do you concede that there is zero evidence for the existence of a separate military branch beyond ENT's MACOs ?

    Eddie, we saw them ON THE SHOW. YOU made up the other stuff. It's risible that you try to equate canon with fanfic.

    You are incorrect, again. Someone mentioned Decker Sr's comments in The Doomsday Machine, already.

    You think military ranks, parlance, terms and hierarchy are irrelevant to the definition of "military" ? How about armed cruisers ?

    Come on, Eddie. Stop trying to desperately find tidbits that allow you to ignore other posters' points. Sulu is the helmsman. But if you want to play, ok: Repeat for all the non-science characters I named.

    :rolleyes:

    Again: by that logic we are ALL scientists, making the term useless.

    We're talking about STARFLEET, Eddie.

    Let's see. 150 member PLANETS. Even if each planet only contributes three million people to Starfleet, I already have you covered. It's irrelevant, mind you, because you're trying to focus on ground stuff while I'm talking about the general military aspect.

    No. Something other than a strictly military organisation. If they wanted it to be non-military, they shouldn't have given them all the trappings of such an organisation.