The Dominion War brought out the worst in Starfleet

Discussion in 'Deep Space Nine' started by DavidGutierrez, May 23, 2012.

  1. DavidGutierrez

    DavidGutierrez Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    As I was watching "What You Leave Behind" the other night, I was struck by something: Odo ends the war by being the most Starfleet-esque person in the show! He reaches out and shows compassion for an enemy, conquering the enemy by making her a friend.

    If only Starfleet had remembered their principles much earlier, the war might have ended sooner!

    I don't mean to be a Dominion apologist, but it takes two to war. Starfleet was always meant to be a force for good (much like America's modern navy, if the ads are to be believed), and the moment they stopped acting like that, they damned themselves to an interminable war.
     
  2. MacLeod

    MacLeod Admiral Admiral

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    The Dominion fired the first shot.

    When the GQ terminus of the wormhole was first discovered it wasn't yet Dominion in territory. So Starfleet sends ships and more or less claims it.

    The Dominion destroys ships, colonies. It doesn't send diplomats to say, "Would you mind respecting our territory."

    You can call it provocative, but Starfleet legally mined an area of space it controlled. What did those mines do, close the door to ships from either side. In essence Starfleet was not going to venture into the GQ and Dominion space anymore. Exactly what the Dominion wanted.

    You also have to bear in mind the Founders didn't trust solids, so it was likely no matter what they did sooner or later they would have attacked. It was only because of Odo's experiances with solids that he was able to convince the female founder that she could trust solids esp. the Federation to keep the other powers inline.
     
  3. gazomg

    gazomg Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    In wartime good people can do bad things
     
  4. Edit_XYZ

    Edit_XYZ Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    No.
    It takes ONE to be determined to conquer and to start a war.
    And if the other side is stupidly suicidal enough to not defend itself by firing back, it will lose/die.

    Nonsense.
    The moment the Dominion was determined to start the war AND acted to start the war (sending huge fleets through the wormhole/attempting to kill BILLIONS in the bajoran system), war was upon the Federation, regardless of its choices.
    Indeed, the Federation's only choices were to fight or surrender to slavery under the Dominion (AND the occasional genocide - as per Weyoun, Earth being first in line to be sterilized).


    PS - You make your argument no favors by prasing Odo; his success was possible ONLY because Section31 infected the founders with a virus meant to kill them all.
    By sanctioning this meas to end the war, you indirectly sanction actions such as Section 31's.
     
  5. Deranged Nasat

    Deranged Nasat Vice Admiral Admiral

    In regards to war: Sadly, I don't think the Dominion was open to alternatives in the short-term, and the Federation had to acknowledge that. With the Founders, the Federation wasn't facing a political rival with which it had a long if troubled relationship lending itself to a form of understanding, as with Klingons, Romulans, Cardassians, Tholians, etc. This time, it was facing a fanatical opponent convinced that the only way to keep themselves safe was to aggress against and control others, and who had set up a society dedicated to ensuring they could do just that. Unlike those other antagonist cultures, the Dominion wasn't working within a network of treaties or established borders in its dealings with the UFP, able to be held at bay with diplomacy, political maneuvering, or occasional calculated displays of strength. It was too alien to the established Alpha/Beta Quadrant status quo for the short term, too disruptive to the balance of power in its blatant aggression and too powerful and driven to sit back and let the Federation be.

    I think it's worth noting that when the Dominion finally moved in force to the Alpha Quadrant, Starfleet was willing to collapse the wormhole (presumably running the risk of alienating Bajor) as an alternative to conflict. They made every effort to avoid war; it's just that Changeling Bashir sabotaged that effort. Even in the aftermath, the Federation didn't attack Cardassian space right away. Only when they felt they could no longer ignore the obvious - that the Dominion was going to keep sending ships and personnel through until Cardassia was one big Dominion war machine, and then they'd pretty much inevitably use it to launch an invasion of other Alpha Quadrant nations - did the Federation act; by mining the wormhole, not attacking directly. Only when it then became clear the Dominion would attack DS9 did Starfleet launch an attack on the Torros shipyards. I don't think the Federation was ever presented as eager to fight a war; they just happened to find themselves in a situation they hadn't been in before, namely threatened by an invading force of comparable or greater power that was fanatically dedicated to imposing its own order on them.

    I agree that Odo's compassionate gesture was more in keeping with the Federation's ideals than some of their own actions during the conflict, but he has a strong advantage here; he's a changeling, and so exempt from the deep, unquestioning distrust the Founders have for solids. Would the Founders have been willing to stand down and put their faith in the Alpha Quadrant powers if anyone but Odo were to make the gesture? And for his part, Odo tried to demonstrate that the Federation wouldn't be brutal or malicious in victory, and on the whole wished the Dominion no harm. So he was making a case for the Federation; even if they faltered somewhat during the war (and that's an inevitability of war, that it challenges personal or national ethics), they at least succeeded in showing the one person who stood a chance of "reaching" the Founder Leader that they were a principled and benevolent people. At least, Odo was willing to trust in the Federation to be the society he knew it tried to be. As he told the Founder Leader, he'd be the first to acknowledge the Federation's flaws....but a desire for conquest isn't one of them.

    For a Founder to place her people's fate in solid hands must have been the hardest decision in Dominion history. Odo certainly showed the best of himself there, but I think it's important to acknowledge that Odo was able to succeed in part because the Federation had shown him enough of themselves that he could trust them with his people.
     
  6. Bry_Sinclair

    Bry_Sinclair Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Its war, of course its going to bring out the worst in people. The humans in Star Trek are still just that, who will fall back on their instincts and history. Add to that mix Andorians, Tellarite, Zaldans and dozens of other species and you get a wide assortment of people who, though ultimately peace-loving, are unwilling to let all they have and believe in be destroyed.

    In "The Siege of AR-558", Quark tells Nog that take away creature comforts and humans can become as ruthless as any Klingon and its true. Most people will fight to protect themselves and/or others, or the beliefs they hold in high regard (even Vulcans understand there is a logical use for force/violence), and that is what Starfleet is expected to do.

    Had the Dominion War taken place on TNG, there might have been a greater focus on trying to establish peace, as Picard was first and foremost a diplomat and negotiator. Sisko is a fighter, so it makes sense to focus on the strategy and tactics on DS9.

    But that's just my thoughts.
     
  7. sonak

    sonak Vice Admiral Admiral

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    it doesn't take two to start a war. See WWII for example.

    I don't see what the UFP is supposed to do here if not fight other than destroy the wormhole(which would be a disaster for Bajor) or just surrender.

    The Dominion were supremacist conquerors. Once the wormhole was discovered, conflict with them was pretty close to inevitable.


    Also, it wasn't Odo's "compassion" that ended the war, it was that he was a changeling and his offer to provide the cure.
     
  8. Photon

    Photon Commodore Commodore

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    I think I'm gonna vomit. What are you kind UN peacenik? Lets hold hands w/the Jem'Hadar and sing Kumbahya and eat berries and leechy nuts.
    War is hell. Take your girl undies off and put your boy's on and open your eyes.
     
  9. Jono

    Jono Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    That's true, but the victor would have been the Dominion. The true turning point from defeat towards victory was Sisko putting aside his principles to get the Romulans into the war. After that the Dominion was on the slide.
     
  10. billcosby

    billcosby Commodore Commodore

    I'm sure it was the aim of the writers to do just that.
    It made for terrific storytelling. DS9 stands as the greatest "dark chapter" of Trek as a whole.
     
  11. DeganTNG

    DeganTNG Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    One thing that I would have liked in the show was reaction shots from the various other characters in the saga. For instance several times during the series after major turning points I would have loved a cameo of the Enterprise with Picard and crew commenting on say Betazed being captured or Earth being attacked. Also it was a shame that Kai Wynn didn't have an appearance while the station was occupied in season 6.

    It might be asking too much, but for me the crew of the Enterprise was the heroes and everyone else was great, but I just wanted them to play a part.
     
  12. DeganTNG

    DeganTNG Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Also I know that's how the writers went with DS9, but I think The Next Generation would have solved the Dominion War in one episode. That was their style after all. Probably through diplomacy or speechification.
     
  13. Sjaddix

    Sjaddix Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Not really neogating failed against the Borg. Still TNG was pretty much all one and dones with an occasional two parter here and there.

    Also how in the world was the Enterpirse heroes in this war or do you mean in general. Because they are pretty irrelevant to the war effort retcons aside.
     
  14. MatthiasRussell

    MatthiasRussell Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Starfleet could have gotten much worse. At their worst in the Dominon War, Starfleet was still better than the crew of Battlestar Galactica (nu BSG) at their best.

    War is hell, and you can't fight a war without getting your face dirty and innocent blood on your hands. The characters of DS9 didn't come out of the war hardened and heartless.
     
  15. Ezri D

    Ezri D Lieutenant

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    Deep Space 9 was part of the 1990's, and during that time people was thinking of the dark side of science and meeting strange new people. The only way to get dark, was to have a war. Deep Space 9 was not about having cookies and milk parties.

    It was working with a space station that was not really federation. It was a part of space that was not really controled by the federation. It was about the political conflict dealing with political interests.
     
  16. DavidGutierrez

    DavidGutierrez Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    To be sure, the Dominion were the aggressors. Obviously, they fired the first shot. Of course they were prepared to utterly annihilate the governments of the Alpha Quadrant. I'm not saying war wasn't inevitable. Even in my other thread, I never meant to imply that the Dominion wouldn't have to be fought.

    What I'm saying is this: if one abandons the principles for which one is fighting, what is the point of fighting for them? War is hell (part of why it should be avoided at all costs and used only as a last resort).

    I have also not forgotten about Section 31 and don't condone their actions or existence to begin with.

    I thoroughly enjoyed the drama on DS9 and I know the writers intended to show a darker side of Trek, but from an in-universe perspective, I wish the characters had remembered more of their principles on the outset.
     
  17. MacLeod

    MacLeod Admiral Admiral

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    In times of war sometimes principles are comprimised.
     
  18. DeganTNG

    DeganTNG Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Well the show manufactures the circumstances the characters react to. The could make either choice the "correct" choice. For instance in the episode The First Duty, Wesley ultimately chooses to tell the truth because it is the right choice. The writers said they had an alternate scenario in mind where the correct choice would be to lie because it protects the team.

    Therefore in the show the writers chose to make the correct choice the more morally ambiguous ones in order to show the horrors of war. It doesn't seem to be unreasonable to think that the writers could have made the correct choice the morally "righteous" choice more often. It may not have as much dramatic impact on the viewer, but it would be more faithful to the world the characters live in as established by that world's creator.

    TNG couldn't negotiate with the Borg thats true, but they couldn't negotiate with a storm either. That was the point. They were a unique entity without reason.

    Star Trek doesn't have to present a war as it would occur in the real world, because star trek is not the real world.
     
  19. Edit_XYZ

    Edit_XYZ Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    If your moral principles are such that you break them by defending yourself (or defending yourself half-way effectively), then your moral principles are fundamentally suicidal in this universe and any group following them will disappear from the universe shortly, outcompeted - enslaved/exterminated/etc - by others.
    Indeed, the only way such a group can survive for any period of time is if another group (with more down-to-earth principles) protects the first one.

    Without S31's actions, Odo's attempt at the end would have amounted to nothing.
    By praising Odo's actions as 'the way to do it' you indirectly praise S31's actions as 'the way to do it'. Denying this - or claiming the contrary - doesn't change it.

    So, you essentially want children's tales, to tell you cushy facts that blatantly contradict reality, just because reality is too inconvenient for your ivory tower, cushy philosophying?:rofl:

    No, thanks.

    BTW that was the greatest weakness for TNG. Annoying, when it was obvious that, from a real world perspective, the 'correct' choice was noting of the sort; in most other circumstances where it occured, it merely diluted the show with simplistic/unrealistic black/white with nothing in between - it was just like watching a cartoon for 6 years old.
     
  20. DeganTNG

    DeganTNG Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Hmm

    "Without S31's actions, Odo's attempt at the end would have amounted to nothing.
    By praising Odo's actions as 'the way to do it' you indirectly praise S31's actions as 'the way to do it'. Denying this doesn't change it."


    That's a bad premise. That's like saying the only way someone can be seen as to be a good guy is if there are people acting terribly, and therefore we should thank the horrible people for making us look good.

    ______________

    "So, you essentially want children's tales, to tell you cushy facts that blatantly contradict reality, just because reality is too inconvenient for your ivory tower, cushy philosophying?

    No, thanks.
    BTW that was the greatest weakness for TNG. Annoying, when it was obvious that, from a real world perspective, the 'correct' choice was noting of the sort; in most other circumstances where it occured, it merely diluted the show with simplistic/unrealistic black/white with nothing in between - it was just like watching a cartoon for 6 years old."


    Star Trek is beyond the current world, it's not likely that the morality and ethics of people in that society would be the same as you would find today. Just like the morality and ethics of our world are much different then the 1700s.

    And it's not sugarcoating something to look for the best in people. Take "In the Pale Moonlight" for instance. While it was great dramatically, and it was interesting to see a different take on a problem it just didn't feel like Star Trek.

    Why couldn't they have come together to fight against a common enemy without duplicity. It's just a simple matter of the writer's choosing which choice is the right choice.
     

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