Did Sisko commit a war crime?

Discussion in 'Star Trek: Deep Space Nine' started by jonds91, Jun 23, 2017.

  1. jonds91

    jonds91 Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    I can't remember which episode it was but Sisko threatened genocide against the Maquis and then immediately carried out the threat. In short he launched some bio weapon which would kill all inhabitants of a planet and leave it incapable of supporting life for 50 years. You can find the clip here:



    It is unclear how many casualties there were from Sisko's actions. I was disappointed that they did not follow up on this in latter episodes. Do note that I am only up to S06E16.
     
  2. MacLeod

    MacLeod Admiral Admiral

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    Sisko did give them an hours notice however. And the planet would only be unihabitable for Humans for 50 years.
     
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  3. mlbach

    mlbach Captain Captain

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    For The Uniform

    I'd say it's a grey area, but Star Fleet has been OK with some pretty questionable actions over the years.
     
  4. Bad Thoughts

    Bad Thoughts Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Probably none. Colonies in general, particularly in the DMZ, were always portrayed as small
     
  5. jonds91

    jonds91 Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    This is what I like about DS9. There are a lot of grey areas.
     
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  6. Bry_Sinclair

    Bry_Sinclair Vice Admiral Admiral

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    It brought a measure of peace and stability to the area once more, so I would say this is probably a time when the ends justify the means. He definitely never faced any charges after returning to the station, so I'd say HQ let him off with it.
     
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  7. Arpy

    Arpy Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    That was a ridiculous episode. Sisko's plan to nab Eddington was that since Eddington was a "Romantic," he would respond to the call of self-sacrifice against an evil foe for the greater good. (Apparently only Romantics do that.) So Sisko's plan is to...actually become evil. He doesn't bluff that he's going to poison the planet, or pull an illusion that he has, he actually does. And he does this with both less than an hour's notice and knowing that the colonists had made no preparations to abandon their homes. He also takes the gamble that everyone on the planet got the message and was both reachable and movable. Who cares if one man turns himself in if the cost is the lives of, say, three others?

    That's not even discussing the property-rights of however many colonists, both Maquis and otherwise, were on the planet(s). I wish I knew more about the law to be able to comment on the theft to the public free access, or whatever, poisoning an entire planet for possibly the lifetime of many of its citizens, current and future. What if a Maquis who lost a loved one in the evac poisoned Earth in response? And an for an eye, in his religion. It's only fifty years. And only to humans, so let the Andorians, Vulcans, and the rest have it.
     
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  8. kkt

    kkt Commodore Commodore

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    It's certainly not what Picard would have done. As has been noted, Sisko is not Picard.

    It's not a life for a life exchange. Eddington himself was unimportant, but as a treasonous betrayer of Starfleet and the leader of the Maquis they had to catch him or make sure he was dead.
     
  9. Arpy

    Arpy Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    You need to get over Picard. He had nothing to do with this episode.
    The Federation was not at war with the Maquis. Getting him was not as important as the lives of innocents, and it would have been a PR fiasco blowing up in Starfleet's face if anything went wrong. It was just a poorly-thought setup for Sisko to play Javert. In real life, there would have been an investigation and repercussions. They thought they were being cute as in the end the Cardassians and the Humans both had poisoned planets they could swap or whatever it was. No.
     
  10. DonIago

    DonIago Vice Admiral Admiral

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    We don't know that there wasn't an inquiry after the events of the episode...

    But Sisko did say it himself (though maybe his allegation didn't have formal approval)...when Eddington began launching deliberate attacks on Defiant and Malinche, he elevated the Maquis from a DMZ-related "nuisance" to a threat to the security of the Federation. It's possible that if the Maquis had kept the lower profile they'd generally maintained until that episode that Starfleet would have been less likely to authorize Sisko to pursue Eddington and/or less approving of his actions.
     
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  11. Arpy

    Arpy Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    So it's okay to kill innocent civilians if terrorists attack a warship? Even if he thought they became a bigger threat, they became one to Starfleet. The Federation Council would not have approved the attack on a civilian population.
     
  12. mlbach

    mlbach Captain Captain

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    I think Sisko felt a personal responsibility because technically Eddington was still under his command. He was against the wall with his ship barely operational and his "replacement" dead in the water. I thought he did a decent job profiling Eddington, (although in all fairness, Eddington pretty much did it for him).
     
  13. Bad Thoughts

    Bad Thoughts Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    If they can be identified as a "Maquis colony," their innocence is highly in doubt.
     
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  14. DonIago

    DonIago Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Yeah, I'm not exactly clear who the "innocent civilians" are here, nor is it clear to me when Sisko did anything more than threaten to poison planets and then go ahead and poison one...which actually had the effect of balancing the scales, as stated in the episode itself. Though people do seem to enjoy overlooking that last part...
     
  15. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Indeed.

    We never found out what happens to colonists in the DMZ who refused to join the Maquis, but I doubt it would be a pleasant fate.

    Groups like this rarely take kindly to anyone who won't join The Cadre and participate in The Struggle against The Man. (Anyone who doubts this: Robespierre's Reign of Terror. The Confederacy at the Andersonville prison camp. The Bolsheviks during the October "Revolution". Daesh, today. Need I say more?)

    As for Sisko's supposed "war crimes"? Let's run with that:

    - He gave the colonists ample warning ahead of time. They had the chance to evacuate, and did so.
    - Eddington had already engaged in poisoning Cardassian colonies, IIRC.
    - There were, as far as we know, no actual casualties. Human and Cardassian colonists simply settled on each other's worlds.
    - So who's the real criminal here? Sisko was responding to the threat that Eddington had ALREADY carried out.
     
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2017
  16. Noname Given

    Noname Given Admiral Admiral

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    Well, aside from the situation discussed here - Sisko committed a war crime when he had the Romulan Ambassador killed in "In the Pale Moonlight" to make sure the Romulans joined in on the Federation side of the Dominion War. Not only that, he falsified logs about the whole incident. ;)
     
  17. DonIago

    DonIago Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Except it was Garak who killed the ambassador. Sisko only intended to create fraudulent evidence...granted that may in and of itself constitute a war crime, but then, Starfleet approved (at least in the broad strokes) his plan, so would that make Starfleet as an organization guilty of war crimes? And if war crimes is a legal term than isn't it prone to being redefined by the prevailing authority in any case?
     
  18. Bad Thoughts

    Bad Thoughts Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Had he done so, it would be an act of war, not a war crime. They are different.
     
  19. Voth commando1

    Voth commando1 Commodore Commodore

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    I never believed all the Maquis successfully evacuated and they inevitably would have included non-combatants so yes it was a war crime.
     
  20. Noname Given

    Noname Given Admiral Admiral

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    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/War_crime
    War crimes are defined in the statute that established the International Criminal Court, which includes:
    1. Grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions, such as:
      1. Willful killing, or causing great suffering or serious injury to body or health
      2. Torture or inhumane treatment
      3. Unlawful wanton destruction or appropriation of property
      4. Forcing a prisoner of war to serve in the forces of a hostile power
      5. Depriving a prisoner of war of a fair trial
      6. Unlawful deportation, confinement or transfer
      7. Taking hostages
    2. The following acts as part of an international conflict:
      1. Directing attacks against civilians
      2. Directing attacks against humanitarian workers or UN peacekeepers
      3. Killing a surrendered combatant
      4. Misusing a flag of truce
      5. Settlement of occupied territory
      6. Deportation of inhabitants of occupied territory
      7. Using poison weapons
      8. Using civilians as shields
      9. Using child soldiers
      10. Firing upon a Combat Medic with clear insignia.
    3. The following acts as part of a non-international conflict:
      1. Murder, cruel or degrading treatment and torture
      2. Directing attacks against civilians, humanitarian workers or UN peacekeepers
      3. Taking hostages
      4. Summary execution
      5. Pillage
      6. Rape, sexual slavery, forced prostitution or forced pregnancy
    So, yeah, since the Romulans were not yet part of the war - and the Federation was negotiating to bring them in - and AS SOON AS Sisko knew his ploy had failed - ("It's faaaake!") - he essentially arranged to have the Ambassador killed, and covered up said act.

    It is definitely an act of war in itself, but it's still a war crime.