Scotty and his military comment

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

  1. BillJ

    BillJ Fleet Admiral Admiral

    I'm simply not sure when 'military' became a dirty word? It would've been more in line with Trek for the military to have grown from its mistakes of the past.
  2. The Wormhole

    The Wormhole Admiral Admiral

    Jul 23, 2001
    Whatever mistakes any modern day militaries may have made is not automatic proof that militaries are evil and is not a reason for why anyone should delude themselves into believing Starfleet is anything other than a military. I don't care what Roddenberry said, he's not God and he was wrong on this matter.
  3. KGator

    KGator Commander Red Shirt

    May 28, 2013
    Mentally? . . . that's debatable.
    So help me understand your basic argument. Are you stating that StarFleet is not the military arm of the Federation and that despite their offensive and defensive capabilities (and ability to clearly engage in military combat) that the Federation has a separate and clearly distinct military service dedicated to that role? Or are you saying that the Federation has no military organization at all and because of this any military level entanglement has to be handled by StarFleet - the Federations Scientific and Exploration Service?

    What exactly are you stating?
  4. throwback

    throwback Captain Captain

    May 27, 2011
    For the statement from "Balance of Terror", I feel that I shouldn't have brought it to the discussion if I knew before hand that we would be arguing semantics.

    Should I bring in a statement from "Too Short a Season" about families on Starfleet vessels? I don't know - will that too be subject to a semantics test?

    In regards to US politics, when threatened with a cessation of trade rights if it offered Snowden asylum, Ecuador has told the US to keep its trade and offered $23 million for education in human rights.
  5. The Mighty Monkey of Mim

    The Mighty Monkey of Mim Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Jul 22, 2001
    Third Planet of the Black Hole
    It seems that the whole argument revolves somewhat around semantics, and this (along with internal inconsistency of the way things have been portrayed in various productions) is partly we may never reach a satisfactory resolution. Starfleet (both in the 22nd and 24th century) has explicitly been stated to be something other than a military. Some argue that because it is structured like one and often behaves like one, it must be a military. It seems to me that the distinction others are making is that a military's primary purposes are combat and defense, with its other roles being incidental to those. Its raison d'ĂȘtre is fighting enemies and defending against potential enemies, even though it may also do other things. Starfleet seems to be the opposite, its primary purposes being exploration and peace-keeping, with its combat roles being taken on reluctantly when necessary, perhaps because there is simply no other organized force capable of fulfilling them.

    On the other hand, in the 23rd century SF has been referred to explicitly as a military. This is of course because that's how the writers/producers were thinking of it at the time, but it makes me wonder if during periods of conflict Starfleet might somehow be "militarized," and then "de-militarized" when there is no active conflict. The UFP was portrayed as being continually on the brink of outright war with the Klingons and Romulans, which would naturally be a reason to ramp up Starfleet's defensive and offensive roles, whereas in the 24th century when the Klingons became allies and the Romulans went into isolation these roles were downplayed and SF returned to its original purpose of exploration. Later, after the Borg and Dominion threats presented themselves, it was re-militarized. (Conveniently, Picard's statement in TNG precedes this turn of events.)

    In other words, perhaps the UFP of the mid-24th century might indeed have been operating under a "no standing space military, beat ploughshares into swords when needed" attitude, as it might have done in other periods when there was no pressing need to wage war or prepare to wage it. Whether this idea is realistic or not, I don't know, but it seems to at least roughly fit the guiding concepts the showrunners were working under at the time, and moreover seems to fit with those of the people responsible for the new movie, where we see Marcus pushing for greater militarization in response to looming threats. Could the answer be as simple as "SF is a military when acting as one and isn't when it's not," potentially with some grey areas during transitional periods?
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2013
  6. LobsterAfternoon

    LobsterAfternoon Commander Red Shirt

    Oct 15, 2006
    Monkey, well said. It actually jive nicely with Ronald D. Moore's opinion, which is that Starfleet is roughly equivalent to the US Coast Guard, which can be put under the command of the Dept of the Navy during wartime but is usually the purview of the Department of Homeland Security.
  7. nightwind1

    nightwind1 Commodore Commodore

    Dec 28, 2010
    Des Moines, IA
    As a former Coastie, that has always been my view. I even wrote an article on it for a 'zine once. (Unfortunately, I can't find the article anymore.)
  8. Hartzilla2007

    Hartzilla2007 Vice Admiral Admiral

    Jul 15, 2006
    Star Trekkin Across the universe.
    Actually seeing as the Air Force are the ones building space craft and tend to be the ones NASA uses it seems more likely they'll be doing it at least on the US side of thing by virtue of actually knowing how to operate a space craft.
  9. Belz...

    Belz... Commodore Commodore

    May 19, 2013
    In a finely-crafted cosmos... of my own making.
    Yes, and we've covered this before. You can't ignore one set of writings because of isolated statements by characters. A character may state his beliefs that Starfleet isn't military, but that doesn't mean the rest of the evidence (so far as stuff in a fictional show can be considered as such) is thrown out.
  10. ROBE

    ROBE Commander Red Shirt

    Oct 23, 2008
    Maybe they developed from the Salvation Army?
    Sorry I'll get my coat.
  11. Crazy Eddie

    Crazy Eddie Vice Admiral Admiral

    Apr 12, 2006
    Your Mom
    No, it's like saying a ship isn't a warship because the Captain says so and because much of his crew brought their families along for the ride (an act that would be unconscionable on an actual military vessel).

    Show me the last time an aircraft carrier was outfitted with a kindergarten for the officers' children; show me the last time a cruiser went into a combat situation with the First Officer's wife and child sitting in his quarters, wondering what's for dinner.

    That isn't a military organization. That's an exploration service that doesn't mind getting conscripted.

    You're the one who said nothing changed between TOS and TNG. The change was that Starships started going into deep space with children and families on board.

    Am I wrong? Was this NOT a change? Did they have families on Kirk's Enterprise?

    Didn't I already do that, correlating the changing depiction of Starfleet with the prevailing attitudes towards the U.S. military and geopolitical context of the time?
  12. Belz...

    Belz... Commodore Commodore

    May 19, 2013
    In a finely-crafted cosmos... of my own making.
    Again: it's like saying a military base isn't one because the wife and kids live next door. Don't try to say it isn't saying what you're saying.

    If they left for a 20-year mission, they might. I don't think the definition of "military" includes a minimum distance from civilians.

    Also, please note that I never called the Enterprise a warship.

    Yes, that's one thing that "changed", but as I said above it doesn't make Starfleet not military. We're talking about Starfleet, not individual ships.

  13. BillJ

    BillJ Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Which seems to have come to a screeching halt if the TNG movies, DS9 and Voyager are accounted for.

    Again, even in early-TNG, the "we're not the military" remark Picard gives simply doesn't stand up under any kind of serious scrutiny. Starfleet is the one that is sent when an aggressor threatens Federation borders. Starfleet is the one who protects civilian shipping and outposts. Starfleet is the one who develops weapons and strategy for defending the Federation.

    You have to have a dedicated military for defense and border patrol. Does Starfleet have exploration and science responsibilities? Yes. But never have we seen those responsibilities as being more important than the defense of the Federation. Which, to me, shows where Starfleet's actual priorities are.

  14. yousirname

    yousirname Commander Red Shirt

    Jan 30, 2013
    IMO this is another issue where canon is self-contradictory and that's just that. I seem to remember the Phil Farrand books discussing the matter and offering contradictory quotes from Kirk in various TOS episodes.

    Maybe the best way to see it is that Starfleet are indeed the military, but they're not just the military. They're NASA, the CDC, the EPA and probably Fish and Wildlife, too. ;)
  15. Ovation

    Ovation Vice Admiral Admiral

    Just take Kirk's comment to John Christopher literally "we're a combined service" (IIRC).

    Starfleet is a multipurpose organization whose military functions come to the fore when needed but otherwise recede into the background when other duties arise. It's not really all that complicated a concept.
  16. BillJ

    BillJ Fleet Admiral Admiral

    But character quotes come from a character point-of-view and can be wrong. Do we give more weight to those quotes than all the battles and other decidedly military missions we see Starfleet engage in on a rather regular basis?

    Do they have other responsibilities outside of strict defense of the Federation? Yes. But so has pretty much every military in human history. Is the military no longer the military when they deliver humanitarian aid? Is the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers not the military?
  17. yousirname

    yousirname Commander Red Shirt

    Jan 30, 2013
    I don't see where you're contradicting me, to be honest. I am saying that Starfleet is the military. I'm just saying that they're also other things, too.
  18. BillJ

    BillJ Fleet Admiral Admiral

    The post wasn't meant to come off as me disagreeing with you. I was just hoping to cut some of the others off before they started with character "X" said this! :techman:
  19. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

    May 10, 2005
    The visitor's bullpen
    Maybe not. There could be a new branch of the military that is created for that purpose. Space travel is so unlike anything we've ever done, that this may be the best option.

    After all, NASA drew from all four branches of the military, and also civilians, for its astronaut pool...
  20. yousirname

    yousirname Commander Red Shirt

    Jan 30, 2013
    Ah, fair enough - my mistake. :techman: