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Persuasion Match: adjensen vs SonoftheSun: Death Star contractors - Innocent victims or duplicitous

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posted on Dec, 2 2012 @ 04:09 PM
This debate will have a different format, approved by ATS moderator Hefficide. SonoftheSun and I will do a one round persuasion match, fleshing out the arguments made in the video below, taken from the Kevin Smith 1994 cult classic film Clerks.

In this Persuasion Match, both SonoftheSun and I will be making just one post, limited to 5,000 characters, which lays out our cases for whether the contractors building the second Death Star in the film Return of the Jedi were innocent victims or legitimate war dead. I am taking the former position, SonoftheSun the latter, and judging will be on the basis of which of the two of us makes a better case.

Within 24 hours of the posting of this message, both SonoftheSun and I must send a copy of our arguments to Hefficide, and once 24 hours has passed, we will each need to post an unmodified copy of that argument to this thread. This will prevent either of us from seeing the others' argument and modifying ours to address anything in the other argument.

Thank you to SonoftheSun for accepting my idea of the debate format, and SkyFloating for agreeing to it, as well.

And now... Randall's philosophical musing on Death Star contractors...

posted on Dec, 2 2012 @ 07:36 PM
The main point of this debate is a simple one with a very complex resolution -- are civilians who are killed because of their proximity to a military facility, regardless of their level of involvement, killed unjustly? I believe the answer is a very clear "yes".

As Randall points out in the video, the contractors in question were just regular Joes, who happened upon a government contract (bear in mind that the Empire was the established government in the Star Wars universe, effectively making Luke, Han and the rest terrorists inciting a civil war,) that promised good pay and benefits. In a society that supported slavery, smuggling and mercenaries, it's no wonder that a plumber would see the appeal of a steady government paycheck.

Now, the roofer in the video counters that no contractor would innocently take such a job -- they would have known the risks involved. But is that valid? Given the remote location, the destruction of the previous Death Star due to rebel spies and Emperor Palpatine's paranoia, it is likely that this was a highly classified project, with standard precautions (such as a "need to know basis" for information) in place. So it is quite plausible that even the most cautious of contractor would have no idea what he was working on before he got there. And once he was there, is it reasonable to assume that he could simply ask the Empire to ship him back home, because he didn't approve of their activity? Send him home, they will! … in a box!

So it is not unreasonable to assume that the contractor in question had taken a generic government job in construction, without knowing if he would be building homeless shelters, tractor sheds or Death Stars, and once he'd discovered what he was actually working on, had little choice but to continue in that labour.

Finally, there is the question of "innocence" -- whether the contractor in question bears some culpability for their deaths, because whether they had the foresight to discover the danger they were in for, or not, they were still contributing to the war effort in some fashion. To answer this, we can turn to some modern instances for guidance.

Why do we view it as immoral when a drone strike on a Taliban safe house kills the family next door? Why do we not dismiss their innocence by saying "they should have investigated their neighbours, found out they were terrorists and moved"?

Regardless of whether it was justified or not, why is there so much moral deliberation over the 1945 Allied bombings of Dresden in Germany and the United States' nuclear attack on Nagasaki and Hiroshima the same year? Because of the large number of civilian deaths, who were guilty of nothing more than "being in the wrong place at the wrong time."

Just as would be the case that the majority of Hiroshima citizens would not be directly involved in the war effort, and therefore innocent victims, it can be assumed that the Death Star, as a self-contained microcosm, would also host a large number of non-combat facilities, and any contractor who was involved with, say installing french fry vats in a cafeteria, or toilets in the movie theatre, could hardly be accused of being a war criminal.

With these points in mind, it becomes quite clear that the plumbers, roofers, welders and other independent contractors on the Death Star were innocents, killed by the terroristic actions of Lando Calrissian.

posted on Dec, 2 2012 @ 07:56 PM
Thank you Adjensen and Moderators for arranging this persuasion match.

Were victims of the Death Star’s destruction innocent or guilty? A good question for sure.

[color=gold]The Death Star

The most powerful weapon ever conceived. While some books would envision “multiple Death Stars” as civilian accommodating facilities such as taverns aboard, shopping malls and recreational areas, Lucas’ perception was different. The Death Star was a Military Weapon, ran by the military, built by the military and for the military.

To better understand the origins of the Death Star, we must have a closer look at the Galactic Empire’s motives and ambitions.

[color=gold]The Empire

The Empire became a Totalitarian Regime (Palpatine and Skywalker having taken the reigns as The Emperor and Darth Vader) after dissolving the Senate and controlling the sector governors (also called Moffs) throughout the galaxy. Their motive was to conquer the Universe, through force and fear.

The original Death Star was conceived and supervised by Grand Moff Tarkin, Governor Wilhuff Tarkin, a military strategist and possibly the greatest villain in Star Wars history. The second Death Star followed the designs of what has been called the Tarkin Project.

As such, two possibilities remain as to who the construction workers were ...

Construction Workers Could Not Have Been innocent Workers

Possibility # 1 : Skills for Hire

Much like the mercenaries that were bought by Vader himself (Boba Fett is a good example), those workers – if they ever existed or a very few of them – were well aware of the risks they were taking but were driven by power and money incentives. There is also the fact that Tarkin himself thought the Death Star indestructible and this was surely promoted as such, luring the greedy ones. These workers would have been under the impression that it gave them a status with the Empire, much like the Trade Federation officials that is, before the Emperor took full command and Vader wiped them off the map.

Bearing that in mind, those workers would not have been innocent at all but, as willing participants, guilty of helping the Empire achieve its goal, the construction of a dreadful weapon.

Possibility # 2 : Clones/Stormtroopers

Let me show you why I believe they built it :

Originally, the Stormtroopers were cloned, on the image, cerebral achievements and originality of one man only, the infamous bounty hunter Jango Fett. They were super soldiers, who would follow orders without hesitation. Eventually, as they became more specialized, we start seeing Sandtroopers, Shadowtroopers, Snowtroppers , each programmed with specific tasks and skills. The execution of the “Order 66” is a good example of programming, as they instantly turn from peaceful rebel companions to Imperial killing machines.

The Stormtroopers were the very best military achievement. They could have easily been programmed to build the Death Stars. They could have easily been programmed to take tasks of plumbing, electricity, carpentry, welding and so on.

The only question that remains is “Was there enough of them to accomplish such a task?”

In Episode II: Attack of the Clones, Lama Su tells Obi-Wan Kenobi that the Kaminoans have created 200,000 "units," with a million more on the way.

There could have been hundreds of thousands of troopers building the moon sized weapon but even if the numbers were not so great, the fact remains that Smith overlooked a small detail when writing his conversation between Dante and Randall. Lucas has the answer right there, in the storyline.

In the final episode, as Vader steps foot on the Death Star, a pre requisite to the Emperor’s arrival, this crucial warning takes place :

Moff Jerjerrod: Lord Vader, this is an unexpected pleasure. We are honored by your presence...
Darth Vader: You may dispense with the pleasantries, Commander. I'm here to put you back on schedule.
Moff Jerjerrod: I assure you, Lord Vader. My men are working as fast as they can.
Darth Vader: Perhaps I can find new ways to motivate them.

Let me point that out again: I assure you, Lord Vader. My men are working as fast as they can.

There you have it. Admiral Jerjerrod’s men, the military, the stormtroopers. Not innocent bystanders but military stormtroopers, on duty, that perished under the command of the Supreme Galactic Empire.

Thank you reading.


posted on Dec, 11 2012 @ 03:04 AM

While reading the debate, it was clear to me that adjensen had another agenda. He tried to relate historical references to a fictional counterpart, and was successful until I read his opponent's response.

SonoftheSun clearly stayed on topic, relating information directly involved with the creation of the Death Star, and provided the proverbial "nail in the coffin" with this quote:

"Moff Jerjerrod: I assure you, Lord Vader. My men are working as fast as they can".

Son was able to sway my opinion by his vast knowledge of the Star Wars universe, and was clever to use that particular quote.

I deem SonoftheSun a Star Wars guru, and also the winner of this persuasion match."

I give this Persuasion Match to SonoftheSun for a more slick and compelling presentation. I found it interesting that adjensen used this to compare it to real life military contractors but SonoftheSuns keeping strictly with star wars allowed him to go into more detail and appear more coherent and focused.

I thank both for an interesting read.

SonoftheSun wins this Debate.

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