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September 26, 2005

Comments

Eric

Quite the rundown here-

I really enjoyed that episode as well, and waiting until January to see what happens will be very hard.

There is definitely something 'fishy' going on with Pegasus though... I bet we find that the 'story' does not jibe. I am not even going to guess though, I've found that the writers are good at throwing you curves.

My favorite was when Adm. Cain welcomed Galactica and the other ships back to the 'Colonial Fleet'. Huh?! That was the first sign of trouble.

docjim505

Yeah, the 'welcome back' line rang my bell, too. Had I been Adama, I would have been sorely tempted to say something along the lines of, "Er, shouldn't *I* be saying that???"

Darleen

As it seems much of BSG is based (obviously) on a style of Western Civ government - Republic, civilian control of military, freedom of press, voting rights, etc - then there'd be a kind of UCMJ, too.

As the daughter of a WWII/Korean vet who was both a DI and taught military history, a court martial of Helo and Tyrol would have acquited them. Just as if a man under orders from Lt. Calley to slaughter the villagers at My Lai had turned and shot Calley would have been acquited.

Regardless of the nature of Six and Helo's Sharon, they are prisoners (and Helo's Sharon voluntarily returned and gave herself up) and certain actions are not allowed. An "interogation" that consists of rape obligates all other military personnel to stop it.

Just as Adama is required to defy Cain.

Indeed, President Roslin is within her rights to relieve Cain, but you notice, Cain refuses to deal with Roslin OR even supply/help the civilian fleet.

As someone has mentioned, this is Heart of Darkness territory and Cain is Kurtz.

docjim505

Darleen,

Welcome to my site.

You raise excellent points. It would be quite interesting to see how this situation would play out in the court martial. I think that both sides could present a compelling case.

It seems to me that a court would acquit Tyrol and Helo only if it could be persuaded that Boomer was being raped in violation of the UCMJ; Tyrol and Helo would therefore not only be within their rights to intervene, but would be required to do so. However, Boomer is a machine: can a machine be raped? I think a court would not be inclined to think so, especially after similar machines had all but anihilated the human race.

Roslin certainly needed to lock Cain's heels together, but the situation has gotten way past that.

I like the Kurtz / 'Heart of Darkness' analogy, but it may be a little premature to make it. While there is no excuse for Cain to ignore the president (who is the lawful CinC), I can see why she would be very careful and even reluctant to distribute supplies to the fleet: the military MUST have priority on parts and supplies, because they are the first, last and ONLY line of defense. Once Pegasus and Galactica are fully resupplied and integrated, then she could turn her attention to trying to meet other fleet needs.

I wish that the writers had not made Cain and her crew so unsympathetic; I think that it would have made the episode much more thought-provoking.

Matt Brown

Wow. Ro moved from Ensign to Admiral in only a few years - quite an accomplishment.

docjim505

Wish I could get promoted that fast...

LC Scotty

Excellent summary Doc. I had a lot of the same thoughts but couldn't seem to crystallize them. My only comment is that the Pegasus CAG called Lee a "daddy's boy" in response to him saying (in effect)my commander is Adama, should be easy to remember since it's my name too.

As far as the human avatars being machines, it seems that they are far more than just "toasters". As evidence, watch the "Baltar 6" reaction to the Pegasus 6. Or the Pegasus 6 reaction to repeated gang raping.

If we are willing to toss our humanity out the window, what do we have left? I too would not be very sympathetic to cylon prisoners, but becoming something as vile as what you oppose isn't the answer. There are fates worse than death, and becoming something you hate is one of them.

Bruce the Canuck

I agree completely with LC Scotty's last comment.

"However, Boomer is a machine: can a machine be raped? I think a court would not be inclined to think so, especially after similar machines had all but anihilated the human race."

There are two seperate issues here. The first is, are the Cylons human?

They have stated themselves that they intent to be the "improved" successors of humanity. Their avatar bodies also appear to be biological, and they have emotions, and are sentient, and self-aware. Clearly then, they are no more machines than we are, simply another sentient race/species. Even if they *weren't* made of flesh, this would be true. If rape has roughly the same meaning for them, then it is an abomonation.

The issue of their eugenic, genocidal crimes certainly removes any sympathy. However, it still leaves rape being rape. The officer was *still* a rapist caught in the act. And, "Helo's" Boomer is clearly a conscientious defector based on what we've been shown so far.

I think the writers are making an anology with current-day terrorists. Like Nietzsche said:

"The man who fights too long against
dragons becomes a dragon himself...And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you."

The problem is not the damage done to the terrorist/cylon. The problem is the damage such war crimes do to the society that commits them.


docjim505

Bruce,

Welcome to my site.

You raise very good points. A good argument can certainly be made that the Cylons are sentient beings, and therefore entitled to respect for their dignity. I suppose that an equally good argument can also be made that they are merely sophisticated (and murderous) machines that deserve no pity or mercy.

The fact that people are debating this point indicates to me that the show's writers and producers have succeeded in making BG more than just sci-fi: they've made it thought-provoking. They've put believable characters into interesting moral quandaries and leave it to us, the audience, to ponder what the characters should do... and what we would do, ourselves.

For your consideration:

1. Are the Cylons machines or sentient life-forms? By what standard do you make this judgement?

2. Whether they are machines or life-forms, they presumably have no treaties with the colonials governing the treatment of prisoners of war (such as the Geneva Conventions). Are they therefore entitled to ANY decent treatment if captured? Why or why not?

3. One Boomer avatar used a nuclear weapon to destroy a Cylon base ship, killing (we may assume) many hundreds of Cylons. Is this morally more acceptable or less acceptable than the rape and abuse of the Number 6 avatar by the crew of the Pegasus?

4. What is the difference between an act of war and a war crime?

5. If one side commits atrocities, does this not therefore allow the other side to commit other atrocities in retaliation?

6. Where is the line between hunting dragons and becoming a dragon?

There are no fixed answers to questions like these, of course; we make the best decisions we can in the battle between fighting for our survival and fighting for the survival of our humanity.

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