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Star Wars Style Diplomacy

Millenium Falcon 1280x960

When I first saw Star Wars I couldn’t help but hate the empire.  It was a juggernaut of technologically advanced weaponry and fighting machines in superior numbers against a ragtag collection of rebels.  There was no chance for Luke Skywalker and Hans Solo and the rest of the rebel alliance to beat the odds stacked so heavily against them.  The empire had a Death Star that could wipe out an entire planet with one shot, a mega fleet of star destroyers patrolling the entire galaxy, enough armored storm troopers to take over every planet in a solar system, and enough droids and drones and droid drones to perform any and every task imaginable.

In the opening sequence of the fifth Star Wars episode, The Empire Strikes Back, we see that it was one of those droid drones that found the rebels hiding out on the remote frozen planet of Hoth and alerted the rest of the empire.  It was only a matter of time before Darth Vader and the rest of the empire came traipsing along to crush the rebel alliance.  The Millennium Falcon and her crew barely had time to get off the planet before they were captured.

The other night I watched a 60 Minutes article detailing the success of the American military drones, the Predator and the Raptor.  Both of these unmanned machines are credited with giving America the edge in surveillance and readiness.  Although unmanned these state of the art machines are actually controlled by remote control by pilots at an air force base in California.  These drones make it possible for these pilots to wake up in the comfort of their own home, take a drive or even walk to work, sit at a desk and start raining bombs on America’s enemies and still make it home for lunch and dinner.  At least from a pilot’s perspective, the twenty first century is the dawn of an era of war by remote control.

As I write and as you read there are defense contractors and other corporate manufacturers are working on robotics and other machinery to help in the war effort.  Sooner rather than later I’m sure we’ll see our foot soldiers joined by automated mechanisms designed to make the job of killing opposing forces even easier.  At first their role will be passive.  They’ll help move soldier’s equipment or even help move wounded soldiers out of further harm’s way.  But these machines will eventually morph into their harbingers of harm equipped with all manners of weaponry to do the killing by remote control, just like the remote controlled airplane went from being predominantly tools of surveillance to become Predators and Raptors, ready to rain hell’s fire on the head of anyone who appears in the crosshairs on a television screen in California half a world away.

The 60 Minutes broadcast would serve as a recruiting tool as much as anything else these days.  I have to admit that in my younger days I would’ve stood there with my jaw open agape at the cool tools at the military machine’s disposal.  I would marvel at the technology and imagine myself pulling the remote controlled yoke of a Predator in what would undoubtedly be the ultimate video game ever made.  But that was a long time ago.

Now, I see a Predator or a Raptor firing its missiles and killing people without putting an American soul in any real danger and I can’t help but wonder what led to the conflict in the first place.  We’re at war in a foreign country with people who many call that country home.  Many of those people supported a group who were responsible for the happenings that happened on September 11th so long ago.  But then I have to ask, why would that group want to kill so many Americans by flying jetliners into one of the best symbols of America’s economic power and another symbol of our military power?  What would drive a people to support people who would do such a thing?  Things are never as simple as they seem on the surface.

I came away from this particular 60 Minutes episode thinking that this futuristic machinery is nothing more than the latest hammer that allows America to beat her opponents into unequivocal submission or into unequivocal oblivion.  Not unlike that Death Star that was used against the rebels who dared to challenge the authority of the Empire in the Star Wars Saga.

But you had to give those rebels credit, they were a gutsy bunch.  Despite the most devastating weapon in the galaxy designed to kill an entire planet of people in a single blow they continued to resist.  And we were all manipulated into recognize the courage of the rebels who stared down the Death Star’s death ray emitting barrel in the movie.  What can we say about anyone who continues to fight the good fight in real life when there are Predators and Raptors lurking about?

Tuesday, August 25, 2009 - Posted by | Afghanistan, Iraq, Life, Thoughts


  1. Something to ponder. All those video games where you are a pilot flying bombing missions and missile strikes. Maybe they were all funded by D.O.D. people looking to perfect the art while developing operators for the new ‘toys’ of the future?

    Comment by Mike Lovell | Wednesday, August 26, 2009 | Reply

  2. Thanks for the feedback Mike Lovell,

    If the development of those video games was a product of some DOD skunk works project then they certainly got their money’s worth. If the kids in my family are any indication there will be plenty of Hans Solos and Top Guns to chose from in the future.


    Comment by brotherpeacemaker | Wednesday, August 26, 2009 | Reply

  3. I read your blog everyday and always find it to be very interesting. But this one left a bad taste in my mouth. The sympathizing of America’s enemies was bad enough but that’s not all that bothered me being compared to the “bad guys” of star was which places the insurgents as the “good guys” that too also bothered me. I’m aware they have their reasons for attacking us, them the Somalian pirates and others. But I’m gonna say something a lot of people might be surprised to hear. As a member of the United States Navy (DEP program U.S. Navy SEAL)

    I Don’t Care

    I don’t care what their reasons are. I don’t care if it’s for their god, their country or their family. A million reasons could be listed and it wouldn’t faze me. If you attempt to harm America in any way you will be destroyed. period. No reason is good enough to attack me or my countrymen. And I’m surprised there’s any reason good enough for you.

    (My rage still burns for 9/11)

    Comment by AJ | Saturday, September 5, 2009 | Reply

  4. Thanks for the feedback AJ,

    And it’s true that I have sympathy for the people who are fighting for what they believe is right. It is no different than us fighting for what we believe is right. The key word is what we “believe”. It would be naive to believe that this altercation in Afghanistan and Iraq started on 9/11. It goes back a lot further. And to think we can simply bomb these people out of existence is no different than the empire in Star Wars using force to inflict its will.

    I appreciate your anger, but I never said that one side is right and another side is wrong. All I said was that the way we fight is similar to what I saw in a movie once. You don’t think they have a good reason to be fighting against the most technologically advanced fighting force this world has ever seen. Obviously, they feel differently.


    Comment by brotherpeacemaker | Saturday, September 5, 2009 | Reply

  5. “[These] are not the droids you are looking for…” Marvelous, you’ve just performed a Jedi mind-trick on a stormtrooper!

    Comment by Virak | Saturday, April 17, 2010 | Reply

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