Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


Forgot your password?

Battlestar Galactica's Last Days 799

bowman9991 writes "If your country was invaded and occupied by a foreign power, would you blow yourself up to fight back? If someone pointed a gun at your head and threatened to pull the trigger if you refused to sign a document you knew would lead to a hundred deaths (and you signed!), would that make you ultimately responsible? Does superior technology give you the moral right to impose your will on a technologically inferior culture? You wouldn't expect a mainstream television show to tackle such philosophically loaded questions, certainly not a show based on cheesy science fiction from the '70s, but if you've watched Battlestar Galactica since it was re-imagined in 2003, there has been no escape. The final fourth season is nearly over, and when the final episode airs, television will never be the same again. SFFMedia illustrates how Battlestar Galactica exposes the moral dilemmas, outrages, and questionable believes of the present as effectively (but more entertainingly) than any documentary or news program. It's not hard to see parallels in the CIA and US military's use of interrogation techniques in Bush's War on Terror, the effects of labeling one race as 'the enemy,' the crackdown on free speech, or the use of suicide bombers in Iraq."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Battlestar Galactica's Last Days

Comments Filter:
  • Tackle? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fm6 ( 162816 ) on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @01:16PM (#26548025) Homepage Journal

    BSG doesn't so much tackle moral questions as sort of run past them.

  • by russlar ( 1122455 ) on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @01:18PM (#26548059)
    The writers don't know what it is.
  • Oh come on. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Hatta ( 162192 ) on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @01:20PM (#26548085) Journal

    The final fourth season is nearly over, and when the final episode airs, television will never be the same again.

    I'm sure it's a good show, but get real here. Television will be pretty much the same after BSG than it was before BSG.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @01:24PM (#26548163)
    Things that stay the same tend to get boring.
  • Is this... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MikeDirnt69 ( 1105185 ) on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @01:24PM (#26548171) Homepage
    Is this an article or an add? I'm not quite sure...
  • by CheshireCatCO ( 185193 ) on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @01:26PM (#26548201) Homepage

    but if you've watched Battlestar Galactica since it was re-imagined in 2003, there has been no escape.

    That's... hyperbolic. I haven't seen an episode of the fourth season yet, nor do I plan to. I just lost interest when I started feeling like the writers didn't know where they were really heading.

    So I'm clearly... well, not hostile, but indifferent... to the show, but it should be noted that this "story" is nonsense. SciFi shows have been doing this for, literally, decades. Tackling moral issues of the day was the point of The Twlight Zone and Star Trek (TOS). More recently, Babylon 5 earned a pretty solid reputation for discussing (and very definitely not answering) moral conundra. Even Deep Space Nine (where BSG producer Ron Moore once worked) did a pretty good job with the same thing.

    So I suppose if your point is "BSG continues the tradition", then fine. But the tone of the summary and article very much make it sound like this is revolutionary.

  • No way! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Trojan35 ( 910785 ) on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @01:26PM (#26548203)
    Next thing you know, they'll be a non sci-fi show [] about these very issues. It might even get decent ratings!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @01:27PM (#26548223)

    yeah, ain't it funny how peoples consiousnesses react to ambiguous stories.

    hat's off to BSG for getting us to actually think and pointing out the conclusion jumpers.

  • Re:Tackle? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by AKAImBatman ( 238306 ) * <> on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @01:31PM (#26548275) Homepage Journal

    I have to agree. One of the more frustrating aspects of the show is that the characters very rarely grow a sufficiently large backbone to Do the Right Thing(TM). And then it's pretty much only because they're forced to do so. Using a corporate environment as an analog, my company would have bitten the dust long ago if every employee kept secrets like they do in BSG. The fact that the Cylons didn't manage to wipe them out in the first season is purely an artifact of it being fiction.

    Of course, there are plenty of situations where the secrets would be justified. e.g. If you know you're a cylon, do you really want to expose that amongst a ship full of cylon-haters? But some of the stuff is just plain ridiculous. Take Baltar as an example. By keeping his involvement with the destruction of the colonies a secret, he's basically accepting responsibility for his actions. Yet his character never accepts responsibility for his actions! A real individual like that would have carefully controlled the release of that information, being careful to spin it as something out of his control. Blame the cylons. Blame the dead government. Blame everybody, but make sure that it's not something that can come back and bite you in the ass.

    I still like many aspects of the show, but the characterizations just get weird sometimes. And as you said, they end up blowing by the moral quandaries rather than taking the Star Trek approach of tackling them head-on.

  • by iluvcapra ( 782887 ) on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @01:32PM (#26548297)

    Sure, I'd sign the cease-fire, even though it would lead to 100 deaths because the Islamic savages don't abide by treaties and cease-fires anyway. I wouldn't be responsible for the other side breaking the pact.

    I think the operative comparison would be to Jewish collaborators throughout occupied Europe in WW2, who were forced, sometimes at gunpoint, sometimes with mere words, to compile lists of people to be shipped for "resettlement," form police forces of their own people to round them up, etc.

    It's not about being technologically inferior, it's about being culturally inferior. Grow up kids, quit kicking Israel in the shins! If the islamic savages choose to behave like deviant youth then the only thing they will understand is a spanking.

    Yes, everybody knows that all you need to do is "teach people a lesson," and if only the "shin-kickers" would get out of the way, the little peoples of the Earth would learn their lesson faster. After all, it worked for Germany in 1914 when the inferior and decadent cultures of France and Russia dared to oppose them, or Austria when immature Serbia tried to oppose them, or France when the barbaric Algerians opposed them, or England when the Mesopotamian Arabs and Afghans opposed them, and on and on. The "lesson" is that "uncultured" people probably have as much a right to live as anyone else, and the only "lesson" you teach from the barrel of a gun is that gun-barrels are for teaching lessons.

    This troll is an imperialist, of a hundred-year-old vintage, but the ideas STILL have remarkable currency and need to be deconstructed, as BSG does.

  • by Phoenixhawk ( 1188721 ) on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @01:32PM (#26548305)
    Seriously, when it went from Battlestar to sci-fi version of general hospital, myself and most people I know pretty much moved on.
  • Re:Al Jazeera (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MadCow42 ( 243108 ) on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @01:34PM (#26548337) Homepage

    >> The ad that Slashdot is choosing to serve with this story is for Al Jazeera. Am I the only one that thinks that's kind of funny?

    Funny in what way? Al Jazeera is a normal, reputable news source in the Middle East. It's no more (and no less) a propaganda or terrorism hub than USA Today, Fox News or the New York Times. Just because it's in the Middle East doesn't make it "evil".

    Go read it some time... it'll give you a good balance to offset the propaganda you're being spoon fed daily here.


  • Er, really? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Knara ( 9377 ) on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @01:37PM (#26548397)

    I could never get into this series, and (as evidenced by many a post here) even people who used to be into it eventually fell away due to the Lost effect (the realization that the writers didn't have a pre-planned plot arc). To me, it always felt like "what if the FX channel did a 'Babylon 5'-esque series while re-using a 70's franchise?"

    I don't think this is as influential a series (or event) as TFA (or the poster) claims it to be.

  • by Shivetya ( 243324 ) on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @01:38PM (#26548407) Homepage Journal

    Instead of assuming the Cylons are using their technological superiority to enforce their view why not consider...

    both specie know faster than light travel, how much superior can you get if you can break that? I guess you can throw in the ability to transmit memories across space

    how about the fact that we are now only learning, everything isn't what it seems to be.

    While I could occasionally see some parallels to exaggerated actions of Bush and Co that exaggeration was so extreme at times that it bordered on ludicrous. If anything BSG jumped the shark one too many times that too much has become both silly and interesting at the same time. Every time they introduce a new interesting angle they lose with the previously mentioned shark jumping explanation

    Don't get me wrong, I really enjoyed the most recent episode but I loathe seeing the explanation of Starbucks corpse and crashed viper. While I love the story twist I have little to no faith in them pulling it off anymore.

    Honestly past 2.5 all I got was an impression of angst expressed improperly in some story arcs. In other words they tried to portray the Cylons as Bush and Co yet at the same time Roslyn had her supposed Bush and Co events. Yet neither really worked because they were always exaggerated beyond the point of belief.

    If I could tie what the story is portraying to something in real life it would not be Bush and Co. It would be Hamas versus Israel versus Fatah. Both sides being victims of stupid hard headed actions and ideology, throw in some religion where if God did come back down neither side would recognize him because they would be to wrapped up in proving they are right.

  • by cmdahler ( 1428601 ) on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @01:39PM (#26548437)
    when the final episode airs, television will never be the same again.

    This is just about the most ridiculous thing I've seen on Slashdot in a very long time. If one were to poll the public on this subject, I'm quite sure a substantial number of people wouldn't have ever heard of the SciFi channel to begin with, let alone have a clue that there's some obscure show called BSG on there or be able to remotely describe what the show is about. Nor would they give a flying rat's ass. The Sopranos, now that's a show that had a measurable impact on TV. Regardless of the quality of the show, BSG is going to fade right back into the obscurity from whence it came, with only mom's-basement-dwelling geeks remembering the first thing about it.
  • No, no and no. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by drsmithy ( 35869 ) <> on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @01:40PM (#26548451)
    Next question.
  • Re:Tackle? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by kannibal_klown ( 531544 ) on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @01:42PM (#26548497)

    I wouldn't say they run past them. There were a few where they dedicated the whole episode to a moral question and how some really had no perfect solution.

    Others had entire seasons (or the entire story) to deal with: the occupation, what is "alive", is mass-deception OK, etc.

    The conditions and rebellion on New Caprica were done well (which lasted 1/2 a season) and "Baltar becoming a cult-like leader of a monotheistic religion" has played out pretty well.

    Other small 1-episode shots that were done well:

    The forced medication episode was another:

    • What happens when the beliefs of a few, risk the lives of the whole?
    • A group of people contracted a disease that was easily treatable, but refused medicine on religious grounds.
    • So the disease spread like wildfire amongst them, while exposing the rest of the fleet.
    • With medicine a scarce resource like in the show you'd want to stop an outbreak before it got out of control, which they made impossible.

    The whole "inherited jobs" and "labor issue on the refinery ship" was one that stood out.

    • With so few people available it became a big question of who worka which job
    • Travel between the specialized ships (mining, refinery, fuel, etc) was limited. People just "lived" there, raised a family, and showed them the trade on the ship.
    • Would new people get trained? Or would it just turn into a cast system? Would anyone without the last name Adama ever run the fleet?
    • And even the sympathetic protagonist's seemingly ideal solution was flawed. People got roped into jobs they weren't fit for.
    • Should working with farm machinery for a summer abroad qualify you into working on dangerous machinery at the refinery?

    Treating the black and grey markets was interesting.

    • In the context of the show, the black market kept the fleet running.
    • They weren't trying to make the survivors seem like a close-knit extended family like the original series: you didn't get something for nothing.
    • But then you look at the darker aspects of the market and you have to wonder where you draw the line. What is going too far? Should it exist at all?

    How do you treat POWs

  • Re:Tackle? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nine-times ( 778537 ) <> on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @01:46PM (#26548547) Homepage

    One of the more frustrating aspects of the show is that the characters very rarely grow a sufficiently large backbone to Do the Right Thing(TM). And then it's pretty much only because they're forced to do so.

    So you're saying it's realistic?

    A real individual like that would have carefully controlled the release of that information, being careful to spin it as something out of his control.

    Now that seems unrealistic to me-- a world where people take on their problems, admit their mistakes (even with spin), and avoid having their past actions bite them in the ass.

    I like that BSG *doesn't* necessarily wrap everything up in a neat little package. Everyone sees a problem, nobody can agree on what to do about it, time passes, nothing gets done, and then it ends up blowing up in everyone's face later down the line. Or not. Sometimes that stuff just passes by and never gets resolved. That sounds much more like the world we live in, rather than having some all-wise character give you a moral to the story at the end of each episode.

  • Re:Tackle? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Bemopolis ( 698691 ) on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @01:49PM (#26548587)

    Take Baltar as an example. By keeping his involvement with the destruction of the colonies a secret, he's basically accepting responsibility for his actions. Yet his character never accepts responsibility for his actions! A real individual like that would have carefully controlled the release of that information, being careful to spin it as something out of his control.

    Ttrapped in space with the remains of humanity, each of which has suffered a devastating loss, has easy access to guns, and is looking for someone to blame. Saying "I did it" and hoping no one offs you before you get to "...but".


  • by roc97007 ( 608802 ) on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @01:50PM (#26548597) Journal

    Episode 4.11 was more depressing than, I dunno, being at work. Seriously, this is entertainment?

  • by Tubal-Cain ( 1289912 ) * on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @01:51PM (#26548615) Journal
    Because you can't do much to undermine them if you are dead.
  • by flitty ( 981864 ) on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @01:52PM (#26548635)
    The end of the good mix for me seemed to be the Sub-Atmosphere Jump of Galactica (at the beginning of Season 2?) That was the end of the really good action scenes. There has been action since then, but it all seemed to be tangential to the story, rather than the driving force it was during the first season. Now i'm finishing up the series just to see how they wrap it all up. I think they've found a good time to end the show. A fifth season (or spinoff... you're kidding me, right?) would be too much and doomed to failure. It's gone off the rails at times (All along the watchtower sing-a-long? Really?) but considering how decent the show has been for the majority of it's run compared to most sci-fi series that run this long, it's forgivable.

    With the current configuration (truce between the two sides) has been a bore and they really need something to happen to get stuff to happen outside the halls of the ship.
  • by EnderWiggum ( 1458317 ) on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @02:02PM (#26548821)
    BSG isn't even decent sci-fi, and it's creators aren't Martin Luther.
    The character's personalities have been re-molded so many times it is ridiculous:

    * Adama is outraged at the idea of a teacher being president and forcibly takes over the government (only to give it back), yet rolls over for "Democracy" when a *known* criminal, traitor, and lunatic (who mumbles outloud to NOBODY) is elected. Nice job!
    * Trained, hardened, reasonable, and resourceful soldiers *suddenly* resort to STRAPPING BOMBS TO THEIR CHESTS to fight the enemy.
    * Fighter pilot spontaneously goes lawyer. (no offense to lawyers or pilots)
    * Some human ships are filled with normal humans, others (same training and organization) are filled with bloodthirsty sadists with no regard for the lives of others (Pegasus). I hope U.S. aircraft carriers aren't like this :)

    On the bright side, the visual polish and effects are very slick.

    Essentially, the show is crapsh!t.
  • by petes_PoV ( 912422 ) on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @02:13PM (#26548993)
    When the new version started I watched BSG. However, I quickly found it lacking in pace and couldn't form any connection with the characters. As a consequence I stopped watching. It's hard to consider the moral questions posed by a programme when it's too dull to watch.

    I watched the last ep. of the previous part and though for all the world it was "planet of the apes" again. I still couldn't form an emotional bond to any of the characters.

    As a sucker for punishment, I watched the restart episode (last night inthe UK) and still felt it spent far too long on close-up shots of people looking confused - especially the guy with the eyepatch.

    So far as moral questiosn go, all I can say is GO CYLONS They're far more interesting that the human (if that's what they turn out to be) characters int he show.

  • Re:Tackle? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AKAImBatman ( 238306 ) * <> on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @02:14PM (#26549011) Homepage Journal

    The closest they came to tackling moral quandries was Picard looking distressed for his "I'm going to ignore the prime directive" monologues.

    You do realize that TOS was under heavy fire from the CBS news agency because of their sci-fi commentary on the Vietnam war?

    Star Trek asked all kinds of questions. Do we have a right to arm the locals to fight back against Klingon oppression? Should we fight the Klingons for having turned a peaceful people into pawns in their war? Does Kirk have the right to take vengeance on a dictator who is repentant of his ways? Do we have a right to kill off the indigenous population so that we can mine the materials we need? Would you kill someone you love if it meant saving billions of people and making the future a better place? Is it acceptable for mixed races to fall in love?

    Star Trek was very much the BSG of its day. It asked all the hard questions that were on people's minds at the time. The difference is that it didn't let the abyss stare back at you. It exposed these problems as an agent of change rather than suggesting helplessness.

    The Next Generation did continue the tradition with many hard questions. (e.g. Who Watches the Watchers, The Survivors, The Host, The Outcast, The High Ground, etc.) However, the questions were framed in the softer, more tolerant culture of the time. Now we're coming back around to hard questions which BSG raises. But the show does nothing to look those questions in the eye. It simply treats them as there and moves on. Nothing more, nothing less.

  • The middle east (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @02:16PM (#26549037)

    humm the 1st part sounded like what is happening in Palestine and Israel...but def a good show !

  • by Hijacked Public ( 999535 ) on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @02:16PM (#26549043)

    the only "lesson" you teach from the barrel of a gun is that gun-barrels are for teaching lessons.

    I don't necessarily dispute you here, but what can be done when you are faced with such a lesson, other than learn it?

    For purley academic purposes it is fun to think about what things might be like were there no one teaching anyone else about gun barrels but if history is any indication of the nature of humans such things aren't going to stop any time soon. Someone somewhere is going to get a better gun than their neighbor and go be the agressor. Banding together to visit consequences on those agressors seems to work but that just reverses the teacher/student roles.

    And the cultured types who elevate themselves above direct physical confrontation replace guns with dollars. Or food. Or medicine or whatever else their neighbor needs. No gun to your head but you either sign the document or your kids don't eat again tonight.

    So once we or BSG have thoroughly deconstructed the troll where do we end up?

  • Re:Tackle? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Wonko the Sane ( 25252 ) * on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @02:17PM (#26549065) Journal

    Don't forget about the projected Japanese death toll in the event of a land invasion.

    We'll never really know for sure, of course, but dropping those two bombs probably saved lives on both sides.

    Besides all the people involved in that decision are dead. Maybe we can move on now?

  • Re:Tackle? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by EvanED ( 569694 ) <evaned@gmail. c o m> on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @02:19PM (#26549087)

    But they didn't really tackle any moral quandries.

    "Who Watches the Watchers"? "First Contact" (the TNG episode, not movie)? "The Drumhead"? "The Defector"? "The Offspring"? "The Wounded"? "The Quality of Life"? "Tapestry"? "The Pegasus"? Many undergrad Artificial Intelligence classes routinely show "The Measure of a Man" to discuss sentience in manufactured beings. Hell, I've heard that the Naval Academy has shown "The First Duty" to incoming cadets as discussion about the honor code.

    All of these episodes naturally could spawn discussions of a similar caliber to those mentioned in the summary for this /. article. A couple (particularly "First Contact" and those dealing with machine rights, which is admittedly many) aren't really applicable to the world today, but that's why we have an imagination. And only one of them is about Prime Directive violations, and it's one that Picard didn't cause. Hell, watch The Drumhead, from 1991, and tell me that that doesn't have eerie parallels to our terror hunt.

  • Re:Al Jazeera (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @02:22PM (#26549137)
    A good 1/2 of all Americans consider Fox to be "reputable", but that doesn't make it particularly so.

    I read this crap all the time, but have yet to see someone point out where the problem is. Some of the editorial columns are biased, but that's the point of an editorial.

    Please goto the site right now and point out a story that is not "reputable". We'll wait.
  • Oh come on .... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ubrgeek ( 679399 ) on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @02:23PM (#26549149)
    > when the final episode airs, television will never be the same again.

    A little melodramatic, no? When the final episode of All in the Family ran (not the shitty spinoffs) TV changed. Same as M*A*S*H. Same would hold true for Sesame Street. Look, BSG was entertaining and even thought provoking (at times) but it's hardly something that 20 years from now people will be watching TV and say, "Wow! If it wasn't for BSG, TV would be totally different."
  • by sjbe ( 173966 ) on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @02:25PM (#26549181)

    On the other hand, the kill ratio in Iraq for coalition forces is 100:1 (1 coalition soldier dead for every 100 enemy combatants). Numbers like that make suicide bombing start to look pretty appealing.

    No, that just means the bomber has lost the conflict but is to stupid to admit the fact. If suicide bombers had any tactical or strategic purpose to what they were doing, then perhaps you might have a point but they almost never do. They simply walk into a random crowd and kill a bunch of random people and accomplish nothing.

    It doesn't weaken the stronger military by any meaningful amount, it just pisses them off. Even when public opinion is against a war suicide bombings aren't going to cause our military to quit and go home. At most it financially stresses the stronger party but it's hardly going to bankrupt the economy. We want out of Iraq but it isn't because of the suicide bombers - it's because it is a stupid, wasteful and unnecessary conflict which we should not have started in the first place.

    The Japanese started using kamikaze tactics in WWII when the leadership already knew or should have known that the war was a lost cause. It was a futile and cowardly act by their leaders which in the end changed nothing. Similar actions in Iraq and other places will have similarly futile outcomes.

  • by DaveV1.0 ( 203135 ) on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @02:31PM (#26549275) Journal

    Yes, let's kill ourselves faster! That is the way to win a war, kill our side off faster. /sarcasm

    Suicide bombing is not an effective tactic for anything except terrorism and terrorism doesn't effect enemy soldiers. The suicide bombings in Iraq don't target the U.S. military. It targets the Iraqi police, the Iraqi army, and the Iraqi people.

    Roadside bombs are a much more effective tactic. Attacking supply lines, destroying communications, general harassing attacks, snipers, guerrilla warfare, etc. work against invaders and occupiers. Suicide attacks don't.

    Just ask the Vietnamese. They succeeded in stymieing one of the largest and well-equipped military forces on the planet. They rarely used suicide bombers because the tactic was counter-productive.

  • Re:Tackle? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Austerity Empowers ( 669817 ) on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @02:35PM (#26549321)

    The show isn't a series of morality plays, it's to make you think about what's right. It's more social commentary, "this is how it is", not "how it should be". Right and wrong is a complicated issue, made easier for us viewers because we have (somewhat) perfect knowledge.

    I believe that in general though, you're right, characters display less backbone than we, the audience would like them to. And I believe that's the point. We are unpassionate observers, watching two warring factions go at it. The more we watch, the less we necessarily have empathy for either side. The more clearly we see where this is headed. After the last episode, would you accept a Disney ending?

    More importantly, are the times when characters actually do the right thing. Some characters do the right thing more often than not, on both sides. Sometimes the right thing had dire consequences, involving deaths of many people. How many people, your people, would you kill for the right thing? Would you lie to your people to unify them, to ensure their (brief) survival? What is the quest for earth if not a metaphor for our new president?

    Baltar is, mostly, our example of the true self-serving egotist. He's even making a religion out of it. He's not all bad, he sometimes does the right thing, he certainly tries to think the right thoughts. But he is impossibly weak. Yet I think at some level we all identify with him. We hate what he does, but we understand why he does it. We'd like to think we'd do differently. Baltar, IMO, is ultimately dominated by his cowardice, not his intellect. He knows where he stands on the jedi-sith scale, but he's too much of a coward to take control of himself. This internal battle was fought out earlier on, with his "head six".

    The show is pretty bleak, I think precisely for the reasons you cite for not liking the characters. Unlike Star Trek, the moral quandaries and decisions made persist and are affecting the outcome. They're absolutely not blown by, they're resolved one way or another. All the what-if's that were decided on in past episodes have forced them down the path they're on now, a path that has caused a lot of pain and suffering, more than what could have been if characters had acted differently.

  • Re:Tackle? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Jah-Wren Ryel ( 80510 ) on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @02:37PM (#26549359)

    Somebody tends to speak up in nearly any situation. Whether anyone listens to them or not is another matter, but very few secrets are maintained. Yet everyone in BSG has the necessary personality traits to keep even the smallest of secrets. That's realistic?

    I dunno, it took me about 3 seconds to come up with a counter-example - without too much spoilage - a certain person discovered they were a cylon and ultimately confessed it to Adama. Sure it took that person a couple of episodes to decide what they were going to do about their self-discovery, but deliberating over such an enormous and self-destructive revelation seems pretty realistic too me.

    Same with the example of Baltar's situation. ... Then when Roselin "remembered" him being with the six, no one (including Roselin) would have been able to find personal fault there.

    That's a terrible example, you are arguing about human nature - for which there are no cut and dried rules - and you are using foreknowledge that he would even be found out. It is just as reasonable to say that he chose to gamble that he would never be found out, considering just how few surviors there were AND just how few political survivors there were (wasn't roselyn like 47th in line for the presidency?) it seems like a plenty reasonable gamble to me.

  • by sjbe ( 173966 ) on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @02:46PM (#26549509)

    They grew a big enough backbone to stand up to you, despite the fact that you're war criminals who drop nukes on cities.

    This has to be a troll but I'll bite anyway.

    Comparing ethics from a time of total war [] is absurd beyond measure. Shall we get into the atrocities committed by all sides? There's plenty to go around. A nuke in a time of war is no more unethical than any other kind of massive scale bombing []. FAR more people were killed with conventional bombing on both sides during WWII than by nukes and yet the nukes are somehow special? The nuke just has a bigger bang for the payload.

    War is horrible but once there is a war the MOST unethical thing anyone can do is to prolong the war. It should be ended as quickly as possible and this is usually accomplished by using the most overwhelming force possible. Dropping two atomic weapons on Japan brought the war to an abrupt end and probably saved countless lives. Yes it was a horrible thing to do but there were NO options that were not horrible to consider. None.

  • Re:Tackle? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jedidiah ( 1196 ) on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @02:50PM (#26549587) Homepage

    I always love to see people with an axe to grind against the United
    States so eager to so utterly trivialize the Japanese. They are not
    a people to be trifled with, especially in war. All of this historical
    revisionist nonsense about how they were all ready to give in is so
    disrespectful to them individually and as a separate and independent
    culture and nation.

    The Germans didn't give in so easily. They were fighting street to
    street all the way to Berlin even when all that was left were old
    men and boys. Why should we expect any less of the Japanese?

    You're like some fundie that selectively chooses what part of scripture they will acknowledge.

  • Re:Tackle? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by adamjgp ( 1229860 ) on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @02:54PM (#26549659)

    5. US military is widely celebrated as a bunch of extraordinary cowards who go to war only after being convinced that they will kill their enemies without endangering themselves. Said bunch of cowards always acts surprised and terrified when their invincible warriors end up dead or captured, and proclaims that it only happens because their enemies are immoral war criminals.

    The victorious strategist only seeks battle after the victory has been won, whereas he who is destined to defeat first fights and afterwards looks for victory. - Sun Tzu

  • Hyperbole is right (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Obfuscant ( 592200 ) on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @02:57PM (#26549729)
    Television will never be the same? Oh, please.

    The last episode of BG will come and go and TV will still be the same. The "moral dilemmas" that are easy to find parallels in real life politics are easy to find because you want to find them.

    When Dan Quayle spoke about the negative impacts on society when Murphy Brown deliberately became a single parent, everyone was falling all over themselves claiming "it's just a TV show" and claiming that Quayle was an idiot for even suggesting that TV might have some relevance to real life. When they find deep, meaningful parallels to real life, "TV will never be the same". Please, pick one and stick with it.

  • Re:Tackle? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by AKAImBatman ( 238306 ) * <> on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @02:59PM (#26549759) Homepage Journal

    a certain person discovered they were a cylon and ultimately confessed it to Adama.

    Only when the situation became dire enough. Which I actually thought was a pretty decent part of the show. However, before he did that he managed to get a six pregnant and all but give away the fact that he was a cylon. Furthermore, why did he give away the others? I was waiting for him to turn himself in (seemed like the situation was going to force it sooner or later), but I saw no reason why he'd need to reveal the identity of everyone else.

    you are arguing about human nature - for which there are no cut and dried rules

    Certainly. However, there's one thing that's certain. In any human population, traits will be far more varied than we see in BSG. While their personalities are different, their approaches to handling tough situations seem to be almost universal. Given the opportunity, nearly every person on the show makes the wrong decision. That's simply not realistic.

    It is just as reasonable to say that he chose to gamble that he would never be found out, considering just how few surviors there were AND just how few political survivors there were (wasn't roselyn like 47th in line for the presidency?) it seems like a plenty reasonable gamble to me.

    And yet he was found out. And STILL didn't start controlling information. When a six shows up and says that you sabotaged the colonies, it's probably a pretty damn good time to say, "She's a cylon!" Not only will it help get you out of conviction, but it will give you a nice out for future recriminations. (Like what happened with Roslyn later on.) Sure, he'd take a hit in the public eye, but he knew that Adama and the President needed him. That meant that he could have rebuilt after such a setback. Instead he rots in a cell and waits for a sentence of execution, all while the power of his trump card wanes.

    Of course, you might say "well, that's a stupid idea." But consider how it would have played out for a moment. You don't just jump up and accuse someone at the table. He would have pulled Adama aside and told him that he watched this lady die during the attack on Cobol. Which can only mean that she's actually a cylon and thus must be the spy that sabotaged the defense computers. At best, it's his word against hers. They would have both been thrown in detention, and the falsified evidence would have eventually come to light. Baltar would now be blame free, and Adama would have a Cylon captive. Win-win for Baltar.

    Instead, the show played up various metaphysical questions to no real purpose. I can tell you that if I'm on death row, worrying about the metaphysical meaning of my navel is not my first concern. I'd swing back to reality and start playing on the trust relationships I'd developed (however thin) until I can find a solution in my favor. Especially in a situation where the opponent has such a weak hand. (i.e. She's definitely a Cylon AND Baltar knows that her evidence is falsified.)

    Baltar displays this sort of political acumen elsewhere in the series. Why did he fail so badly in this situation? He didn't even try. That's what really blows my mind.

  • by mlwmohawk ( 801821 ) on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @03:03PM (#26549843)

    It is a space opra.

    2001 was science fiction.

    Arthur C. Clarke, H.G. Wells, and even a little Douglas Adams were science fiction writers. They wrote about how society changes around technology and envision life in the context of new technology.

    BSG has nothing to do with science fiction. They don't contemplate the benefits or dangers of science. They use it as nothing more than a backdrop. The closest BSG comes to science fiction is in the first episode where Adama critiques and disdains technology. (Ignoring, of course, he's on a space ship.)

  • Re:Tackle? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nine-times ( 778537 ) <> on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @03:04PM (#26549851) Homepage

    Star Trek asked all kinds of questions. Do we have a right to arm the locals to fight back against Klingon oppression?...

    I agree, but I think Star Trek sometimes suffered from giving answers that were a little too pat. "Do we have a right to kill off the indigenous population so that we can mine the materials we need? " Well, it turns out the answer is "no". That's nice. "Is it acceptable for mixed races to fall in love?" The answer is "yes". Great.

    I think it's the mark of much better writing when BSG makes the audience answer these questions with something like, "I want to say 'no', but I'm afraid I feel like I have to say 'yes'. Does that make me a horrible human being?" Maybe it's a matter of opinion, as well as what you're looking for out of a show.

  • by sjbe ( 173966 ) on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @03:08PM (#26549935)

    So, you are saying that that suicide bombers should just shut up and die?

    No I'm saying they are tactical imbeciles who are defeating themselves. What difference does it make if they die in a hail of bullets or by blowing themselves up? Dead is dead. In the hail of bullets option they just might live to accomplish something another day. But doing it via suicide out of mere spite is just stupid, not to mention psychotic.

    When given a choice between a miserable existence given to you by a hated enemy or taking a few "enemies" with you when you die, what would YOU chose?

    Nice strawman argument. Taking enemies with you is fine but only if there is some tactical or strategic purpose to it. Claiming there is something ethical or justifiable about killing yourself and taking a bunch of innocent people with you is about the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard.

    Furthermore, even enemies don't have to remain so forever. The conflict between the US and Japan was about as intense as it gets. Millions lost their lives and there was such intense rage we can barely comprehend it 60 years later. Now Japan is among our closest allies and it didn't even take a single generation. Just being on the losing side of conflict doesn't doom the combatants to an eternity of misery. Life moves on and only those who dwell on past injuries will be doomed to a pathetic existence.

    A slow death or a quick one?

    We're all going to die. Why not try to accomplish something productive before you go?

    Vengeance or humiliation?

    Vengeance against whom? Explain to me how the 3000 victims in the world trade center were in any way deserving of their fate.

    Doing SOMETHING or nothing?

    A suicide bombing accomplishes nothing so I'm guessing you are voting for doing nothing. Dying is easy - actually doing something productive is hard. Suicide bombers are mentally unbalanced people taking the easy way out.

    Think about it, it may be seem stupid and the bomber may have lost the conflict
    but just sitting around and letting someone push you around is not something most people would be willing to do

    There are plenty of ways to push back that don't involve killing other people. Ghandi and Martin Luther King led peaceful revolutions that last to this day and led to them being honored throughout the world. I've never heard of a suicide bomber ever having any lasting effect on the world.

  • Re:Tackle? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by karstux ( 681641 ) on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @03:12PM (#26550013) Homepage

    5. US military is widely celebrated as a bunch of extraordinary cowards who go to war only after being convinced that they will kill their enemies without endangering themselves.

    Everything else aside: This is not cowardice, but the only responsible course of action for a military. If you fight an enemy "fairly", you'll end up with equal casualties on both sides, thus abusing the soldier's trust in their superiors. In war, you don't fight fairly, you minimize your own losses. It's not pretty, but a moral necessity.

  • Re:Tackle? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Svartormr ( 692822 ) on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @03:16PM (#26550081)

    From the Wikipedia entry on Operation Downfall [], the Allied plan to invade the Japanese islands to force surrender:

    Nearly 500,000 Purple Heart medals were manufactured in anticipation of the casualties resulting from the invasion of Japan. To the present date, all the American military casualties of the sixty years following the end of World War II -- including the Korean and Vietnam Wars -- have not exceeded that number. In 2003, there were still 120,000 of these Purple Heart medals in stock.[45] There are so many in surplus that combat units in Iraq and Afghanistan are able to keep Purple Hearts on-hand for immediate award to wounded soldiers on the field.[45]

    My parents lived through World War 2. I've heard it from them and I've read a lot of accounts and history. It wasn't like anything before and I hope we never see anything like it again.

    At that point, in July 1945, what would you have done? The world isn't a blank slate and doing nothing has millions of Japanese starving and other world powers wondering. What do you do? Sure, better to have never come to that point of picking between situations of how many die. But imagine you're there now. You're Harry S. Truman. What do you do? Let the enemy starve, with whatever fallout for the post-war world? Invade and have that butcher's bill from both sides? Or use the Bomb and crush 2 cites and their people?

    From Wikipedia again. : []

    In the years since the bombings, however, questions about Truman's choice have become more pointed. Supporters of Truman's decision to use the bomb argue that it saved hundreds of thousands of lives that would have been lost in an invasion of mainland Japan. Eleanor Roosevelt spoke in support of this view in 1954, saying that Truman had "made the only decision he could," and that the bomb's use was necessary "to avoid tremendous sacrifice of American lives."[65] Others, including historian Gar Alperovitz, have argued that the use of nuclear weapons was unnecessary and inherently immoral.[66] Truman himself wrote later in life that, "I knew what I was doing when I stopped the war... I have no regrets and, under the same circumstances, I would do it again."[67]

  • Re:Tackle? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Alex Belits ( 437 ) * on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @03:20PM (#26550129) Homepage

    Conviction is not the same as truth, and cowardice does not guarantee safety.

  • Re:Tackle? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dat cwazy wabbit ( 1147827 ) on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @03:24PM (#26550191)

    "Same with the example of Baltar's situation. He screwed up, but he didn't screw up badly."

    Are we watching the same show? He leaked classified information to the blonde he was banging and she used it to kill billions of people. Has anyone ever screwed up worse than this? Ever?

  • Re:Another dilemma (Score:2, Insightful)

    by ImOnlySleeping ( 1135393 ) on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @03:26PM (#26550237)
    Good jokes always get spoiled when you have to explain them to the dimwit. It's so obvious that those countries are first world countries, the point being that in a first world country you would think it would be easy enough to view/purchase digital media. If it makes you feel better, I have the same issue getting trying to watch BBC shows on this side of the pond.
  • by Sleepy ( 4551 ) on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @03:37PM (#26550441) Homepage

    >If my country were invaded and occupied by a foreign power, I would ensure that I obey the cease-fires and give peace a chance, and not hide like a coward amongst my own women and children as I target the enemy's women and children.

    All guerilla wars are spun this way. The danger of good vs. evil propoganda is that someday you might WANT peace, and when you try for it one of your fellow comrades will put a bullet in your head. That's already happened to the last Israeli president who wanted peace.

    Israel survives as a "pure" culture by ethnically herding native born non-Jews into refugee camps. Chasing people into camps and then not allowing them to leave counts as herding. A constant state of war provides justification.

    The simple truth is peace would destroy Israel, demographically speaking. The "right of return" would mean a majority Palestinian state of Israel.

    Houses that were occupied by the same families for hundreds of years get taken and turned over to colonial settlers born in far away places like Moscow.

    The thing is, apartheid ended gracefully in South Africa because both sides didn't brainwash themselves into a corner, and produced sane leaders who negotiated an end to minority rule. I don't see that happening here.

  • by Anonymous Psychopath ( 18031 ) on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @03:38PM (#26550453) Homepage

    What right have you lost?

    Habeas corpus.

    It's kind of a big deal. You should read about it.

  • Re:Tackle? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @03:47PM (#26550615) [] [] and everything quoted in it.

    Well, as the title indicates, this is a debate. There are points and counterpoints by multiple historians. Please show me evidence (not a debate) that the Japanese were indeed going to sign by a certain date and not pulling for delay tactics.

    Suicide bombers are ineffective in battle.

    Inaccurate in this context, as well as irrelevant. Your original point was an insinuation that the Japanese were not, in fact, "fanatical killing machines". The kamikaze pilots were extremely effective in crippling ships throughout the war. As for voluntarily flying a plane into a ship, I would define that as fanatical.

    Japanese already prepared to sign the treaty. What the fuck else could Americans want?

    To ensure that they actually signed it and acted in accordance to it. Hostilities were still occurring while they were still "preparing". You seem to think that war is some sort of gentlemen agreement- it's not.

    I don't see an argument here. When Germany did that, it was very effective at both killing people and conquering territory. So was US in Japan. How did two nukes change this situation?

    I was simply responding to your statement, "US already had a very successful firebombing campaign targeted at civilian population." You seem to think it's unfair. It was a tool in the arsenal, and the atomic weapons were a different tool.

    How is it relevant?

    You stated, "US military is widely celebrated as a bunch of extraordinary cowards who go to war only after being convinced that they will kill their enemies without endangering themselves."

    My point indicates that we entered the war after an act of aggression, and after losing a significant potion of our pacific fleet. This is quite the opposite of your statement.

    Was printing green paper supposed to be a justification of nuclear bombing of Japan or given as a proof of great bravery?

    No, this is indication that the US stepped up to the plate and freely provided resources after the war to assist in helping the world recover. The US didn't have to- it would have been easier to go back to it's isolationist policy. Instead, it liberated much of Europe and part of Asia from occupation then gave significant resources to recovery.

    War sucks, and it's always easy to say you could have done a better job. In your case, you are trying to demonize an entire society who has contributed greatly to the rest of the world in recent history.

    You try to paint Americans as cowards and aggressors during perhaps the most difficult and sad sagas in living memory. Frankly it's a damn shame that your bias over more recent events attempts to project this bias over history.

    You come across as quite a hateful person, which is unfortunate as you seem quite intelligent. There's not much that any nation at that time has to be proud of, on any side. To single out the Americans as the bad guys is really putting things in an out of reality perspective.
  • by Geof ( 153857 ) on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @03:48PM (#26550625) Homepage

    Your comments are very judgmental about what people should do in a given situation. You seem inclined to believe they would make rational choices accordingly. But people aren't very rational. They seldom "do the right thing", assuming they even think about it consciously and assuming it matches what you think the right thing should be.

    Your comparison with Star Trek is telling. When Battlestar Galactica presents moral quandries it leaves much of the interpretation up to the viewer. Star Trek, on the other hand, resolves them: it is unsubtle in claiming what's the right thing to do. I won't make big claims for Galactica, but in my mind Star Trek's treatment is much more superficial. (And very culturally specific: I find many of Star Trek judgments and values quite foreign to me. I'm Canadian; our culture is about as close to the American one as is possible.)

    very few secrets are maintained

    On a slight tangent: Um, how can you know this? We only know about secrets that aren't kept, not the ones that are. Unless we're keeping them: a sample of one is not a reliable indicator of anything.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @03:52PM (#26550677)

    It doesn't weaken the stronger military by any meaningful amount

    That is irrelevant since he stronger military isn't the target. General instability and destroying the credibility of the opponent government is. If you can convince the general population that the stronger military isn't as strong and can't offer the needed protection from suicide bombings/home made rockets, etc then you win a round. Defeating your opponent by making it leave or by destroying it isn't even on the agenda.

  • by Jherico ( 39763 ) * <(gro.saerdnatnias) (ta) (sivadb)> on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @03:53PM (#26550701) Homepage

    No, that just means the bomber has lost the conflict but is to stupid to admit the fact.

    Asymmetric warfare isn't designed to 'win' in the conventional sense. Its designed to wear down the will of an invading force.

    It doesn't weaken the stronger military by any meaningful amount, it just pisses them off.

    Not in terms of absolute numbers or weapons, but certainly in morale. And again, the point of such an attack is not the effect it will have on the military (which is already admitted to be superior by the very term 'asymmetric warfare') but the effect it will have on the morale of the invaders and their homeland as a whole.

    The Japanese started using kamikaze tactics in WWII when the leadership already knew or should have known that the war was a lost cause.

    The allies never invaded the Japanese islands, did they? Instead they chose to use the Atomic bomb. Its conceivable that the demonstrated willingness of the Japanese to die in defense of their country discouraged the use of a full scale invasion, such as the one in Europe.
    Maybe you're right, and the only people who might question whether suicide attacks are genuinely ineffective are the people like myself who are already questioning the point of being an invading force in the first place. But then again, maybe even the most pro-war mother and father might stop for a second and wonder if their child really had to die, and whether he really had to be an occupying force in the first place.
    You can argue the effectiveness of suicide bombing all you want, and you can tell a conquered people that it will do no good till you're blue in the face, but even if you're right, that's not going to stop them. People who are cornered or conquered have two choices: assimilate or fight. Some will choose to fight and of those some will believe that the only effective way to fight a vastly superior force is to resort to suicide tactics. The only way to prevent this is to go all the way back and do your best to prevent the need for an invasion in the first place. Say for instance, by not lying about the presence of WMD's in a country that doesn't have them, and not conflating the government of that country with a completely unrelated (ethnically, politically, and geographically) group that is responsible for an actual attack on your country.

  • Re:Tackle? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by elrous0 ( 869638 ) * on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @03:54PM (#26550715)

    2. Racist Americans assumed Japanese soldiers to be fanatical killing machines.

    I wonder if the people of Nanking [] would consider that an unfair characterization of the Japanese military at the time? Or are they just racists too?

  • Re:Tackle? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by OctaviusIII ( 969957 ) on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @04:09PM (#26550991) Homepage
    Well, most of those aren't applicable to me, as I really don't feel those ways. In general, though, I don't have secrets. I don't tell my girlfriend about every passing fancy I've had for someone, but you'd better believe I'd tell her if I cheated on her. I try not to lie to myself, either: I'm not the hero of the story and my failures are monumental. There are no good people, only bad ones that compensate, and that includes me.

    BSG always seemed like it cooked up drama for the sake of drama by creating characters with strong allergic reactions to any kind of openness. There may not be good people, but there are always people that struggle against their evil. Nobody in BSG struggles with it unless confronted with it, and I find that frankly unbelievable.
  • by jjohn ( 2991 ) on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @04:10PM (#26550997) Homepage Journal

    What started off as a fine little space opera became a morass of tangle and contradictory plot lines in Season 4. Ron Moore is a total hack who should have plotted the show arc out. Now, BSG is essentially Dallas in space.

    What a wasted opportunity to say something interesting about the human condition.

  • by jamstar7 ( 694492 ) on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @04:11PM (#26551029)

    The problem with non-violence is not that it doesn't work, it's that it requires more courage than most people have to execute it. Non-violent resistance is enormously effective, and anyone who chooses violence over it as an avenue for political conflict resolution is either a coward or has no interest in actually resolving the conflict. In most real cases it is probably a bit of both.

    The problem with non-violence is, you're at the mercy of people who don't believe as you do []. And when those people control the media, your non-violent message will not be heard. To bring it home to us Americans, 'Free Speach zone', anyone?

  • Re:Tackle? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Have Brain Will Rent ( 1031664 ) on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @04:20PM (#26551215)

    Yeah, that's called "realism." People in real life often rarely grow sufficiently large backbones to "do the right thing" either, particularly when they're threatened and running for their lives.

    Sadly, for many people, all it takes is the "right thing" being inconvenient. It doesn't take life threatening situations or serious threats to their welfare. It just takes the "right thing" being the more inconvenient path. I wish it weren't so but I've seen it too many times to believe otherwise - try living in a condo and you'll see it all the time. But what most often makes me realize this is when someone behaves otherwise and does "the right thing" even at some cost to themself, and then I'm hit at how infrequently I see that occur.

    Do you tell your boss he's a fucking idiot and that you think you could do a better job than him?

    LOL yep, done that more than once. But only when it was true lol.

  • by _Sprocket_ ( 42527 ) on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @04:21PM (#26551227)

    What right have you lost? What can't you do now that you were happily doing before Bush took office?

    It's not about what I can or can not do. I'm doing everything I did now after Bush that I did before Bush. But then, that's how these things work. You're all fine and happy until you fall afoul of someone. And that's when you become really interested in the checks and balances that keep Governmental authority from being abused.

    Bush's actions have chipped away at those checks and balances. And while that doesn't mean much to most people, I can only hope that it will never HAVE to mean anything to you.

    And don't get me wrong. If I am a foreign operative then by all means, tap my communications and catch me out. Use my communications to uncover my cohorts. Play the spy game and win. But be sure that you've done the due dilligance to ensure that I am, in fact, said foreign operative before doing so. And prove that work in front of a judge.

  • by sjbe ( 173966 ) on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @04:42PM (#26551547)

    You're deliberately ignoring the fact that FAR, FAR more conventional bombs were dropped than nukes. We're talking several orders of magnitude here.

    So? A death is a death. The means matters little to the dead person.

    The ratio makes them quite special.

    No it doesn't. It just makes that individual weapon scarier but dead is dead. One million dead from one bomb or one million dead from a million bombs is still one million dead. Any conflict where nuclear weapons are considered is pretty much going to mean massive casualties even if they are never used. A nuclear weapon is just another way to kill a lot of people but hardly the only one.

    All the kids that later died of cancer makes them special as hell.

    So you don't care about the starvation, disease, death, maimings, destruction and other side effects of war? You think radiation is the only way to cause cancer? Man are you missing the big picture.

  • Re:Tackle? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by LandDolphin ( 1202876 ) on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @04:51PM (#26551691)

    the idea of European countries being attacked is at best laughable now, and yet NATO expands.

    Tell that to the People of Georgia.

    NATO expands to countries that want to ensure that have nothing to fear from other NATO countries, and support if they get involved into a conflict with non-NATO countries.

    There is a reason that much of the expanding NATO is doing, invovled adding former members of the Warsaw Pact.

    However, I do not argue that the US military-industrial complex has used NATO to expand. But That does not mean that NATO was not important, or does not still play an important role.

  • Re:Tackle? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Xveers ( 1003463 ) on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @04:58PM (#26551787)
    Except the Japanese were putting out some negotiations via the russians to try to negotiate a peace settlement by early '44. By that point they had recognized that should everything continue, they were going to lose. Their negotiations were meant to save face at home by presenting a story about how they "hadn't really been totally defeated". The main sticking point was that they wanted to keep their current political structure, emperor and all. The main allies (The US especially) wanted an unconditional surrender. Hence the war continuing onwards. Just because you're looking to surrender dosen't make you a spineless weenie. There is such a thing as recognizing when you're completely overmatched and needing to cut a deal...
  • Re:Tackle? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Cowmonaut ( 989226 ) on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @05:35PM (#26552311)
    Mod this guy Insightful or Underrated whichever is more Karma. I find few people that seem to actually understand what politically was happening in WW2. Most people are just interested in the fighting and military tech.
  • by cherokee158 ( 701472 ) on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @06:10PM (#26552799)

    THANK you. That really needed to be said. I enjoy the show, because I am generally hungry for any science fiction on TV, but I find it largely devoid of any logic. Why would a race of machines attempt to exterminate 99% of the human race, and then follow the rest around trying to convert them to monotheism like a bunch of horny space baptists? Why would anyone ever attempt to defect to another species? Why wouldn't they be blasted out of the nearest airlock if they were even suspected of doing so? Why don't Cylons come in more flavors than Baskin Robbins? Did someone really think it was more efficient to keep twenty thousand copies of themselves in orbit rather than just keep the blueprints on file? Why would a machine build a new improved model of itself that was nearly identical to a species it considered inferior, and then put it in charge? If a machine wanted a baby, why wouldn't it just build one?

    The series may pose some interesting moral questions, but it also poses a lot of stupid ones, too...and leaves them unanswered.

    I miss Babylon Five.

  • Re:Tackle? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by nine-times ( 778537 ) <> on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @06:27PM (#26553019) Homepage

    I think it's open to debate. Trying to think of someone growing a backbone, it took me approximately 2 seconds to come up with Lee Adama's defense of Baltar. It wasn't exactly the path of least resistance, but he seemed to think it was "the right thing to do." I didn't even understand why he was doing it until he actually explained it at the trial, and after his explanation, I agreed that it was probably the right thing for him to do.

    I think part of the problem is that they display everything as being multi-sided and multi-faceted, and so for any example that I come up with of a character "growing a backbone and doing the right thing," you might say, "That wasn't the right thing to do."

    And I don't know... but that seems more like my experience of life. I don't think I've ever seen a decision so "right" that it's beyond debate, beyond questioning from another perspective, or at least beyond some kind of improvement. I don't think I've ever found the "right" answer to any of my problems, but rather I hope that the answers are things that I can be happy enough with, or at least that I can live with.

  • by 0xABADC0DA ( 867955 ) on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @07:19PM (#26553753)

    The Japanese started using kamikaze tactics in WWII when the leadership already knew or should have known that the war was a lost cause. It was a futile and cowardly act by their leaders which in the end changed nothing.

    Kamikaze tactics in WWII achieved nothing only because we invented the proximity fuse so they could be shot down before reaching the ship. If not for those fuses we would have lost most or all of our ships or given up.

    You can't take 100:1 losses. You need to change the game so that you don't take those losses. Suicide bombing will work regardless of whether you, Joe Spectator, thinks the side using it is 'stupid' until we have some way to neutralize that tactic.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 21, 2009 @09:32PM (#26555059)

    the difference between BSG and other SciFi shows that deal with real issues, such as B5 and Star Trek, is that in those shows, there are mostly larger than life characters, such as Capt Picard and Kirk. this makes the show harder too relate to, because real life isnt like that. in BSG though, all the characters are deeply flawed, allowing anyone to easily connect with and sympathize with the characters. in addition to this, the unique technique with which BSG is filmed is much more like a Nat Geo documentary than a TV show. this makes it easier for the viewer to feel like they are apart of the events, rather than watching it on a screen.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 22, 2009 @01:07AM (#26556589)

    An interesting article, but I can't help but be amazed and somewhat concerned about how someone who demonstrates recognition of inherent inequality and complex subject matter being potrayed can equate the fictional events with real events when he doesn't even seem to have the correct facts about the real events that he is purporting the program parallels.

    Fact: It wasn't a technologically superior 'race' that hijacked our airliners and killed three thousand plus people. It was an organization bent on chaos and destruction that has hijacked a fundamentalist religious groups' motivating 'holy war' to their own ends.

    Fact: There haven't been any Guantanamo Bay atrocities, that all occcured in the prison in Baghdad.

    Fact: There hasn't been a clash of religious beliefs. Al Quaida is only using that as a front to enslave (Islamic Fundamentalists) fanatics to their own ends.

    Fact: The author does not know anything more then what is printed in the papers about the 'torture' that is said to have occurred. He also doesn't have a clue about its efficacy either.

    It is true that BG is one of the better SF shows, but I doubt that "Television will never be the same".

    If only the writing of the author would rise to the level of the show(s) he's supposedly going to miss instead of being a poorly researched, with shaky conclusions, morally condescending, and re-hashed article from the two 'rags' he quotes from (Newsweek and Time)

    Great show? definitely. great article - Not so much.

  • by master_p ( 608214 ) on Thursday January 22, 2009 @07:37AM (#26558175)

    The nuke just has a bigger bang for the payload.

    You don't measure the effectiveness of a weapon by the payload, but by how much damage it will do per unit of time. The nuke at Hiroshima killed 80,000 people the moment it exploded. The firebombing of Tokyo on 9-10 of March, 1945, killed almost 100,000 people, but it lasted 48 hours.

    The nuke is a much more devastating weapon than the bombs. It not only kills equal or more people (instantly and in the long run), it also damages the moral of the enemy far more greatly than any other weapon.

3500 Calories = 1 Food Pound