Star Wars and Philosophy: More Powerful Than You Can Possibly Imagine

By Kevin S. Decker; Jason T. Eberl | Go to book overview

8
Send In the Clones:
The Ethics of Future Wars

RICHARD HANLEY

Clones can think creatively. You'll find they are immensely
superior to droids … They are totally obedient, taking any
order, without question. We modified their genetic structure to
make them less independent than the original host."

—LAMA SU, Prime Minister of Kamino

It's called Star Wars, and warfare is definitely a very bad thing, with loss of life, injury, and myriad other kinds of suffering. The toughest kind of ethical question is: When is it okay to do very bad things? When you're the good guys? Maybe that's true, but it's rather unhelpful. When God is on your side? Again, maybe true, but unhelpful. And anyway, isn't the Force with the bad guys as well, in a big way?

Two critical questions arise for the moral justification of warfare: when is it okay to engage in warfare, and how should you conduct yourself in warfare? It also matters, of course, how you conduct yourself after warfare. But overlooked in the standard approaches to the ethics of warfare is the question of how to recruit and treat your own combatants.

In Attack of the Clones, the Republic faces the prospect of war within its own ranks, as a separatist movement led by Count Dooku assembles a massive droid army. Supreme Chancellor Palpatine engineers a vote to counter the threat with an army of clones which happens to be ready and waiting on Kamino. A battle ensues, and Yoda grimly notes, "Begun, the Clone War has."

-93-

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