07 September 2009

Private Military Contractors in a Galaxy Far, Far Away

Ever since Abu Muqawama posted his cousin’s analysis of Return of the Jedi as viewed through the lens of counterinsurgency warfare, some things about Star Wars continued to puzzle me.
The first thing that puzzled me was the glorification of sectarian violence between the Jedi and the Sith, resulting in beheadings (Count Dooku/Darth Tyrannus), and culminating in the massive “death squad” ethnic cleansing of the Jedi Knights as perpetrated by the Sith and their Clone Troops.

Another thing that disturbed me about the Galaxy Far, Far Away was the use of private military contractors by both the Rebel Alliance and the Galactic Empire. Indeed, it appears that the Rebel Alliance won the day not through the contributions of Luke Skywalker and Wedge Antilles, but rather the timely intervention of “Captain” Han Solo and Chewbacca. Yes, that’s right, whenever Chewbacca growls, he’s really echoing Han Solo’s immense desire for exorbitant amounts of money and disregard for Imperial law, just like Blackwater.

Even through Han Solo fights for the Rebellion, he still retains his title of “captain”, referring to his status as the captain of the Millennium Falcon—again, a title indicative of a private military contractor, as opposed to an actual officer holding a commission within the Rebel Alliance. Upon his departure from the ranks of the Rebellion ( in order to deal with intergalactic criminal Jabba the Hutt), he is pursued by even more private military contractors, such as Boba Fett. What is George Lucas attempting to tell us about the role of private military contractors? Can they serve the forces of good, like Han Solo and Chewbacca, or are they decidedly evil like Boba Fett and the various business factions which control the Confederacy of Independent Systems in the prequels?

It must be noted that the most fascinating character is Lando Calrissian, the local warlord who runs the Bespin Mining Facility and decidedly turns against the Empire upon experiencing their heavy-handed tactics. Despite having minimal formal military training, his “little maneuver at the Battle of Tanaab” gives him the qualification to be placed at the head of the starfighter assault on the second Death Star—an interesting move for the Rebel Alliance. Clearly, their organizational culture is such that they wish to spur innovation by seeking advice from the outside, unlike the centrally-controlled and micromanaged Empire.

Finally, I should note that the Imperial Military Industrial Complex is quite like our own MIC, resulting in a Death Star that is not only far behind schedule upon the arrival of Darth Vader, but presumably grossly over-budget. The only way I can fathom a second one being built, despite the spectacular failure of the first Death Star, is that bits and pieces of this Death Star must be built in the most important star systems in the galaxy—Coruscant, Geonosis, maybe even peaceful Naboo, which would have normally voted against it.

I need a new hobby.


AE said...

If you think about it, the entire Clone Army used in the prequels is a contractor force because it was developed on request for money by a third party.

If the stormtroopers in the main Star Wars movies are clones, then it is impossible not to conclude that there was an immense drop in training standards, combat effectiveness, and body armor in between the two movies. Probably the result of the Clone contractor growing fat on the money and trying to defraud the Empire.

A.E. said...

* In between the two movie series, I meant.

Starbuck said...

Yes, but the third party (Dooku) is working on behalf of Darth Sidious/Palpatine, so he's is he really working for the Republic?

AE said...

If I remember correctly the actual organization that produced the clones was a private science company run by another weird group of fish-people on a sea world. While Dooku and Palpatine were scheming to control this resource, the actual cloned soldiers were provided en masse by the company. Kind of a General Dynamics of cloning or something.

El Goyito said...

Starbuck, when I read posts like this one I am almost convinced that you will never reproduce. ;-D