Changes in the Cosmic Era
Gundam SEED is, in my opinion, the best Gundam series to date. That doesn't mean it's perfect, though. A place to share ideas for improving the Cosmic Era.
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Solid Shark

This is a topic I've found coming up more and more in discussion these days, so I thought I'd create a thread specific to the matter here: in the Bloody Valentine Wars, which side actually holds the moral high ground?

For my own part, I've never quite understood why there's any controversy. Oh, it's true that ZAFT is portrayed as the villains early in SEED itself, but things are still being told from the Archangel's perspective at that point; later events in the series, and a close look at the official timeline, would seem to make quite clear which side was the "righteous" one.

To start with, the first armed conflict between Earth and ZAFT occurred when the PLANT sponsor nations tried to interdict food shipments to the PLANTs after the colonies started growing their own food. It would seem to me that the mere prohibition on farming in the PLANTs is a strike against the sponsor nations; leaving aside the other increasingly unreasonable restrictions Earth placed on the PLANTs, prohibiting them from securing their own food supply is very difficult to excuse.

That's strike one. Strike two is the beginning of the war itself. It's true that it's not known for sure just who set off the bomb in the Tragedy of Copernicus, wiping out the UN leadership and providing the justification for going to war, but Blue Cosmos -the organization which winds up effectively controlling the Earth Alliance- seems to be the only logical culprit. It would be sheer lunacy for the PLANTs to have arranged it; they'd have nothing to gain by such an insane provocation (and before anyone mentions Patrick Zala, I should note he didn't go crazy till after the Bloody Valentine). Considering that Earth's remaining leadership presumably has an IQ higher than your garden-variety rock, the use of that as a justification for forming the Earth Alliance and going to war is... threadbare, I think.

Strike three: the Bloody Valentine. Yes, I'll grant it was the work of a relatively few individuals, but there had to have been some pretty highly-placed people involved; you don't just smuggle a nuclear missile onto a carrier without somebody noticing it. It also sets something of a disturbing trend.

I won't go into the Battle of Endymion; that's one case where I acknowledge the Cyclops as a legitimate tactic, since there was essentially no other option at all, in a situation where every course of action leads to death for all concerned. It does, however, lead into the next recorded Earth Alliance malfeasance: the Battle of Alaska. Endymion was one thing, in that it was a tactic of absolute last resort, in a hopeless battle. Alaska was a calculated trap, intended to destroy not only ZAFT forces -which are, obviously, legitimate targets- but also "unreliable" elements of their own military. With that action, the EAF crosses the line from dubious to outright malevolent.

Then we come, inevitably, to Orb. The Earth Alliance leadership knew beyond any shadow of a doubt that Orb had absolutely nothing to do with Alaska -or, for that matter, any other ZAFT-related incident- yet they invaded anyway, lying to their own people even as they smashed their way in to take by brute force that which Orb refused to give willingly.

Finally, we have the Second Battle of Jachin Due. Boaz I can accept, as that was a purely military target, but Operation Elvis' final goal of destroying the PLANTs -and the millions of civilians within- is absolutely beyond the pale. This also takes things beyond all other previous actions: from the Blockade up through Orb, the EAF's actions could be -and probably were- attributed to merely the Alliance's leadership. Jachin, however, is evidence of widespread corruption throughout even the ranks. There is simply no way the Peacemaker Force and its objection could be hidden from the Alliance at large. That so many would sit quietly by and watch -even help- the Peacemaker Force attempt to destroy the PLANTs is a very disturbing sign indeed, and just about as close as you can get to absolute proof that the Earth Alliance has no moral authority whatsoever.

This brings me to ZAFT's side of things. In fairness, there are a handful of actions on their part which are at the least questionable, and at the most... At any rate, I won't bother with the Destiny angle; even if I didn't consider that series to be botched, Durandal's actions are in a class all by themselves.

Probably the most controversial action ZAFT takes, at least early in the War, is the deployment of the N-jammers, plunging Earth into an energy crisis and famine. All right, I'll admit this one can be argued either way, to some extent, but for my own part I believe it to be the lesser of two evils: ZAFT could either remove nuclear weapons from the table entirely, or -as some members of the Supreme Council did advocate- they could engage in unrestricted nuclear warfare of their own. With the demonstrated willingness of the Earth Forces to use nuclear weapons, ZAFT essentially had no choice but to either prevent their use or respond in kind, and to respond in kind could've -probably would've resulted in an escalation that would've caused far more deaths than those resulting from the shutdown of nuclear power.

The next incident that might be -all right, is- questionable is the attack on Heliopolis. All I have to say to that is that the Homeland had no idea what Le Creuset was intending to do beforehand, and when they did learn of it it was Le Creuset's slightly warped version of events that they received. Moreover, Heliopolis was in violation of their own neutrality by building the G-weapons; at the least, that fact puts the whole matter into something of a gray area.

Something else I've heard cited is the execution of several Earth Forces soldiers at Victoria. In my view, there's far too little background on the incident to draw any conclusions at all; my own view is that it's entirely plausible the soldiers in question were responsible for some atrocity or other, and if not... well, regrettable as it is, these things do happen in war. On the war front, things happen that certainly shouldn't, and certainly should be punished, but do not change the basic validity of the nation's cause.

That same explanation fits Panama, which is unquestionably a massacre of surrendered personal. I don't defend the incident itself; I merely note that, again, it's soldiers on the frontlines, acting in the wake of the atrocity at Alaska. By all means, it's wrong, but it's an isolated incident unconnected to ZAFT as a whole or the PLANT leadership.

Finally, we have ZAFT's actions at Second Jachin. I don't think I need to go into much detail here. The first two shots from GENESIS were perfectly justifiable, as both the Earth Alliance Fleet and Ptolemaeus Base were unquestionably legitimate military targets. As for the third, Patrick Zala was assassinated by his own aide over it, which tells you something about ZAFT's feelings on the matter. 'Nuff said.

On the whole, there are indeed atrocities on both sides, but my own conclusion is that the Earth Alliance began the war without justification, after a history of unjust acts toward the PLANTs, and in their conduct of the war far exceeded their opponents in terms of how low they were willing to stoop. I do, however, realize that my conclusion isn't shared by everyone, and I'm genuinely interested in hearing the reasoning behind opposing views. ~Solid Shark

7/15/2008 #1
Dragoon Swordsman

I would add that there is a clear difference in the attitudes of the two ruling bodies. The PLANT Supreme Council is split almost evenly between the moderates (Siegel Clyne, Eileen Canaver, Tad Elsman, Yuri Amalfi until Nicol's death) and the radicals (Patrick Zala, Ezalia Joule). Contrast that with the Alliance high command, where all but one or two (if that many) are obvious radicals.

7/22/2008 #2
BearDogg-X

I wholeheartedly agree with you, Solid Shark.

The Earth Alliance never had it to begin with and ZAFT can't really take it either.

To add to Solid Shark's point, the Earth Alliance also invaded and illegally annexed the United States of South America(a day after the USSA was given trading preference from the PLANTs along with Oceania for refusing to join the Alliance after the Bloody Valentine), left the South African Union to fend for itself(basically giving ZAFT the Victoria spaceport, until they needed it back after Uzumi blew up the Kaguya spaceport, Morganrote, and himself to keep the EA from taking it), and forced other neutral states(Scandianavia and the Equatorial Union along with Orb Union) to join them.

To add to Dragoon Swordsman's point, the moderates, through Siegel Clyne, held the Supreme Council, until Patrick Zala won the Chairmanship from Clyne.

7/22/2008 #3
Enchanter468

I agree with some of the stuff here, but I can't follow you all the way on this one. Personally, I always got the impression that the Earth Alliance and ZAFT were both meant to be bad guys in the series. Put simply, if things were as you say and ZAFT was obviously the righteous side, then why in the world didn't the Archangel go straight to Carpentaria after JOSH-A and ask for a change of uniforms? My view is that both ZAFT and the EA were under the control of extremists by this point, and joining either side would be morally problematic.

That's all speculation, however, so I'll move on and address a couple of specific things I noticed.

ZAFT could either remove nuclear weapons from the table entirely, or -as some members of the Supreme Council did advocate- they could engage in unrestricted nuclear warfare of their own. With the demonstrated willingness of the Earth Forces to use nuclear weapons, ZAFT essentially had no choice but to either prevent their use or respond in kind, and to respond in kind could've -probably would've resulted in an escalation that would've caused far more deaths than those resulting from the shutdown of nuclear power.

The problem with this is that ZAFT had more than two options. Yes, they were indeed faced with a choice between pummeling the Earth with nukes or using the N-Jammers, but there was more than one way to use the N-Jammers. As we know from the series, N-Jammers work both in space and on Earth, and they have an area of effect hundreds of miles in diameter. Knowing this, it wouldn't have been hard to place them in space around the PLANTs, protecting the colonies from nuclear attack. On the ground, land battleships could have carried N-Jammers the same way space battleships did, and N-Jammers could even have been held in military bases. This solution would have been both effective and, best of all, temporary. The nuclear blackout would have lasted only as long as the war, after which, ZAFT could have removed the N-Jammers and returned things to normal. Instead, ZAFT chose to plunge hundreds of N-Jammers deep into the crust all over the Earth, sending everyone, including their Natural "allies" into the energy crisis.

Something else I've heard cited is the execution of several Earth Forces soldiers at Victoria. In my view, there's far too little background on the incident to draw any conclusions at all; my own view is that it's entirely plausible the soldiers in question were responsible for some atrocity or other

I was the one who cited that, as I was, at the time, in the process of tallying racism on both sides of the war and happened to notice it. In the shot in question, massive plumes of smoke are visible in the background as the Alliance soldiers are shot. If fires are still burning on the battlefield, those soldiers were convicted awfully fast. To me, this smacks of a kangaroo court at best.

I also find it annoying that, whenever there's room for interpretation, the popular tendency is to interpret things so that ZAFT looks good.

Patrick Zala was assassinated by his own aide over it, which tells you something about ZAFT's feelings on the matter. 'Nuff said.

Not really. One person had the guts to openly rebel and shoot him. As for ZAFT in general, they're quite enthusiastic about Zala and his fanatical agenda. In SEED Phase-48, after the first GENESIS shot is fired, Zala decides to give an impromptu speech.

Zala: "Our courageous soldiers of the ZAFT Forces! We can no longer allow the use of violence by those arrogant Naturals! They fired nuclear missiles at the PLANTs. This is no longer a war! This is a massacre! We can no longer forgive these Naturals, who think nothing of these terrible acts!"

There's something of a pause, during which the Alliance forces fall back as best they can, while ZAFT mobile suits rip into the retreating troops. Zala then resumes talking...

Zala: "A new future! The light to the new world is with us! This is to be a historical day, marking the beginning of a promising new world of the new mankind, Coordinators!"

While he didn't outright state that Naturals would be exterminated, that was a pretty loaded speech, especially the "new world of the new mankind" bit. Instead of horror, ZAFT at large reacts with thunderous applause.

ZAFT Soldiers: "Yeah! Vic-to-ry! Vic-to-ry! Vic-to-ry! Vic-to-ry..."

I'm not saying that ZAFT is Pure Evil here, merely pointing out that Ray Yuki's actions don't exactly speak for all of ZAFT.

Operation Elvis' final goal of destroying the PLANTs -and the millions of civilians within- is absolutely beyond the pale. This also takes things beyond all other previous actions: from the Blockade up through Orb, the EAF's actions could be -and probably were- attributed to merely the Alliance's leadership. Jachin, however, is evidence of widespread corruption throughout even the ranks. There is simply no way the Peacemaker Force and its objection could be hidden from the Alliance at large.

Not exactly. Certainly, the average Alliance soldier knew that they were headed for the PLANTs, and Operation Elvis's stated goal was "an attack on the PLANT homeland." That said, a military attack can (and usually does) have objectives besides total destruction. I think it possible that the Alliance at large was under the impression that Jachin Due was going to be blasted to dust with the nukes, and that the PLANTs were simply going to be captured. The average Alliance soldier, having witnessed Boaz, might very well have thought that the Modus Operandi was to be the same for the next battle, namely the mobile suit forces would open a hole in the defenses, the Peacemaker force would pummel Jachin Due (and probably the ZAFT Military Station) and with their defenses gone, the PLANTs could be occupied and the Supreme Council disbanded.

Given, this is just a hypothesis, but I don't think it's an implausible one.

Moving on to the next post...

I would add that there is a clear difference in the attitudes of the two ruling bodies. The PLANT Supreme Council is split almost evenly between the moderates (Siegel Clyne, Eileen Canaver, Tad Elsman, Yuri Amalfi until Nicol's death) and the radicals (Patrick Zala, Ezalia Joule). Contrast that with the Alliance high command, where all but one or two (if that many) are obvious radicals.

This I must also disagree with. When we do see the Alliance High Command, they're always reluctant to go with Azrael's plans. Of course, they inevitably do, as Azrael is quite good at both smooth-talking and bullying, but they're not nearly as gung ho as one might suspect. For instance, before the attack on Orb (Phase-38), in the wake of the Porta Panama massacre...

Alliance High Command Member #1: "We're accelerating our plan to recapture Victoria, but it won't be easy to take their Mass Driver undamaged."

A.H.C.M. #2: "What about Orb? What's the latest with Orb?"

A.H.C.M. #3: "We've repeatedly requested their assistance, but that stubborn Uzumi Nara Athha continues to refuse."

Azrael: "Huh? Because they're...neutral? That's not right, is it? People are risking their lives in this fight against humankind's enemy."

A.H.C.M. #1: "Azrael, I wish you wouldn't put it that way. We are not Blue Cosmos."

My, my, isn't that an interesting line?

Azrael: "I'm terribly sorry. But I just cannot understand why you people continue to recognize such a nation, one that hides behind its own rhetoric. We've reached the stage where remaining neutral is hardly an option.

A.H.C.M. #1: "But Orb is an officially recognized independent state. We must recognize that."

Azrael: *shrugs* "As a nation here on Earth, Orb should be obligated to cooperate with the Alliance. Am I wrong?"

All A.H.C.M.'s: *shift uncertainly in their seats*

Azrael: "If you prefer, I'll lead negotiations with Orb."

A.H.C.M. #2: "What?"

Azrael: "Our top priority is for a Mass Driver, right? And right away. We could get one. Or we could get two."

A.H.C.M. #2: "Well, yes, but...!"

Azrael: "You have the Victoria operation to consider. You'd increase efficiency by dividing the load."

All A.H.C.M.'s: *shift uncomfortably again*

Azrael: "While we're at it, we may even be able to test them."

A.H.C.M. #2: "Are you planning to use those machines?"

Azrael: "It all depends on how our counterpart reacts. If that Mr. Athha is as stubborn as is rumored, we may be in for some excitement."

Throughout this scene, Azrael maintains an air of calm logic (despite the fact that the other High Command members are being far more logical than he is) and manages to keep things vague enough to sway people into reluctantly granting him permission to lead negotiations. If all the High Command members were "obvious radicals", they likely would have been with him all the way.

My apologies for the length of this post, but I felt that the scenes I quoted were relevant to what I was saying. In case you're curious, these are quotes from the English subtitles on the DVD.

8/6/2008 . Edited 8/7/2008 #4
BearDogg-X

There's a saying: When good men do nothing, that is evil in itself.

That would best describe the Alliance High Command. All they had to do is say no to the sociopathic Azrael, and be forceful.

To add to Enchanter's point, in Seed Phase-47, the High Command wanted to use the N-Jammer Canceller data to restart the nuclear power plants on Earth.

But again, it goes back to saying no, and the Alliance High Command knew that they were dealing with a psycho in Azrael, and all they did was sit on their hands.

On ZAFT's side, you also have to consider that Zala essentially forced the moderates into hiding when he declared Siegel and Lacus Clyne to be traitors when Lacus gave Kira the Freedom.

8/8/2008 #5
Enchanter468

There's a saying: When good men do nothing, that is evil in itself.

Actually, the saying is "All that is necessary for evil to succeed is that good men do nothing" -Edmund Burke. That said, I understand what you're saying. My point was not that the Alliance High Command members were innocent by any stretch of the imagination, but that they weren't all "obvious radicals" as Dragoon put it.

On ZAFT's side, you also have to consider that Zala essentially forced the moderates into hiding when he declared Siegel and Lacus Clyne to be traitors when Lacus gave Kira the Freedom.

That doesn't change the fact that the vast majority of ZAFT went along with the new direction the government had taken and didn't object to Zala and Joule's anti-Natural, hate-ridden ideology. Perhaps they didn't agree, but they didn't do anything to stop it (while the Clyne Faction had supporters in ZAFT, Orb and the Earth Alliance, they were definitely the minority).

8/8/2008 #6
Dragoon Swordsman

A couple points to make. Start with the Peacemaker Force. That was an obvious bunch of lunatics; one of them actually says "For the preservation of our blue and pure world!" before launching his missile. There is not a snowball's chance in hell of something like that being concealed from the rest of the Earth Forces.

Next, the Alliance high command. Yes, they show reluctance in SEED Phase-38. However, the subject was a possible attack on Orb; the PLANTs are peripheral to the discussion at hand. In any case, the Alliance high command must be dominated by radicals, for the simple reason that otherwise there would have been no Bloody Valentine War. The Earth Alliance launched an unprovoked war of aggression based on a lie, simple as that. Same in Destiny.

8/8/2008 #7
Enchanter468

A couple points to make. Start with the Peacemaker Force. That was an obvious bunch of lunatics; one of them actually says "For the preservation of our blue and pure world!" before launching his missile. There is not a snowball's chance in hell of something like that being concealed from the rest of the Earth Forces.

No offense, but why not? Knowledge does get compartmentalized in any military, and it may have been that the Peacemaker pilots' Blue Cosmos membership could have been kept on a "need to know" basis. Considering that the vast majority of Alliance troops simply wouldn't "need" to know, they wouldn't be told. Moreover, the Peacemaker force is based on four Agamemnon-class carriers at the back of the formation. I don't think it too odd that those ships might be the ones "in on it", and the rest of the fleet would know little or nothing about the personalities of the mobile armor pilots.

This is not to say that they wouldn't know about the nukes, of course, but like I said in my first post, they wouldn't necessarily have known that the nukes were to be fired at the PLANTs.

In any case, the Alliance high command must be dominated by radicals, for the simple reason that otherwise there would have been no Bloody Valentine War. The Earth Alliance launched an unprovoked war of aggression based on a lie, simple as that. Same in Destiny.

To be fair, this is an assumption, and there are multiple ways to interpret these events. As for Destiny, an idea as to what happened there popped into my mind last night, but I won't launch into a discussion of that since the point is that being dominated by radicals and being composed solely of radicals are two different things. ZAFT, after all, is dominated by radicals toward the end of SEED. I merely disagree with your statement that in the Alliance high command, "all but one or two (if that many) are obvious radicals."

8/9/2008 . Edited 8/9/2008 #8
Dragoon Swordsman

I know I've addressed this elsewhere, but considering the topic it bears repeating. I have seen some (I name no names) support the Earth Alliance because the Atlantic Federation is the descendant of the present-day United States. This is, in my opinion, a serious error. The mere fact that the Atlantic Federation occupies the same geographic position as the U.S. means absolutely nothing. Adding point is the radical geopolitical realignment that took place in the aftermath of the Reconstruction War (which included, surprise surprise, the use of nukes in Kashmir). In other words, the world as we know it today does not exist in the Cosmic Era.

Long story short, the Atlantic Federation cannot -repeat, cannot- be considered in the same light as the United States of America. Make no mistake, I am a loyal, patriotic American, but I consider it naive at best to think that America could never become such a nation. It is unlikely, yes, but far from impossible.

8/10/2008 #9
Enchanter468

You didn't specify, but in case that was directed at me, allow me to clarify. The only reason I mention the U.S. and the Atlantic Federation in the same context is because I am sometimes annoyed by what I believe is a political statement Fukuda is making about the U.S. being bad guys. That, however, is separate from why I tend to insist that ZAFT can't be much better than the EA. I insist that ZAFT can't be as morally superior as you and Solid say it is because if it is, then Murrue Ramius, Mu La Flaga, Natarle Badgiruel and especially Rena Imelia and Lewis Halberton are morons.

I can accept that La Flaga, Ramius and Badgiruel would be unaware of corruption in the upper echelons, but if, as Solid said, there is serious corruption "throughout even the ranks," then surely Mu, Murrue or Natarle would have noticed how evil all the soldiers they were serving with were.

This applies even more to Admiral Halberton, since he is in a position of high authority, and would have to be pretty dense not to notice that all the men and women under his command were either Blue Cosmos supporters or full-fledged BC members.

8/10/2008 . Edited 3/24/2010 #10
Dragoon Swordsman

No, it wasn't directed at you.

As for Murrue, Mu, etc., I should point out the sheer size of the Alliance military. I distinctly recall from the prologue of SEED Phase-1 that the Earth Forces were expected to win through force of numbers; it was ZAFT's revolutionary mobile suits (whether they should have been so superior to mobile armors is in this context irrelevant) that kept things going for so long. I have no trouble accepting their ignorance, especially in a project as tightly compartmentalized as the whole G-weapon/Archangel business. Not to mention Mu and Murrue are both mere senior lieutenants and Natarle is a freakin' ensign when the story begins. I would not be at all surprised if Ms. Badgiruel was still a senior cadet when the war started.

Halberton I can agree with up to a point. However, he's a rear admiral, the second lowest flag rank (possibly the lowest; I don't know if SEED features any commodores). In other words, while he is a flag officer, he's still not an upper-echelon type; Sutherland's snide remark about a mere rear admiral deciding Alliance policy was cruel, but nonetheless accurate.

8/10/2008 #11
Enchanter468

I don't know if SEED features any commodores

It does. Halberton was a Commodore before being promoted.

I still fail to see how Halberton would not have noticed that his subordinates were obvious Blue Cosmos sympathizers/members if the corruption was truly as bad as you say it is. I also fail to see how he could have pushed for the building of mobile suits to help his side win the war, if they were so obviously the bad guys.

8/10/2008 . Edited 8/10/2008 #12
Dragoon Swordsman

I've never claimed that everyone in the Alliance is like that, just most. As for why he'd push for that, I say a stubborn sense of duty. Robert E. Lee is a good example; he didn't exactly believe in the Confederate cause (he passionately hated slavery, among other things), but felt it was his duty to fight for them.

In any case, the moral high ground issue in large part comes down to whose cause is just, which is never the case with the Earth Forces. At best, they were fighting to maintain a tyranny that made George III look like a benevolent ruler. Colonial Americans were at least allowed to grow their own food (not that there was any other option) and defend themselves from homicidal lunatics.

8/10/2008 #13
Enchanter468

I've never claimed that everyone in the Alliance is like that, just most.

I recall that you thought the following ratio was accurate.

ZAFT: 99% good guys, 1% bad guys

Earth Alliance: 99% Blue Cosmos supporters (or "vermin" as you phrased it), 1% good guys.

Given, 1% of several billion people is a lot, but still.

In any case, the moral high ground issue in large part comes down to whose cause is just

Oh, I was never disputing that. I merely took issue with several of the statements made in earlier posts.

8/10/2008 . Edited 8/10/2008 #14
I-don't-know-my-name4

ZAFT has a advantage with the Providence. EAF has nuke missles. I say both on equal grounds but the Three Ships Alliance will wipe floors with the EA and ZAFT easily because the TSA have the Freedom and Justice.

5/22/2009 #15
BearDogg-X

Reaper, I think you got confused. This isn't a discussion on which side has the advantage in Jachin Due II, but which side has the moral high ground(which means "Which side looks the least hypocritical when their actions and words are taken into account?").

5/23/2009 #16
I-don't-know-my-name4

Sorry...

But it seems they both they are hypocrites because ZAFT is under a maniac and EA is under evil liars. Both hypocritical at the same level.

5/23/2009 #17
Solid Shark

But it seems they both they are hypocrites because ZAFT is under a maniac and EA is under evil liars. Both hypocritical at the same level.

ZAFT is under one maniac, quite late in the war (and, it should be noted, said maniac is shot by one of his own people when his madness becomes obvious). The only "hyprocritical" action which occurs under his direct command is the attempted use of GENESIS on Earth itself.

The Earth Alliance: under the control of an entire organization of maniacs literally from its founding. Results include the Bloody Valentine, the massacre of Alaska, the trumped-up invasion of Orb, and the attempted total destruction of the PLANTs. Not to mention actions even before the war, such as blockading the PLANTs in an attempt to prevent them from growing their own food and ensuring their own security.

5/26/2009 #18
Enchanter468

Here we go again...

I'm not going to repeat my first post, which went into a ludicrous amount of detail on quite a bit of this, including how Ray Yuki certainly doesn't speak for all of ZAFT. All I will do is repeat a question from that post.

if things were as you say and ZAFT was obviously the righteous side, then why in the world didn't the Archangel go straight to Carpentaria after JOSH-A and ask for a change of uniforms?

I've asked this question several times, and nobody's ever bothered to answer it.

5/26/2009 #19
Dragoon Swordsman

I've asked this question several times, and nobody's ever bothered to answer it.

You're right, I at least should have answered, in part because the answer is quite simple: By then Evil Madman Patrick Zala was in charge. Plus Kira and his friends are Orb nationals.

5/26/2009 #20
Enchanter468

By then Evil Madman Patrick Zala was in charge.

But if Zala "is shot by one of his own people when his madness becomes obvious", and his madness is obvious enough that the Archangel crew can't join him, then why hasn't he been deposed by this point? Either Zala is way more subtle than he looks, or ZAFT is more tolerant of anti-Natural hatespeak.

Plus Kira and his friends are Orb nationals.

True, but the crewmembers of the Archangel are not, so far as we know, so that motivation only applies to a small percentage of the ship's population. Besides, Orb isn't involved in the war, and from what's been said so far, the only moral choice is to join the war and side with ZAFT.

5/26/2009 #21
Dragoon Swordsman

Here's the clincher as far as the first war goes: Though Blue Cosmos claimed responsibility, the sponsor nations themselves attacked the Supreme Council directly, killing one member. I defy anyone to defend Earth in the face of that.

After reviewing things more carefully, I have concluded that ZAFT's cause is just right up until GENESIS is turned on Earth. This is distinct from Patrick Zala and Rau Le Creuset, both of whom have agendas hidden from the majority of their fellows. Bear in mind that since the Three Ships Alliance people knew of Zala's agenda, they still did the right thing.

The Earth Forces, by contrast, are never, at any point in SEED, fighting for a just cause.

6/9/2009 #22
Dragoon Swordsman

I have a couple of additional points, both concerning Jachin Due.

Let's start with the whole ZAFT attitude thing. There is no -repeat, no- evidence the majority of ZAFT wishes for genocide or is even aware of Zala's plans for same. Perhaps Ray Yuki isn't representative per se, but it should be noted that he is far from the only one to object to the overuse of GENESIS; the entire command staff onboard Jachin is visibly uneasy at best. Yuki is just the one to actually shoot Zala.

The other point is ZAFT's reaction to the initial use of GENESIS. Their chants of "Victory!" cannot possibly be construed as support for a campaign of genocide, at least not with any degree of plausibility, for the simple reason that GENESIS had not yet been turned on Earth. The first two shots were one-hundred-percent justified; arguably Zala had no choice if the PLANTs were to survive. Under such circumstances, I would have joined in the cheer, and I do not say that merely because of my PLANT sympathies.

Simply put, the Earth Forces literally started the war with a massive atrocity; even without the nuke Junius Seven would have been a crime of grand proportions. ZAFT waited until the very end. This is not to defend the attempted use of GENESIS on Earth, but to merely provide perspective.

3/22/2010 #23
Enchanter468

Seems there's an older post I missed. I'll get to that later, but I want to address this one first.

Let's start with the whole ZAFT attitude thing. There is no -repeat, no- evidence the majority of ZAFT wishes for genocide or is even aware of Zala's plans for same.

They may not be aware of that, but the impression I get is that they've reached a point where they would go through with it. This is not to say they wouldn't regret it, but by the end of the war both sides are...well, let's just say cooler heads are not prevailing (see below).

Perhaps Ray Yuki isn't representative per se, but it should be noted that he is far from the only one to object to the overuse of GENESIS; the entire command staff onboard Jachin is visibly uneasy at best. Yuki is just the one to actually shoot Zala.

The other point is ZAFT's reaction to the initial use of GENESIS. Their chants of "Victory!" cannot possibly be construed as support for a campaign of genocide, at least not with any degree of plausibility, for the simple reason that GENESIS had not yet been turned on Earth.

It's true that the command staff, while happy to aim the weapon at Washington, are somewhat reluctant to actually fire, but that only goes so far. I'm sure there were some cold feet aboard the Enola Gay, after all. Finally, there is this, which is about as direct a statement as Fukuda can make without beating the audience over the head with it.

As Athrun, Cagalli and two random M1 pilots enter Jachin Due (after GENESIS has been pointed at Washington), ZAFT mobile suits try to stop them, and this conversation happens.

Athrun: "Is this really what you people desire? You'll wipe them out, completely!"

ZAFT Pilot #1: "They were the ones who fired first!"

ZAFT Pilot #2: "My brother was stationed at Boaz!"

Athrun: *to himself* "Damn..."

Like I said, this is about as direct a statement as the show can make without getting massively preachy. Yes, they would no doubt feel guilty about it afterward, but at the moment, the majority of ZAFT, just like the majority of the Earth Forces, is mentally ready to commit genocide. Think of it as a sort of mass hysteria, one that gets more and more intense the closer you get to the end of the war.

Now I know what you're thinking: "You've said in the past that most people in the Earth Forces probably aren't psychopaths! Are you saying most in ZAFT are?" No, I'm not. What I'm saying is that normal people can be brought to the point of doing terrible things under the right circumstances.

Simply put, the Earth Forces literally started the war with a massive atrocity; even without the nuke Junius Seven would have been a crime of grand proportions. ZAFT waited until the very end.

No, ZAFT waited six weeks and four days, after which they dropped the N-Jammers onto the Earth. I know there will be a lot of objections to this, but I firmly believe the N-Jammers to be at least as much of an atrocity as a nuclear strike, very possibly more so. Yes, Dalida Chandra seems to think the N-Jammers are better than nukes, but all I can think is that either he has an irrational fear of nuclear weapons, or the writing team, being Japanese, thinks of the use of nuclear weapons as the absolute worst case scenario, and believes that anything else is always better.

3/22/2010 #24
Dragoon Swordsman

I firmly believe the N-Jammers to be at least as much of an atrocity as a nuclear strike, very possibly more so.

And I firmly believe it's not even close. Given the circumstances, the N-jammers were quite a restrained response.

Also consider political pressure on the PLANT side. Given what Zala and his ilk clearly wanted, it wasn't a choice between the N-jammers and responding in kind, it was a choice between the N-jammers and nuking Earth into a billiard ball. It can also be described as a direct strike at the enemy's ability to fight; had the Earth Alliance been able to bring its full industrial might to bear, the PLANTs would have been doomed at the outset even with their mobile suits. The exact death toll is unclear (famine is actually mentioned only in connection to South Africa), but it was nevertheless a hell of a lot more restrained than a lot of what we did in World War II; Dresden comes to mind.

3/23/2010 . Edited 3/23/2010 #25
Enchanter468

And I firmly believe it's not even close. Given the circumstances, the N-jammers were quite a restrained response.

I've heard it said that the Neutron Jammers are far more humane because they don't kill you. Personally, I find that if you think through just what N-Jammers do, they start to look a lot less like a noble act of restraint.

Consider that by C.E. 70, when the April Fool Crisis happens, fossil fuels have been exhausted. There may still be enough fossil fuels around for limited applications, but not enough to drive the machinery of society. As such, nuclear power, mostly in the form of fission reactors, runs pretty much every city on Earth, save for in Orb (which happens to be sitting on a hot spot), maybe Hawaii (also on a hot spot, but we don't know if the infrastructure is set up to take advantage of it), and cities right next to very powerful rivers. Basically, the world is like France (80% of their electricity comes from nuclear power) only more so.

So when the N-Jammers fall, the power goes out. That's not a big deal, one might think. After all, we've all been through power outages before. However, consider the time scale. A few days without power is annoying. Almost nine months without power (the time between the April Fool Crisis and Phase-01 of SEED), by contrast, is a nightmare.

Days into the blackout, people will start to die. Without electric heating and cooling, people will freeze to death in northern latitudes, and heatstroke deaths will increase in warmer areas. Emergency services will be taxed to their limits, as without elevators, firefighters and paramedics will have to run up 40 or 50 flights of stairs to help people in skyscrapers. Emergency generators will last for about 72 hours, after which even buildings like hospitals will lose power, and anyone on dialysis or a respirator is dead.

As days become weeks, and weeks become months, things get really bad. Food supplies run out, and without waste water treatment plants, clean water does too. Urine and feces enter the water supply. Now diseases like typhoid, cholera, hepatitis and dysentery will be back in a force not seen for centuries. Hospitals are inundated with patients, and soon their supplies of vaccines and antibiotics run out, and they can do nothing to stop the outbreak.

Then, of course, we have the human factor. As food and water become scarce, and law enforcement is crippled by the lack of telecommunications (and, eventually, a lack of ethanol and even ammunition), gang violence and looting skyrockets.

And no, help is not on the way, not for a very long time anyway, because this is happening everywhere. The few cities in a given nation that still have power will need it to take care of themselves, and won't be attempting relief efforts for other cities for quite some time. Also consider that cities with power will be swarmed by refugees from darkened cities, putting even more of a strain on their resources.

The military won't be able to help either, as ZAFT begins landing troops within 24 hours of dropping the N-Jammers, and in just over seven weeks is aggressively expanding from Carpentaria. Given that, much of the available power unaffected by the N-Jammers is going to be monopolized by the OMNI Enforcer as they fight to hold back the invaders.

While the Alliance does seem to have brought power and decent living conditions to several major cities, it is only after the Second Battle of Jachin Due and the end of major fighting that widespread relief can begin.

The N-Jammers don't kill you immediately, but they do cause a downward spiral of suffering that either eventually kills you, or makes you wish you were dead, and they do this to the entire planet, hitting everything down to small towns that couldn't possibly be military targets.

Maybe (and I emphasize maybe) the N-Jammers aren't worse than a tactical nuclear strike, but I cannot see how they're better.

3/23/2010 #26
Enchanter468

Also consider political pressure on the PLANT side. Given what Zala and his ilk clearly wanted, it wasn't a choice between the N-jammers and responding in kind, it was a choice between the N-jammers and nuking Earth into a billiard ball.

So global genocide was on the table right from the beginning, then?

The exact death toll is unclear (famine is actually mentioned only in connection to South Africa), but it was nevertheless a hell of a lot more restrained than a lot of what we did in World War II; Dresden comes to mind.

That's what I had thought at first, but it turns out to be more than that. According to Gundamofficial's entry for the April Fool Crisis, the N-Jammers "led to economic collapse and mass starvation." That probably encompasses more than just South Africa.

As for being restrained, again I point out that everything down to the last small town is going to be hit.

3/23/2010 #27
stormturmoil

There's also the very real issue that it didn't need to be done; We're told in series the range on an N-Jammer is huge; the very same effect could have been achieved by putting them in satellite orbits, or even dropping them without the drilling heads that made them unremovable. . and remember, at this stage, the N-Jammer canceller wasn't even theoretically possible. . No, ZAFT wanted Earth knocked back into the Stone age, and they wanted it there permanently.

.

It makes sense if you see it less as ZAFT throwing off the yoke, and more deciding that they want to put the shoe on the other foot. Instead of Earth demanding quota's from PLANT, instead Earth Becomes Dependent on PLANT...

3/24/2010 #28
Zaru

Well Considering that Earth has had a history of racisim(southerners treatment of blacks, Nazis to Jews, Iranians to Israelites), I am not suprised that they go the lengths they go for PURE AND BLUE WORLD! stuff.

Yep, Solid won this one for sure, ZAFT defended itself, then slowly stooped to the EA's level.

4/15/2010 #29
Solid Shark

No, ZAFT wanted Earth knocked back into the Stone age, and they wanted it there permanently.

Except that the N-jammers don't do that. Yes, they prevent nuclear power. Bad in the short term. But far from "permanent Stone Age"; even if the N-jammer cancelers hadn't been developed, it's not like coal plants and whatnot suddenly were physically impossible.

So. A really bad time? Yeah. Permanent Stone Age? Give me a break.

And that doesn't take into account another factor: there is absolutely no dialogue to suggest that was the intent. It's pretty clear that the writers didn't intend for it to be taken that way at all. And when that's the case, which makes more sense? Imputing what would, admittedly, very possibly be the real-world motive... or working out how things could work without coming to the conclusion that ZAFT wants the Earth to be populated by cave men?

4/15/2010 . Edited 4/15/2010 #30
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