“Clear your mind must be, if you are to discover the real villains behind this plot.” – Yoda
Earlier this month we discussed the political nature of the Jedi and the origins of the Grand Army of the Republic – those genetically modified soldiers better known as the Clone Army, who were created to “protect” the republic until Order 66 had them turning their weapons on their Jedi Generals, effectively setting the stage for a Sith-ruled galactic empire. We delved into great detail discussing the creation of the army and the motivation behind it, both for the Jedi and the Sith, but that was only half the story for these expendable clone warriors and our “beloved” Jedi knights.
Despite the metaphorical elephant in the room, the Star Wars films never openly discuss the questionable morality of our heroes using living beings as disposable fodder for war while the supposed bad-guys make use of engineered mechanical droids. Tabling the question of whether droids do in fact have life, because that’s a whole other post in it’s own, the fact of the matter is that our kind and compassionate, peacekeeping Jedi heroes – who won’t even send a force beyond two men to stave off the annihilation of the peoples of Naboo – suddenly have no words of wisdom against or qualms about being given millions of lives to fight a war that in all honestly they have no right to even be in.
Although trained in combat since their youth, the Jedi Order are renowned peacekeepers, only fighting when absolutely necessary. But yet, by the end of AOTC they are not only fighting in, but leading, an army of genetically engineered, living and breathing men, in a political war. But why? Their allegiance is to the people of the galaxy…not the government. Right? And you can say they’re fighting to keep the Empire and all it’s evil from rising but if that’s the case then they failed utterly, and moreover, there is no conceivable way that Yoda sat two feet from Palpatine and didn’t realize the level of darkness emanating from the master of the Sith himself.
In the end, whether or not the government is a Republic, an Empire, or something else entirely, the Jedi are not supposed to takes sides – because if that’s not the case then why is there still mass corruption and slavery on planets like Tattooine? If the Jedi have enough stake in the political arena to go to war over planets leaving the Republic and are willing to risk millions of clone lives to enforce that decision, then why do they not have enough stake or motivation to confront star systems that allow people like Shmi and Anakin to endure slavery, degradation, and the constant threat of death?
The Jedi Masters are more than willing to allow the Senate to decide when and how to deal – or not deal – with these injustices in the galaxy, but why allow such darkness to flourish if their purpose is to preserve and fight for the light? Why not fight for the enslaved mothers and fathers and children of Tattooine? Why not fight to liberate the people of the Naboo when its peaceful citizens were being tortured and mutilated? Amidala begged and fought and risked her own life to ask for help and unmoved, the Jedi still refused to send more than two men to help.
“Now that they’re extinct, the Jedi are romanticized, deified. But if you strip away the myth and look at their deeds, the legacy of the Jedi is failure. Hypocrisy, hubris.” – Luke Skywalker
By their inaction, their refusal to risk their lives to help those truly in need, the Jedi Order failed Padme Amidala, they failed Shmi Skywalker, and they failed even their own proclaimed Chosen One: Anakin Skywalker. Their lives were more important than others and they did not feel compelled to risk so much, but given an army of non-Force users, they are surprisingly quick to lead an army into a war that they have no place in. Ultimately, surrounded by replaceable troops of clone men, Jedi lives are in very little danger and they are suddenly comfortable with sending men to die for a cause that they wouldn’t send more than two of their own to defend before. And we proclaim them as our heroes. They are who we strive to be.
It’s little wonder the Force itself sent Anakin to redress the issue.