Thursday, February 14, 2013

Read Stuff, You Should

Happy Birthday to Scott McClellan, 45. As I've said before, I'm a fan of every single White House press secretary. Tough job.

1. Scott Walker's alternative to Medicaid expansion, from Sarah Kliff.

2. Dan Larison on smearing Hagel.

3. From Stephen Benedict Dyson, some evidence that Obama's SOTU and Inaugural are more assertive than his first term speeches.

4. And Spencer Ackerman on the Battle of Hoth -- and several responses.One question: Robert Farley is awful impressed by the clones as a fighting force. I don't know...the clones, with full Jedi support, were unable to defeat the droid army, which sure didn't seem all that impressive to me. Now, once must be careful about drawing conclusions from the Clone Wars, which we must remember at all times was a rigged contest designed and manipulated to be a prolonged stalemate...but still, logic suggests that the clones couldn't have been all that good.


  1. Am I the only one who has come to the conclusion that it matters not a whit how assertive Obama's speeches are?

  2. "Dan Larison on smearing Hagel."

    I initially read this as "smearing HEgel," and eally wanted to read, was I disappointed...

  3. Much as I enjoy the first three Star Wars movies, I gave up on trying to make anything about them make sense about halfway through the first one. Tactics? Strategy? Pshaw. Explosions in a vacuum are much more important.

  4. The Battle of Hoth stuff is fun. The argument that Vader is really after Luke, and prioritizes that over destroying the Rebels, explains things pretty well.

    I've got to side with Farley on the clones though. In the prequals and TV series the clones are a very effective fighting force. They even kill all the Jedi simultaneously! There must be some systemic explanation of how they devolve to the bumbling stormtroopers we see in IV, V, VI.

    1. I've always assumed the IV-VI stormtroopers aren't clones, but rather, regular people who either signed up or were drafted. They have distinct voices from each other, and the officers are individuals (as opposed to the clone wars officers).

      That said, I've never really watched Clone Wars and my knowledge of the mythology is limited to the movies and some of the more popular computer games.

    2. Apparently, the Star Wars wiki supports me on this one. Who knew? (Well, folks geekier than I knew...I just appear to have guessed right!)....

    3. There you go. A mix of (sub-par) clones and recruits. They even explain the quality decline!

    4. Swain,

      I'm sticking to my story here. Yes, the clones are always shown to be competent...but if so, why don't they (plus Jedis) actually win?

      Granted, it's a good point about their Jedi-killing success, but I found that bit to be just awful; given what we've seen, they should have been at best maybe 33% successful. No way are Jedi so easily ambushed.

    5. How many Jedi are killed or wounded by the freaking worthless droids (well, except for droidekas) and equally pathetic Geonosians in Episode II, when they are riding in to the resuce of Obi Wan, Anakin & Pad Me? They are defeated by them (yes, there are hundreds against dozens, but until "around the survivors, a perimeter create" they were getting their butts handed to them.

      Jedi aren't all they're cracked up to be.

      That said, we see a mere padawan not only escape from the Jedi Temple, but also nearly best a squad of clone troopers in Episode III, so your concerns with the proficiency of clones killing Jedi may be justified.

    6. The key to understanding the clones/droid battle is the fact that droids are much easier to create than clones. Droid factories, hidden across the galaxy, can spit out billions of droids over a three year period. Clones take years to grow and train.

      Saying that the clones must not have been too great because they didn't wipe out the droid army is akin to saying that mankind isn't too hot because we haven't eradicated every mosquito.

      The way to win the Clone Wars (Palpatine aside) is to destroy droid production or take out the CIS leadership. The clones are a stop-gap measure to protect systems.

  5. You said it yourself. The Clone Wars were designed to be a stalemate.

    According to the movies, they only create a few million clones (presumably the droid army is far larger and cheaper to replace). And the war only lasts around 3 years. I would say the the length of a galaxy-spanning war is easy enough to explain without denigrating the clones.

    If it makes you feel better, assume the ranks of the Jedi were decimated by the years of warfare. Then the one ones still on the front lines they were caught between two armies trying kill them. Then Vader and the clones hunted down the rest.

    And the clones were better than the stormtroopers.

  6. I'm firmly in the camp that thinks Vader's main objective was to find and capture Luke. I'm pretty sure Vader says, "Skywalker is there", when the drones initially pick up something on Hoth. I wrote a post on it here:

  7. Yes, the droid army largely sucked, but they were fighting a war of attrition. New droids could be cranked out in minutes, and some of the bigger ones were actually kind of effective in combat. Clones, meanwhile, took years to bring to maturity. As long as Sidius' money kept coming in, there was no limit to how much metal the Separatists could throw at the Republic.


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