In 2008 when the cartoon series Star Wars: The Clone Wars came out I thought it was complete fantasy and Dave Filoni had a superhuman imagination in order to build upon the Star Wars universe. As I get ready to graduate and commission into the US Army, I start to see the similarities between a lot of the military conflict the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) and the US military faces and unfortunately neither are the good guy 100% of the time.
Here are just a few of the ways in which US military intervention resembles The Grand Army of the Republic from Star Wars.
Season 1, Episode 8:Bombad Jedi- US Making Enemies of Disenfranchised People
In this episode Senator Padme Amidala visits the planet of Rodia and meets with an old friend Senator Onaconda Farr. When she arrives, she realizes that the planet has been neglected by the Republic and Senator Farr tells her "where was the Republic when our supply ships were destroyed by pirates, where was the Republic as my people starved?". He then informs her that he has switched loyalties to the Separatist Alliance not because he agrees with their ideology but because his people were starving and they were the only ones willing to offer aid.
Eight year old me did not understand at the time but this episode was an allegory for what has happened many times in US history. Many nations oppose the US not because they do not agree with our values, but rather because we neglected their basic needs and someone else offered to fill that power vacuum. Examples of this were/are terrorist networks in the Middle East, gangs in Latin America and communist movements in Vietnam, most of these people do/did not fight against us because they oppose liberty or justice for all but because they see it as their only means of avoiding starvation and ruin.
S04:E01:Water War- US Interference in Foreign Governments
In this episode Senator Amidala and Jedi Anakin Skywalker are sent to settle a succession dispute after the King of Mon Kala is assassinated. They along with Republic forces aid the rightful successor prince Lee-Char against the Quarren and their separatist allies.
This is a romanticized version of events that have happened many times in US history where the US government intervenes in disputes, sometimes backing the rightful leader like in Venezuela where the US has backed Juan Guaidó's claim to the presidency or aid sent to Mexico against a French backed monarchy in 1865. Unfortunately, there are many more examples of the US intervening in other government's process for less benevolent reasons like in Panama 1903, The Dominican Republic and Honduras in 1903, Nicaragua in 1912, Haiti in 1915 and many others.
S05:E02: A War on Two Fronts- US Government's Training of Rebel Forces
In this episode Anakin and Ahsoka travel to Onderon to aid resistance forces against an occupying separatist army. Realizing that they cannot win in a conventional war they decide to train the resistance in asymmetrical warfare and provide military equipment.
It is not hard to find where Dave Filoni got his inspiration for this one, the US has provided this time of training and equipment to resistance groups many times: Free FranceFree France in the 40's, exiled Cubans in the 60's, or the Taliban and Nicaraguan Contra forces in the 80's. The issue with providing these weapons to non-state actors is that they all too often end up turning against those who provided them, this can be seen when the Taliban used the same weapons to fight the invasion of the USSR and fight US troops or in the case of Nicaragua where the weapons the US provided ended up in the hands of drug cartels.
In the end, in spite of the mistakes America has made I am still a patriot, much like Dave Filoni portrays in his writing I still believe we the Republic are the good guys though that is not always self-evident. Lastly, I believe that in order to have true patriotism we must study our history, even the parts that do not make us look like heroes, and we must turn away from blind nationalism for then we are no better than clones. I believe Clarence Darrow said it best when he said "True patriotism hates injustice in its own land more than anywhere else".