On BSG, The Pegasus And Civil-Military Relations

Duck of Minerva had some things to say about two of my more recent Battlestar Galactica posts. I just like to make some brief rebuttal points.

Elements of both articles, The Pegasus Mirror and Saul Tigh, Stanley McChrystal And Civil-Military Relations, do appear contradictory I know. My first excuse is simply a matter of hindsight, in that the first was written shortly after I had re-watched that specific trilogy, and the second having re-watched the entire series. I had a limited change of heart regarding certain aspects of the Fleet, like the dominance of the military over the civilian government, which are more obvious in the latter half of the series, especially the last season.

DoM argues that I’m being contradictory in criticising the Fleet government for not being more authoritative with the military, while alternatively praising the civil-military relations of the Fleet in the other article.

But I’m not really praising the civil-military relations of the Fleet in that first article. I’m comparing the Galactica’s civilian influence and responsibilities to the Pegasus’ complete lack of the same, and the resulting differences in operation.

I mean, any kind of civil-military relations would appear positive next to the Pegasus. Roslin gets in Adama’s face at Ragnar, putting him in a position where a lawful member of the government is leaving the survival of a civilian fleet at his whim. He chooses to protect that Fleet, and flee from the Cylons.

However, that does not make the subsequent civil-military relations positive in any way. As I said in that first article (emphasis mine):

“The trilogy succeeds in showing us what could have been with Galactica, reinforcing the importance of a civilian control, or at the very least influence, of military affairs.”

The civilian government has some minor influence with Galactica, but it isn’t much. But it’s a lot more than what Pegasus had. Admiral Cain never had a Roslin. Roslin herself is a powerful character.

But after Ragnar, her power wanes. Her influence on Adama there is her most important moment as President, but is not something that will be repeated much.

DoM also uses the Roslin idea of assassinating Cain as an example of civilian authority asserting control. Only, Adama plans that operation but then won’t actually go ahead with it, cancelling the shooting without the President’s approval. It all works out, for plot convenience reasons if nothing else, but it was Adama calling the shots (or, more literally, not calling them), not the President.

On the whole, the Fleet’s civilian authority is powerless when it comes to the military, and this gets more obvious as we go along, especially in the final season, especially when Roslin goes AWOL. The Galactica, while never getting to the level of the Pegasus because of the existence of the civilian Fleet and the forceful way that Roslin confronts Adama at Ragnar, is still absolutely dominant in the Fleet, superseding the government frequently. Adama isn’t Cain, but he isn’t a subordinate either.

And, I can only say that I disagree with DoM’s opinions on the McChrystal sacking and  pro-active government control of the military.

All that being said, it is always good to get feedback.

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