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Battlestar Galactica Has Great Parallels To The Modern Military
I grew up watching the original Battlestar Galactica. What kid wouldn’t enjoy watching dogfighting spaceships, not to mention a robotic dog? Dogs are great and robots are great — putting them together is awesomeness squared. What was there for a 7-year-old not to love? Unfortunately, the series was short-lived, though a Viper with an actual firing laser torpedo remained my prized toy far longer.
In 2004, the Syfy channel rebooted the series. While there was some controversy about ancillary issues, like Starbuck being played by a woman, the new Battlestar Galactica successfully brought the battle between humans and the Cylons into a new millennium, one far more complicated than the one that preceded it.
Battlestar Galactica went beyond the usual space opera tropes and did what good science fiction has done for generations, from Jules Verne to Star Trek — it took the issues of the day into outer space, stripping them of the controversy of the moment, and allowing us to look at issues from a different perspective.
Battlestar Galactica begins with a catastrophic attack on the human race, organized as the Twelve Colonies of Kobol by the Cylons, a robotic civilization spawned by humanity and beaten back years before. Just as many of today’s conflicts are the products of mistakes made long ago, so is Battlestar Galactica’s. A small remnant of the human race is on the run in a flotilla of civilian vessels escorted by a lone military ship, the Battlestar Galactica.
Under pressure, people exhibit both the best and worst of the human condition. There is the extraordinary courage of the Viper pilots going out to fight the Cylons every 33 minutes for days on end as the fleet executes a fighting withdrawal, going on despite pain and casualties. But there is also the cowardice of Gaius Baltar, a prominent scientist who repeatedly betrays his fellow humans to please his hallucinated Cylon lover.
The president of the Twelve Colonies, Laura Roslin, a paragon of principled leadership, is forced to repeatedly compromise her principles in order to safeguard the human race. She must constantly choose the lesser of two evils for the sake of survival. Much as with many real political leaders, her constituents do not appreciate the magnitude of the challenges she has led them through or the difficulty of the choices she faces daily.
On a deeper level, fear breeds paranoia and discontent, and the populace turns to anyone who can air their grievances. A race for vice president turns into a bitter race between former terrorist Tom Zarek, played by Richard Hatch of the original series, and Baltar, a demagogic traitor. Scared people run toward security, even if it’s a false security. Sound familiar?
Wars are never clean affairs, and Battlestar Galactica brought that into clear relief on several occasions. When the survivors in the Galactica fleet encounter the Pegasus, another battlestar, they are initially relieved. They have finally found reinforcements. They are soon disgusted by the tactics of their apparent saviors, as they discover that the Pegasus’ leadership is willing to run roughshod over citizens’ rights to maintain order and would rather have revenge on the Cylons than survival. As with the current War on Terror, the good guys often find themselves wondering what victory is worth if human values are sacrificed to win it.
This theme recurs often in the series. The perfect solution doesn’t exist. So how do leaders balance their values against mission accomplishment? Where is the point of no return?
At one point, colonial forces capture a Cylon and brutally torture him to obtain information, reminiscent of American treatment of terrorist suspects. They are also presented with the opportunity to use what might be termed biological warfare in today’s lexicon, a tactic that might win the war, but in the end are stymied in the attempt by a crisis of conscience in one of the key players.
Later in the series, the humans are subjugated under Cylon rule after being betrayed again by Baltar. They resort to tactics of last resort to fight their oppressors, namely suicide bombings and brutal retribution against sympathizers. This reversal of fortune is an extremely effective dramatic tool. The audience rightfully identifies with the human colonial resistance, but their tactics are identical to what we today label terrorism. If one wins the battle, but loses one’s soul, is it truly a victory? But if losing the battle means that a greater evil triumphs, what choice is there?
Military viewers will enjoy the series for the way it portrays fighting with futuristic technologies while maintaining a sense of authenticity in both the fighting and the atmospherics. The space battles are reminiscent of the great naval battles of the Pacific Theatre in World War II. The lives of the pilots and crew of Galactica are almost eerily like those aboard a modern amphibious ship. Any veteran will see people from their service coming to life on screen.
Even though it has been off the air for over five years now, Battlestar Galactica is still amazingly relevant, from a moral, political, and military leadership standpoint. It’s well worth a binge-watch, whether you’re deployed or just snowed in.
MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexico has deployed almost 15,000 soldiers and National Guard in the north of the country to stem the flow of illegal immigration across the border into the United States, the head of the Mexican Army said on Monday.
Mexico has not traditionally used security forces to stop undocumented foreign citizens leaving the country for the United States, and photographs of militarized police catching Central American and Cuban women at the border in recent days have met with criticism.
Mexico is trying to curb a surge of migrants from third countries crossing its territory in order to reach the United States, under the threat of tariffs on its exports by U.S. President Donald Trump, who has made tightening border security a priority.
Packages containing suspected heroin were found in the home of the driver charged with killing seven motorcyclists Friday in the North Country, authorities said Monday.
Massachusetts State Police said the packages were discovered when its Violent Fugitive Apprehension Section and New Hampshire State police arrested Volodymyr Zhukovskyy, 23, at his West Springfield home. The packages will be tested for heroin, they said.
Zhukovskyy faces seven counts of negligent homicide in connection with the North Country crash on Friday evening that killed seven riders associated with Jarhead Motorcycle Club, a club for Marines and select Navy corpsmen.
'It just happened' — the Iraq War’s first living Medal of Honor recipient recalls his harrowing fight against 5 insurgents
On Nov, 10, 2004, Army Staff Sgt. David Bellavia knew that he stood a good chance of dying as he tried to save his squad.
Bellavia survived the intense enemy fire and went on to single-handedly kill five insurgents as he cleared a three-story house in Fallujah during the iconic battle for the city. For his bravery that day, President Trump will present Bellavia with the Medal of Honor on Tuesday, making him the first living Iraq war veteran to receive the award.
In an interview with Task & Purpose, Bellavia recalled that the house where he fought insurgents was dark and filled with putrid water that flowed from broken pipes. The battle itself was an assault on his senses: The stench from the water, the darkness inside the home, and the sounds of footsteps that seemed to envelope him.
With the Imperial Japanese Army hot on his heels, Oscar Leonard says he barely slipped away from getting caught in the grueling Bataan Death March in 1942 by jumping into a choppy bay in the dark of the night, clinging to a log and paddling to the Allied-fortified island of Corregidor.
After many weeks of fighting there and at Mindanao, he was finally captured by the Japanese and spent the next several years languishing under brutal conditions in Filipino and Japanese World War II POW camps.
Now, having just turned 100 years old, the Antioch resident has been recognized for his 42-month ordeal as a prisoner of war, thanks to the efforts of his friends at the Brentwood VFW Post #10789 and Congressman Jerry McNerney.
McNerney, Brentwood VFW Commander Steve Todd and Junior Vice Commander John Bradley helped obtain a POW award after doing research and requesting records to surprise Leonard during a birthday party last month.
Hundreds of Marines will join their British counterparts at a massive urban training center this summer that will test the leathernecks' ability to fight a tech-savvy enemy in a crowded city filled with innocent civilians.
The North Carolina-based Kilo Company, 3rd Battalion, 8th Marines, will test drones, robots and other high-tech equipment at Muscatatuck Urban Training Center near Butlerville, Indiana, in August.
They'll spend weeks weaving through underground tunnels and simulating fires in a mock packed downtown city center. They'll also face off against their peers, who will be equipped with off-the-shelf drones and other gadgets the enemy is now easily able to bring to the fight.
It's the start of a four-year effort, known as Project Metropolis, that leaders say will transform the way Marines train for urban battles. The effort is being led by the Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory, based in Quantico, Virginia. It comes after service leaders identified a troubling problem following nearly two decades of war in the Middle East: adversaries have been studying their tactics and weaknesses, and now they know how to exploit them.