Did Vader Punish General Veers?

Sure, I had a satirical moment with the #BanBigGuy thing, but let’s get back to some Star Wars. Today’s blast of cold air isn’t from lousy Smarch weather, but from where my brain went with The Empire Strikes Back.

This blog is also a challenge to you.

I thought a bit about poor Admiral Ozzel (more on him in another forthcoming post) and the survival skills of Admiral Piett, then considered another Imperial officer who seems to escape any reprimand, either from Vader or the fans.

General Veers

General Veers does his Dark Lord’s bidding and leads an attack on the rebel base on Hoth. Everyone trumpets this as a victory, because the rebel base is destroyed and it makes everyone angst-y from my generation jump on the Kevin Smith Bandwagon and say that Empire shows the harshness of life.

However, the attack on the rebels is very unsuccessful and I’ll tell you why.

Zoom Zoom Zoom

The rebels got away. Not just Vader’s prize, Luke Skywalker, mind you. Han Solo & Company get away too. Heck, the very first transport gets away. While that showed further boobery on the part of the Imperial Navy, it also shows how poorly Veers planned for this attack.

He goes full-tilt for the rebel base itself, and not for the obviously-parked-outside escape ships sitting outside the protective hangar bays. Even if you say that the transports themselves waited inside the base (they didn’t, you can clearly see one lifting off as Luke gets in his X-Wing), Veers didn’t set up an anti-aircraft battery or two to stop things from getting away.

(Even the blindingly inept Trade Federation set up guns outside the hangars on Naboo in Episode I. Not particularly effective ones, but they tagged at least one ship.)

Why couldn’t this general adopt a siege mentality, and park everything just out of range of the rebels’ guns and just wait them out? They’re on a flipping snow planet and obviously need supplies flown in to them. Starve the rebels into making a move that brings mistakes and panic, or even defections from those too stupid to realize you’re just going to kill them all for being traitors.

Or at the very least, look for where the ships are parked and attack that instead of the base itself, where the defenses are concentrated!

Seriously, George Patton would slap the silly out of Veers in a heartbeat.

But I Have The Answer!

See, I’ve actually got the answer to this one in my brain. But I want to give all you Empire–lovers the chance to guess what that answer is.

It’s so elegantly simple and obvious that I’m surprised I’ve not thought of it before.

But give it a crack below. I’ll reveal my answer tomorrow, but will gladly entertain discussions until then. I think, honestly, that this explanation is so beautifully perfect that it’s the only one that truly works.

Are you up to the challenge?

One Additional Note About the Invasion of Naboo

On the show Words With Nerds, my pal Craig throws Star Wars “stumper questions” at me. I wanted to revisit and add on to one of my answers.

He asked why the Trade Federation chose to “invade Naboo the way they did and not just pop on the front doorstep” (I’m paraphrasing, forgive me). I reasoned (and maintain) that it’s primarily a stylistic choice on the part of the filmmaker to show the bygone era of war in a “more civilized age” to borrow a term. Additionally, the army was constructed not to destroy Naboo per se, but to provide a psychological advantage over the peaceful Naboo and their pacifist Queen.

Just A Bit Extra

Now here’s where I’ll flesh it out a little bit more since I don’t have Craig attempting to break my concentration, so that he can take a distracted misstatement as proof of his point.

With warships overhead and communications cut off Amidala still wouldn’t sound the alarm and at least get out of dodge. She allowed her principals to dictate that they not fight back. She chose instead to believe in the benevolent power of the Great State (the Republic) to bail her out if need be. The Federation would have known this about her. They counted on it.

In fact, Darth Sidious specifically tells them the Queen won’t be any trouble for them. It’s those pesky Jedi that screw things up.

But even with all this elucidation and further thought I want to add a few more key considerations.

Key Considerations

We see the Trade Federation land ships all over Naboo. There’s many more than one. They are obviously landing a large force, spread over a planetwide area, to pacify an entire planet. Instead of going straight to Theed (the capital city that houses the Queen and seat of government), they obviously work their way to the city from the outlying areas. This serves the purpose of cutting off escape routes and “capturing” cities and settlements as they march to the city. It’s a great campaign (albeit against a bunch of Hippie artist types) where the Federation can basically hold the entire planet hostage and wipe places out as leverage if the Queen stubbornly refuses to surrender for some reason.

There is also the issue of topography. If you note, Theed Palace is set atop a steep drop on all sides save one. So the Trade Federation, unless they wanted to bombard the city, would have simply chosen that path because it was the only way in…or out. They trapped the Queen and made her face the decision of surrender or potentially seeing people in surrounding areas held and killed as hostages.

And the final note to all of this is, the entire pacification of the planet happened in the time it took the Jedi to travel from Otoh Gunga to Theed. That might seem like a long time to someone with a short attention span, but that seems like a pretty quick “war” to me.

Not Cheating

Considering the fact that I did not change my answer, but added to it, this is not a cheat. I even ask in the episode for permission to “answer later” on any items I may have forgotten in my old age. This is my later answer and it still counts since it’s just a “special edition” of my answer.