Author Topic: Ethics of the AMIB  (Read 2103 times)

Offline Eboreg

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Ethics of the AMIB
« on: December 19, 2013, 11:45:38 am »
I've been re-reading the archives lately and I noticed something new. It seems that the AMIB is into the morally grey areas that I sympathize with but those are used to show how evil it is. However, not all are acceptable by my standards.

For example, Sean complained about how the Agency used a net snare on him causing him to fall from a very great height. I personally think he was just being a whiner there. Less-than-lethal weapons, as a general rule, hurt like hell. There's also the fact that the agent who fired the net may have been under a great amount of stress due to the consequences of letting him get away. Getting tazed can hurt nearly as much since the current artificially stimulates pain neurons.

Another instance is the strong implication of torture. While I do not agree with using it, the one time that the Agency did capture a group, they didn't interrogate it at all and instead used more sophisticated methods of gathering information. Keep in mind that the Cyantians made it sound as if torture was a certainty so it may very well be that the Agency underwent a shakeup causing it to stop with the torture.

The use of bioweapons is a lot more iffy. I highly suspect that the agency made it non-contagious removing the primary complaint about bioweapons, their indiscriminate nature. There's also the fact that a significant amount of Cyantians won't be hindered in any way by normal pistol rounds. However, their existence suggests that the Agency is attempting an attritional strategy, which is horrible military thinking. On the other hand, they are useful for gaining more initiative against high-value targets.

As for threatening Jules' family, I sincerely hope that they were bluffing. The alternative suggests that they have completely flouted the Constitution.

There's also their harassment of the Cil hybrids. That could easily be the result of faulty intel but it doesn't speak good things about the management. Still, I'd hold off judgment until I know the full story.

Finally, there's the fact that they have accidentally killed American police officers. This is completely unacceptable not only from a moral standpoint but also a practical one. An organization that secret should not have to explain something like that to the public if it wants to remain secret. Still, as with the torture, they may have had a shakeup since then. If they did, the police would not know anything about it.
« Last Edit: December 19, 2013, 12:02:37 pm by Eboreg »
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Offline HEX the Dark

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Re: Ethics of AMIB
« Reply #1 on: December 19, 2013, 12:03:10 pm »
"Ethics of AMIB" - "None"
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Offline Eboreg

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Re: Ethics of AMIB
« Reply #2 on: December 19, 2013, 12:17:24 pm »
"Ethics of AMIB" - "None"

I doubt that an organization without ethics would have the courtesy to treat Sean with, and I quote, "the utmost care". (No Angel, 9/12/2003)
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Offline daemonschile

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Re: Ethics of the AMIB
« Reply #3 on: December 19, 2013, 07:23:09 pm »
1 - Possible sarcasm
2 - In that strip he mentions they used utmost care after they captured him when he survived their use of lethal force against him.  Might not be the norm.
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Offline Eboreg

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Re: Ethics of the AMIB
« Reply #4 on: December 19, 2013, 07:41:54 pm »
... lethal force ...

Firing a net gun at a high up target is not a use of lethal force, it's a botched use of less-than-lethal force. Lethal force is the discharging of a firearm.
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Offline hariman

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Re: Ethics of the AMIB
« Reply #5 on: December 19, 2013, 11:48:26 pm »
It was a wire net, so it cut into Sean's flesh and left him with physical scarring.

Botching the use of a net gun is also saying "I'm willing to risk killing you to catch you alive."

And, from all evidence (and Word of Author), the head of the AMIB sets the policies on ethics, and the current one is a "Do anything to protect the country" type that forgoes ethics in favor of results to an amoral extent.

"The Utmost Care" does not guarantee that they won't torture him or mind probe him if they so choose.

It's all up to what Tiffany chooses to use, and that's what she's made them. Morally questionable to the point of unethical and cruel.
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Offline Eboreg

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Re: Ethics of the AMIB
« Reply #6 on: December 20, 2013, 05:44:42 am »
One of the big problems I've had with the AMIB is that taking an unethical approach to any situation will put any agency at great risk of someone in their ranks growing a conscience and leaking the information to the public (as the NSA found out recently). The use of wire in a net gun and the firing of one at someone who's too high could just as easily be attributed to incompetence as opposed to villainy. Think about it, if you're a police officer, you want to capture a dangerous criminal with heavy ties to a hostile, highly advanced foreign power, and he gives you the best chance of capturing him alive that he's given you for the past 5 years, would you really care about how damaged he gets in the process? I'm not saying that Sean is a dangerous criminal and the Cyantians are hostile but that's what all the intel the AMIB has points to.

One of the big themes I was going to study with Steve Anderson was the lack of intel the AMIB has. He was going to be at first convinced that the Cyantians wanted an imperial takeover but through a combination of the Cyantians' interest in Terran culture, lack of military attitude at Mars Academy and, ultimately, a rather pathetic showing of military assets on Mars and Venus, he would realize that there was a huge misunderstanding. Of course, in order to keep from interfering with canon, I would have made it so that his employers had trouble believing him eventually alienating him and causing him to defect to the Cyantians.
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Offline Lillowen

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Re: Ethics of the AMIB
« Reply #7 on: December 20, 2013, 07:30:41 am »
I think what is being overlooked here on all sides is something perhaps more important than the examples provided: it is the perceptions, pre-suppositions, and personal prejudices of the artist and author, as well as their personal moral outlook, coupled with the general rating of the comic.

Most authors of web comics are not going to sit there and closely analyze the actions of an antagonist agency in a manner quite so practical.  In addition, while reality and real life might agree with the observations made by Eboreg, it is for the purposes of the story that the AMIB appear as they do, and most likely (though on this there is no official word) seem utterly amoral in their acts to Tiff.  This reflects the limits to which the artist and author is willing to go in their display of such things, including her personal limits on what is acceptable to show as opposed to what is implied.  It is all well and good to speak of such things as torture, murder, etc., but a very different thing to display such in a graphic nature, or to go into literary depth about them, especially in a comic meant to be generally family safe, plus one which has, as I had mentioned in an unrelated post, a moral compass that is highly stylized and visible as opposed to real life's frequent and deep gray-area morality.
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Offline hariman

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Re: Ethics of the AMIB
« Reply #8 on: December 20, 2013, 08:49:19 am »
I think what is being overlooked here on all sides is something perhaps more important than the examples provided: it is the perceptions, pre-suppositions, and personal prejudices of the artist and author, as well as their personal moral outlook, coupled with the general rating of the comic.

Most authors of web comics are not going to sit there and closely analyze the actions of an antagonist agency in a manner quite so practical.  In addition, while reality and real life might agree with the observations made by Eboreg, it is for the purposes of the story that the AMIB appear as they do, and most likely (though on this there is no official word) seem utterly amoral in their acts to Tiff.  This reflects the limits to which the artist and author is willing to go in their display of such things, including her personal limits on what is acceptable to show as opposed to what is implied.  It is all well and good to speak of such things as torture, murder, etc., but a very different thing to display such in a graphic nature, or to go into literary depth about them, especially in a comic meant to be generally family safe, plus one which has, as I had mentioned in an unrelated post, a moral compass that is highly stylized and visible as opposed to real life's frequent and deep gray-area morality.

Indeed.



Eboreg:
It's all up the Tiffany, and she's telling a good story that requires a few breaks from "real" reality.

Stop worrying so much about the differences from reality, and just enjoy the story.
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Offline Shippou-chan

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Re: Ethics of the AMIB
« Reply #9 on: December 21, 2013, 06:40:25 pm »
Just wanting to note here that we haven't been given a lot of information on how AMIB operates internally.  We don't have the perspective to see that.  Not even Sean has a full picture of their operations, being a prisoner, rather than a member.

That all said, my impression of what I have seen and heard tends to paint a picture of an institution that values results over all else, which is more amenable to the mindset of "ends justify the means".  Whether they have limits, the extent of those limits, and the reasons for them?  That much is far from definitive.

Darius's comment about their preferring returning people being memory-wiped indicates they aren't an evil organization, and yet at the same time indicates they don't mess around where the potential for a problem exists.
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