It’s 2015 and I still think the clone inhibitor chip was a bad idea.
The fact that it’s supposed to make clones less independent and more loyal? Got it. Tracking. I can get behind that. The fact that it sort of overrode all brain power and made them compliant zombies for Order 66? Stupid.
They could’ve said that, under direct order, clones knowingly gunned down their own Jedi generals and I would have no problem believing it.
Look who gave the order. The Supreme Chancellor of the Galactic Republic personally contacted clone commanders. That’s like if the President of the United States personally called me and told me that my general was now a traitor to the country. Why would I have reason to doubt the President? He gets intel briefs from echelons and agencies I’ve probably never even heard of. And here he is telling me that my general is compromised. It doesn’t matter if I’m on good terms with the general; once that information is made known, it now colors all my opinions and assumptions.
Not everyone knows the general. It’s great to see how well Torrent Company gets along with Anakin. The 212th with Obi-Wan. The Wolfpack with Plo. In all my years in the service, outside of formal ceremonies where you see the brass from a distance, I’ve yet to meet my general face to face. I’ve yet to actually talk to him. 99% of clones (millions of clones, thousands of Jedi) are NOT going to interact with someone as high ranking as the general. They’re not going to form the bond that the clone commanders had with their superiors. They’re not going to have experiences that would possibly make them question an order from the Supreme Chancellor, and are more prone to follow a command from someone who is considered to outrank even the Jedi.
Contingency plans for worst-case scenarios exist. “If this were to happen, no matter how unlikely, we’ll respond like this.” On the surface, Order 66 appears to be a sensible precaution. It gives clones, bred to be unwaveringly loyal, the ability to remove their general from power if that general becomes compromised. And while you look at Jedi like Obi-Wan and Mace Windu and think, “How would clones ever believe these guys could be bad?” I look at a Jedi like Pong Krell and think, “Order 66 this loser now.”
Their duty is to the Republic, not their general. Solidarity is great, but if your leadership is now believed to be helping the enemy– in any capacity– your friendship is worthless anymore. Order 66 implies their Jedi already betrayed them by working against the interests of the Republic. Betraying the Republic is treason. Treason during warfare is punishable by death. (Civilian mindset: That’s too harsh a punishment! Military mindset: No, it’s not.)
The brain chip strikes me as lazy storytelling from people who don’t grasp the military mindset. It’s the “Greedo shot first” way out of a situation: to make clones look like the victims of the evil Palpatine instead of the aggressors. And while it could be argued that the brain chip fully takes away their ability to make decisions, basically turning them into obedient droids and further violating their humanity (adding to the long list of injustices the clones suffered because the Kaminoans saw them as less-than-sentient), it comes across as a cop-out. “The clones aren’t bad. They were taken advantage of! Palpatine’s the only bad one here.”
Without the brain chip, you’re left with: men who were given a direct order from the highest echelon to legally implement a contingency plan they’d had all along to eradicate a superior that was now seen as a willful traitor.
Tell me that clones knowingly, intelligently and voluntarily executed Order 66 against their Jedi leadership, and I’d believe it.