A Brief History of the Base Delta Zero Fallacy

Here Anderson decides to attempt to tackle an EU-based claim of a Base Delta Zero (BDZ). A BDZ consists of the destruction of a planet's surface, which will be demonstrated clearly by the following paper. Anderson misinterprets and misrepresents the evidence, however, in an effort to cast doubt on some of the firepower claims of the EU.

Anderson's analysis of what happened on Dankayo is severely flawed for one primary reason, and a small host of less important ones: he treats the incident as though it were an upper-limit for ISD firepower, when in fact it should be treated as a lower one. Thus, Mr. Anderson's refusal to allow for higher firepower figures is inexplicable.

Anderson, moreover, completely misrepresents The Imperial Sourcebook in making his case. He claims that the book includes reference to a "bombard squadron," made up of about a hundred ships, that is designed to destroy a world from orbit.

"As per the Sourcebook, the 100 ship fleet may include a few ISDs. And yet, it still takes 100 ships? It seems clear that a lone ISD isn't going to be slagging the entire surface, in that case."

However, Anderson ignores a crucial fact. According to the same book, "Torpedo lines usually have two torpedo spheres. The cumbersome nature of the spheres makes them useful only for their primary mission of planet bombardment." The Encyclopedia elaborates on the primary mission of a Torpedo Sphere, describing it as "A siege platform designed to knock out planetary shields prior to Imperial attacks…. A hole in the shields for even a brief period allowed the sphere's turbolasers to destroy the planetary generators."

Thus, Torpedo Spheres were designed solely for the destruction of planetary shields. Clearly, a bombard squadron is not used for attacking unprotected worlds. This is further shown by the Imperial Sourcebook when it states that "Bombard squadrons are assigned to worlds which have rebelled successfully and have organized a large surface military which would take far too long to defeat."

Since according to EU sources, even small settlements include large theatre shields, it is clear that any planet with a sizeable military force will also include planetary shields. Mr. Anderson goes on to completely misinterpret a quote from the short story, A World to Conquer: "Base Delta Zero is the Imperial code order to destroy all population centres and resources, including industry, natural resources and cities. All other Imperial codes are subject to change, as you well know, but this code is always the same to prevent any confusion when the order is given. Base Delta Zero is rarely issued." The problem with Mr. Anderson's interpretation of the quote is self-evident. He believes that a BDZ consists of:

"destroying the population centers, resources (presumably major ones) and industry (perhaps melting some buildings and such)."

Anderson takes an unambiguous quote and then butchers it by twisting its dialogue and changing the meaning of what was said. As the first quote indicated, a BDZ involves the destruction of "all population centers and resources, including industry, natural resources and cities." Anderson somehow takes the "all population centers and resources" to indicate that "presumably [only] major ones." Clearly this is an outright misrepresentation of official evidence.

Moreover, Anderson picks and chooses what he wishes to hear from sources in order to arrive at his flawed conclusion. The Imperial Sourcebook clearly states that "The Imperial Star Destroyer has enough firepower to reduce a civilized world to slag," meaning that an Imperator class Star Destroyer has enough firepower to melt a civilized world. This is an unambiguous quote. The meaning of each of the words is clear enough, yet Anderson misrepresents it yet again:

"[I]s that the entire surface, or just the traces of civilisation?"

It is clear that "civilized world" means the entire planet. This is the consistent meaning of the phrase from the remainder of the EU, in which "world" always means an entire planet, and not a portion of that planet. The term "civilized," thus is merely meant to differentiate this world from an uninhabitable one.

Anderson then goes on to further misrepresent the "Base Delta Zero" presented in the Star Wars Adventure Journal as being "more modest" than the slagging of a planet, but in fact it is not. The Base Delta Zero does require the slagging of an entire planet, in order to destroy "all population centers and resources," including natural resources. The definition of a natural resource is quite easy to come by. Investorwords.com defines it as "Resources occurring in nature that can be used to create wealth. Examples include oil, coal, water, and land." The destruction of the natural resources would thus require at least: the combustion of all coal and oil, the evaporation or contamination of all water, and the destruction of land. By far the easiest way of doing this is to simply melt the entire planet, especially since it must be done from orbit by a Star Destroyer. The government includes everything from drinking water to metal to stone to lumber to fish in its definition of a "natural resource," indicating that a natural resource is merely something that occurs naturally that is desirable. In fact, this is a very familiar economic definition for a natural resource. A resource must be finite and desirable. To be natural, it must merely occur without prompting by man. Thus, any habitable planet is a natural resource in its own right. The only way to prevent it from having natural resources is to make it completely uninhabitable.

Mr. Anderson then concludes that his "rabid-Warsie" detractors:

"decided to pick and choose. They took the name BDZ without bothering to use the Adventure Journal's definition. They took the slagging from "Scavenger Hunt" and the Sourcebook without bothering to acknowledge the targets. They took the entire surface from the Technical Journal, but failed to acknowledge the smoking cinder. And finally, they took the mere hours from the SWTJ without acknowledging the utter lack of slagging involved."

In fact, Anderson's opponents had only used one source for the Base Delta Zero: the only source Anderson listed that classified the operation as such. They had used the Star Wars Adventure Journal, and were being consistent with its application. The fact that the others supported such claims by indicating that such an operation might be possible only cemented the Star Wars Adventure Journal's credibility on the matter. Yet Anderson also completely ignores other sources.

"They claimed support for their view in the new "New Jedi Order Sourcebook" of 2002, which claims that a planet was bombarded and all life wiped out in the space of a day. Naturally, the fact that the number of ships involved in this maneuver is not given doesn't even make the Warsies blink."

In fact, the NJO Sourcebook was not the only source for these claims. Specter of the Past and Vision of the Future reveal numerous planets involved in BDZ operations. Caamas was completely destroyed in such a manner by an unknown fleet of unknown composition. What is known is that no transmissions made it off the planet, and that no one survived. The same was true of the planet Emberlene, which appeared in the same books. It, too, was completely destroyed, but a mercenary force was enough to do the job, indicating that civilian ships in a reasonable quantity have enough firepower to perform such a feat. Bothawui was targeted for such destruction by just three ISD's. The operation was unsuccessful, but revealed that three ISD's have enough firepower to completely destroy a heavily populated world without leaving a single survivor, and without allowing any communications. Needless to say, this indicates a spectacularly high firepower for each of the ships involved in the operation.

Anderson contends that:

"the legend of the Base Delta Zero maneuver has grown and grown, until it is now codified as part of the inflated numbers and statements in the Episode II Incredible Cross Sections, where the idea of slagging an entire planet's surface in a matter of hours is stated to be the Base Delta Zero command, making it as good as canon fact to many in spite of the horrendous inconsistencies,"

But he has failed to point out any real inconsistencies, nor has he been able to refute that such an operation is possible. It is clear that three ships can completely destroy an inhabited world, complete with oceans and cities, without leaving a single survivor, quickly enough to avoid detection. Moreover, the multitude of EU sources for the BDZ, and the explicit statements regarding its requirements in ICS, as well as the firepower figures for transport ships from the prequel era, preclude Anderson's interpretation that such an attack is not possible. Whether or not Anderson likes it or even agrees with it, it is clear that a BDZ is a part of the official Star Wars Universe.

Anderson's numerous red-herrings about the ICS notwithstanding, it is self-evident that his analysis is flawed.

[Editor's note: you may wish to examine the Base Delta Zero page on this website, which predates his and which contains many sources and references which he ignored in the making of his page, which indicate (among other things) that a BDZ'd planet is so badly damaged that it would be easier to terraform a barren planet than restore a BDZ'd planet, and that not one solitary survivor is expected from a BDZ. You may also wish to peruse Base Delta Zero sections of the Lord Edam debate]

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