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During the battle of Geonosis the Jedi lead a strike team to save Anakin, Padmé and Obi-wan. Wookieepedia states that there were 212 Jedi in the strike team, of which an unknown number were part of the ground force which had only 32~31 survivors.

This seems like a poor trade and bad tactical decision. It would seem that the Vulcan dogma of "the good of the many out weighs the good of the few" would be a core philosophy of the Jedi. In this case then, sacrificing Obi-wan, Padmé and Anakin to try to preserve the peace of the Republic would make the most sense. Instead they bring the cavalry in, headed by Yoda himself.

Additionally, in The Phantom Menace Qui-gon states that they (he and Obi-wan) cannot fight a war for then Queen Amidala. Yet, in rescuing Obi-wan, Padmé and Anakin, that is exactly what the Jedi were pulled into doing: fighting a war for the Republic (granted with a large army behind them).

Why then did the Jedi council decide to risk so much to save three relatively unimportant people? Obi-wan and Anakin were Jedi, and important in that respect, but they both should have been aware that death is inevitable. And the execution of a single senator from a backwoods planet, who was caught trespassing on the Geonosian planet, likely wouldn't have upset the Senate so much to go to war just for that.

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It is possible that - even though they wouldn't admit it to Qui-gon or to Obi-wan - the council did acknowledge the fact that Anakin was the Chosen One to bring balance to The Force, and thus felt it of paramount importance to rescue him. –  eidylon Mar 18 at 19:45
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1) Yoda wants to try out their new Clone army 2) Geonosis is a major manufacturer of Droids 3) The Seperatist high command (including Dooku) is on the planet 4) Padme is a very important and influential Senator 5) Did you see her midriff? –  Richard Mar 18 at 19:48
    
@Richard - re: #5, Jedi were supposed to be celibate monks –  DVK Mar 18 at 19:51
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@DVK - I've always assumed that monks are allowed to appreciate beauty, as long as it's not in a "nudge, nudge, wink, wink" kind of way –  Richard Mar 18 at 19:56
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Because the movie makes very little sense. Seriously, as much as we can try to rationalize the action, the truth is it doesn't make much sense, because the plot of the chronologically-first trilogy is a tangled mess. –  MirroredFate Mar 19 at 0:14

4 Answers 4

up vote 20 down vote accepted

Because the trio are not the real goal, rather they are trying to stop Dooku and the Trade Federation

From the transcript:

BAIL ORGANA: The Commerce Guilds are preparing for war... there can be no doubt of that.

PALPATINE: Count Dooku must have made a treaty with them.

BAIL ORGANA: We must stop them before they're ready.

JAR JAR: Exsueeze me, yousa honorable Supreme Chancellor, Sir. Maybe dissen Jedi stoppen the rebel army.

PALPATINE: Master Yoda, how many Jedi are available to go to Geonosis?

YODA: Throughout the galaxy, thousands of Jedi there are. To send on a special mission, only two hundred are available.

BAIL ORGANA: With all due respect for the Jedi Order, that doesn't sound like enough.

YODA: Through negotiation the Jedi maintains peace. To start a war, we do not intend.

ASK AAK: The debate is over! Now we need that clone army...

In this scene, Obi Wan is presumed missing after his message about what he has found on Geonosis has been cut off. The Republic sees this as an opportunity to potentially cut the Trade Federation off at the knees before the war effort really kicks off. Rescuing the trio would certainly be part of the Jedi agenda, being Jedi and all - and it does play out that way in the movie, but Geonosis is a much more important target than just those three. However, more to the point - nobody in this dialogue in the run up to the invasion seems overly concerned about getting Obi-Wan back (it probably isn't the first time this has happened to him...).

Also:

It also seems Palpatine / Sidious is keen to get the conflict going ... and probably kill off as many Jedi in the process as he can.

Yoda's reluctance is probably indicative that he would rather send a small group to save the trio by stealth, or simply use diplomacy rather than spark a greater conflict. However, it's also probably just to note that the Jedi aren't the same as a standing army (like the clones).

Note that this is not the last battle for the planet, it comes up again in The Clone Wars show.

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I think it is also good to note that a careful reading of the script also seems to suggest the Jar Jar is responsible for the slaughter of hundreds of Jedi. No. Surprise. There. –  joshbirk Mar 19 at 14:48

When the Jedi set out to Geonosis, it wasn't explicitly a rescue mission (though, they likely assumed Obi-Wan had been injured/captured). They were after Dooku, the Trade Federation and the Droid Army being assembled.

Obi-Wan has witnessed the factory, Dooku and the Trade Federation members and relays this information to the Jedi along with his conclusions.

From the script

OBI-WAN: (V.O.) I have tracked the bounty hunter Jango Fett to the droid foundries on Geonosis.

INTERIOR: JEDI COUNCIL ROOM - DAY

The members of the Jedi Council stand around a hologram of OBI-WAN.

OBI-WAN: (V.O.) The Trade Federation is to take taking delivery of a droid army here and it is clear that Viceroy Gunray...

INTERIOR: COCKPIT, NABOO STARSHIP - DAY

ANAKIN and PADMÉ continue to listen.

OBI-WAN: (V.O.) ...is behind the assassination attempts on Senator Amidala.

INTERIOR: JEDI COUNCIL ROOM - DAY

The Council members continue to listen to OBI-WAN.

OBI-WAN: (V.O.) The Commerce Guilds and Corporate Alliance have both pledged their armies to Count Dooku and are forming an... Wait!... Wait!!

INTERIOR: COCKPIT, NABOO STARSHIP - DAY

ANAKIN and PADMÉ watch as OBI-WAN is attacked by Droidekas. The hologram cuts off. ANAKIN jumps up, agitated.

INTERIOR: JEDI COUNCIL ROOM - DAY

The Council members also see the attack on OBI-WAN. YODA looks to MACE WINDU.

YODA: More happening on Geonosis, I feel, than has been revealed.

MACE WINDU: I agree.

INTERIOR: COCKPIT, NABOO STARSHIP - SUNSET

ANAKIN and PADMÉ watch a hologram of MACE WINDU.

MACE WINDU: (V.O.) Anakin, We will deal with Count Dooku. The most important thing for you is to stay where you are. Protect the Senator at all costs. That is your first priority.

But the Jedi are actually being played by Palpatine.

Palpatine is putting the final pieces of his plan to start a war into place. He manipulates the situation into sending the Jedi into a battle where he likely hopes at least some of them die.

INTERIOR: CORUSCANT, CHANCELLOR'S OFFICE - DAY

BAIL ORGANA: The Commerce Guilds are preparing for war... there can be no doubt of that.

PALPATINE: Count Dooku must have made a treaty with them.

BAIL ORGANA: We must stop them before they're ready.

JAR JAR: Exsueeze me, yousa honorable Supreme Chancellor, Sir. Maybe dissen Jedi stoppen the rebel army.

PALPATINE: Master Yoda, how many Jedi are available to go to Geonosis?

YODA: Throughout the galaxy, thousands of Jedi there are. To send on a special mission, only two hundred are available.

BAIL ORGANA: With all due respect for the Jedi Order, that doesn't sound like enough.

YODA: Through negotiation the Jedi maintains peace. To start a war, we do not intend.

ASK AAK: The debate is over! Now we need that clone army...

BAIL ORGANA: Unfortunately, the debate is not over. The Senate will never approve the use of the clones before the separatists attack.

MAS AMEDDA: This is a crisis! The Senate must vote the Chancellor emergency powers! He could then approve the use of the clones.

PALPATINE: But what Senator would have the courage to propose such a radical amendment?

MAS AMEDDA: If only Senator Amidala were here.

JAR JAR steps forward from the back of the group.

JAR JAR: Mesa mosto Supreme Chancellor... Mesa gusto pallos. Mesa proud to proposing the motion to give yousa Honor emergency powers.

So, why are so many Jedi risked? Multiple reasons:

  • From the Jedi's perspective, to stop Dooku and the newly formed alliance and their army
  • From Palpatine's ulterior motives, to begin the Clone War
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"More happening on Geonosis, I feel, than has been revealed."
- Yoda

The first battle of Geonosis and Clone wars wasn't just to rescue three guys. That strike was on the heart of Separatists. It has a big political weight. As mentioned by @Richard in comment, Geonosis was high command of Separatists and a major droid factory.

When it comes to risk associated with 212 Jedi, they weren't alone. They came with the Clone army.

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Would the size mattered even if a few thousand Jedy went Geonosis.

Most of the Jedy would have got wiped out anyway, before Yoda arrived and the reason is that they didn't quite know the scale of the Droid Army.

The Jedy thought it was going be a walk in the Park.

So it wasn't a bad tactical call, it was more like luck of information. Otherwise they would have hidden somewhere and waited for Yoda to come with the troops.

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I was asking why so many Jedi went, not so few. –  Xantec Mar 22 at 16:33
    
Field Training? :) –  cytasos Mar 22 at 16:52

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