We have questioned the rationality of accepting a clone army without supervision but I'm more interested in the moral choice.

It's already difficult to me to let pass the fact that they let slavery go on Tatooine, but let's say they could do nothing because it was out of jurisdiction or something. Now they find an army made of sentient beings, genetically modified to obey, and they just send it to war?

So I'd like to know if there is any comment from a Jedi (any source is fine with me) about the ethics of having the clone army? If that's not possibly I'd like to know if there is something about slavery in this shady organization moral Code?

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    Also, it’s interesting to note that (clone armies aside), the Jedi do seem somewhat opposed to slavery. Obi-Wan actually feels pretty guilty about leaving Shmi in slavery. Plus there’s the whole “Slavers of Zygerria” arc. While the Jedi do have a vested interest in disrupting the Zygerrian slave operations (since they are working with the Separatists), the Jedi were actually the ones who broke up the Zygerrian slave trade to begin with.
    – Adamant
    Commented Oct 15, 2016 at 21:24
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    I think it fair to say that the Jedi Order isn't exactly progressive. Forbidding Jedi to marry, for example. To what extent that was intended as an analogy I don't know, but similar organizations in the real world tend not to get too hung up on human rights issues, especially if it would conflict with their greater goals. Commented Oct 16, 2016 at 0:19
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    Indeed. The Jedi may have been "the good guys" within this narrative, but they weren't exactly the perfect embodiment of 21st century Western ideals. Not that that's necessarily an objective optimum. Commented Oct 16, 2016 at 1:16
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    I think the Jedi are already ethically compromised. scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/129640/…
    – RichS
    Commented Oct 16, 2016 at 5:34
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    @Davor - That's certainly one way of looking at it. The alternative view is that they remove these children from evil influences and train them to become serene warriors of goodness. With the exception of Dooku and Anakin (both of whom weren't ideal candidates due to their emotional baggage), you don't see any Jedi complaining about their treatment and they certainly seem happy enough.
    – Valorum
    Commented Oct 17, 2016 at 11:14

3 Answers 3


Disney Canon

There don't seem to have been any major issues expressed by the Jedi regarding the clones. Obi-Wan's attitude seems to reflect pretty much all of the subtext that we see later in in the Clone Wars TV show, that although cloning is abhorrent, the alternative (domination by the Separatists) is worse.

The callousness of it all stuck Obi-Wan profoundly. Units. Final product. These were living beings they were talking about. Living and breathing and thinking.

To create clones for such a singular purpose, under such conditions, even stealing half their childhood for efficiency, assaulted his sense of right and wrong, and the fact that a Jedi Master had began all this was almost too much for him to digest.

Star Wars: Attack of the Clones - Official Novelisation

EU Canon

At least one Jedi has expressed deep disquiet with the idea of breeding people for combat; Bardan Jusik.

"So how do we justify what we are doing now? Breeding men without choice, and without freedom, to fight and die for us? When do the means cease to justify the end? Where is our society heading? Where are our ideals, and what are we without them? If we give in to expedience in this way, where do we draw the line between ourselves and those we find unacceptably evil? I have no answer, Masters. Do you?"

Star Wars: Republic Commando - Hard Contact


“Okay.” Jusik nodded a few times, looking down into his lap for a moment. “I’ve given a lot of thought to the consequences of not leading my men in the field, and whether I’m making their situation worse by doing this, but I can’t live with it any longer. We sanction the use of a slave army. It’s against every single principle of our belief, and it’s a stain on us, and we will pay the price of our hypocrisy one day. This is wrong. Therefore I have to leave the Jedi Order.”

Star Wars: Republic Commando - True Colors

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    It is curious that with the Jedi’s established canon opposition to slavery, they were so cavalier about the clone army. While most Jedi may not have been aware that the clones were mentally enslaved, surely they must have been aware that they were legally slaves (i.e. property of the Republic).
    – Adamant
    Commented Oct 15, 2016 at 21:27
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    @Adamant - Their opposition was rather lukewarm. Qui Gon left Shmi in slavery because he basically just didn't feel like paying for her freedom. He arranged for Anakin to be freed because he knew Anakin would be useful to him.
    – Wad Cheber
    Commented Oct 15, 2016 at 21:56
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    @WadCheber - Yeah…on the other hand, the Order did break up the Zygerrian slave empire. I’d say they definitely were opposed to slavery (sometimes violently) but inconsistently (as demonstrated by the clone army, certainly).
    – Adamant
    Commented Oct 15, 2016 at 22:01
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    @Adamant - She was freed a few months later, hence the Jedi didn't need to do anything about her status.
    – Valorum
    Commented Oct 15, 2016 at 22:02
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    @Ram - At the start of "Star Wars: The Clone Wars" we see precisely how vulnerable the Republic is and how powerless they are to deal with unpleasantry like slavery on the Outer Rim.
    – Valorum
    Commented Oct 15, 2016 at 22:27

Even in the movies, the Jedi seem to be unhappy, or at least conflicted, about using the Clone Army. However, they have been wringing their hands and lamenting about their need for an army, so when one shows up unexpectedly, they realize that they have to use it regardless of any moral reservations they might have.

OBI-WAN (V.O.) ...I've never heard of a Jedi called Sido-Dyas, have you, Master?

MACE WINDU No. Whoever placed that order was not a Jedi, I can assure you.

OBI-WAN (V.O.) I have a strong feeling that this bounty hunter is the assassin we're looking for.

YODA Who he is working for... discover that, you must.

OBI-WAN (V.O.) I will, Master, and I will also find out more about this clone army... May The Force...

The hologram switches off, and OBI-WAN fades away.

WINDU A clone army! Ordered by someone in the Senate perhaps... Someone's out to start a war.

YODA Inform the chancellor of this, we must.

WINDU Who do you think this impostor Sido-Dyas, could be?


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.

MACE WINDU We must stop them soon before they're fully ready.

SENATOR ASK AAK The debate is over, we need that clone army now!

BAIL ORGANA Unfortunately, the debate is not over. The Senate will never be able to approve the use of that army before the separatists attack.


MACE WINDU The longer we wait, the stronger Dooku's armies become. We cannot wait for the Senate to make up its mind about granting the Chancellor emergency powers, in order to be able to use that clone army... We have the authority to go now. We must go now.

All of the JEDI COUNCIL nod their approval.

YODA Agreed, Master Windu. Two hundred Jedi send. Enough, let's hope they are.

OBI-WAN (continuing) I must admit without the clones, it would not have been a victory.

YODA Victory? Victory, you say?

OBI-WAN turns and looks at the sad little Jedi sitting in the Council Chamber. Apart from KI-ADI-MUNDI and PLO KOON, who is wounded, the Chamber is empty.

YODA (continuing) Not victory, a defeat, it was... Master Obi-Wan. Begun, the Clone War has!
- All quotes above taken from Star Wars: Episode II: Attack of the Clones

So the Jedi need an army, they find one, have reservations about using it, but time constraints and strategic considerations outweigh their concerns, and they deploy the clones. There isn't much time for them to debate the ethical dilemmas of using artificially obedient slaves to fight the war, but their uneasiness doesn't go away - it remains so pronounced that Yoda even calls their first victory a defeat.

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    You left out the cherry on top of all this: The clones turned against the Jedi and slaughtered almost all of them. Rather poetic.
    – EvilSnack
    Commented Oct 15, 2016 at 23:33
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    @EvilSnack: In the context exposed by this question, I'm almost glad the clones succeeded! Commented Oct 16, 2016 at 1:18


In Disney canon, Quinlan Vos questioned the ethics of the clone army:

Angry muttering, shaking fists, and low booing rippled through the crowd. Dooku looked to be filled with righteous fury as he continued.

“Countless living beings—these clones the Jedi created—have been sent to their deaths, while we sacrifice mainly droids.”

Vos grimaced slightly and said to Ventress, “He makes a good point.” She gave him a sidelong look that conveyed exactly how unimpressed she was.

Dark Disciple

There’s substantial evidence that this was not an uncommon sentiment in the Republic at large, as this piece of anti-cloning propaganda indicates:

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Obi-Wan also questions the clone army in the novelization of Attack of the Clones, but its canonicity is murky.

  • The ethics of the droid army are far less considered, but not unexamined in Star Wars canon.
    – Adamant
    Commented Dec 14, 2016 at 8:49

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