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What kind of a political hierarchy do the machines in The Matrix have?

While discussing why the Sentinels in The Matrix: Revolutions would participate in a suicide mission, DVK pointed out that there might be (military) repercussions if they didn't follow command.

Is it really that simple? How is the command structure of the machines organised? If there is any.
Individual machines seem to have an independent conciousness, as seen in The Animatrix, so they're not one big Borg-like conciousness. This would imply an (at least technical) distinction between egoism and altruism for a given individual (machine).

Note: A mere explanation why the sentinels broke the walls of Zion, will NOT be a sufficient answer to this question. I'm asking about the overall organisation of their culture/military.

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    Clearly when Sentinels die they get revived at the nearest Resurrection ship. – Jack B Nimble Jun 25 '12 at 15:56
  • @JackBNimble: What universe is this a reference to? – bitmask Jun 25 '12 at 15:57
  • @bitmask I think it is a joke about the Battlestar Galactica universe :) – Erik Burigo Jun 25 '12 at 15:59