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[I understand that the Cardassians are viewed as monsters due to occupying Bajor, but it only makes sense. Their world is devoid of resources, their surrounding worlds are also devoid of resources, they either have to make something magically trade for things they need, or they need to take over planets.]
I’ve never disagreed with a confession more than this one. I seriously almost deleted it so many times in the queue. I just find it so wrong headed. There is no justification for the occupation. None.
They could have asked for help.
But of course they didn’t because the Cardassians are proud. They think they can work Bajorans to death in the mines and expect gratitude when they’re given a weekend off. They think they can pick a fight with The Federation and eke out a few extra planets because the treaty is just a piece of paper. Then, they think they can harness The Dominion because well, The Dominion signed this other piece of paper, didn’t they?
I do feel bad for the Cardassians. I think what happened to them in the end could be called “justice” and it was directly a consequence of their own actions. It was still an awful thing and I don’t think they deserved it.
I’m not saying that they’re victims. I don’t think it’s just the military that carries the blame for it. Remember that it was the civilian government that called for the pull-out from Bajor, so they apparently had some clout. It was a new civilian government that came to power in “Way of The Warrior” and eventually signed a deal with The Dominion. Sure, Dukat was their frontman, but it was a peaceful transfer of power.
My impression has been the Cardassian citizens were okay with their bloated, ineffective military, out-of-control spy agencies, and corrupt courts putting a foot on the necks of their neighbors. Let the powerful diddle their housekeepers and usher their illegitimate sons into the family business. I imagine that every so often a scandal breaks out and catches the attention of the average Cardassian, so every time Dukat comes to DS9, it’s because he’s trying to get a political enemy onto Cardassia’s version of TMZ.
The average Cardassian citizen can work a hard day, watch “Cardassia’s Most Wanted: Confessions” to know their government is doing the good work of protecting them, then go to bed on a full stomach with government bread bought with Bajoran slave labor.
This has already gone on for too long, but notice that every time one of Garak’s parents dies, it represents an old pillar of Cardassia being destroyed. When Tain “dies” the first time, The Obsidian Order is destroyed. When Tain dies the second time, Cardassia as a sovereign nation is destroyed. Finally, when Mila dies, it heralds The Dominion’s efforts to commit genocide against the Cardassian people. I posit that those events burn away the pillars that supported the corrupt regime; the powerful, their supporters, and the silently complicit.
I’d also like to think that the Cardassia that comes out of The Dominion War is a more sober, reflective Cardassia. They were once, within living memory, a peaceful people. I hope they acknowledge the mistakes of their past. I hope the kids that grow up in the shadow of those cities look to fill more than just their bellies.
Man, I hope they drive old man Elim Garak mad with their “insufferable optimism.” I imagine him on his deathbed now, hearing the news from a young nurse that Cardassia’s started the process of joining The Federation and he just rolls his eyes and says the most sarcastic, dismissive, transparently supportive thing he can thing of and passes away.
But really, I hope that DS9’s eerie ability to predict post-9/11 politics doesn’t extend to militaristic, near-surveillance states with populations oblivious to political corruption and resource depletion.