One of the big debates in the aftermath of The Force Awakens—and on some level, continuing today—revolved around the degree to which the New Republic “failed” as a government by not preventing the destruction of Hosnian Prime. They knew Imperial remnants were still out there, didn’t they? How could a competent government allow something on the scale of Starkiller Base to happen undetected? Ben Crofts followed this line of thinking to its logical conclusion: how could the New Republic claim to be any better than the Empire if it eliminated every single ex-Imperial? And even if it could and would do such a thing, what next?
After all, the Imperials are in the history books. Everyone knows what they are and some are susceptible to them. Clearly the only response is to purge this hidden column of Imperial wannabes and outlaw any positive depiction of the Empire. Yet not even that will be entirely effective for, as the Nazis have demonstrated decades after their defeat, evil retains an allure of fascination. Even if they are depicted as total baby-killing bastards, still some will be drawn to their banner.
This kind of thinking, Ben argues, is at best an example of 20/20 hindsight—Starkiller seems like an obvious threat by the end of the film, but could any New Republic, let alone one worthy of the name, ever have utterly prevented any possibility of such an attack? And even if it could, would it have been worth the necessary sacrifices?