The Clone Wars proved to be a cunning snare that ensnared the Jedi, forcing them into a role they were ill-prepared for, ultimately leading to their downfall. They found themselves caught in an inescapable web, unable to watch the galaxy plunge into conflict without taking action. In response, they assumed the roles of generals, commanding troops on the front lines and steering the destiny of the Grand Army of the Republic, a fateful transformation.
During this tumultuous period, the Guardian Protocols were invoked, turning the Jedi from peacekeepers into military leaders. This shift in responsibility left an indelible mark on the Jedi Order, rushing the training of Jedi, pushing them into incomplete trials, and altering their very essence.
As the Clone Wars dragged on, the Jedi began to lose their connection to the light side of the Force. The insidious machinations of Palpatine, fueled by the dark side, culminated in the infamous Order 66, spelling doom for the Jedi. Remarkably, it appears that even without this treacherous order, the Clone Wars themselves would have sufficed to dismantle the Jedi Order.
The Clone Wars presented an irresistible temptation for the Jedi. They had always seen themselves as the guardians of the Republic, and this belief compelled them to intervene. They willingly accepted the role of generals, leading the Grand Army of the Republic into battle.
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Ironically, it was a Jedi Master, Sifo-Dyas, who unwittingly set the stage for the Clone Wars. Sifo-Dyas possessed a unique connection to the Cosmic Force, which granted him glimpses of the future. He foresaw the impending conflict and commissioned the creation of a clone army to assist the Jedi. However, the Sith manipulated this plan, resulting in the infamous Order 66. The battle-scarred Jedi and their precarious position in the galaxy made this dark order almost superfluous.
The Battle of Geonosis marked the inception of the Clone Wars, with Jedi intervening to rescue key figures. Although the Republic emerged victorious, it came at a grievous cost, with 200 Jedi perishing in the battle. The profound loss left the entire Order reeling in sorrow, struggling to cope with their emotions.
The Jedi enacted the Guardian Protocols, a set of measures designed for times of crisis. Palpatine anticipated these protocols and exploited their weaknesses. The protocols included accelerating combat training for younglings, deploying droids in outposts, suspending independent research, and hastening Padawan trials. However, the most detrimental changes were the rushed training of Padawans and the promotion of survivors from Geonosis to Jedi Knights.
The Guardian Protocols transformed the Jedi into warriors. Padawans were thrust into battles without completing their training, ill-equipped to handle the horrors of war. This hasty decision, driven by the need to bolster their ranks, had dire consequences, including the premature knighting of Anakin Skywalker and the rise of Darth Vader’s Inquisitors.
In reality, the surviving Padawans should have embarked on a journey of healing and self-discovery following the trauma of Geonosis. Instead, they were thrust into a war-torn galaxy, forced to confront violence and death.
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Obi-Wan Kenobi would later reflect on the Jedi’s failure to grasp the true nature of the Force. Their role as generals contradicted their beliefs, leading them down a dark path. Some, like Barriss Offee, recognized this transformation and rebelled against it, but her actions only added to the chaos.
The dark side’s shadow began to loom over the galaxy as the Clone Wars persisted. War bred suffering, and the Jedi’s connection to the light side waned. They struggled to harness the Force for guidance, stumbling through the crisis. Palpatine exploited their vulnerabilities, manipulating them into further mistakes.
As the Clone Wars dragged on, Palpatine grew bolder, using the dark side within the very halls of the Jedi Temple. By the time the Jedi realized the extent of his deception, it was too late. They never suspected that Palpatine was the Sith Lord they feared.
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Although Order 66 sealed the fate of the Jedi, it wasn’t strictly necessary. Palpatine had other motives, including the seduction of Anakin Skywalker to the dark side. His insatiable desire for power and the dark side’s corrupting influence drove him to hasten the Clone Wars. Thus, Order 66 became the final stroke in Palpatine’s sinister masterpiece.