Bunch’s claims, and the logic under them, rely on several demonstrably false assumptions. Put more formally, Bunch argues that destroying Alderaan is justifiable because it saved lives, on net. Those lives were saved because without intervention there would have been widespread chaos and violence, and also because with intervention there would not be widespread chaos and violence.

For Bunch’s claims to be correct, the probability-adjusted net lives saved must exceed the lives lost in the destruction of Alderaan. So let’s do the math.

Let’s say, for the sake of argument, there’s a 75 percent chance that, without destroying Alderaan, the rebellion would spread chaos and violence. With destroying Alderaan, that “rebellion spread” risk falls to zero, allegedly. Let’s also say there’s a 75 percent chance that, by destroying Alderaan, there’s only a 10 percent chance of “blowback chaos.” These assumptions are very friendly to imperial apologists like Bunch.

How many casualties would result from spreading chaos and violence? Assume that the casualties to population ratio for occupying a planet is 1 casualty for every 1,000 people: remember, an occupying force could just shell from orbit, so only highly populated planets with widely dispersed population would even bother to resist. Many will be subdued without a fight.