Evidently bureaucracy is the same wherever you go, even a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away:
To be sure, the Death Star is primarily a weapon of intimidation rather than something to be used all willy-nilly. Even the Evil Empire didn’t want to demolish more than a handful of planets. So the fact that the Death Star only ever fired one shot may not be that big of a deal. However, the fact that the stations kept getting blown up is a big deal indeed. It’s hard to be intimidating if you’re a smoking cloud of debris.
One might wonder how such an ostensibly powerful weapon could have such a consistently poor track record and such a gaping weakness. Despite the opinion of certain critics, these shortcomings are not a cheap plot device by a lazy writer. In fact, the Death Star’s combination o inadequacy and vulnerability may be the second-most realistic aspect of the entire saga.
From a design perspective, a system as enormously complex as a Death Star is more than any program manager or senior architect can handle, no matter how high their midi-chlorian count is. There is bound to be an overlooked exhaust vent or two that leads directly to the reactor core. That is just the sort of vulnerability an asymmetric opponent can exploit….
The truth is, Death Stars are about as practical as a metal bikini. Sure, they look cool, but they aren’t very sensible. Specifically, Death Stars can’t possibly be built on time or on bud-get, require pathological leadership styles and, as we’ve noted,keep getting blown up. Also, nobody can build enough of them to make a real difference in the field.
(Hat tip: Ace of Spades.)