In Starship Troopers, the motive of the humans to attack the Klendathu planet is that the "bugs" inhabitants of that planet allegedly launched a meteorite at Earth that destroyed Buenos Aires. The only evidence given is that the meteorites apparently originated in the Klendathu region of space.

But this seems a bit implausible, the bugs are never shown to do it or even to have the capability of doing it, the rocks are travelling very slowly and would surely take thousands of years to reach Earth (as well as needing amazingly good aim), and in one scene the possibility the bugs would prefer a "live-and-let-live" policy is suggested. In fact, aside from a news report and some of the characters making the claim, there is no evidence offered that it was an attack on Earth by the bugs.

Furthermore, the society is portrayed or satirised as a sort neo-fascist one, and one might not put it past the government to lie about it.

So are we, the viewers, supposed to doubt that it was a deliberate attack by the bugs or are we supposed to take that report at face value?

  • 1
    I honestly don't know why you've been downvoted. It seems perfectly reasonable to me to wonder whether this is a 'false flag' event. Kind of hard to prove one way or another though.
    – iandotkelly
    Commented Apr 23, 2021 at 19:25
  • In the book, the Bugs flattened Buenos Aires well after the war started.
    – Mark
    Commented Apr 25, 2021 at 1:00

2 Answers 2


The only evidence given is that the meteorites apparently originated in the Klendathu region of space.

This is true BUT we do know that the Bugs are spacefaring since they have colonised other planets in the Quarantine Zone.

Thus although we do not know the mechanism by which the bugs transport the meteors completely across the galaxy it's not impossible that they do.

enter image description here

There is no evidence also that Buenos Aires was actually targeted, a meteor of any reasonable size would cause significant damage wherever on Earth it hits. B.A. was plot-chosen as it's Rico's home city

There is no evidence either way that this was a false flag operation so we can't prove it was or wasn't.

  • I'd forgotten about that picture.... maybe my "thousands of years" comment was a bit of an understatement...
    – komodosp
    Commented Apr 23, 2021 at 22:25
  • @colmde If you’re skeptical about the bugs getting a rock to earth in a reasonable time, how do you explain humans getting to Klendathu in less than a lifetime? Commented Apr 24, 2021 at 2:12
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    I like to think of Starship Troopers as a piece of official in-universe propaganda which ranges from "Inspired by true events" to outright lies to sell a war that is going far worse than the movie depicts. Buenos Aries was destroyed, the Bugs were responsible, but "A rock from space" is the lie picked to be consistent with what the official line is about the Bugs' capabilities. Doesn't really work with the sequels, though.
    – notovny
    Commented Apr 24, 2021 at 3:19
  • @notovny The "sequels" don't really work with me either. 🙃
    – Mario
    Commented Apr 24, 2021 at 5:23
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    @notovny " war that is going far worse than the movie depicts": I still remember when, a bit before the last battle, Rico greets a group of new recruits, who are clearly younger than he was when he enlisted... This is never a good sign about how a war is going...
    – McTroopers
    Commented Apr 24, 2021 at 16:23

Speaking from memory (haven't watched the film from a number of years), I recall the film had a relatively strong implication that the Humans are projecting onto the bugs aspects of their own collective behavior. One of these aspects is being the aggressor in the conflict. Now, the film is presented from a conformist/mainstream Human perspective, so you won't get a subplot of questioning the official story and investigation by an intrepid freethinker - you only get messages through failures and gaps in the official Human narrative, and from the scenes you are witness too yourself. But the latter are quite limited: It's mostly Rico's perspective.

You can possibly make the analogy to a US ground soldier, sent overseas as part of the forces invading Iraq. He was told "Saddam had weapons of mass destruction", but there wasn't any actual evidence that this was the case, just unsubstantiated claims. This might not have been enough for the politically astute, but it was enough justification as far as the troops were concerned.

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