I've been having the most...interesting...discussion over in the Saga Legends General Discussion thread. Apparently, there are quite a few people who are of the mind that the clones were never people, only mindless drones–wet droids, if you will, to use the phrase from the Republic Commando books. This is an issue for me. So, I have brought it here, to you.
Clearly, TCW flat-out states, quite often, in fact, that the clones are human beings, with free will, no doubts about it. Given Slick, Cut Lawquane, and the like, I find it very hard to believe that anyone can still call the clones slaves. Even the clones who didn't desert–Rex and Fives, for example–clearly showed signs that they didn't just follow orders–just look what happened with Krell. Rex flatly stated that he was satisfied to fight the war; that's fine, but it still proves that it's his free will to fight, and he's not a mindless drone. Fives is dissatisfied with Krell, as are Hardcase and Jesse. Dogma, a younger and newer clone, obviously has no problem blindly following orders–but does this mean he doesn't have free will, or does it simply mean he is more strict in comparison to the free-thinkers of the 501st? It's like comparing Echo, a more by-the-book clone, to Hevy, a free-thinker.
This brings up another point, too. The fellows in the SLGD thread stated that the clones have to follow orders hardwired into their brains, like a post-hypnotic suggestion-type thing. If you read Karen Traviss' books–and this part here can't include TCW, because there's nothing concrete there–there are no orders hard-wired in their brains, but they've got 150 contingency orders they have to remember–order number 66 being just one of them; the one which states that the Jedi have betrayed the Republic. The clones didn't kill the Jedi because they were mindless drones with a hidden brainwashing unlocked with the code "order 66," they did it because they believed the Jedi were traitors, that the Jedi had done exactly what the Separatists were trying to do. The clones felt betrayed. See this line from Commander Bacara:
"I hesitated for a moment when I received Order 66 because the last thing I expected was a Jedi coup. Did I feel betrayed? You bet I did. I thought of all my men who died under Ki-Adi-Mundi's command, and if I'd known then that he and his buddies were gearing up to do the Separatists' work for them and overthrow the government, I'd have shot him as a traitor a lot earlier. He betrayed the trust of every one of us."
So, the clones obviously did feel betrayed and disgusted that the Jedi betrayed them. Now, for another question: why would the clones assume Palpatine was telling the truth? Simple: he was the Supreme Commander of the Grand Army, and the Chancellor of the Republic. Why would he lie to them? It would be the same thing if the Jedi had given the clones Order 65 (The Chancellor has betrayed the Republic); the clones wouldn't investigate it first; doing that might give Palpatine time to escape or do something harmful to the Republic. In the same way, if they'd paused to investigate Order 66, for all they knew the Jedi could overthrow the Republic in that time. Some say that the clones shooting old friends was very cold: this is true. But what if you were in a special forces unit and found out your commanding officer, who you were very clone to, was working undercover for a rival nation and planning to assassinate the President of your country? Could you kill him? It's the same thing here. There's only one difference: the clones were lied to. They might've even tried to arrest the Jedi instead of kill them (even Captain Maze tried to do this), but Order 66 specified killing the Jedi. Some clones disobeyed the order, yes. These were clones who let their friendships with the Jedi override their orders (in this case, it was a very good thing, because the Jedi were innocent; I'm totally not saying that it was a bad thing that any clone disobeyed Order 66).
Anyways, long post short: just because the clones turned on and shot their commanders doesn't mean they were mindless slaves. Agree or disagree?