Okay, this is one of those fanwankish threads where waaay too much thought is given to the simple "Good vs. Evil" dichotomy of 80's toys. That said, newer fiction (IDW comics, TF: Animated, even later Marvel stuff) appears to paint Autobots and Decepticons as either two seperate parts of society or two seperate races, and not simply opposing good and evil military factions. IDWverse shows (sympathetically) that Megs starts out as sort of the Malcolm X of robots: forming Decepticons as a faction to rise up against (what they consider to be) an oppressive and corrupt system that has marginalized and oppressed the common worker. It gets out of hand and eventually criminal, of course, but you know. Later in IDWverse (where Autobot-Decepticon relations are relatively civilized, if strained), we see that many Transformers aren't exactly military. Scorponok is a criminal even to his own kind, and Ultra Magnus even plans to turn Swindle over to a Decepticon court martial. Magnus isn't after these guys because they're Decepticons, he's after them because he's essentially a police officer. Nightbeat, Magnus, and others even appear to have "Civilian" jobs, making them the Autobot equivalent of the Army Reserve. So what does "Autobot" and "Decepticon" mean, in this context, if not a military designation? Does it denote race? Political belief? Social class? In animated, it's much more simple, but possibly even more disturbing. When Swindle shows up, Bumblebee acts revolted: "It's a Decepticon!" In this usage, though, the term Decepticon is obviously not used to denote allegiance to Megatron's army. Swindle and Lockdown are both bad dudes, yes, but are portrayed as free agents, not part of the Cybertronian war. Again, then, if not affiliation, does the designation "Decepticon" refer to their race? their ideology? Does Bumblebee's attitude toward a Decepticon insignia indicate some form of bigotry? I mean, Autobots have reached out to 'bots who were doing bad things and keeping bad company before (Constructicons, Dinobots, Wreck-Gar). But suddenly if they have a certain insignia, Autobots come out with barrels blazing. Just my random thoughts. Perhaps these very questions affect the problems of war in the real world, as well.