To put it another way: The distinction is PRECISELY between killing that is murder and killing that is not murder.
When civilians are targeted and killed deliberately, they have been murdered, whether the killing was done by a soldier or pilot contrary to orders, or in obedience to orders. If done in obedience to orders, the guilty include those who initiated the orders, no matter how far up the chain of command.
In WWII, American officers were in constant battle with British officers about terror bombing. The distinction was precisely between bombing military assets and bombing civilians for purposes of terror. The objections raised by the Americans were based PRECISELY on the assertion that targeting civilians was murder.
The notion that in war you can just slaughter people is a barbaric macho attitude that has no place in the American military, and never has.
The deliberate killing of civilians in WWII, including the dropping of the atomic bombs, was a descent into barbarism. It is perfectly understandable, given the demented, psychotic barbarity of the Japanese, but it was still murder.
It was the primary Naval base of the Empire.
Nagasaki was not targeted by accident.
It was the primary Maritime shipping port of the Empire.
The notion that in war you can just slaughter people is a barbaric macho attitude that has no place in the American military,...It really is a redherring to say that carpet bombing in a world war is murder. It's insane, actually. You have no basis to argue that war at ALL is "legitimate" killing using your abstruse distinctions.
Nice assertion, prove it! That they were 'civilian'.