Skip to comments.Pat Buchanan: Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and Christian Morality
Posted on 08/10/2005 6:32:47 PM PDT by F14 Pilot
On the 40th, 50th and 60th anniversaries of D-Day, Presidents Reagan, Clinton and George W. Bush traveled to Normandy to lead us in tribute to the bravery of the Greatest Generation of Americans, who had liberated Europe. Always a deeply moving occasion.
The 40th, 50th and 60th anniversaries of the dropping of the atom bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, however, were not times of celebration or warm remembrance. Angry arguments for and against the dropping of the bombs roil the airwaves and fill the press.
And the reason is obvious. While World War II was a just war against enemies whose crimes, from Nanking to Auschwitz, will live in infamy, the means we used must trouble any Christian conscience.
That good came out of Hiroshima and Nagasaki is undeniable. In a week, Japan surrendered, World War II ended and, across the Japanese empire, soldiers laid down their arms. Thousands of U.S. soldiers and hundreds of thousands of Japanese who would have perished in an invasion of Japan survived, as did Allied POWs who might have been executed on the orders of Japanese commanders when we landed.
But were the means used -- the destruction in seconds of two cities, inflicting instant death on 120,000 men, women and children, and an agonizing death from burns and radiation on scores of thousands more -- moral?
Truman's defenders argue that by using the bomb, he saved more lives than were lost in those cities. Only the atom bombs, they contend, could have shocked Japan's warlords into surrender.
But if terrorism is the massacre of innocents to break the will of rulers, were not Hiroshima and Nagasaki terrorism on a colossal scale?
Churchill did not deny what the Allied air war was about. Before departing for Yalta, he ordered Operation Thunderclap, a campaign to "de-house" civilians to clog roads so German soldiers could not move to stop the offensive of the Red Army. British Air Marshal "Bomber" Harris put Dresden, a jewel of a city and haven for hundreds of thousands of terrified refugees, on the target list.
On the first night, 770 Lancasters arrived around 10:00. In two waves, 650,000 incendiary bombs rained down, along with 1,474 tons of high explosives. The next morning, 500 B-17s arrived in two waves, with 300 fighter escorts to strafe fleeing survivors.
Estimates of the dead in the Dresden firestorm range from 35,000 to 250,000. Wrote The Associated Press, "Allied war chiefs have made the long-awaited decision to adopt deliberate terror bombing of German populated centers as a ruthless expedient to hasten Hitler's doom."
In a memo to his air chiefs, Churchill revealed what Dresden had been about, "It seems to me that the moment has come when the question of bombing of German cities simply for the sake of increasing the terror, though under other pretexts, should be reviewed."
Gens. MacArthur, Eisenhower, "Hap" Arnold and Curtis LeMay reportedly felt the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki was unnecessary. But recent documents have surfaced to show the Japanese warlords were far more determined to fight on to a bloody finish in the home islands than previously known.
Yet, whatever the mindset of Japan's warlords in August 1945, the moral question remains. In a just war against an evil enemy, is the deliberate slaughter of his women and children in the thousands justified to break his will to fight? Traditionally, the Christian's answer has been no.
Truman's defenders argue that the number of U.S. dead in any invasion would have been not 46,000, as one military estimate predicted, but 500,000. Others contend the cities were military targets.
But with Japan naked to our B-29s, her surface navy at the bottom of the Pacific, the home islands blockaded, what was the need to invade at all? On his island-hopping campaign back to the Philippines, MacArthur routinely bypassed Japanese strongholds like Rabaul, cut them off and left them to "rot on the vine."
And if Truman considered Hiroshima and Nagasaki military targets, why, in the Cabinet meeting of Aug. 10, as historian Ralph Raico relates, did he explain his reluctance to drop a third bomb thus: "The thought of wiping out another 100,000 people was too horrible," he said. He didn't like the idea of killing "all those kids."
Of Truman's decision, his own chief of staff, Adm. William Leahy, wrote: "This use of this barbarous weapon at Hiroshima and Nagasaki was of no material assistance in our war against Japan. My own feeling was that in being the first to use it, we had adopted an ethical standard common to the barbarians of the Dark Ages. I was not taught to make wars in that fashion ..."
LOL! It's baseball season so I've been skipping my normal 7pm talk radio.
I gave Savage a good three months of air time. Finally couldn't take his outbursts anymore and switched to a Laura Ingraham rebroadcast.
I liked Savage's positions, but didn't need to listen to screaming maniac after a long day's work.
Our talk radio, WRKO, has been running ads with Savage blasting Rush about ratings numbers.
"Christianity and war don't mix".
It worked pretty well during the Crusades.
Don't even need to read this, Pat is a Nazi and the soviet union won the war against tojo and hitler. He just can't accept reality being a nazi and all.
I wonder if the japanese were worried about the 80+ soviet divisions knocking at their door.
Happy Late Nagasaki Day to All!
Buchanan really is nuts..
If nukes were just about numbers...then they wouldn't really add up much. You can talk about the destruction of downtown Hiroshima or Nagasaki...but people survived that were within 3 miles of the blast zone. And there are lots of city residents still alive today even though they did get a fair dose of radiation. There is a serious disconnect here by the media and some historians. Nukes do have terrible destruction power...but dropping 300 bombs over the area of New York City would just about destroy the entire downtown area...and probably kill over 150,000 people. It is the ultimate plan or desired goal of the destruction that matters.
One of the great destruction efforts of all time...is Kaiserslautern, Germany. In the 1300s, there were around 2,000 residents in the valley considered Kaiserslautern today. You can draw a circle of approximately 5 miles, and these 2,000 locals existed as mostly farmers. Hungarian raiders came into the area, and over a one-year period...between their destruction and killing...barely 400 people remained. It would take over one hundred years for the area to recover and reach its 2,000 population. If the raiders had never come...the population today (around 100,000), would likely be around 200,000. The destruction power of these raiders reset history for this community and can be gauged as the same force or power you might use in a nuke or a 100-bomber effort over a city. Its the death factor that matters, and not the method that was used.
At the time, we possessed all of two bombs and one "device". We were months away from completing a third bomb.
Once the "device" was successfully tested at Trinity site, we knew that the plutonium-based implosion-type bomb would work. There was no doubt that the uranium-based gun-type bomb would work -- it didn't need to be tested.
You can't make the Trinity test do double-duty as a "demonstration", because you weren't 100% confident that it would work. No point in inviting observers, only to have them witness a fizzle.
So, now, after the successful test, if you use one of the two bombs as a "demonstration", you've only got one left. If they don't surrender after the "demonstration", you can deliver one bomb...and that's it.
Wouldn't that be cutting things a little close? Especially, since we now know that it took two bombs to get their attention...
Lemay was Goldwater's running mate - he was made to be a neanderthal and surprising to see his thoughts on Truman.
Cong. Bill Miller of New York was Goldwater's running mate.
"So, now, after the successful test, if you use one of the two bombs as a "demonstration", you've only got one left. If they don't surrender after the "demonstration", you can deliver one bomb...and that's it.
Wouldn't that be cutting things a little close?"
It would not be cutting it close for the hundreds of thousands that died at Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Don't get me wrong - its hard to argue with success and the bombs did succeed in a early end to the war.
But what if the bomb was dropped in a forested area that would readily demonstrate the power - and if it did not work, none would be the wiser.
Just thinking out loud. Also, were we not to wipe out so many civilians, it might not have rattled the Russian cage - which only got us into a very expensive arms race.
And that is the answer, isn't it? What was done achieved the desired result. It WORKED!
Even though it may have come at the cost of the lives of several hundred thousands at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the apparent alternative was several hundred thousands of allied lives (mostly American) and several millions of Japanese.
Any solution that tried to get cute with those odds ran the risk of being "too clever by half".
Did anyone else see the History Channel Special last night on the documented WWII Japanese Nuclear Bomb Programs and the fact that they exploded a test atomic weapon off the shore of North Korea days before we beat them to the punch at Hiroshima? Does anyone seriously doubt that had they developed the a-bomb before we did, those b@st@rds would not have used it on us? (Most probably on the west coast.)
And that they had cruise missile projects just like Germans did?
I have always fully supported the atomic raid on Japan
Hmmm, Pat leaves out, as do others, that the Germans began the policy of bombing cities for the same effects. No one mentions the incendiary bombs dropped by the Germans on the city of Coventry, England, to light this city on fire on the 25th. of August, 1940. No one ever does.
Pat Buchanan is playing bomb thrower, again.
Their cruise missile program (essentially a cheap wooden bare bones plane) pretty much required a kamikaze pilot to correctly target them but they did exist and Kamikazes were not in short supply though the supply diminished inversely with the program's success.
Of course you are, for you know little about that which you speak.
"Lemay was Goldwater's running mate.."
Bill Miller was Goldwater's running mate. Moron.
"Bill Miller was Goldwater's running mate. Moron."
I'm sorry, but have we been introduced?
The problem with bombing Hiroshima and Nagasaki is the same as the fire-bombing of Dresden. The ends don't justify the means. The killing of civilians should be avoided whenever reasonably possible.
Obviously not, but since you don't check on the accuracy of the facts - either strategic or political history - that use in your posts, I didn't think it mattered.