Skip to comments.Commemorating a Major U.S. War Crime
Posted on 08/10/2010 5:42:30 PM PDT by Mrs. Don-o
Friday was the anniversary of the U.S. Bombing of Hiroshima during World War II. Monday is the anniversary of its bombing of Nagasaki.
The explosion of the Fat Man atomic device over Nagasaki is pictured. It rose eleven miles into the sky over Ground Zero.
The important thing, though, is that ittogether with the Little Boy device that was deployed over Hiroshimakilled approximately 200,000 human beings. And it ended the war with Japan.
It is understandable that many Americans at the time were relieved that the long burden of the bloodiest war in human history could finally be laid down. Many then, as now, saw the use of nuclear weapons against Hiroshima and Nagasaki as a necessary step to preventing even more casualties.
However, some of the blogging being done to commemorate the attack is most unfortunate.
Consider Michael Graham, who wishes his readers a Happy Peace Through Victory Day.
Today marks the anniversary of the single greatest act in the cause of peace ever taken by the United States:
Dropping the A-bomb on Hiroshima in 1945. That one decision, that one device, saved more lives, did more to end war, and created more justice in the world in a single stroke than any other. It was done by America, for Americans. It saved the lives of hundreds of thousandsif not millionsof American soldiers and sailors.
So, obviously, President Obamas not too happy about it. . . .
Euroweenie peaceniks and an annoying number of American liberals see the bombing of Hiroshima as a shameful act. What is it America should be ashamed fordefeating an enemy that declared war on us? Bringing about the end of a fascist empire that killed millions of people, mostly Asians? Preventing the slaughter of the good guysAmericansby killing the bad guysthe Japanese?
I am not a Euroweenie or a peacenik or a political liberal or even someone opposed to the use of nuclear weapons in principle. I can imagine scenarios in which their use would be justified. I can even deal with the cheeky Happy Peace Through Victory Day headline.
But Mr. Grahams analysis of the situation on a moral level is faulty.
It is true that, by instilling terror in the Japanese government, the use of atomic weapons prevented further and, in all probability, greater casualties on both sides.
Preventing further and greater casualties is a good thing, but as the Catechism reminds us:
The Church and human reason both assert the permanent validity of the moral law during armed conflict. The mere fact that war has regrettably broken out does not mean that everything becomes licit between the warring parties [CCC 2312].
It isnt just a question of the goal of an action. The goal may be a good one, but the means used to achieve it may be evil. The Catechism states:
Every act of war directed to the indiscriminate destruction of whole cities or vast areas with their inhabitants is a crime against God and man, which merits firm and unequivocal condemnation. A danger of modern warfare is that it provides the opportunity to those who possess modern scientific weapons - especially atomic, biological, or chemical weapons - to commit such crimes [CCC 2314].
The bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were definitely acts of war directed to the destruction of whole cities orat leastvast areas with their inhabitants. The only quibbling could be about whether this was indiscriminate destruction. Someone might argue (stretching the word indiscriminate rather severely and taking it in a sense probably not meant by the Catechism) that they were not indiscriminate attacks in that they were aimed at vital Japanese war resources (munitions factories, troops, etc.) and the only practical way to take out these resources was to use atomic weapons.
Mounting such a case would face a number of problems. One would have to show that Hiroshima and Nagasaki contained such resources (not that difficult to show) and that these resources themselves were proportionate in value to the massive collateral damage that would be inflicted (a much more difficult task) and that there was no other practical waylike a more targeted bombingto take them out (again a difficult task).
But for purposes of argument, lets grant all this. Lets suppose that there were such resources, and that they were proportionate in value to the massive loss of civilian lives and that there was no other way to get rid of them.
Does that absolve the U.S. of guilt in these two bombings?
You can see why in the logic that Mr. Graham used. It stresses the fact that the use of these weapons saved net lives. This was undoubtedly uppermost in the U.S. military planners thinking as they faced the possibility of an extremely bloody invasion of Japan in which huge numbers on both sides would die.
But notice what is not being saideither by Mr. Graham or anybody else: Hiroshima and Nagasaki contained such important war widgets that without those widgets Japan would be unable to prosecute the war. Thus by taking out those military resources we could deprive Japan of its ability to make war.
Neither is anybody saying something like this: We needed to scare Japan into surrender by showing them that we could destroy all of their military resources. We needed to make them terrified of losing all their military resources so that, out of a desperate desire to preserve their military resources, they would surrender.
These are the dogs that didnt bark, and they are why this line of argument is a dog that wont hunt.
The reason nobody says these things is that they were not the thinking behind the U.S.s actions. The idea was not to end the war through the direct destruction of military resources in these two cities, nor was it to end the war by scaring Japan into thinking we might destroy all of its military resources. It was scaring Japan into surrendering by threatening (explicitly) to do this over and over again and inflict massive damage on the Japanese population. In other words, to make them scared that we would engage in the indiscriminate destruction of whole cities or vast areas with their inhabitants.
That means that, even if Hiroshima and Nagasaki had contained military resources that of themselves would have justified the use of atomic weapons (which is very hard to argue), our intention still was not pure. We were still using Japanese civilians as hostages to the war effort, still threatening to kill civilians if Japan did not surrender. That was the message we wanted the Japanese leadership to getnot, We will take out your military resources if you keep this up, but, We will take out big chunks of your population if you keep this up.
That meant that the U.S. leadership was formally participating in evil. It does not matter if the attacks of Hiroshima and Nagasaki could (through some stretch of the imagination) be justified in themselves. The fact is that they were used to send a message telling the Japanese government that we would kill massive numbers of the military and civilian population, without discrimination. That message is evil, and to knowingly and deliberately send that message is to formally participate in evil.
That made these attacks war crimes.
Now, make no mistake. Im an American. Im a fan of the U.S. But love of the United States should not preclude one from being able to look honestly at the mistakes it has committed in the past. Indeed, it is only by looking at and frankly acknowledging the mistakes of the past that we can learn from them. Love of ones country should impel one to help it not commit such evils.
Racial discrimination? Bad thing. Allowing abortions? Bad thing. Dropping nukes to deliberately kill civilians? Bad thing. Lets try not to have things like these mar Americas future.
My thoughts are that he is wrong. If using the atomic bomb was wrong, so was the whole prosecution of WW2, in all theaters. War is bad ... but either it’s *all* bad, or it’s not. Weapons are just a tool.
If the bombs were bad, then our actions before this point were worse. We had fire bombed entire Japanese cities and towns off the map. From the view of the bombing campaign alone, the two bombs saved tremendously more Japanese lives than it cost.
Our only mistake was not using atomic weapons in Korea.
A second use would have shown our resolve and there
would have been now doubt about our ability to use
Nonetheless, I don't see the use of those two bombs as having been necessary either. I'd have saved them for Mecca and Medina. WW-II was basically over, Japan's 75 largest cities were in ashes, and they were looking for a way out. There were 20,000,000 people walking around in forests because the cities in which they used to live no longer existed.
Harry S Truman. The “the Buck Stops Here” Democrat. Never once blamed FDR for getting us into a crazy war in Europe, which hadn’t attacked us.
My thought is that Jimmy Akin is a flaming idiot. The atomic bombs saved millions of both Japanese and American lives. Jimmy Akin knows nothing of history or of war making.
Japan had a national code to never, ever surrender. They where willing to fight to the last man standing.
Had not Truman authorized the use of the Atomic bomb, the war with Japan would have dragged on for years.
The fact that is took two Atomic bombs to make Japan realize that it had absolutely no chance attests to the need to use the Atomic bombs.
It was a courageous act of mercy on the part United States part. This re-writting of history is evil.
The deterrent value since then has saved untold lives more.
I am writing this post to apologize for taking the NCR to task unfairly. The headline led me to believe this publication was going to chastise the U.S. heavily for it’s use of atomic weapons.
I leveled a withering criticism for that. I was wrong to do so.
The article and publication actually defend the U.S. and it’s use of these WMDs.
I am sorry to have posted an unfair criticism, and I asked that it be removed.
The "U.S". is not guilty of anything. Only individual human beings can commit sins and are thereby either guilty or not guilty.
Fortunately for us, the Vatican was not bombed on Dec 7, 1941. Well, maybe fortunately......
When it comes to war you should only use the information available at the time. To do otherwise is akin to suing a racetrack for failing to cash a false ticket printed weeks after the race was ran.
I will always remember that my father was scheduled to be a landing craft crewman running between the attack transport anchorage and the shore. He wasn't expected to survive a week. That was two years before I was born.
The trouble is these people that cry war crimes are safe from possibility that the may have been in the first wave to assault the beaches of Japan. Otherwise they may have a different opinion.
Armchair General Akin: "Let's see now, if I was in charge 60+ years ago, I'd have simply said no to dropping those bombs."
"Would we have lost a huge number of Americans invading the Japanese Islands (many of whom had already been voluntarily fighting for years, to free people they had never met), and maybe have had to kill just as many Japanese civilians as the bombs did anyway, because they would have fanatically defended their homeland?"
"Well, yeah, but I, Armchair General Akin, would have felt morally superior about it, you know what I mean?"
“And Im commemorating a massive F U moment for N C R.”
You and me both. What’s up with the Catholic church these days? They turn a blind eye to 0bama and Pelosi with their abortion driven agendas. They embrace illegal immigration and cover up for homosexual, pedophillic priests. I am becoming beyond disgusted with them. (Jim’s w)
Okay, well, the withering criticism of NCR is back. This guy is one major pinhead.
And Im commemorating a massive F U moment for N C R.
We were attacked. We tried to get Japan to surrender. It even refused to after we used the first atomic bomb.
We told Japan there would be more attacks if they didnt surrender. They didnt surrender. We attacked again.
War is hell. I hope there is never an instance of massive weapons like this being used again, but the N C R makes it more likely by printing trash like this.
The U. S. is demonized here. That just builds up anger by non-U. S. Citizens. It justifies anything they want to do to us, because were supposedly a pariah state. N C R has inferred as much.
This is disgusting to the max.
A war crime? No, N C R, has leveled a world class example of hate speech here. Some people should lose their jobs over this. Ill reflect on citizenship until later...
I think not. I think that he is an America hater, some that his cushy American life has permitted him to be.
The Japanese had given ample evidence of their fanaticism and their willingness to sacrifice everything in service to the Emperor. Securing Japan's rapid and unconditional surrender was not worth the unnecessary expenditure of a single American soldier's life. The American people would never have forgiven Truman if they found out that he had the bombs available and chose not to use them, but to allow American soldiers to continue to die in combat. With Germany and Japan defeated, the West knew that they had neither the strength nor will to stand up to the Soviet Union if they decided to advance their interests militarily. Use of the Atomic Bombs against Japan served as a warning to Stalin and was absolutely necessary.
When this subject comes up with my Japanese friends and acquaintances, I always ask them if they have renounced their policy of eating their prisoners. The discussion usually turns to other topics.