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Commemorating a Major U.S. War Crime
National Catholic Register ^ | 8/8/10 | Jimmy Akin

Posted on 08/10/2010 5:42:30 PM PDT by Mrs. Don-o

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To: Mrs. Don-o; sitetest

I have a sick baby, in addition to the usual turmoil, so I’m just wandering by occasionally, in a fog, presently, that suggests I’m coming down with whatever Frank’s got. Oh, joy. At least I’ll lose weight if I start throwing up.

The question I’m addressing, rather haphazardly, is whether there are “noncombatants” in a distinguishable sense in a total war. However, I have no stake in being right nor in persuading anyone else. The events of sixy years ago will not unhappen, nor will any of the other events we wish that they would. As it were.

Best wishes for your trip, Mrs. Don-o!


151 posted on 08/11/2010 1:46:26 PM PDT by Tax-chick ("Large realities dwarf and overshadow the tiny human figures reacting to them.")
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To: trisham; wagglebee

Yep. It’s subtitles fer shur.

I think it’s worth it.


152 posted on 08/11/2010 1:49:52 PM PDT by Mad Dawg (Oh Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.)
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To: metmom; wagglebee

I’ve looked and can’t find anything that supports that, or that supports Japan by itself being close to creating a nuclear bomb during WW2. There is historical evidence that Germany was close, however.


153 posted on 08/11/2010 1:52:36 PM PDT by trisham (Zen is not easy. It takes effort to attain nothingness. And then what do you have? Bupkis.)
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To: Mrs. Don-o
Some points.

The Allies at the time did not know for certain that the troop concentrations would remain in place while we sent the bomber toward it. This was before spy satellites, and there was a significant time delay in intel.

Also, according the the accepted military theories of the time (accepted by all sides), cities were “valid targets” for strategic bombing. Hiroshima did have military value, and those same civilians were involved in supporting military. The idea was to cut off supplies to the fighting troops. Now, the Air Power studies after the war showed that the bombing Germany (often called terror bombing) did not have near the effect that we had hoped for. So much that US military doctrine change in target selection. But in 1945, they did not know that yet, and LeMay was not one to ask questions to. The view is the same as why Sherman's march worked. Cut out the supplies, and the army withers on the vine.

Also remember what the troops, and officers, had seen of the Japanese military at this point. Remember what had happened in the island campaigns. Invading Japan would have meant the end of Japan as a culture. They would have fought using suicidal attacks with pregnant women and children. The same that you said would have been spared if we didn't drop the bomb. These men had seen just a taste of what would have been in store for them if Operation Downfall was launched. The loss of millions of Japanese civilians from direct action and starvation would have destroyed the culture. Even after the bombs, the Warlords wanted to fight on. It took the conventional bombing raid of Tokyo to stop the coup (by chance).

And finally (for now), we need to really think about what the term “war crime” actually means. Akin is right in a sense, for some of the things we as a nation have condemned in others we have done our selves.

154 posted on 08/11/2010 2:04:14 PM PDT by redgolum ("God is dead" -- Nietzsche. "Nietzsche is dead" -- God.)
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To: redgolum; Mrs. Don-o
This, from Wikipedia:

"The Japanese military during the 1930s and 1940s is often compared to the military of Nazi Germany during 1933–45 because of the sheer scale of suffering. Much of the controversy regarding Japan's role in World War II revolves around the death rates of prisoners of war and civilians under Japanese occupation. The historian Chalmers Johnson has written that:

It may be pointless to try to establish which World War Two Axis aggressor, Germany or Japan, was the more brutal to the peoples it victimised. The Germans killed six million Jews and 20 million Russians [i.e. Soviet citizens]; the Japanese slaughtered as many as 30 million Filipinos, Malays, Vietnamese, Cambodians, Indonesians and Burmese, at least 23 million of them ethnic Chinese. Both nations looted the countries they conquered on a monumental scale, though Japan plundered more, over a longer period, than the Nazis. Both conquerors enslaved millions and exploited them as forced labourers—and, in the case of the Japanese, as [forced] prostitutes for front-line troops. If you were a Nazi prisoner of war from Britain, America, Australia, New Zealand or Canada (but not Russia) you faced a 4% chance of not surviving the war; [by comparison] the death rate for Allied POWs held by the Japanese was nearly 30%.[24]

According to the findings of the Tokyo Tribunal, the death rate among POWs from Asian countries, held by Japan was 27.1%.[25] The death rate of Chinese POWs was much higher because—under a directive ratified on August 5, 1937 by Emperor Hirohito—the constraints of international law on treatment of those prisoners was removed.[26] Only 56 Chinese POWs were released after the surrender of Japan.[27] After March 20, 1943, the Japanese Navy was under orders to execute all prisoners taken at sea.[28] [edit]Mass killings R. J. Rummel, a professor of political science at the University of Hawaii, states that between 1937 and 1945, the Japanese military murdered from nearly 3,000,000 to over 10,000,000 people, most likely 6,000,000 Chinese, Indonesians, Koreans, Filipinos, and Indochinese, among others, including Western prisoners of war. "This democide was due to a morally bankrupt political and military strategy, military expediency and custom, and national culture."[29] According to Rummel, in China alone, during 1937-45, approximately 3.9 million Chinese were killed, mostly civilians, as a direct result of the Japanese operations and 10.2 millions in the course of the war.[30] The most infamous incident during this period was the Nanking Massacre of 1937-38, when, according to the findings of the International Military Tribunal for the Far East, the Japanese Army massacred as many as 300,000 civilians and prisoners of war, although the accepted figure is somewhere in the hundreds of thousands.[31] A similar crime was the Changjiao massacre. In Southeast Asia, the Manila massacre, resulted in the deaths of 100,000 civilians in the Philippines and in the Sook Ching massacre, between 25,000 and 50,000 ethnic Chinese in Singapore were taken to beaches and massacred. There were numerous other massacres of civilians e.g. the Kalagong massacre.

Historian Mitsuyoshi Himeta reports that a "Three Alls Policy" (Sankō Sakusen) was implemented in China from 1942 to 1945 and was in itself responsible for the deaths of "more than 2.7 million" Chinese civilians. This scorched earth strategy, sanctioned by Hirohito himself, directed Japanese forces to "Kill All, Burn All, and Loot All.""

155 posted on 08/11/2010 2:13:38 PM PDT by trisham (Zen is not easy. It takes effort to attain nothingness. And then what do you have? Bupkis.)
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To: metmom
"God's command is *Do not murder*, and yet in war, the Israelites killed and did not break that command.... Neither is capital punishment, which was instituted by God, murder."

Neither Akin nor I are arguing against acts of war or capital punishment. Did you notice that?

We are arguing against "shedding of innocent blood," which is condemned by God as an abomination multiple times in the Old Testament (Link), and is nowhere even remotely endorsed in the New Testament. St. Paul, for instance, says the prince has the right to wield the sword in punishment of evildoers. Amen to that. Nowhere in the Gospels or Epistles is there any permission to wield a sword--- or a bomb, abortion or a baseball bat--- in a manner that targets the innocent or kills them indiscriminately with the guilty.

Neither you nor I would have objected to dropping the A-bomb on the huge Japanese troop concentrations in the southern third of Kyushu: One bomb after another. As many as it took to destroy the hell-bent Japanese military machine.

Christians, at least, should adhere to Christ when it comes to distinguishing between the innocent and the guilty. But the Gospel has been one of the casualties.

156 posted on 08/11/2010 2:16:12 PM PDT by Mrs. Don-o (Thou shalt not commit abominable sin in the eyes of the Lord, unless thou art really, really tempted)
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To: wagglebee

This is not a war crime.

It is certainly regrettable, and we can wish it never would have been necessary. We can mourn for those killed, and we can pray that such a thing never happen again.

But, we can also do that regarding any collateral damage in any war or any police action.

When faced with cold, hard necessity, it is not a crime to respond with cold, hard force.


157 posted on 08/11/2010 2:20:41 PM PDT by xzins (Retired Army Chaplain and proud of it. Those who truly support our troops pray for their victory!)
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To: Mrs. Don-o
Dear Mrs. Don-o,

There are many facets to this issue. I chose one sort of at random. There are other places to defend the actions of the United States.

But continuing on along the path I've already chosen:

“Truman wrote, in his papers published after the war, that he intended the Japanese government to get the message that we could and would kill massive numbers of the military and civilian population,...”

First, I will note that Mr. Truman was not a Catholic, and likely was not adept at expressing himself in categories of Catholic moral theology. Thus, all I can do is look at what he instructed the military of the United States to do.

I would not count as a war crime trying to “get the message that we could and would kill massive number of the military and civilian population,...”

What I would count as a war crime is the direct, intentional, actual extermination of innocent civilians.

And the leafleting of the cities thus bombed is counterfactual to that direct intent.

In other words, Mr. Truman may have wished to scare the Japanese into believing we'd kill all the Japanese (and maybe he might have actually gone ahead and done it - but things didn't get that far and thus, he didn't have a chance to commit that sin), but still may not have intended as the primary effect to actually primarily, directly, intentionally kill civilians. And this is supported by what we actually did, not what anyone wrote or said after the fact. We actually told civilians to leave these cities.

“It is that intention to use an explicitly indiscriminate weapons against a city construed as, itself, the target, which is morally prohibited, since it uses the killing of noncombatants as a means to an end.”

There are two problems with this assertion. The first is the hidden premise - that using indiscriminate weapons against a city uses the killing of noncombatants as a means to an end.

If the city, itself, is a legitimate military target, then, if one warns the civilians to get the heck out of the city, one may legitimately destroy the city, by definition.

The question then, really, is whether a city, as a whole, may be a legitimate military target. One may not answer in the negative by saying, but a city is a place where people live, in that's sort of a begging of the question in a case where one can make out the argument that the city is, itself, a military target, and one has taken some care to encourge the evacuation of the city.

I believe that in the case of Japan in WWII, the Japanese government and people had made it clear that they would use every last resource available to them to resist in war, without discrimination between civilian and military persons or resources. By the time that we dropped the bombs, we'd wreaked unbelievable death and destruction on all manner of Japanese cities, towns, villages, etc., and yet they answered us that they would fight until a hundred million had died.

In face of such resistance on the part of the entire people, their enemy at least retains the right to destroy all resources (as, by definition, the nation has made ALL resources into military resources), as long as the enemy makes some effort to spare non-combatants, which is what the actual historical record shows actually happened.

And the reaction after both bombs were dropped is entirely relevant, that there were strong elements within the Japanese government and society that wanted to fight the war even after both bombs were dropped. That's relevant because it validates the intention of the Japanese to use every last resource and every last life to fight the war against us. And thus, it validates our judgment that all Japanese resources were liable to destruction, as long as we made the distinction between combatants and non-combatants, and made the effort not to indiscriminately kill non-combatants, because the Japanese had directly, intentionally, actually made all their resources available for military use to wage war against us.

It was the Japanese nation that was guilty of having eliminated the distinction between combatants and non-combatants. It was our sad fate to have to make the best of that elimination of distinction, and try to continue to act morally, yet also effectively, in the face of their rank civilizational failure and descent into absolute barbarism.

"...and if a preschool and an opera company are unfortunately next door and get destroyed with them..."

The difficulty is when the enemy has made clear that even the preschool and the opera will be used as military assets.

If we were to wage war and our enemy regularly shelled our ambulances and other medical services, we would count that as an atrocity. But if we were to announce that we would make dual use of these assets, both to provide medical services and to wage further war against the enemy, I'd hardly count the enemy guilty of a war crime for then shelling our medical resources.

I will not make the argument that there was no practical difference between civilian and military personnel in wartime Japan. There is a case to be made for it, but the conclusion of it is so morally repugnant to me that I am unable to type the case that could be made. Frankly, it reeks of Islamic thinking to me.

One may quibble about the dotting of the moral i's and the crossing of the theological t's when one's enemy erases all distinctions between their military resources and personnel and their civilian resources and personnel. However, in the main, even though Mr. Truman didn't strike me as being especially schooled in Catholic moral theology, I think he made a darned good attempt to follow that law which is written on the human heart, the moral law, the natural law, in his attempt to discriminate between the destruction of physical assets that had been formally declared available for military use and the indiscriminate killing of non-combatants.


sitetest

158 posted on 08/11/2010 2:21:30 PM PDT by sitetest ( If Roe is not overturned, no unborn child will ever be protected in law.)
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To: Mrs. Don-o

My thoughts on the author of the article would get me banned.

I id notice that he made no mention of the Rape of Nanking, the Batan Death March, the slaughter of the Chinese and Koreans, including the 731 Unit, nor was Pearl Harbor nor the slaughter of the Phillipinos mentioned.


159 posted on 08/11/2010 2:27:14 PM PDT by sport
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To: Mrs. Don-o

I have been busy and not well so haven’t been able to follow up on many of your interesting pings.

I will try to read this in its entirety later. But for short, here is some view from the Vedas:

Warfare is meant to follow rules - combatants fight only with other combantants, and it was considered a great sin to kill unarmed men, the elderly, children or women or indeed anyone not equipped, trained and ready and willing to fight ; or to destroy fields, forests and other natural resources. Battles were fought in battle fields, not where civilians lived. There were many other rules that in ancient times were respected.

Now, with enemies who “fight dirty” in every sense of the word, following such noble rules would ensure loss and defeat.

There is no white and black here. Or in these “modern” degraded times.


160 posted on 08/11/2010 3:14:15 PM PDT by little jeremiah
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To: ConorMacNessa

“On a personal note, my father was spared deployment to the invasion of Japan. I endorse the bombing without reservation.”

I agree 100%. My father was scheduled to be in the invasion as well.


161 posted on 08/11/2010 5:03:38 PM PDT by BnBlFlag (Deo Vindice/Semper Fidelis "Ya gotta saddle up your boys; Ya gotta draw a hard line")
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To: trisham
I’ve looked and can’t find anything that supports that, or that supports Japan by itself being close to creating a nuclear bomb during WW2. There is historical evidence that Germany was close, however.

After WWII the top German physicists were imprisoned in a house in England that was bugged. No evidence was found that they were close to a bomb. Certainly Germany did not have anything like the Manhattan Project, a vast industrial and scientific enterprise with unlimited resources that was required to build our atomic bomb.

162 posted on 08/11/2010 5:12:41 PM PDT by wideminded
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To: Mrs. Don-o

Yes, unfortunately.

Deliberate targeting of civilians, especially with the overriding goal of terrorizing the survivors, is contrary to the principles of a just war.


163 posted on 08/11/2010 5:52:00 PM PDT by annalex (http://www.catecheticsonline.com/CatenaAurea.php)
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To: Mrs. Don-o

It saved many lives on both sides.


164 posted on 08/11/2010 5:54:50 PM PDT by alarm rider (The left will always tell you who they fear the most. What are they telling you now?)
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To: Mrs. Don-o

Repeating from another thread:
Regarding activities of WW2: WWI was waged exclusively against enemy troops. Germany was back for a re-match within 20 years. WW2 brought the war to the ENTIRE populace: the wealthy, the poor, the women, the children. We convinced the entire population that going to war against us was a terrible idea, and we haven’t heard a peep out of Germany OR Japan in several generations.

The best way to pacify a country is to have it be the case that when a man speaks approvingly of war, his women scream at him in rage and terror.


165 posted on 08/11/2010 6:02:20 PM PDT by PapaBear3625 (Public healthcare looks like it will work as well as public housing did.)
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To: PapaBear3625

They started it....we finished it....end of story.


166 posted on 08/11/2010 6:04:26 PM PDT by dfwgator
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To: Mrs. Don-o
The intentional killing of noncombatants is murder. (Analogous to direct abortion.)

Who is truly the innocent? The 17 year old conscript wearing a uniform, or the politician who made the decision to go to war? How about the industrialists who profited from the war and advocated its continuation?

The best enemy target is the spirit of the people who decide to continue the war.

167 posted on 08/11/2010 6:15:46 PM PDT by PapaBear3625 (Public healthcare looks like it will work as well as public housing did.)
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To: GenXteacher
Our military planners were expecting a million dead soldiers in their planned invasion of Honshu, which would have come after Okinawa. During Okinawa, we found that the Japanese would either commit suicide or be killed fighting, but in no case would they surrender- civilian or military. Had we plowed ahead, our soldiers would have been standing in a pile of ashes and the only Japanese who would be around today would be the children of the Japanese soldiers in China and Japanese-Americans.

No, I think you're wrong. If the US lost a million (or more) of her finest young men reducing Japan, the entire Japanese race would have been exterminated, no matter where they were.

168 posted on 08/11/2010 6:21:52 PM PDT by PapaBear3625 (Public healthcare looks like it will work as well as public housing did.)
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To: wagglebee
By Spring, 1945 the Japanese Navy had been pretty much destroyed and the Allies controlled the Pacific. They wouldn’t have had any means to fly a bomber to the United States.

They wouldn't need a bomber. Load it into a sub and try to make it into San Francisco Bay or the port of Los Angeles on a day when the prevailing winds are blowing east to maximize fallout on the city.

169 posted on 08/11/2010 6:41:12 PM PDT by PapaBear3625 (Public healthcare looks like it will work as well as public housing did.)
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To: trisham
How many did our ally, the Soviet Union, kill? Remember that even with all of the Nazi atrocities, there was a large number of Russians who joined up to fight for Hitler when presented the chance. They viewed him as less evil than Stalin. This was after being in an Axis POW camp where the Slavs were treated VERY poorly. The average peasant in Soviet Russia was caught between two devils.

The issue isn't that these things happened, or that they were wrong, but that some of the people sitting on the panels knew their own countries did the same. One of the charges against Goring was the bombing of civilians in London. He is reported to have said he would face that charge if Bomber Harris and Curtis LeMay were up there with him. By trying to make war under the rule of law, you make yourself guilty. Did we target non combatants in WWII? Yes, that was part of the strategy. The British were quite open about (night raids and statements by Churchill), while the US did attempt more targeted raids, but the demoralization and death of the civilian populations was viewed as part of the plan. The thinking was it would end the war sooner.

Under the terms of international law now a days, that would be a war crime. Granted, we have learned that mass bombings do not work that well (and air power as a strategic conventional arm is not that effective period). And we have the means to drop ordinance in a much more precise manner (great for tactical bombing) so the prospect of the US sending out mass flights of B52's to level a city is very remote. But in WWII, it was considered a just application of war.

170 posted on 08/11/2010 7:02:54 PM PDT by redgolum ("God is dead" -- Nietzsche. "Nietzsche is dead" -- God.)
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To: redgolum

Imho, it may still be a viable option.


171 posted on 08/11/2010 7:06:09 PM PDT by trisham (Zen is not easy. It takes effort to attain nothingness. And then what do you have? Bupkis.)
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To: annalex
Thomas Aquinas and Augustine were the originators of the Just War theology, and had great influence in its development. Even in the height of the influence of the theology, it was considered just to totally destroy and enemy city after a siege. The reason? That would convince the other enemy cities to surrender and there by save more lives. The more merciful commanders limited it to a three day sack. This was in the age of Chivalry, during the times where many leaders really did try to limit the fighting to smaller engagements. It was also when an army on campaign was considered just in seizing any materials along the way to support itself.

The idea of Just War is not quite what is often presented. The point was to limit the death and destruction to a minimum. The atomic bombs, for all their horror, did that.

172 posted on 08/11/2010 7:11:12 PM PDT by redgolum ("God is dead" -- Nietzsche. "Nietzsche is dead" -- God.)
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To: PapaBear3625

“No, I think you’re wrong. If the US lost a million (or more) of her finest young men reducing Japan, the entire Japanese race would have been exterminated, no matter where they were.”
I’ll concede that possibility, although for different reasons. The Russians were arrayed against the Japanese along the Manchurian border, and if the war had persisted into 1946 they certainly would have decimated the Japanese Army in China. The Ivans were no more merciful than the Germans.... I just can’t see us massacring the Japanese-Americans in the internment camps- they had sons fighting in our army (442nd Regimental Combat Team- go look ‘em up) and we were to some extent a more moral country than we are now.


173 posted on 08/11/2010 8:26:58 PM PDT by GenXteacher (He that hath no stomach for this fight, let him depart!)
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To: Mrs. Don-o
The author is a moron. Truman used the nukes to avoid actually killing more people - yes mostly US soldiers. Makes it ok with me.
174 posted on 08/11/2010 8:29:19 PM PDT by mad_as_he$$ (Playing by the rules only works if both sides do it!)
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To: mad_as_he$$
"The author is a moron. Truman used the nukes to avoid actually killing more people - yes mostly US soldiers. Makes it ok with me."

Japan claiming that getting nuked twice is a war crime is like Hitler complaining that Jews don't like him much.

175 posted on 08/11/2010 8:31:36 PM PDT by Mad Dawgg (If you're going to deny my 1st Amendment rights then I must proceed to the next one...)
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To: Mad Dawgg
Yup and it is the height of hubris.
176 posted on 08/11/2010 8:42:08 PM PDT by mad_as_he$$ (Playing by the rules only works if both sides do it!)
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To: Mrs. Don-o
our intention still was not pure.

The author is an idiot. The sole intention of any of our actions in World War II, Pacific theater, was to obtain the unconditional surrender of Japan. That goal was clearly and repeatedly stated. It took two special bombs to achieve that end. Nuff said.

You want atrocities and war crimes committed for no purpose, try the rape of Nanking.

177 posted on 08/11/2010 8:51:48 PM PDT by AndrewC
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To: Mrs. Don-o; ConorMacNessa; wagglebee; DoughtyOne; NYer; Salvation; Pyro7480; Coleus; narses; ...
First of all, let me say that I typically really like Jimmy Akin. He has a very good understanding of moral theology and biblical apologetics which he normally applies in a common-sensical, academic fashion.

And I read this article yesterday morning from his blog but immediately decided not to post it. The reason why is because I think that prior to writing this, he must have had dinner with Mark Shea. Because it sounds very Shea-influenced.

There is a lot of validity in the arguments that he attempts to put forward, but I feel that the argument is fundamentally flawed from the onset of the piece.

First of all, let us look at the title of the article:

Commemorating a Major U.S. War Crime

I have looked through a large number of papal encyclicals and through a few books on moral theology. I think I can state fairly conclusively that "war crime" is not a theological term. "Moral liceity" is a theological term.

So what?

One can use moral theology to determine if an act is morally licit or not. One should use moral theology in building the international conventions that comprise the body of agreements that collectively are known as the "law of armed conflict." However, "war crime" is a legal term that refers to a violation of the law of armed conflict. A violation of the LOAC can only be based upon the LOAC that was in existence at the time the act was committed.

Mr. Akin did not attempt to advance his assertion that the bombing of Nagasaki was a "war crime" in a legitimate fashion: he attempted to use theological means to prove a legal assertion. That is fundamentally flawed.

So we have to answer the question about if this was a war crime using the legal constructs that were available at that time. Hague IV (Laws and Customs of War on Land (Hague IV); October 18, 1907) covers this:

CHAPTER I
Means of Injuring the Enemy,
Sieges, and bombardments

Art. 22.

The right of belligerents to adopt means of injuring the enemy is not unlimited.

Art. 23.

In addition to the prohibitions provided by special Conventions, it is especially forbidden -

To employ poison or poisoned weapons;

To kill or wound treacherously individuals belonging to the hostile nation or army;

To kill or wound an enemy who, having laid down his arms, or having no longer means of defence, has surrendered at discretion;

To declare that no quarter will be given;

To employ arms, projectiles, or material calculated to cause unnecessary suffering;

To make improper use of a flag of truce, of the national flag or of the military insignia and uniform of the enemy, as well as the distinctive badges of the Geneva Convention;

To destroy or seize the enemy's property, unless such destruction or seizure be imperatively demanded by the necessities of war;

To declare abolished, suspended, or inadmissible in a court of law the rights and actions of the nationals of the hostile party. A belligerent is likewise forbidden to compel the nationals of the hostile party to take part in the operations of war directed against their own country, even if they were in the belligerent's service before the commencement of the war.

Art. 24.

Ruses of war and the employment of measures necessary for obtaining information about the enemy and the country are considered permissible.

Art. 25.

The attack or bombardment, by whatever means, of towns, villages, dwellings, or buildings which are undefended is prohibited.

Art. 26.

The officer in command of an attacking force must, before commencing a bombardment, except in cases of assault, do all in his power to warn the authorities.

Art. 27.

In sieges and bombardments all necessary steps must be taken to spare, as far as possible, buildings dedicated to religion, art, science, or charitable purposes, historic monuments, hospitals, and places where the sick and wounded are collected, provided they are not being used at the time for military purposes.

It is the duty of the besieged to indicate the presence of such buildings or places by distinctive and visible signs, which shall be notified to the enemy beforehand.

Art. 28.

The pillage of a town or place, even when taken by assault, is prohibited.

It would be perfectly legitimate to discuss whether all of the above conditions were met. Mr. Akin did not even attempt to do so (nor do I know if he is even qualified to do so)

Now the argument that I think he was attempting to make was if the act was morally licit or not.

In his argument, Akin uses two references from the Catechism of the Catholic Church...paragraphs 2312 and 2314. One thing that we all need to understand is that the Catechism is a compilation of authoritative documents. It, in of itself, does not make any authoritative pronouncements. In other words, to understand fully what the theology is, we need to look back at what the original documents said.

The first citation was CCC 2312:

2312 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."108

2314 "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."109 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.

Footnotes 108 and 109 reference a Vatican II document, Gaudium et Spes, the Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World, published in 1965 (paragraph 79.4 and 80.4) (bolded text was the verbiage actually cited in the CCC...the rest provided for necessary context):

79.4: Certainly, war has not been rooted out of human affairs. As long as the danger of war remains and there is no competent and sufficiently powerful authority at the international level, governments cannot be denied the right to legitimate defense once every means of peaceful settlement has been exhausted. State authorities and others who share public responsibility have the duty to conduct such grave matters soberly and to protect the welfare of the people entrusted to their care. But it is one thing to undertake military action for the just defense of the people, and something else again to seek the subjugation of other nations. Nor, by the same token, does the mere fact that war has unhappily begun mean that all is fair between the warring parties.

80. The horror and perversity of war is immensely magnified by the addition of scientific weapons. For acts of war involving these weapons can inflict massive and indiscriminate destruction, thus going far beyond the bounds of legitimate defense. Indeed, if the kind of instruments which can now be found in the armories of the great nations were to be employed to their fullest, an almost total and altogether reciprocal slaughter of each side by the other would follow, not to mention the widespread devastation that would take place in the world and the deadly after effects that would be spawned by the use of weapons of this kind.

All these considerations compel us to undertake an evaluation of war with an entirely new attitude.(1) The men of our time must realize that they will have to give a somber reckoning of their deeds of war for the course of the future will depend greatly on the decisions they make today.

With these truths in mind, this most holy synod makes its own the condemnations of total war already pronounced by recent popes,(2) and issues the following declaration.

Any act of war aimed indiscriminately at the destruction of entire cities of extensive areas along with their population is a crime against God and man himself. It merits unequivocal and unhesitating condemnation.

The unique hazard of modern warfare consists in this: it provides those who possess modern scientific weapons with a kind of occasion for perpetrating just such abominations; moreover, through a certain inexorable chain of events, it can catapult men into the most atrocious decisions. That such may never truly happen in the future, the bishops of the whole world gathered together, beg all men, especially government officials and military leaders, to give unremitting thought to their gigantic responsibility before God and the entire human race.

You will, of course, note the bolded text in paragraph 80: Any act of war aimed indiscriminately at the destruction of entire cities of extensive areas along with their population

Note the word, "indiscriminately."

Also, the phrase the condemnations of total war already pronounced by recent popes refers to pronouncements of Pius XII, John XXIII, and Paul VI...all made well after WWII. Needless to say that Gaudium et Spes was not promulgated until 1965 itself.

Because none of these pronouncements were made at the time (and, as far as I know, the Church had not made any of these types of pronouncements until after the scope of the horrors of WWII came out), one couldn't be held accountable for something that hadn't yet been stated.

But we still have the basics.

As St Paul stated (Rom 12:19) Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God; for it is written, "Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord."

And when war is licitly conducted, St Augustine warns us about immoral conduct in that war: The real evils in war are love of violence, revengeful cruelty, fierce and implacable enmity, wild resistance, and the lust of power, and such like; and it is generally to punish these things, when force is required to inflict the punishment, that, in obedience to God or some lawful authority, good men undertake wars, when they find themselves in such a position as regards the conduct of human affairs, that right conduct requires them to act, or to make others act in this way. (Contra Faust, XXII.74)

And the other fundamental that it is not morally licit to do evil in order to achieve a perceived "good" end. (which is the fundamental argument against pro-abortion types, by the way)

So, in order to determine whether the act was morally licit, we have to ask the questions:

I am personally not concerned sufficiently with navel-gazing to look at this in order to condemn men who are now dead. God already has judged their actions and they are reaping the consequences (good or bad) of those actions as we speak.

The point is that Mr. Akin did not adequately advance even an argument to moral liciety of the act, as he did not examine the intents of those who undertook those acts.

178 posted on 08/12/2010 3:47:29 AM PDT by markomalley (Extra Ecclesiam nulla salus)
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To: markomalley

Thank you for this truly excellent post.


179 posted on 08/12/2010 4:35:22 AM PDT by Mad Dawg (Oh Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.)
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To: markomalley
I am personally not concerned sufficiently with navel-gazing to look at this in order to condemn men who are now dead. God already has judged their actions and they are reaping the consequences (good or bad) of those actions as we speak.

Outstanding summary!

180 posted on 08/12/2010 4:51:56 AM PDT by Tax-chick ("Large realities dwarf and overshadow the tiny human figures reacting to them.")
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To: markomalley

Excellent post!


181 posted on 08/12/2010 4:56:54 AM PDT by wagglebee ("A political party cannot be all things to all people." -- Ronald Reagan, 3/1/75)
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To: PapaBear3625

Early in the War that might have been possible, by 1943 or possibly early 1944 it would have been nearly inpossible for a Japanese sub to make it to the West Coast.

I just don’t think the Germans would have given an atomic bomb to the Japanese. The Nazis didn’t like the Japanese and they would have had a much better chance of bombing London or Moscow.


182 posted on 08/12/2010 5:13:58 AM PDT by wagglebee ("A political party cannot be all things to all people." -- Ronald Reagan, 3/1/75)
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To: markomalley

Excellent post.


183 posted on 08/12/2010 5:22:26 AM PDT by sitetest ( If Roe is not overturned, no unborn child will ever be protected in law.)
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To: redgolum
it was considered just to totally destroy [an] enemy city after a siege

Was considered by the moral theologians or by the soldiers and generals? I'd like to see evidence of the former.

184 posted on 08/12/2010 6:09:39 AM PDT by annalex (http://www.catecheticsonline.com/CatenaAurea.php)
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To: markomalley
•Was the purpose of the A-bomb in Nagasaki intended primarily to kill civilians on a mass scale?

The admitted primary purpose was to terrorize the Japanese nation into surrender and so yes, it was intedned to kill civilians on the mass scale. The choice of target was of course deliberated upon, but a discrimination between civilian victims and legitimate targets was not in evidence.

185 posted on 08/12/2010 6:13:23 AM PDT by annalex (http://www.catecheticsonline.com/CatenaAurea.php)
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To: Mrs. Don-o

It saved the lives of hundreds of thousands—if not millions—of American soldiers and sailors.


and also the lives of a hell of a lot of Japanese................


186 posted on 08/12/2010 6:14:43 AM PDT by PeterPrinciple ( Seeking the truth here folks.)
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To: markomalley

What an excellent, excellent analysis, mark. Thank you.


187 posted on 08/12/2010 6:42:23 AM PDT by trisham (Zen is not easy. It takes effort to attain nothingness. And then what do you have? Bupkis.)
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To: Mrs. Don-o

My grandfather designed and tested the bomb casing, the shell that held the atomic device. He has no regrets about using them and neither do I.

The Japanese slaughtered whole villages, raping and pillaging as they went, cutting a bloody swathe through the women and children of southeast Asia. Apologists will tell you that it was just a symptom of the war. Women and girls conscripted to service Japanese soldiers in the Joy Division undoubtedly feel differently.

The Japanese government was warned for a week prior to the bombs being dropped to evacuate the cities. They were told what to expect from the bombs. They were asked to surrender. They chose to ignore the warnings and continued fighting the war. Yet, we’re the bad guys. If there was any sense in people, they’d be angry with the people in the Japanese government who made the decision to ignore our warnings, thereby putting their citizens through the agony of being nuked. No one ever seems to reach that conclusion. Wake up and place blame where it belongs: on the Japanese government!

The fact is that those two bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki took the fight right out of the Japanese people and, more importantly, the Japanese government. Those two bombs ended the war, which the Japanese had declared on us and other nations, siding with Hitler, thereby preventing any further casualties ON BOTH SIDES, which would certainly have numbered into the millions.

After dropping the bombs and after years of warfare, we were first on the scene to treat casualties, bury the dead, and rebuild their entire country. We rebuilt it better than before and gave the Japanese the tools they needed to thrive as an industrialized nation. With the bombs, we prevented further casualties due to protracted fighting and defeated a powerful fascist enemy whose goal was domination of Asia. Yet, the USA is somehow, to this day, held as monsters.

You’re welcome Japan.


188 posted on 08/12/2010 9:51:15 AM PDT by ronnyquest (There's a communist living in the White House! Now, what are you going to do about it?)
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To: Mrs. Don-o

more folks were massacred in Manila when the Japanese departed than were killed in Hiroshima.

So yes, it was a war crime, but it seems to be the only war crime that the left remembers.


189 posted on 08/13/2010 2:17:17 AM PDT by LadyDoc (liberals only love politically correct poor people)
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To: Mrs. Don-o

The late (not-so-great) Pope John Paul II had a hand in the writing of Gaudium et Spes, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and the Gospel of Life. All are flawed by his insistence on the seamless garment position of the late (Cardinal of Century City) Bernardin. This has caused great confusion in the ranks of the prolife movement because the gospel of life muddies the waters by not distinguishing between justifiable homicide and murder.

What the Church needs to adopt is not the “culture of life”, but the “culture of justice”. Anyone with even a smidgeon of a classical liberal education would know that Justice is cardinal among the moral virtues, and the proper light in which to judge these issues.

Being for or against life is meaningless without regard for rendering to each his due (justice).

Under the “culture of justice”, the righteous can be against sins which cry to heaven for vengence, while being for the punishment of those who commit capital crimes and those who commit unjust aggression.

About 99% of the posts on this thread understand this concept, but are entirely confused by what masquerades as official Church teaching.

True happiness consists in living the life of virtue, regardless of the cost.


190 posted on 08/16/2010 9:21:41 PM PDT by blackpacific
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To: blackpacific
I don't think the Catechism takes a Bernardin/quasipacifist position. Nowhere does it say the guilty and the innocent should be treated identically, nor that the soldier engaged in defending his country is not in an honorable profession that serves the common good, nor that just acts of war and capital punishment are the same as murder.

It discriminates exactly where discrimination is required for the sake of justice.

Indeed it is a lack of discrimiantion which is is the problem with city=target bombing, in that it treats military assets, noncombatant lives, and civilian values as equally disposable. A kind of Seamless Shroud, arguably worse than the most bernardinian and buttery Seamless Sentiment.

191 posted on 08/17/2010 6:44:04 AM PDT by Mrs. Don-o ("Justice and judgment are the foundation of His throne." Psalm 89:14)
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To: Mrs. Don-o

You’ll have to read it more closely.

Any war engaged in these days is total, and to engage in niceties is a sure way to lose.

God will sort them out.


192 posted on 08/18/2010 7:03:54 PM PDT by blackpacific
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To: Mrs. Don-o

“Indeed it is a lack of discrimiantion which is is the problem with city=target bombing, in that it treats military assets, noncombatant lives, and civilian values as equally disposable.”

The laws of war required that citizens be afforded the opportunity to flee before a city was bombarded. The first violation of this that I know of was Sherman’s bombardment of Atlanta.

I have always been taught that bombing of cities, and therefore civilians, was prohibited...HOWEVER if one side started doing it, those so bombed were free to retaliate in kind. Back then, they didn’t play that “no matter how bad you are, I have to fight with one hand tied behind my back” crapola.

A war crime is criminal in relationship to a law. Hiroshima and Nagasaki were not violations of the laws of war as then construed, as the Japanese were the first to make war on civilians. A person may argue on moral grounds (wrongly) that those bombs should not have been dropped, but one cannot argue that it was criminal.

As has been elsewhere noted, the Japanese government was warned to evacuate, which was a great deal more than they accorded any of their victims.

Another thing is that no one really knew what the result of those detonations was going to be, so it is silly to assert that the intent was to kill large numbers of civilians. Personally, I think the bomb should have been dropped on the Imperial Palace in Tokyo, or wherever Hirohito happened to be on that day. It was a HUGE mistake to treat him with kid gloves, especially since it was motivated only by MacArthur’s desire to become “the Father of Japanese Democracy.”

The lesson to be learned from the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki is this: “Don’t start bloody wars of conquest for no better reason than stroking your own racism.” And I’m good with that.


193 posted on 09/10/2010 8:30:37 PM PDT by dsc (Any attempt to move a government to the left is a crime against humanity.)
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To: dsc
The problem is that there are a handful--- yes, a mere handful --- of acts that are intrinsically depraved and cannot be justified by any conceivable circumstances. These are offenses that strike at innocent human life (the sanctity of life), at the human source of life (the sanctity of sex), and at the Divine source of life (the sanctity of God: that sin would be, especially, what Our Lord called unforgivable, "the sin against the Holy Spirit").

Thus the targeted OR intentional indiscriminate destruction of noncombatants is on the same plane as abortion, rape, and apostasy. The Catholic Catechism puts it in terms of both Divine and Natural Law, meaning this is something knowable to the reason of any rational being.

2314 "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."

Again, the fact that this is considered knowable to human reason, means that we cannot consider it contingent upon the contemporary state of civil, military, or international law.

“What is right is not derived from the rule, but the rule arises from our knowledge of what is right.” (Julius Paulus)

194 posted on 09/11/2010 5:58:56 AM PDT by Mrs. Don-o (Dry understatements free of charge, one per customer until supplies are exhausted.)
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To: Mrs. Don-o

“crime against God and man”

You are arguing that H and N were immoral, not that they were against the laws of war. They were not violations of the laws of war, and therefore may not truthfully be called “war crimes.”

“The problem is that there are a handful…of acts that are intrinsically depraved and cannot be justified by any conceivable circumstances…Thus the targeted OR intentional indiscriminate destruction of noncombatants is on the same plane as abortion, rape, and apostasy.”

Sorry, I believe that the Scriptures tell a different story.

Numbers (KJV)
21:3 And the LORD hearkened to the voice of Israel, and delivered up the Canaanites; and they utterly destroyed them and their cities: and he called the name of the place Hormah.

Deuteronomy (Douay)
7:1. When the Lord thy God shall have brought thee into the land, which thou art going in to possess, and shall have destroyed many nations before thee, the Hethite, and the Gergezite, and the Amorrhite, and the Chanaanite, and the Pherezite, and the Hevite, and the Jebusite, seven nations much more numerous than thou art, and stronger than thou:
7:2. And the Lord thy God shall have delivered them to thee, thou shalt utterly destroy them. Thou shalt make no league with them, nor shew mercy to them:

Josue (Douay)
8:18. The Lord said to Josue: Lift up the shield that is in thy hand, towards the city of Hai, for I will deliver it to thee.
8:19. And when he had lifted up his shield towards the city, the ambush, that lay hid, rose up immediately: and going to the city, took it, and set it on fire.
8:20. And the men of the city, that pursued after Josue, looking back, and seeing the smoke of the city rise up to heaven, had no more power to flee this way or that way: especially as they that had counterfeited flight, and were going toward the wilderness, turned back most valiantly against them that pursued.
8:21. So Josue, and all Israel, seeing that the city was taken, and*that*the*smoke*of*the*city*rose*up, returned, and slew the men of Hai.
8:22. And they also that had taken and set the city on fire, issuing out of the city to meet their own men, began to cut off the enemies who were surrounded by them. So that the enemies being cut off on both sides, not one of so great a multitude was saved.
8:23. And they took the king of the city of Hai alive and brought him to Josue.
8:24. So all being slain that had pursued after Israel, in his flight to the wilderness, and falling by the sword in the same place, the children of Israel returned and laid waste the city.
8:25. And*the*number*of*them*that*fell*that*day,*both*of*men*and*women,*was*twelve*thousand*persons, all of the city of Hai.
8:26. But Josue drew not back his hand, which he had stretched out on high, holding the shield, till*all*the*inhabitants*of*Hai*were*slain.
8:27. And the children of Israel divided among them, the cattle and the prey of the city, as the Lord had commanded Josue.
8:28. And he burnt the city, and made it a heap forever:
8:29. And he hung the king thereof on a gibbet, until the evening and the going down of the sun. Then Josue commanded, and they took down his carcass from the gibbet: and threw it in the very entrance of the city, heaping upon it a great heap of stones, which remaineth until this present day.
8:30. Then Josue built an altar to the Lord, the God of Israel, in Mount Hebal,

“The Catholic Catechism puts it in terms of both Divine and Natural Law, meaning this is something knowable to the reason of any rational being. 2314 ‘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.’ ”

The CCC was published:

After VatII.
After WWII.
After the smoke of Satan entered the sacristy.
During the papacy of JPII.

Some of the things in the CCC have been defined by the ordinary magisterium, and therefore still require an assent of the will and intellect. That is, they are not infallible. The bit you quote is, I believe, in that category.

“Again, the fact that this is considered knowable to human reason, means that we cannot consider it contingent upon the contemporary state of civil, military, or international law.”

Two problems there:
1. I did not say that the morality was contingent upon law; I said that the legality was contingent upon law. You seem to be arguing that the legality is contingent upon moral judgment, in that you assert that its (for you) immorality makes it a crime. Reason requires that the legality and morality be considered separately.

2. My human reason tells me that Catholic teaching was much more reliable prior to VatII, WWII, the sixties, and the papacy of JPII. Earlier, pre-corruption teachings – and Holy Scripture – seem to support my contention that the destruction of whole cities *can*be* under some circumstances a justified act of war.

I therefore assert that the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were not among the “acts that are intrinsically depraved,” and I take great umbrage at that assertion.


195 posted on 09/12/2010 1:04:15 AM PDT by dsc (Any attempt to move a government to the left is a crime against humanity.)
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To: dsc
You wrote:

1. I did not say that the morality was contingent upon law... Reason requires that the legality and morality be considered separately.

Legality is indeed to be distinguished from morality. However, in context I was not talking about secular statute law. Let me clarify: by "crime," I was speaking of grave moral wrong.

2. My human reason tells me that Catholic teaching was much more reliable prior to VatII, WWII, the sixties, and the papacy of JPII. Earlier, pre-corruption teachings – and Holy Scripture – seem to support my contention that the destruction of whole cities *can*be* under some circumstances a justified act of war.

Do you really wish to take an explicitly anti-Magisterium position? If you wanted to make a case that the acts of an ecumenical council are null, you would have to extend your dissent back to quite a few pontiffs.

Consider the language with which the Council framed its verdict against target=city bombing:

With these truths in mind, this most Holy Synod makes its own the condemnations of total war already pronounced by recent popes, and issues the following declaration. Any act of war aimed indiscriminately at the destruction of entire cities of extensive areas along with their population is a crime against God and man himself. It merits unequivocal and unhesitating condemnation.

This wording makes the judgment a formal and solemn condemnation (“makes its own the condemnation” “issues the following declaration”) and reinforces its legitimacy with reference to previous papal authority (“already pronounced by recent popes”). This section is footnoted in the document as follows:

1. Cf. John XXIII, encyclical letter Pacem in Terris, April 11, 1963: AAS 55 (1963), p. 291; "Therefore in this age of ours which prides itself on its atomic power, it is irrational to believe that war is still an apt means of vindicating violated rights."

2. Cf. Pius XII, Allocution of Sept. 30, 1954: AAS 46 (1954) p. 589; Radio message of Dec. 24, 1954: AAS 47 (1955), pp. 15 ff, John XXIII, encyclical letter Pacem in Terris: AAS 55 (1963), pp. 286-291; Paul VI, Allocution to the United Nations, Oct. 4, 1965.

This is solemn, and on the same footing as the declaration in the very same conciliar document which stated:

“For God, the Lord of life, has conferred on men the surpassing ministry of safeguarding life in a manner which is worthy of man. Therefore from the moment of its conception life must be guarded with the greatest care while abortion and infanticide are unspeakable crimes.”

Moreover, these two judgments are based on the same moral reasoning, namely, that the deliberate destruction of innocent human life is the crime of murder, and cannot be justified by any calculus of utility or benefit, however pressing.

Keep in mind, too, that those who pressed for the strongest condemnation of target=city bombing were the conservatives/traditionalists, e.g. Cardinal Ottaviani. He and his closest colleagues were considered the anti-novelty “regressives” at the Council, and it was they who wanted the Council to condemn, not just the use, but even the possession, of a strategic nuclear arsenal.

At the same time, those of a more liberal frame of mind, e.g. John Courtney Murray, were arguing for a policy of nuclear deterrence and even for the moral possibility of limited nuclear war. He was joined by the still more elastic "situational ethics" people who denied in principle the existence of "intrinsically evil" acts.

That pattern has held for subsequent decades: the hard-line conservatives ---Elizabeth Anscombe; Germain Grisez --- all of Grisez' pro-Humanae Vitae associates, there were/are a good number of them, John Ford, John Finnis, Joseph Boyle, William May ---Brent Bozell the elder; Warren Carroll, historian and founder of Christendom College: all strong opponents of contraception, torture, sodomy, targeting of noncombatants, the intentional or objectively indiscriminate killing of the innocent whether by a bomb, abortion, or a baseball bat. What these people have in common: they admit the existence of exceptionless norms.

If I understand you correctly --- and please correct me if I'm wrong --- you have difficulties with this teaching. Difficulties are, well, difficult; and questions are legitimate. If I were in your position, I would think it more fitting to simply state “I have difficulties,” and “I have questions,” rather than to announce that I take umbrage at papal and conciliar teachings.

196 posted on 09/12/2010 9:09:17 AM PDT by Mrs. Don-o (The Holy Catholic Church: the more Catholic it is, the more Holy it is.)
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To: Mrs. Don-o

“However, in context I was not talking about secular statute law. Let me clarify: by “crime,” I was speaking of grave moral wrong.”

Okay, but the original article spoke of “war crimes,” which must be understood to mean crimes with reference to international law.

“Do you really wish to take an explicitly anti-Magisterium position?”

I don’t mean to imply anything about you personally, but we—you and I—have often seen that argument used by those who have infiltrated or taken over an organization and are trying to turn it upon itself. We Catholics are at liberty to question or even reject things that are not inerrant or infallible, especially where they contradict all that has gone before.

“If you wanted to make a case that the acts of an ecumenical council are null, you would have to extend your dissent back to quite a few pontiffs.”

I am not making a case that all acts of VatII are null. I do assert, along with many others, that abuses were perpetrated by theological leftists—those whom Pope Saint Pius X called “enemies of the church” in “Pascendi Dominici Gregis - On the Doctrine of the Modernists.”

“Consider the language with which the Council framed its verdict against target=city bombing:”

Consider the language Pius X used to describe such people in Pascendi Dominici Gregis:

“2. That We should act without delay in this matter is made imperative especially by the fact that the partisans of error are to be sought not only among the Church’s open enemies; but, what is to be most dreaded and deplored, in her very bosom, and are the more mischievous the less they keep in the open. We allude, Venerable Brethren, to many who belong to the Catholic laity, and, what is much more sad, to the ranks of the priesthood itself, who, animated by a false zeal for the Church, lacking the solid safeguards of philosophy and theology, nay more, thoroughly imbued with the poisonous doctrines taught by the enemies of the Church, and lost to all sense of modesty, put themselves forward as reformers of the Church; and, forming more boldly into line of attack, assail all that is most sacred in the work of Christ, not sparing even the Person of the Divine Redeemer, whom, with sacrilegious audacity, they degrade to the condition of a simple and ordinary man.”

“this most Holy Synod makes its own the condemnations of total war”

There’s a problem with your argument. What is “total war?” Is it the bombing of a single city, or the laying waste of an entire country? Admiral Nimitz wanted to blockade the Japanese archipelago and starve every inhabitant. Would that have been “total war?”

The bombings of H and N were intended to shorten the war and save lives, and that’s just what they did. How can a measure that is more parsimonious of life than the alternatives be truthfully described as “total war?”

It cannot, and your argument fails on those grounds alone.

“already pronounced by recent popes”

They are indicted by their own words: “recent popes.” That is an admission that popes prior to those “recent popes” pronounced no such thing.

“Any act of war aimed indiscriminately at the destruction of entire cities of extensive areas along with their population is a crime against God and man himself. It merits unequivocal and unhesitating condemnation.”

That is so clearly a slap in America’s face that it could have been issued by the Supreme Soviet. I assert that it is not a legitimate teaching of the Magisterium, but a misuse of the Church’s teaching authority by theological leftists for the purpose of advantaging the Soviet Union in Cold War I.

“1. Cf. John XXIII…2. Cf. Pius XII”

I anticipate that history will seat those two in the pantheon of the infamous.

“This is solemn”

What is the significance of that? Any lying scoundrel can be solemn.

“…and on the same footing as the declaration in the very same conciliar document which stated…abortion and infanticide are unspeakable crimes.”

Woah, Nelly. A person would need a jet pack to take a leap of that magnitude. The fact that a document is right about one thing hardly shows that its every assertion is equally right.

“Moreover, these two judgments are based on the same moral reasoning, namely, that the deliberate destruction of innocent human life is the crime of murder, and cannot be justified by any calculus of utility or benefit, however pressing.”

The Holy Scriptures I quoted in my last note, and which YOU HAVE SEEN FIT TO IGNORE, indicate that this moral reasoning is faulty—according to God’s Word, at least.

“…that those who pressed for the strongest condemnation of target=city bombing were the conservatives/traditionalists, e.g. Cardinal Ottaviani.”

Not surprising, when one considers the times. They foresaw the use of nukes by evil empires.

“At the same time, those of a more liberal frame of mind, e.g. John Courtney Murray, were arguing for a policy of nuclear deterrence and even for the moral possibility of limited nuclear war. He was joined by the still more elastic “situational ethics” people who denied in principle the existence of “intrinsically evil” acts.”

Of course. All leftism, including theological leftism, is of and from Satan. It is only to be expected that they would want no interference with the use of nukes for evil.

“What these people have in common: they admit the existence of exceptionless norms.”

The Bible shows that the destruction of cities is *not* one of those exceptionless norms. Which, I think, is why you choose to ignore the scriptures I quoted in my last post. To confront them is to admit that your position is incorrect.

“If I understand you correctly -— and please correct me if I’m wrong -— you have difficulties with this teaching.”

No, I think that “this teaching” was introduced and advanced by malicious forces, and is contrary to authentic Catholic teachings.

“rather than to announce that I take umbrage at papal and conciliar teachings.”

I didn’t say that I take umbrage at papal and conciliar teachings. I took umbrage at *your* argument that the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were “intrinsically depraved.”

Unfortunately, a great deal of error introduced in the last hundred and fifty years or so is now accepted as authentic, even by those of good faith. These errors must be identified and ripped out, root and branch.


197 posted on 09/12/2010 2:06:50 PM PDT by dsc (Any attempt to move a government to the left is a crime against humanity.)
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To: dsc; don-o
I had thought that as Catholics, we would have a certain common ground, such as, for instance, the conviction

You say: “We Catholics are at liberty to question or even reject things that are not inerrant or infallible, especially where they contradict all that has gone before.”

Show me the contradiction here. Show me where some Pope or Council, some Father or Doctor of the Church, or even some pre- (how far back do you want to take it? pre-1914? pre-1870? pre-1532?) textbook on Moral Theology or Natural Law, has taught that one may kill innocent persons, in a deliberate or objectively indiscriminate fashion, if one has a good reason.

Show me one of the above, who would define murder in a way that excludes these constitutive elements found in the Catholic Encyclopedia (1917) (Link):

“The direct killing of an innocent person is, of course, to be reckoned among the most grievous of sins. It is said to happen directly when the death of the person is viewed either as an end attractive in itself, or at any rate is chosen as a means to an end.”

You say: ”I am not making a case that all acts of VatII are null. I do assert, along with many others, that abuses were perpetrated by theological leftists [Modernists]…”

This is certainly misdirection. Those of a Modernist tendency deny objectively gravely morally offensive character of such acts as sodomy, contraception, and the killing of an innocent person or whatever age or stage; whereas those of traditional and orthodox convictions --- I mentioned some of them in my last post---- oppose such acts which, if done in a deliberate and knowing manner, are mortal sins.

Your quote from Pascendi Dominici Gregis seems also an instance of misdirection. In the passage you cited, Pius X speaks of “enemies of the Church” who “degrade [the Sacred Redeemer] to the condition of a simple and ordinary man.” This has nothing to do with a great and doctrinally sound Cardinal like Ottaviani, for instance, the bane of Modernists, and the defender of the constant prohibition against murder, traditionally defined.

You say: “Admiral Nimitz wanted to blockade the Japanese archipelago and starve every inhabitant. Would that have been “total war?”

Yes.

You say: ”The bombings of H and N were intended to shorten the war and save lives, and that’s just what they did.”

If you had argued, instead, that the deaths at Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Tokyo, etc. were eithr entirely inadvertent or were collateral and proportionate, we’d have some semblance of a Catholic argument to work out. But if you try to justify the choice of using a method of indiscriminate killing as a means to an end e.g. ending the war, you have gone into Situation Ethics and Consequentialism and thus quite beyond the bounds of Catholic discourse.

You say: “recent popes.” That is an admission that popes prior to those “recent popes” pronounced no such thing.”

This does not follow. It is not such an admission. This is eisegesis, reading your own meaning into a text in a rather obvious way; second, the Fathers could have found previous authority going all the way back, if you please, to Genesis.

You say: ”This [declaration] is a misuse of the Church’s teaching authority by theological leftists for the purpose of advantaging the Soviet Union in Cold War I.”

This is not just slightly inaccurate, but the polar opposite of the truth. The teaching that the use of force in war must be discriminate goes back, in a formal sense, to ius in bello via Aquinas and Augustine; mind you, the prohibition of the “shedding of innocent blood” goes ALL the way back to the Author who prohibited such acts some 15 or 18 times explicitly in the Old Testament alone.

And you think this is the work of a pro-Soviet cabal? Is your "other" screen name Dr. E… ? Please.

This is unsupportable in the light of the actual controversies in the period before, during, and after, the Council debate, in which it was the orthodox and traditionalists (e.g. Ottaviani) who held the line on the objective judgments about killing the innocent, as a means or as an end. It was men of a more Modernist and even Americanist tendency (e.g. John Courtney Murray) who were a good deal more elastic about it.

Your citation of the total slaughter found in, for instance, the Book of Judges, does not prove your point that targeting noncombatants is just. If one could prove such a point in this manner, it would prove a great deal too much, since in the OT one can find many morally objectionable acts by men who are elsewhere called “just” men or driven by “the spirit of the Lord” such as Abraham offering his two virgin daughters to the rapists in Sodom (“and you can do what you like with them”); the sacrifice of Jephthah’s daughter in accordance with a vow to God; the dashing of Babylon's babies against the rocks; the authorization of soldiers’ sexual abuse of captured women; and Lord knows, many other depraved acts both in wartime and in other circumstances.

A preference for one's personal interpretation of Scripture, and an open antagonism toward Popes, Councils, Doctors of the Church, and Natural Law, is, of course, a expected staple of the FReepin’ Squeekin’ Religious ControversiesTM so typical of this forum; but I would have expected otherwise from a Catholic.

198 posted on 09/12/2010 5:41:45 PM PDT by Mrs. Don-o (Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus.)
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To: Mrs. Don-o

Okay, I’ve been thinking about this, and I just don’t see any way around your habitual failure to address the arguments I actually make.

Instead of addressing what I actually propose, you make a practice of misconstruing my arguments, then “rebutting” your own creations, and, importantly, of assuming that which must be demonstrated.

I don’t know if you are doing this inadvertently or intentionally, and in the final analysis, it doesn’t really matter.

For instance, you asserted that I do not share the belief that “an evil thing (e.g. the slaying of an innocent person) must not be willed or chosen, neither as an end in itself nor as a means to an end...”

What is actually happening there is not that I do not share that belief, but rather that you are unwilling to consider that this principle simply may not apply here. And no matter how many times I say that, your reply is inevitably some variant of “you are advocating the killing of the innocent.” That sort of discussion is as futile as it is useless. It avoids the difficult moral questions by reducing the complexity of human existence to a black and white cartoon caricature.

You try to invalidate Holy Scripture by denigrating it as only my “private interpretation of the Old Testament.” Your reference to the obedience of the Jews to God’s commands as “depraved acts” is simply beyond the pale of reason.

On the basis of nothing whatsoever you conscript “Augustine and Aquinas...the very basic teachings of Natural Law and the Right to Life as the foundation of International Law...” as supporters of your position WRT nuclear weapons.

You misrepresent an assertion that Catholic teachings on acts permissible in *war* were different in the past, as one that “one may kill innocent persons, in a deliberate or objectively indiscriminate fashion, if one has a good reason.”

There, you not only misrepresent my argument, but (a) *assume* again that the concept of “innocent persons” is applicable here, and do so without making the slightest attempt to support your assumption; and (b) *assume* that the decisions that led to H and N were “deliberate or objectively indiscriminate.”

In saying “Show me one of the above, who would define murder in a way that excludes these constitutive elements found in the Catholic Encyclopedia (1917),” you are either accusing me of defining murder in such a way, or *assuming* that the deaths at H and N were “murder.”

If you are accusing me of defining murder in such a way, you are putting words in my mouth. If you are *assuming* murder, I’m throwing a flag on the play. You must first demonstrate that those deaths were murder before you can use that assertion to bludgeon people about the head and shoulders.

In response to my mention of the well-known abuses perpetrated by theological leftists during or around the time of VatII, you say, “This is certainly misdirection. Those of a Modernist tendency deny objectively gravely morally offensive character…”

Modernists and modernism cannot be circumscribed and limited in such a way. Satan is both more intelligent and more subtle than we, and the attacks of modernists on the Church are a veritable kaleidoscope of gambits, strategies, sophistry, and deceit. In short, you have no grounds whatsoever for dismissing so cavalierly a reference to the wisdom of the Saint. You do not offer an argument, but attempt to dismiss an argument without considering it on its merits.

“and the defender of the constant prohibition against murder, traditionally defined.”

Once again, you imply that my position is in conflict with the prohibition against murder, while ignoring the fact that one is allowed to kill the enemy during a just war, and that incidental civilian casualties inflicted in that activity are not—I say again, not—murder. You simply *assume,* again and again, that the entire question is simply the deliberate and indiscriminate killing of innocent people, without ever examining the key subtleties that separate the soldier and the surgeon from the criminal, or acts committed in wartime from those committed in peacetime.

You contradict the most obvious observations, as when I noted that citing “recent popes” is an admission that there is a difference between those “recent popes” and earlier popes. If that were not so, there would be no need for the word, “recent.”

Nonetheless, you insist that “This does not follow. It is not such an admission. This is eisegesis, reading your own meaning into a text in a rather obvious way.”

It is the meaning of the text that is obvious, and when you deny it you might as well be insisting that the sky is red.

You go on to equate the murder of Abel by Cain with every act of military resistance to evil throughout the existence of humanity. I’m sure that every soldier that fought for this country would be grateful for your explanation.

I can’t continue with this exercise in futility. When you ignorantly mock a mention of the well-known and thoroughly documented activities of the enemy and the Enemy during Cold War I, you make it abundantly clear that there is simply no point in attempting to discuss or debate these matters with you.

At such time as you decide to refrain from the offenses against reason that I described above, that might be different.


199 posted on 09/13/2010 9:21:25 PM PDT by dsc (Any attempt to move a government to the left is a crime against humanity.)
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To: dsc
Dear dsc, I went back and read the thousands of words that have passed between on this subject, and I want to reiterate just one phrase I wrote to you:

”If I understand you correctly --- and please correct me if I'm wrong---“

I have been open, even eager, to be corrected when hampered by my own misunderstanding. I have always assumed you were arguing in good faith, and we would both be wise to continue to assume that of each other. Lacking that, there’s no point to discussion, and we might as well go at each other with pointed sticks (as happens on so many doomed FReeper discussions, alas!)

So I beg you pardon for any transgressions, small or large, advertent or inadvertent, and I offer you the same pardon.

Part of the problem might have been that we both jumped off into lengthy riffs without any prior declaration of our own underlying assumptions, and without even defining key terms.

For instance, it would have helped if we had made it clear from the outset that we both share the belief that “an evil thing (e.g. the slaying of an innocent person) must not be willed or chosen, neither as an end in itself, nor as a means to an end...” but that you consider that this principle simply may not apply here. Then you would have been in a good position to explain why it may not.

Similarly, we ought to have made clear from the outset how we can and ought to resort to the authority of Sacred Scripture. It is shocking to me that you thought I was trying to “invalidate” Holy Scripture (!) or that I thought the obedience of the Jews to God’s commands is a “depraved act” (!!). I can only shake my head in perplexity. It is against God’s nature to command things which are morally depraved; in fact my whole point is that He does not do so.

And on and on. We seem to be misconstruing each other at every turn. We never settle on a definition of “innocent” or “noncombatant,” and then fault each other when, midstream, we get an inkling that we have different definitions. We allude to ius ad bellum or ius in bello or Augustine or Aquinas without having previously set forth what we regard as the criteria for justice in war, and the argument for or derivation of those criteria.

You charge, “You go on to equate the murder of Abel by Cain with every act of military resistance to evil throughout the existence of humanity”--- and this charge is utterly unfounded: I am not a pacifist; I support military resistance to aggression; I specifically back lethal force against our murderous jihadi enemies (and I blessed my Marine son who was on active duty at Al-Asad base in Iraq until earlier this year); in fact I have never once made a pacifist argument in the 12 years I have been posting at FR.

Then this leads to another round of “You misinterpret!” “No, you misinterpret!”

So here we are, all knotted up in a tangled skein of argument. Let’s leave off, but in peace.

I don’t think this particular tangle-patch can be straightened out, but I should like to converse you again somewhere down the line: in good faith, and with a more satisfactory result.

God bless you.

200 posted on 09/14/2010 7:10:24 AM PDT by Mrs. Don-o ("The first law is not to dare to utter a lie; the second, not to fear to speak the truth." Leo XIII)
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