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Apokalupsis
August 16th, 2006, 02:26 PM
I found this excellent article (written by Dr. John Lewis, a professor of history) while doing a bit of research for another thread. I thought I'd share it and start a discussion about it.

The Moral Goodness of the Atomic Bombing of Hiroshima (http://www.the-undercurrent.com/index.php?p=/000105.html)

I highly encourage you to read the entire article (it's not that long). But I'll sum up here for ease of discussion. Some of the following is directly taken from the article.

If you are like me, hearing that the Hiroshima bombing was moral, is foreign. I knew I believed it was necessary...but moral? On what grounds could it be said to be moral? Greater good, maybe? Ayn Rand wrote that the purpose of morality is not to suffer and die, but to prosper and live. At first, it doesn't appear that this could be a moral act then...but perhaps with a bit of history and context...a new perspective on the event can unfold.

Let's start with the Japanese culture pre-WW2. World War II in the Pacific was launched by a nation that esteemed everything hostile to human life. Japan's religious-political philosophy held the emperor as a god, subordinated the individual to the state, elevated ritual over rational thought, and adopted suicide as a path to honor. This was truly a Morality of Death, which had gripped Japanese society for nearly three generations. Japan's war with Russia had ended in 1905 with a negotiated treaty, which left Japan's militaristic culture intact. The motivations for war were emboldened, and the next generation broke the treaty by attacking Manchuria in 1931. Negotiations, just weren't helping to remove the militaristic regime and culture of Japan...it merely paused the expansion, allowing for Japan to come back and fight another day.

It was after Japan attacked America that America waged war against Japan--a proper moral response to the violence Japan had initiated. Despite three and a half years of slaughter, surrender was not at hand in mid-1945. Over six million Japanese were still in Asia. Some 12,000 Americans had died on Okinawa alone. Many Japanese leaders hoped to kill enough Americans during an invasion to convince them that the cost of invasion was too high. A "Die for the Emperor" propaganda campaign had motivated many Japanese civilians to fight to the death. Volunteers lined up for kamikaze--"Divine Wind"--suicide missions. Hope of victory kept the Japanese cause alive, until hopeless prostration before American air attacks made the abject renunciation of all war the only alternative to suicide. The Japanese had to choose between the Morality of Death, and the Morality of Life.

The bombings marked America's total victory over a militaristic culture that had murdered millions. To return an entire nation to morality, the Japanese had to be shown the literal meaning of the war they had waged against others. The abstraction "war," the propaganda of their leaders, their twisted samurai "honor," their desire to die for the emperor--all of it had to be given concrete form. This is what firebombing Japanese cities accomplished. It showed the Japanese that "this"--point to burning buildings, screaming children scarred unmercifully, piles of corpses, the promise of starvation--"this is what you have done to others. Now it has come for you. Give it up, or die." This was the only way to show them the true nature of their philosophy, and to beat the truth of the defeat into them. It was making them, their own victim. As long as they were the giver of such brutality, they could not see the immorality of such aggression. It could only be when they were the victims, that their eyes would open and their culture and mindset would change from being that of a violent nature, to that of one which valued life.

While after the bombings, Japan was defeated, they did not surrender. And surrendering was incredibly important. It has already been seen that entering a treaty, negotiations, etc... could not change the militaristic nature, it would require a complete surrender and submission in order for this to occur.

President Truman demonstrated his understanding of this concept and willingness to bomb the Japanese out of existence if they did not surrender. The Potsdam Declaration (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Potsdam_Declaration) of July 26, 1945 is stark: "The result of the futile and senseless German resistance to the might of the aroused free peoples of the world stands forth in awful clarity as an example to the people of Japan...Following are our terms. We will not deviate from them. There are no alternatives. We shall brook no delay...We call upon the government of Japan to proclaim now the unconditional surrender of all Japanese armed forces...The alternative for Japan is prompt and utter destruction."

The approach worked brilliantly. After the bombs, the Japanese chose wisely. The method was brutally violent, as it had to be--because the war unleashed by Japan was brutally violent, and only a brutal action could demonstrate its nature. To have shielded Japanese citizens from the meaning of their own actions--the Rape of Nanking (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rape_of_nanking) and the Bataan Death March (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bataan_Death_March)--would have been a massive act of dishonesty. It would have left the Japanese unable to reject military aggression the next time it was offered as an elixir of glory. After the war, many returning Japanese troops were welcomed by their countrymen not as heroes, but with derision. The imperial cause was recognized as bankrupt, and the actions of its soldiers worthy of contempt. Forced to confront the reality of what they had done, a sense of morality had returned to Japan.

Some citizens understood the necessity and morality of "the bomb". Hisatsune Sakomizu, chief cabinet secretary of Japan, said after the war: "The atomic bomb was a golden opportunity given by Heaven for Japan to end the war." He wanted to look like a peaceful man--which became a sensible position only after the Americans had won. Okura Kimmochi, president of the Technological Research Mobilization Office, wrote before the surrender: "I think it is better for our country to suffer a total defeat than to win total victory...in the case of Japan's total defeat, the armed forces would be abolished, but the Japanese people will rise to the occasion during the next several decades to reform themselves into a truly splendid people...the great humiliation [the bomb] is nothing but an admonition administered by Heaven to our country."

Americans should be immensely proud of the bomb. It ended a war that had enslaved a continent to a religious-military ideology of slavery and death. There is no room on earth for this system, its ideas and its advocates. It took a country that values this world to bomb this system out of existence. For the Americans to do so while refusing to sacrifice their own troops to save the lives of enemy civilians was a sublimely moral action. They destroyed the foundations of the war, and allowed the Japanese to rebuild their culture along with their cities, as prosperous inhabitants of the earth.

Were it true that total victory today creates new attackers tomorrow, we would now be fighting Japanese suicide bombers, while North Korea--where the American army did not march--would be peaceful and prosperous. The facts are otherwise. The need for total victory over the Morality of Death has never been clearer.

This not only applied then, but now. Today, the West faces the threat against radical Islam. Let the example of Japan show that what is possible of it, can be possible for all belief systems harboring the Morality of Death, that through its eradication, the Morality of Life will grow in its place and allow for a greater quality of life, more liberties, and actual peace. It was, and is indeed, a moral action.

Snoop
August 16th, 2006, 02:30 PM
*Let's bomb Iran and get it over with! http://www.devilducky.com/media/44421/ - a fresh start couldn't hurt.*

As far as bombing Japan - I bet they would have surrendered if Bush was president. If we didn't use the bomb first, the Germans probably would have. We did the right thing.

What would the Pope do?

Turtleflipper
August 16th, 2006, 03:25 PM
I think you may have convinced me. Although I don't see how you can return Al-Queda's brutality on any effective scale.

Apokalupsis
August 16th, 2006, 03:36 PM
You are right TF...different methods of warfare are necessary, but I think that the same principles could be used. However, I hope to refrain from getting into the logistics of that and instead focus on the principle, and/or us dropping the bomb to end WW2 being moral or not.

Castle
August 16th, 2006, 03:38 PM
We must make three assumptions to justify the conclusion that the atomic bombings of Japan were moral:

1) That the ends justify the means. That the murder (and I can find no other word to describe the targeted bombings of two major Japanese cities) of
214,000 people was justified by the good that it resulted in.

2) That the ends were, in fact, greater than the means. That the destruction of Japan's so-called "Morality of Death" was worth the lives of 214,000. Your author tends to ignore the cost of continuing the war, but that cost must also be taken into account in our final tally (as a point in your favor).

3) That the means used were the only way to accomplish the ends. If our desired ends are the surrender of Japan, the atomic bomb becomes difficult to justify:

The United States Strategic Bombing Survey, after interviewing hundreds of Japanese civilian and military leaders after Japan surrendered, reported:

""Based on a detailed investigation of all the facts, and supported by the testimony of the surviving Japanese leaders involved, it is the Survey's opinion that certainly prior to 31 December 1945, and in all probability prior to 1 November 1945, Japan would have surrendered even if the atomic bombs had not been dropped, even if Russia had not entered the war, and even if no invasion had been planned or contemplated.

Now let us, for a moment, abandon the specifics and focus on the general nature of the claim of your your article: that committing atrocities upon the Japanese people was justified and neccessary to eliminate their culture of death. It is the case, apparently, that their atrocities justify our atrocities. But is this so? Would you have support, with a smiling face, the creation of death camps for the German people after the war? Would you support killing six million of them to show them what their fascist culture does, to try and break them of that mold? And yet, that is, by extension, what the author of this article argues.

Specific problems, incidentally, include holding the general population accountable for the crimes of a few in power. You cannot hold a "culture" as responsible for certain actions; you must hold those who ordered those actions accountable.

Snoop
August 16th, 2006, 03:40 PM
3) That the means used were the only way to accomplish the ends. If our desired ends are the surrender of Japan, the atomic bomb becomes difficult to justify:I disagree. They did surrender, so it was justified. Sure there were other means available - we chose the Atomic Bomb and achieved the desired results. The degree of difficulty does not determine justification or morality.

Turtleflipper
August 16th, 2006, 03:51 PM
Now let us, for a moment, abandon the specifics and focus on the general nature of the claim of your your article: that committing atrocities upon the Japanese people was justified and neccessary to eliminate their culture of death. It is the case, apparently, that their atrocities justify our atrocities. But is this so? Would you have support, with a smiling face, the creation of death camps for the German people after the war? Would you support killing six million of them to show them what their fascist culture does, to try and break them of that mold? And yet, that is, by extension, what the author of this article argues.

Specific problems, incidentally, include holding the general population accountable for the crimes of a few in power. You cannot hold a "culture" as responsible for certain actions; you must hold those who ordered those actions accountable.


The German population DID get one hell of a huge dose of there own medicene. The Soviets returned Nazi brutality in spades. So much so troops would make long treks out of the Eastern front in hopes of surrendering to the more leinient West. The reality of the holocaust also helped establish the "this is the price of mindless hatred" effect the article alludes to in Japan, as the German population at large found it quite shocking.

Castle
August 16th, 2006, 04:01 PM
Sure there were other means available - we chose the Atomic Bomb and achieved the desired results.
You ignore the fact that some means may be more morally appealing than others.


The degree of difficulty does not determine justification or morality.
Sure it does. Is it the case that the atomic bomb is equally justified if it was known for a fact before the bombing that there was a way to end the war with 0 lives lost?


As much as I hate to admit it, the German population DID get one hell of a huge dose of there own medicene. The Soviets returned Nazi brutality in spades.
Morally justified: yea or nay?


The reality of the holocaust also helped establish the "this is the price of mindless hatred" effect the article alludes to in Japan, as the German population at large found it quite shocking.
But they have a fascist culture! We can't just let them get away with seeing what they've done to others! We have to do it to them so they can realize the horrors of what they've done! Think I'm exaggerating?

To return an entire nation to morality, the Japanese had to be shown the literal meaning of the war they had waged against others.
That literal meaning?

burning buildings, screaming children scarred unmercifully, piles of corpses, the promise of starvation

The method was brutally violent, as it had to be--because the war unleashed by Japan was brutally violent, and only a brutal action could demonstrate its nature.

Turtleflipper
August 16th, 2006, 04:36 PM
Morally justified: yea or nay?


We've been over this. Not justified, but required.



But they have a fascist culture! We can't just let them get away with seeing what they've done to others! We have to do it to them so they can realize the horrors of what they've done! Think I'm exaggerating?

That literal meaning?



They did see it. At the Soviet's hands, and the sheer undoubtable hell the Jews suffered. After those, Germany going facist agian wasn't very likely.


BTW- Did you know the Nazis had an active resistence cell until 1948?

Castle
August 16th, 2006, 04:47 PM
We've been over this. Not justified, but required.
That's all I was looking for. I'm not interested in debating the semantics between "justified" and "required" again, as long as we recognize this as a "ends justify the means" situation.

It is the case then, that the U.S., by being lenient to the Germans, did not choose the optimal moral/required action? That it would have been better for them to be less lenient?


They did see it. At the Soviet's hands, and the sheer undoubtable hell the Jews suffered. After those, Germany going facist agian wasn't very likely.
So actually subjecting the people to these things isn't neccessary? Merely making Japan aware of, say, the Rape of Nanking and the Baatan Death March would have done the trick?

Turtleflipper
August 16th, 2006, 04:57 PM
That's all I was looking for. I'm not interested in debating the semantics between "justified" and "required" again, as long as we recognize this as a "ends justify the means" situation.

It is the case then, that the U.S., by being lenient to the Germans, did not choose the optimal moral/required action? That it would have been better for them to be less lenient?


They choose the optimal route evidently. As the single most popular party in German history couldn't keep a resistence movement alive for more then 3 years even under the heavy and cruel fist of Soviet rule.



So actually subjecting the people to these things isn't neccessary? Merely making Japan aware of, say, the Rape of Nanking and the Baatan Death March would have done the trick?


Again, in all liklihood, they wouldn't have cared as deeply. It's not THEM. The Holocaust was your neighbor, your freind, you can go see the bodies after a 60 minute drive. And the Soviets made there atrocities public and random. So you know what's being perpetrated.

KevinBrowning
August 16th, 2006, 05:39 PM
It has been agreed on for some time now by most historians that a ground invasion of Japan would have been unspeakably bloody, more so than the atomic bombing and fire bombing. Not to mention that the massive display of might and complete destruction of two cities caused the Japanese to rethink their ideology of death, as this author notes. The problem now is that total war is no longer the norm, and the positions of the actual government and of the reigning terrorist group in a country may be very different.

FruitandNut
August 16th, 2006, 10:12 PM
I don't think that nuking is going to take out Islamic terrorism, all it will do is stir up a lot more recruits and hatred. Plus of course we will have a scramble by every tinpot regime, and some, to nuke themselves up so Uncle Sam might be put off doing the same to them sometime.

Castle
August 16th, 2006, 10:16 PM
They choose the optimal route evidently.
By 'they', do you mean the U.S. or the Soviets?


Again, in all liklihood, they wouldn't have cared as deeply. It's not THEM. The Holocaust was your neighbor, your freind, you can go see the bodies after a 60 minute drive. And the Soviets made there atrocities public and random. So you know what's being perpetrated.
Good point. Is it your position that to 'break free' of these 'cultures of death', people need to be deeply personally affected by wartime atrocities (and that that is the only way to 'break free' of the 'culture of death')?

Stormer
August 17th, 2006, 02:57 AM
Hmm the "morality" of bombing Hiroshima is very speculative, particularly because of evidence that Hirohito WOULD have surrendered without the bomb being dropped. However this is still very debatable.

Nagasaki is a completely different story however.

Please address these points:

-Why did the bomb need to be dropped on the 9th? This gave the Japanese a mere 3 days to respond to Hiroshima, this is not nearly long enough for a nation to comprehend the damage of the revolutionary weapon that had jus beed unleashed upon them. The full extent of the damage and deaths caused by the nuclear bomb had not been fully appreciated yet.

-What the US had to gain by dropping the nuke on Nagasaki, apart from a test of the more advanced plutonium bomb on an actual city? What would have been lost if there had been a delay in attacks or an attack on a less densley populated region? And although the point that the Japanese would not have stopped the war for a mere "shot in the air" as some had called it has been raised in other debates, this argument is not applicaple in the context of Nagasaki. After Hiroshima the Japanese were not in a position to attack on any fronts, especially because the Kwantung army was now about to be decisively crushed by the Soviets. Bombing another less densley populated area would put to rest any Japanese suppositions that the bomb on Hiroshima had been a one off, and would also put extra pressure on their negotiations. Remember that a large part of the Japanese Council would have prefered to absolutely destroy Japan rather than surrender. This was a representation of the bushido spirit of the samurais, which was the mentality of a lot of the Japanese High command. However not one shared by the whole of the population.

-The USSR had only been at war a few hours before "Fat Boy" was dropped on Nagasaki, and this was another major development the Japanese had to deal with before they could agree to surrender, so this is another point asking why the bomb needed to be dropped so soon.

-The Imperial War Council of Japan was divided over surrender, yet a conversation Hirohito held with Togo, aswell as earlier negotions made through USS agents shows that the main obstacle between the Japanese and surrender was their fear that their divine emperor was going to be tried and executed by the Americans. If the safety of the Emperor had been assured surrender could have been possible without one bomb, let alone two.

The only reasons behind the bomb on Nagasaki was to test the new plutonium bomb, and to stop the Russians from claiming a share of the glory and/or occupation force of Japan. And these arguments are not ones which you can debate as being moralistic.

This about sums it up:

http://www.theonion.com/content/node/51542

StOrMeR

MindTrap028
August 17th, 2006, 05:09 AM
Were it true that total victory today creates new attackers tomorrow, we would now be fighting Japanese suicide bombers, while North Korea--where the American army did not march--would be peaceful and prosperous. The facts are otherwise. The need for total victory over the Morality of Death has never been clearer. Wow, an amazing example of why total victory in war is the only option, regardless of the setting.

Nagasaki is a completely different story however.
The temptation to separate the two bombs, into two different events is tempting. However because they were so closely placed *3 days as you point out*, it is really a single event in the history of Japan. It is the event, or events that, as shown by Apock, destroyed a culture, had proved it's self ,during the war, to be willing to fight to the death. Yes, even to the last man.

So though one may argue it was excessive use of force, I am not sure that it makes it immoral.
Also.
The Bombs accomplished two distinctly different objectives.
1) The end of the War
2) The end of the society of Death.
In finding an alternate ending to the war, one must address both.

Castle
August 17th, 2006, 05:17 AM
However because they were so closely placed *3 days as you point out*, it is really a single event in the history of Japan.
Except that they were ordered seperate and fired on two seperate cities. One does not neccessitate the other. They are seperate moral decisions by the U.S., and we must look at the validity of them both.


It is the event, or events that, as shown by Apock, destroyed a culture, had proved it's self ,during the war, to be willing to fight to the death. Yes, even to the last man.
Which, naturally, is why they surrendured, right? (and they would have surrendered by the end of the year without the bomb. Civilian leaders in Japan were calling for surrender long before the bombs were dropped)


So though one may argue it was excessive use of force, I am not sure that it makes it immoral.
Excessive use of force is not immoral? How is it that unneccessary killing is not immoral?


The Bombs accomplished two distinctly different objectives.
1) The end of the War
2) The end of the society of Death.
In finding an alternate ending to the war, one must address both.
One would have happened anyway:

The United States Strategic Bombing Survey, after interviewing hundreds of Japanese civilian and military leaders after Japan surrendered, reported:

""Based on a detailed investigation of all the facts, and supported by the testimony of the surviving Japanese leaders involved, it is the Survey's opinion that certainly prior to 31 December 1945, and in all probability prior to 1 November 1945, Japan would have surrendered even if the atomic bombs had not been dropped, even if Russia had not entered the war, and even if no invasion had been planned or contemplated.

Two might have happened anyway. We don't really know. What we do know is that the vast majority of Japan was sick and tired of the warfare, and the only reason it didn't surrender before the bombs was the stubborness of some of its military leaders.

Turtleflipper
August 17th, 2006, 05:44 AM
By 'they', do you mean the U.S. or the Soviets?


They did our dirty work for us



Good point. Is it your position that to 'break free' of these 'cultures of death', people need to be deeply personally affected by wartime atrocities (and that that is the only way to 'break free' of the 'culture of death')?


Well yeah. The Night of Broken Glass shows just how full of hatred the German people had allowed themselves to become over the terrible economy they had.
Unlike ww1, Germans knew after WW2 what they'd done. It's very hard to embrace the death of your foes when the very foundations of your political philosophy has been obliterated and the consquences of unfettered violence are shown.

MindTrap028
August 17th, 2006, 06:35 AM
Excessive use of force is not immoral? How is it that unnecessary killing is not immoral?
first it is only excessive, if it can be shown un-needed to achieve the goal. *not just to win the war, but to defeat the culture*

Second .. does one death too many make the whole operation wrong? Does one Innocent person make an operation wrong. if so. then of course war as a whole is wrong, so what then is one more wrong?



Two might have happened anyway. We don't really know. What we do know is that the vast majority of Japan was sick and tired of the warfare, and the only reason it didn't surrender before the bombs was the stubborness of some of its military leaders.
Isn't that the point? That you must show how the second could have been achieved another way. Not only in another way, but in away so obvious as to make dropping the bomb immoral. Just saying it might have happened doesn't really work.

1 won bomb may have ended the war.. but the second surely destroyed the culture described.

Apokalupsis
August 17th, 2006, 11:18 AM
We must make three assumptions to justify the conclusion that the atomic bombings of Japan were moral:

1) That the ends justify the means. That the murder (and I can find no other word to describe the targeted bombings of two major Japanese cities) of
214,000 people was justified by the good that it resulted in.
When a nation is bent on destroying the other nation, the defending nation cannot be charged with "murder" for responding.

The US launching a ground offensive would have caused an unmeasurable casualy list. The civilians were cultured to fight to the death at all costs. The civilians would have been combatants. This was not a democracy, this was not a "peace loving" culture. This was a culture of death, expansionism and militarisim. THEY, were the aggressors.



3) That the means used were the only way to accomplish the ends. If our desired ends are the surrender of Japan, the atomic bomb becomes difficult to justify
The interview was conducted after the fact. What evidence was there before the fact that this was a possibility? I submit that the knowledge before the fact is the knowledge that the moral decision is based on, not the knowledge of an "armchair quarterback".


Some men break into your home in the middle of the night to rob you. You have a wife and 2 small children. You are their protector, they are your responsibility. You hear the men downstairs, you have a gun. You shout downstairs that you have a gun and they ought to get out of your house now. Gun shots are heard, bullet fire comes in your direction. You see the flash, you fire at it and hit one of the men. The other man, is a bit discouraged now and at a disadvantage as he has lost half of his resources, his friend is dead or is at least, incapacitated. This remaning man is also out of ammo, but he can't leave his friend, and he can't let you know that he is out of ammo. He still wants to make this job worthwhile, surely there is something he can steal and get away with here. He is contemplating what to do.

Knowing that at least 1 more is alive and well downstairs, you shout for the invader(s) to get out. "Screw you! You're dead man!" is the response. You have reloaded your gun. You know you must protect your family. You hear rustling downstairs. You slowly move down the stairs, gun pointed. Through the moonlight you see an invader run across the room. You fire, you hit, he goes down, he's dead. Turns out that these were there only 2 invaders. Police arrive, forensics and investigation reveals that the 2nd man was out of ammo, had a limp, was 5'9" and 135lbs. He apparently at the last moment, decided to escape, he didn't want anything more to do with this situation, realized he could not "win", and wanted out. You shot a limping man, who had no weapon and was not a threat...as he was running for the exit.

Had you left him alone, he would have lived, and you would have been safe. The threat had been neutralized when the first man was shot. However, you had absolutely no knowledge that the 2nd man was not a threat. All evidence was pointing to the fact otherwise.

Such instances are not necessarily rare occurances. Police are confronted with similar situations almost daily in this nation.

Was it moral or immoral to shoot this man? Were you justified or not justified? Does the knowledge you have before hand trump that of what you had after the fact? I submit that indeed, it does. We are not psychics. We can only work with what we are given. We can only operate under the existence of the facts as they exist at the time we make our decisions. It is false that you made an error in judgement because a judgement is based on avaiilable facts. The available facts led to a valid, logical and moral decision. The facts of the matter were that intruders were in your house, your family was threatened, your possesions were threatened, you had been shot at (attempted murder), you knew that there was more than one, no evidence existed that any intruder had intended to leave you alone or escape, etc... Based on available, existent, and true information, you acted accordingly and appropriately.



Now let us, for a moment, abandon the specifics and focus on the general nature of the claim of your your article: that committing atrocities upon the Japanese people was justified and neccessary to eliminate their culture of death. It is the case, apparently, that their atrocities justify our atrocities. But is this so? Would you have support, with a smiling face, the creation of death camps for the German people after the war?
No. How is this analogous? The German people had been defeated and surrendered already, and their government/state as they knew it, was forced to be changed. In what way, did the US force the change (defeat/un-conditional surrender) of Japan before the bomb? In what way could they have after the bomb?


Would you support killing six million of them to show them what their fascist culture does, to try and break them of that mold? And yet, that is, by extension, what the author of this article argues.
No he doesn't. See above. There could be no unconditional surrender by any other means, at least, none in which we were willing to risk the lives of millions in a raid that may not even work.

Furthermore, it is not the case that in all instances, all cultures, all wars, that it is necessary for...
Article: The method was brutally violent, as it had to be--because the war unleashed by Japan was brutally violent, and only a brutal action could demonstrate its nature.
It is the case that this specific instance did. It is the case that in instances where the Morality of Death is practice, that it is necessary. It is the case where the culture is guilty of this. Japan's culture, was indeed guilty of this.



Specific problems, incidentally, include holding the general population accountable for the crimes of a few in power. You cannot hold a "culture" as responsible for certain actions; you must hold those who ordered those actions accountable.
When it comes to annihilation of 1 or the other, the other is always preferred, especially when the other is the aggressor. War is hell, war is bloody (meaning it affects civilians). But it being hell and it being bloody, doesn't make it immoral. And in cultures where the Morality of Death is bred, there are no innocents.
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Which, naturally, is why they surrendured, right? (and they would have surrendered by the end of the year without the bomb. Civilian leaders in Japan were calling for surrender long before the bombs were dropped)
Please support that. Your quote says after the fact, not before it. Then show that the evidence was available to the US and the US acted anyway. That's the only way your argument holds any water.



Excessive use of force is not immoral? How is it that unneccessary killing is not immoral?
Show that it was excessive force. Show that it was unnecessary killing.



One would have happened anyway
Who knew that it would before the bombs were dropped?



Two might have happened anyway. We don't really know. What we do know is that the vast majority of Japan was sick and tired of the warfare, and the only reason it didn't surrender before the bombs was the stubborness of some of its military leaders.
Actually, what we do know is that in the past, defeat and negotiations did not change the culture of death. So, for what logical reason do we have to believe that it would change now and not resurface later, making the lives lost on both sides, completely meaningless?
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Nagasaki is a completely different story however.

Please address these points:

-Why did the bomb need to be dropped on the 9th? This gave the Japanese a mere 3 days to respond to Hiroshima, this is not nearly long enough for a nation to comprehend the damage of the revolutionary weapon that had jus beed unleashed upon them. The full extent of the damage and deaths caused by the nuclear bomb had not been fully appreciated yet.
First, a little background...Hiroshima wasn't a random selection based on civilian population. It was a major port and manufacturing center for aircraft and synthetic fuel.

Now for Nagasaki...it was not the primary or desired target. The other cities that were on the primary list were Kyoto (but it was dropped due to its religious associations, it it being declined is what put Nagasaki on the map as a potential target), Niigata (but it was dropped due to the distance) leaving just Kokura and Nagasaki. Kokura, was the intended target. Nagasaki was on the list due to its shipbuilding capabilities, but due to it being bombed 5x already, it was determined that Kokura was the primary.

Bockscar, the plane carrying Fat Man, the bomb meant for Kokura, encountered difficult weather (cloud cover) over Kokura. The plane made 3 sweeps, each unsuccessful, each costing fueld that could no longer be spared. Weather, saved the city, so the secondary target moved into play. This is how Nagasaki became the target.

Hiroshima is often talked about more because 1) it was the first bomb dropped and 2) it's effects were more devastating (Hiroshima had twice as many casualties as Nagasaki).

Back to your point re: dates. 3 targets were on on the objective prior to the attack. Hiroshima as the primary, Kokura (as the secondary) and Nagasaki (as the tertiary). The bombing of all 3 cities was the plan from the getgo. After the first attack, a demand for surrender was to be given, if not, then the 2nd attack would be delivered. Again, after this attack, a full surrender would be demanded and if not complied with, the tertiary target would be bombed. After it was bombed, a full surrender would be demanded.

As far as the extent of damage and effects, it was known w/i 24 hours how severe it was. Tokyo knew of the bombing early on from pilots who flew over the area and reported back, but they didn't realize the severity until 16 hours later when they saw the effects being announced to the public by Washington.

Washington launched an informational warning campaign of both leaflet dropping and radio broadcasts on Radio Saipan warning Japan of their impending doom if they do not comply with the surrender terms.

On the 9th, Russia attacked Japan in Manchuria, an attack which Japan didn't take seriously as they underestimated the size of the assault.

They also implemented martial law to prevent anyone from demonstrating or calling for peace. They had absolutely NO intention of surrendering.

Thus, the bomb on Nagasaki 3 days later, and a full surrender w/i days after that.



-What the US had to gain by dropping the nuke on Nagasaki, apart from a test of the more advanced plutonium bomb on an actual city? What would have been lost if there had been a delay in attacks or an attack on a less densley populated region?
Japan had showed no sign of even considering to surrender and in fact, were doing everything opposite. They were squelching any measure of the populace who wanted peace. And each day the war lasted, more lives wold be lost. There is no evidence to suspect that Japan just needed "more time".


And although the point that the Japanese would not have stopped the war for a mere "shot in the air" as some had called it has been raised in other debates, this argument is not applicaple in the context of Nagasaki. After Hiroshima the Japanese were not in a position to attack on any fronts, especially because the Kwantung army was now about to be decisively crushed by the Soviets. Bombing another less densley populated area would put to rest any Japanese suppositions that the bomb on Hiroshima had been a one off, and would also put extra pressure on their negotiations. Remember that a large part of the Japanese Council would have prefered to absolutely destroy Japan rather than surrender. This was a representation of the bushido spirit of the samurais, which was the mentality of a lot of the Japanese High command. However not one shared by the whole of the population.
It isn't an issue of containment, but one of ending the war as soon as possible. It is not true that there were no more fronts being fought. Japan still had control of inland Asia and many surrounding islands.



-The USSR had only been at war a few hours before "Fat Boy" was dropped on Nagasaki, and this was another major development the Japanese had to deal with before they could agree to surrender, so this is another point asking why the bomb needed to be dropped so soon.
Explained above.


-The Imperial War Council of Japan was divided over surrender, yet a conversation Hirohito held with Togo, aswell as earlier negotions made through USS agents shows that the main obstacle between the Japanese and surrender was their fear that their divine emperor was going to be tried and executed by the Americans. If the safety of the Emperor had been assured surrender could have been possible without one bomb, let alone two.
Also as shown already, the allowance of the Morality of Death, was not acceptable.



The only reasons behind the bomb on Nagasaki was to test the new plutonium bomb, and to stop the Russians from claiming a share of the glory and/or occupation force of Japan. And these arguments are not ones which you can debate as being moralistic.
I believe I've shown otherwise above. Nagasaki was one of the largest sea ports in Southern Japan and was of great wartime importance because of its wide-ranging industrial activity, including the production of ordnance, ships, military equipment, and other war materials.



This about sums it up:

http://www.theonion.com/content/node/51542

StOrMeR
You do realize that the Onion is a farce paper right? :)

omegaprimate
August 17th, 2006, 04:36 PM
When it comes to annihilation of 1 or the other, the other is always preferred, especially when the other is the aggressor.

Is there any reason to believe that, at the time the bombs were dropped, the USA could have been annihilated by Japan?

Apokalupsis
August 17th, 2006, 06:09 PM
Is there any reason to believe that, at the time the bombs were dropped, the USA could have been annihilated by Japan?
Not that I'm aware of.

snackboy
August 17th, 2006, 07:13 PM
Apok,

There is no doubt based on events as they have occured using the bombs saved lives. However, I would argue that an act does not become moral based on the results of such an act, which is what you are doing. Had the two bombs only escalated the war, then would you consider the events as moral? Basically, your argument is attempting to justify a horrendous act committed by the United States. You are saying that the lives of (lets say) 5,000,000 people are worth the lives of 175,000+ people. Quite an interesting equation you have here.

Yet, you would probably balk at the suggestion that we perform medical experiments on prisoners to save the lives of millions of people. And most certainly you would balk at using the stem cells of a discarded fetus to potentially save millions of children from suffering.

It is easy to lose sight of morality when you cannot see or hear the results, or when you don't know who the person is / was. Infants and children were [arbitrarily] killed at the hands of the US. You complain when terrorist organizations don't target military organizations, but yet you describe the US as moral when they target two cities, with a third one in the wings. One bomb destroyed a city with a population of Salt Lake City and then some - this is simply unimaginably horrid.

Matthew 26:52
Then saith Jesus to him, Return thy sword to its place; for all who take the sword shall perish by the sword.

Show me an instance where Jesus advocated that the killing of innocent people is moral. Is there an instance when Jesus advocated killing of people at all?

When we defend ourselves from the enemy, we must take heed as to not to become the enemy. We have lost ourselves, as a people and country, in believing that it is morally right for the US to kill [innocent] civilians intentionally or via collateral damage for the sake of the greater good. We cannot know the future, nor apply a time limit to how events are interpreted, so we must evaluate events in of themselves. A few decades from now, we may find a group of people are preparing for a retaliation against the US for the atomic bombings, and unleash a horrible plague. Then was the 100 year old act still moral?

Apokalupsis
August 17th, 2006, 07:31 PM
It's hierarchicalism , and is discussed in another thread. The passage you quoted is taken out of context. Obviously, the Bible believes there are justifed times of war as it is riddled with accounts of it which claim it so.

How were the civilians of Japan necessarily innocent? These were not people who necessarily disagreed w/ their government...these were not people refusing to work in the factories and ports that enabled Japanese military machine.

Turtleflipper
August 17th, 2006, 07:41 PM
It's hierarchicalism , and is discussed in another thread. The passage you quoted is taken out of context. Obviously, the Bible believes there are justifed times of war as it is riddled with accounts of it which claim it so.

How were the civilians of Japan necessarily innocent? These were not people who necessarily disagreed w/ their government...these were not people refusing to work in the factories and ports that enabled Japanese military machine.

Yeah that's a flimsy excuse. If American GIs had have commited atrocities, the American public making machine guns for them isn't responsible.

snackboy
August 17th, 2006, 07:51 PM
It's hierarchicalism , and is discussed in another thread. The passage you quoted is taken out of context. Obviously, the Bible believes there are justifed times of war as it is riddled with accounts of it which claim it so.

Certainly there are many accounts of war in the Old Testament. The Hebrews were always defending themselves from some other threatening people. But where in the New Testament is killing condoned?

The passage was not taken out of context. One of the men with Jesus at the time of this story, cut off the ear of a man attempting to lay a hand on Jesus. Jesus proceeded to heal the ear of his enemy, and made the statement as quoted.

You failed to address my points. How is the killing of the innocent people to save potentially more people moral? And further, do you contend the act of bombing the two cities was, is, and will always be considered as moral?

Castle
August 17th, 2006, 08:29 PM
When a nation is bent on destroying the other nation, the defending nation cannot be charged with "murder" for responding.
Really? So it is acceptable to target civilian targets in times of war, as a general policy?


The US launching a ground offensive would have caused an unmeasurable casualy list.
False delimma.


The civilians would have been combatants.
Support?


THEY, were the aggressors.
Irrelevent. The intentional targeting of civilians cannot be justified. Isn't intentionally targeting civilians what you condemn groups like Hezbollah for, btw?


What evidence was there before the fact that this was a possibility?

One of the most notable individuals with this opinion was then-General Dwight D. Eisenhower. He wrote in his memoir The White House Years:

"In 1945 Secretary of War Stimson, visiting my headquarters in Germany, informed me that our government was preparing to drop an atomic bomb on Japan. I was one of those who felt that there were a number of cogent reasons to question the wisdom of such an act. During his recitation of the relevant facts, I had been conscious of a feeling of depression and so I voiced to him my grave misgivings, first on the basis of my belief that Japan was already defeated and that dropping the bomb was completely unnecessary, and secondly because I thought that our country should avoid shocking world opinion by the use of a weapon whose employment was, I thought, no longer mandatory as a measure to save American lives."[46][47]

Other U.S. military officers who disagreed with the necessity of the bombings include General Douglas MacArthur (the highest-ranking officer in the Pacific Theater), Fleet Admiral William D. Leahy (the Chief of Staff to the President), General Carl Spaatz (commander of the U.S. Strategic Air Forces in the Pacific), and Brigadier General Carter Clarke (the military intelligence officer who prepared intercepted Japanese cables for U.S. officials),[47] Major General Curtis LeMay,[48] and Admiral Ernest King, U.S. Chief of Naval Operations, Undersecretary of the Navy Ralph A. Bard,[49] and Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, Commander in Chief of the Pacific Fleet.[50]

"The Japanese had, in fact, already sued for peace the atomic bomb played no decisive part, from a purely military point of view, in the defeat of Japan." Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, Commander in Chief of the U.S. Pacific Fleet.[51]

"The use of [the atomic bombs] at Hiroshima and Nagasaki was of no material assistance in our war against Japan. The Japanese were already defeated and ready to surrender." Admiral William D. Leahy, Chief of Staff to President Truman.[51]


I submit that the knowledge before the fact is the knowledge that the moral decision is based on, not the knowledge of an "armchair quarterback".
I concur.


There could be no unconditional surrender by any other means, at least, none in which we were willing to risk the lives of millions in a raid that may not even work.
But that's not what your author argues.

To return an entire nation to morality, the Japanese had to be shown the literal meaning of the war they had waged against others. The abstraction "war," the propaganda of their leaders, their twisted samurai "honor," their desire to die for the emperor--all of it had to be given concrete form. This is what firebombing Japanese cities accomplished. It showed the Japanese that "this"--point to burning buildings, screaming children scarred unmercifully, piles of corpses, the promise of starvation--"this is what you have done to others. Now it has come for you. Give it up, or die." This was the only way to show them the true nature of their philosophy, and to beat the truth of the defeat into them.
Your author wants to return the atrocities of the Japanese back onto them, for the purposes of showing them the horrors of their Morality of Death. He feels that this is the only way to break the Japanese from their Morality of Death.


It is the case that in instances where the Morality of Death is practice, that it is necessary. It is the case where the culture is guilty of this. Japan's culture, was indeed guilty of this.
And was Nazi Germany, who murdered 10 million in their death camps, not guilty?


And in cultures where the Morality of Death is bred, there are no innocents.
Does demonizing your enemies make it easier to accept that the U.S. intentionally killed hundreds of thousands of Japanese civilians? How is it that the Japanese civilians were not innocent?


Please support that. Your quote says after the fact, not before it. Then show that the evidence was available to the US and the US acted anyway. That's the only way your argument holds any water.



One of the most compelling was transmitted by General MacArthur to President Roosevelt in January 1945, prior to the Yalta conference. MacArthur's communiqu� stated that the Japanese were willing to surrender under terms which included:

• Full surrender of Japanese forces on sea, in the air, at home, on island possessions, and in occupied countries.

• Surrender of all arms and munitions. � Occupation of the Japanese homeland and island possessions by allied troops under American direction.

• Japanese relinquishment of Manchuria, Korea, and Formosa, as well as all territory seized during the war.

• Regulation of Japanese industry to halt present and future production of implements of war.

• Turning over of Japanese which the United States might designate war criminals.

• Release of all prisoners of war and internees in Japan and in areas under Japanese control.

Amazingly, these were identical to the terms which were accepted by our government for the surrender of Japan seven months later.

Japan repeatedly offered a "white flag" policy for peace to President Roosevelt through General MacArthur starting in January of 1945

Although supporters of the bombing concede that the civilian leadership in Japan was cautiously and discreetly sending out diplomatic communiques as far back as January 1945


Show that it was excessive force. Show that it was unnecessary killing.
I was addressing MindTrap's comment (and my statement was thus intended as a hypothetical rather than an actual):

So though one may argue it was excessive use of force, I am not sure that it makes it immoral.


Actually, what we do know is that in the past, defeat and negotiations did not change the culture of death.
Which defeats are you talking about? And what negotiations do you refer to, and why would you expect them to change Japan's culture?

omegaprimate
August 17th, 2006, 10:48 PM
Just as a side note,

Op article:

Were it true that total victory today creates new attackers tomorrow, we would now be fighting Japanese suicide bombers, while North Korea--where the American army did not march--would be peaceful and prosperous.

Not sure what was meant by "where the American army did not march." A brief look at the events of the Korean War reveals:


Some U.N. forces reached the Yalu River -- the border between North Korea and China -- on October 25[,1950]. -CNNinteractive
http://www.cnn.com/SPECIALS/cold.war/episodes/05/maps/

Maybe I'm missing something.
<br><i><font color="red">The below text has been automerged with this post.</i></font><br>

Japan's religious-political philosophy held the emperor as a god, subordinated the individual to the state, elevated ritual over rational thought, and adopted suicide as a path to honor.

Remove "held the emperor as a god" and replace "suicide" with "death in battle" and what is described here is religiously based nationalism as far as I can tell. Flip the coin to America in WWII. Viewed our nation with mystic awe. Check. Many Americans still believe that our nation is inherently better than other nations, though none I have spoken with have been able to quantify this assumption. Subordinated the individual to the state. Check. See Japanese-American internment camps. Elevated ritual over rational thought. Check. See grade school children reciting a pledge of allegiance, which had them making promises well beyond their ability to comprehend. Adopted suicide as a path to honor. Check. Okay, perhaps not suicide, but let's call it a high risk of death.

Label it a Morality of Death, Warmongery or Patriotism. A rose is a rose...

I'm not saying this comparison equivocates American and Japanese actions during WWII, but calling Japanese culture a Morality of death because of these factors would mean that many Western nations could be labelled by the same name.

Stormer
August 18th, 2006, 03:17 PM
Back to your point re: dates. 3 targets were on on the objective prior to the attack. Hiroshima as the primary, Kokura (as the secondary) and Nagasaki (as the tertiary). The bombing of all 3 cities was the plan from the getgo. After the first attack, a demand for surrender was to be given, if not, then the 2nd attack would be delivered. Again, after this attack, a full surrender would be demanded and if not complied with, the tertiary target would be bombed. After it was bombed, a full surrender would be demanded

Though this may have been the US's plan, your argument does not show why this short amount of time was neccesary, and certainly not that it was moral. What did the US have to lose by spreading the bombings out?


As far as the extent of damage and effects, it was known w/i 24 hours how severe it was. Tokyo knew of the bombing early on from pilots who flew over the area and reported back, but they didn't realize the severity until 16 hours later when they saw the effects being announced to the public by Washington.

Be realistic here. It would have taken at least a week to know the full extent of the damage, and to seperate American propaganda from the facts. They needed to comprehend the full nature and capacity of this super weapon, how it was different and how it could be infinately more destrusctive than firebombing. Particularly in a state like Japan, where a portion of the war council advocated fight to the death rather than surrender, or at least wait for the Americans to invade. Those in the middle still had good reason to believe that they could deter an American invasion and negotiate a peace more favourable to the Japanese. Hiroshima changed all of this.
It would take more than 3 days for those sitting on the fence to realise that there was now no need for the Americans to invade. Nuclear weapons could quickly and decisively destroy Japan from the air, with little to no American casualties.

Now tell me again why three days was neccesary and moral??


On the 9th, Russia attacked Japan in Manchuria, an attack which Japan didn't take seriously as they underestimated the size of the assault.

Another reason why delaying the bomb on Nagasaki should have been delayed, as the full extent of this could have sunk in.


They also implemented martial law to prevent anyone from demonstrating or calling for peace. They had absolutely NO intention of surrendering.

On August 8 - before the Soviets announced their declaration of war and before the Nagasaki a-bomb was detonated - Foreign Minister Togo met with the Emperor to tell him what he knew of the Hiroshima bombing. They agreed that the time had come to end the war at once (Pacific War Research Society, DML, pg. 300; Pacific War Research Society, JLD, pg. 21-22).

The Japanese had, in fact, already sued for peace the atomic bomb played no decisive part, from a purely military point of view, in the defeat of Japan." Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, Commander in Chief of the U.S. Pacific Fleet(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atomic_bombings_of_Hiroshima_and_Nagasaki)

""Based on a detailed investigation of all the facts, and supported by the testimony of the surviving Japanese leaders involved, it is the Survey's opinion that certainly prior to 31 December 1945, and in all probability prior to 1 November 1945, Japan would have surrendered even if the atomic bombs had not been dropped, even if Russia had not entered the war, and even if no invasion had been planned or contemplated."- The United States Strategic Bombing Survey (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atomic_bombings_of_Hiroshima_and_Nagasaki)

"In 1945 Secretary of War Stimson, visiting my headquarters in Germany, informed me that our government was preparing to drop an atomic bomb on Japan. I was one of those who felt that there were a number of cogent reasons to question the wisdom of such an act. During his recitation of the relevant facts, I had been conscious of a feeling of depression and so I voiced to him my grave misgivings, first on the basis of my belief that Japan was already defeated and that dropping the bomb was completely unnecessary, and secondly because I thought that our country should avoid shocking world opinion by the use of a weapon whose employment was, I thought, no longer mandatory as a measure to save American lives."- General Dwight D. Eisenhower.(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atomic_bombings_of_Hiroshima_and_Nagasaki)


It isn't an issue of containment, but one of ending the war as soon as possible. It is not true that there were no more fronts being fought. Japan still had control of inland Asia and many surrounding islands

The major Japanese force remaining outside of Japan was the Kwantung army, and it was the only force capable of launching any form of offensive in late 1945, it was crushed by the Red Army in a matter of weeks. The war was already won, Nagasaki was unjustified murder.


Nagasaki was one of the largest sea ports in Southern Japan and was of great wartime importance because of its wide-ranging industrial activity, including the production of ordnance, ships, military equipment, and other war materials.

The fact that Admiral Nimitz says that the bombings were of no strategic importance and that Nagasaki was a back up plan tell a different story. Conventional bombing could have destroyed Nagasaki's industry, an atomic weapon was not neccessary.


You do realize that the Onion is a farce paper right?

Of course, but that "article" helps show just how ridiculous the decision to bomb Nagasaki was. It was "just bombed for the hell of it", it served no strategicimportance, and the fact that the Japanese were already leaning towards surrender mean that it was unjustified murder. The ONLY reason I can see behind the need to bomb Nagasaki was to stop the USSR getting a share of Japan. This can never be morally defended.

StOrMeR

PatrickHenry
December 26th, 2006, 09:58 PM
The atomic bombings were military terrorism, pure and simple. You appear to be arguing that terror is effective so it should be used against those whose philosophy is objectionable to YOU. The innocents of Hiroshima, (and contrary to Truman's statement, there was NO military installation there) paid with thier lives for decisions made in Tokyo and Washington.

Slaughter the innocent, huh, Apok? I don't find such pronouncements of collective punishment moral in the least.

I think there may be a valid argument for the atomic bombings, however. The Empire of Japan was in collapse. Their entire merchant fleet had been sunk as a result of unrestricted submarine warfare. They lacked the means to contiue any aggressive campaign. And the alteernative to the Atomic Terror bombings was a siege. This strategy has a long and effective history in warfare. It kills millions of civilians, however, and there lies the argument for the Bomb.

The US could have afforded to sit back, bomb the rail lines which delivered food to the Japanese population and starved the regime into submission. Likely, millions of innocent people would have died of hunger, in misery.

The Bombs brought a quick end to the war and may have saved many Japanese lives. The lesser of two evils.

Zhavric
December 27th, 2006, 04:30 AM
The use of the atomic bomb is acceptable only against military targets. The op's justification for bombing civilian targets smacks of similar propaganda it accuses the Japanese of holding to. In not so many words, it has stated "it's better to vaporize Japanese women & children who weren't involved in the war rather than risk American fighting men."

Anyone who believes the bombing of Hiroshima & Nagasaki is moral, please answer the following question:

Would it have been moral for American troops to march into Nagasaki & Hiroshima and perform the following acts on the grounds they were necessary to teach the Japanese a lesson as detailed in the op:

1) Build extremely hot ovens and march each and every citizen who would have died in the initial atomic blasts into said ovens to die. This would include women and children.

2) Use chemical weapons to simulate the effects of radiation poisoning on all individuals who died of radiation related maladies.

3) Deliberately knock over buildings with no military signifigance including schools and hospitals.

If you answered no to any of the above, please justify how it is moral for us to do these things with one bomb. The bombings may have been tactically advantageous, but (as the Nazis demonstrated) wiping out large civilian populations is NOT moral.

Dr. Gonzo
December 27th, 2006, 05:54 AM
Ralph Raico:

The most spectacular episode of Truman’s presidency will never be forgotten, but will be forever linked to his name: the atomic bombings of Hiroshima on August 6, 1945, and of Nagasaki three days later. Probably around two hundred thousand persons were killed in the attacks and through radiation poisoning; the vast majority were civilians, including several thousand Korean workers. Twelve U.S. Navy fliers incarcerated in a Hiroshima jail were also among the dead.87

Great controversy has always surrounded the bombings. One thing Truman insisted on from the start: The decision to use the bombs, and the responsibility it entailed, was his. Over the years, he gave different, and contradictory, grounds for his decision. Sometimes he implied that he had acted simply out of revenge. To a clergyman who criticized him, Truman responded, testily:

Nobody is more disturbed over the use of Atomic bombs than I am but I was greatly disturbed over the unwarranted attack by the Japanese on Pearl Harbor and their murder of our prisoners of war. The only language they seem to understand is the one we have been using to bombard them.88

Such reasoning will not impress anyone who fails to see how the brutality of the Japanese military could justify deadly retaliation against innocent men, women, and children. Truman doubtless was aware of this, so from time to time he advanced other pretexts. On August 9, 1945, he stated: "The world will note that the first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, a military base. That was because we wished in this first attack to avoid, insofar as possible, the killing of civilians."89

This, however, is absurd. Pearl Harbor was a military base. Hiroshima was a city, inhabited by some three hundred thousand people, which contained military elements. In any case, since the harbor was mined and the U.S. Navy and Air Force were in control of the waters around Japan, whatever troops were stationed in Hiroshima had been effectively neutralized.

On other occasions, Truman claimed that Hiroshima was bombed because it was an industrial center. But, as noted in the U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey, "all major factories in Hiroshima were on the periphery of the city – and escaped serious damage."90 The target was the center of the city. That Truman realized the kind of victims the bombs consumed is evident from his comment to his cabinet on August 10, explaining his reluctance to drop a third bomb: "The thought of wiping out another 100,000 people was too horrible," he said; he didn’t like the idea of killing "all those kids."91 Wiping out another one hundred thousand people . . . all those kids.

Moreover, the notion that Hiroshima was a major military or industrial center is implausible on the face of it. The city had remained untouched through years of devastating air attacks on the Japanese home islands, and never figured in Bomber Command’s list of the 33 primary targets.92

Thus, the rationale for the atomic bombings has come to rest on a single colossal fabrication, which has gained surprising currency: that they were necessary in order to save a half-million or more American lives. These, supposedly, are the lives that would have been lost in the planned invasion of Kyushu in December, then in the all-out invasion of Honshu the next year, if that was needed. But the worst-case scenario for a full-scale invasion of the Japanese home islands was forty-six thousand American lives lost.93 The ridiculously inflated figure of a half-million for the potential death toll – nearly twice the total of U.S. dead in all theaters in the Second World War – is now routinely repeated in high-school and college textbooks and bandied about by ignorant commentators. Unsurprisingly, the prize for sheer fatuousness on this score goes to President George H.W. Bush, who claimed in 1991 that dropping the bomb "spared millions of American lives."94

Still, Truman’s multiple deceptions and self-deceptions are understandable, considering the horror he unleashed. It is equally understandable that the U.S. occupation authorities censored reports from the shattered cities and did not permit films and photographs of the thousands of corpses and the frightfully mutilated survivors to reach the public.95 Otherwise, Americans – and the rest of the world – might have drawn disturbing comparisons to scenes then coming to light from the Nazi concentration camps.

The bombings were condemned as barbaric and unnecessary by high American military officers, including Eisenhower and MacArthur.96 The view of Admiral William D. Leahy, Truman’s own chief of staff, was typical:

the use of this barbarous weapon at Hiroshima and Nagasaki was of no material assistance in our war against Japan. . . . My own feeling was that in being the first to use it, we had adopted an ethical standard common to the barbarians of the Dark Ages. I was not taught to make wars in that fashion, and wars cannot be won by destroying women and children.97

The political elite implicated in the atomic bombings feared a backlash that would aid and abet the rebirth of horrid prewar "isolationism." Apologias were rushed into print, lest public disgust at the sickening war crime result in erosion of enthusiasm for the globalist project.98 No need to worry. A sea-change had taken place in the attitudes of the American people. Then and ever after, all surveys have shown that the great majority supported Truman, believing that the bombs were required to end the war and save hundreds of thousands of American lives, or more likely, not really caring one way or the other.

Those who may still be troubled by such a grisly exercise in cost-benefit analysis – innocent Japanese lives balanced against the lives of Allied servicemen – might reflect on the judgment of the Catholic philosopher G.E.M. Anscombe, who insisted on the supremacy of moral rules.99 When, in June 1956, Truman was awarded an honorary degree by her university, Oxford, Anscombe protested.100 Truman was a war criminal, she contended, for what is the difference between the U.S. government massacring civilians from the air, as at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the Nazis wiping out the inhabitants of some Czech or Polish village?

Anscombe’s point is worth following up. Suppose that, when we invaded Germany in early 1945, our leaders had believed that executing all the inhabitants of Aachen, or Trier, or some other Rhineland city would finally break the will of the Germans and lead them to surrender. In this way, the war might have ended quickly, saving the lives of many Allied soldiers. Would that then have justified shooting tens of thousands of German civilians, including women and children? Yet how is that different from the atomic bombings?

By early summer 1945, the Japanese fully realized that they were beaten. Why did they nonetheless fight on? As Anscombe wrote: "It was the insistence on unconditional surrender that was the root of all evil."101

That mad formula was coined by Roosevelt at the Casablanca conference, and, with Churchill’s enthusiastic concurrence, it became the Allied shibboleth. After prolonging the war in Europe, it did its work in the Pacific. At the Potsdam conference, in July 1945, Truman issued a proclamation to the Japanese, threatening them with the "utter devastation" of their homeland unless they surrendered unconditionally. Among the Allied terms, to which "there are no alternatives," was that there be "eliminated for all time the authority and influence of those who have deceived and misled the people of Japan into embarking on world conquest [sic]." "Stern justice," the proclamation warned, "would be meted out to all war criminals."102

To the Japanese, this meant that the emperor – regarded by them to be divine, the direct descendent of the goddess of the sun – would certainly be dethroned and probably put on trial as a war criminal and hanged, perhaps in front of his palace.103 It was not, in fact, the U.S. intention to dethrone or punish the emperor. But this implicit modification of unconditional surrender was never communicated to the Japanese. In the end, after Nagasaki, Washington acceded to the Japanese desire to keep the dynasty and even to retain Hirohito as emperor.

For months before, Truman had been pressed to clarify the U.S. position by many high officials within the administration, and outside of it, as well. In May 1945, at the president’s request, Herbert Hoover prepared a memorandum stressing the urgent need to end the war as soon as possible. The Japanese should be informed that we would in no way interfere with the emperor or their chosen form of government. He even raised the possibility that, as part of the terms, Japan might be allowed to hold on to Formosa (Taiwan) and Korea. After meeting with Truman, Hoover dined with Taft and other Republican leaders, and outlined his proposals.104

Establishment writers on World War II often like to deal in lurid speculations. For instance: if the United States had not entered the war, then Hitler would have "conquered the world" (a sad undervaluation of the Red Army, it would appear; moreover, wasn’t it Japan that was trying to "conquer the world"?) and killed untold millions. Now, applying conjectural history in this case: assume that the Pacific war had ended in the way wars customarily do – through negotiation of the terms of surrender. And assume the worst – that the Japanese had adamantly insisted on preserving part of their empire, say, Korea and Formosa, even Manchuria. In that event, it is quite possible that Japan would have been in a position to prevent the Communists from coming to power in China. And that could have meant that the thirty or forty million deaths now attributed to the Maoist regime would not have occurred.

But even remaining within the limits of feasible diplomacy in 1945, it is clear that Truman in no way exhausted the possibilities of ending the war without recourse to the atomic bomb. The Japanese were not informed that they would be the victims of by far the most lethal weapon ever invented (one with "more than two thousand times the blast power of the British ‘Grand Slam,’ which is the largest bomb ever yet used in the history of warfare," as Truman boasted in his announcement of the Hiroshima attack). Nor were they told that the Soviet Union was set to declare war on Japan, an event that shocked some in Tokyo more than the bombings.105 Pleas by some of the scientists involved in the project to demonstrate the power of the bomb in some uninhabited or evacuated area were rebuffed. All that mattered was to formally preserve the unconditional surrender formula and save the servicemen’s lives that might have been lost in the effort to enforce it. Yet, as Major General J.F.C. Fuller, one of the century’s great military historians, wrote in connection with the atomic bombings:

Though to save life is laudable, it in no way justifies the employment of means which run counter to every precept of humanity and the customs of war. Should it do so, then, on the pretext of shortening a war and of saving lives, every imaginable atrocity can be justified.106

Isn’t this obviously true? And isn’t this the reason that rational and humane men, over generations, developed rules of warfare in the first place?

While the mass media parroted the government line in praising the atomic incinerations, prominent conservatives denounced them as unspeakable war crimes. Felix Morley, constitutional scholar and one of the founders of Human Events, drew attention to the horror of Hiroshima, including the "thousands of children trapped in the thirty-three schools that were destroyed." He called on his compatriots to atone for what had been done in their name, and proposed that groups of Americans be sent to Hiroshima, as Germans were sent to witness what had been done in the Nazi camps. The Paulist priest, Father James Gillis, editor of The Catholic World and another stalwart of the Old Right, castigated the bombings as "the most powerful blow ever delivered against Christian civilization and the moral law." David Lawrence, conservative owner of U.S. News and World Report, continued to denounce them for years.107 The distinguished conservative philosopher Richard Weaver was revolted by

the spectacle of young boys fresh out of Kansas and Texas turning nonmilitary Dresden into a holocaust . . . pulverizing ancient shrines like Monte Cassino and Nuremberg, and bringing atomic annihilation to Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Weaver considered such atrocities as deeply "inimical to the foundations on which civilization is built."108

Today, self-styled conservatives slander as "anti-American" anyone who is in the least troubled by Truman’s massacre of so many tens of thousands of Japanese innocents from the air. This shows as well as anything the difference between today’s "conservatives" and those who once deserved the name.

Leo Szilard was the world-renowned physicist who drafted the original letter to Roosevelt that Einstein signed, instigating the Manhattan Project. In 1960, shortly before his death, Szilard stated another obvious truth:

If the Germans had dropped atomic bombs on cities instead of us, we would have defined the dropping of atomic bombs on cities as a war crime, and we would have sentenced the Germans who were guilty of this crime to death at Nuremberg and hanged them.109

The destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki was a war crime worse than any that Japanese generals were executed for in Tokyo and Manila. If Harry Truman was not a war criminal, then no one ever was.

This is just an excerpt...for the full article, rich with footnotes: Harry S. Truman: Advancing the Revolution by Ralph Raico (http://www.lewrockwell.com/raico/raico20.html)

GoldPhoenix
December 28th, 2006, 08:12 AM
I found this excellent article (written by Dr. John Lewis, a professor of history) while doing a bit of research for another thread. I thought I'd share it and start a discussion about it.

The Moral Goodness of the Atomic Bombing of Hiroshima (http://www.the-undercurrent.com/index.php?p=/000105.html)

I highly encourage you to read the entire article (it's not that long). But I'll sum up here for ease of discussion. Some of the following is directly taken from the article.

If you are like me, hearing that the Hiroshima bombing was moral, is foreign. I knew I believed it was necessary...but moral? On what grounds could it be said to be moral? Greater good, maybe? Ayn Rand wrote that the purpose of morality is not to suffer and die, but to prosper and live. At first, it doesn't appear that this could be a moral act then...but perhaps with a bit of history and context...a new perspective on the event can unfold.

Let's start with the Japanese culture pre-WW2. World War II in the Pacific was launched by a nation that esteemed everything hostile to human life. Japan's religious-political philosophy held the emperor as a god, subordinated the individual to the state, elevated ritual over rational thought, and adopted suicide as a path to honor. This was truly a Morality of Death, which had gripped Japanese society for nearly three generations. Japan's war with Russia had ended in 1905 with a negotiated treaty, which left Japan's militaristic culture intact. The motivations for war were emboldened, and the next generation broke the treaty by attacking Manchuria in 1931. Negotiations, just weren't helping to remove the militaristic regime and culture of Japan...it merely paused the expansion, allowing for Japan to come back and fight another day.

It was after Japan attacked America that America waged war against Japan--a proper moral response to the violence Japan had initiated. Despite three and a half years of slaughter, surrender was not at hand in mid-1945. Over six million Japanese were still in Asia. Some 12,000 Americans had died on Okinawa alone. Many Japanese leaders hoped to kill enough Americans during an invasion to convince them that the cost of invasion was too high. A "Die for the Emperor" propaganda campaign had motivated many Japanese civilians to fight to the death. Volunteers lined up for kamikaze--"Divine Wind"--suicide missions. Hope of victory kept the Japanese cause alive, until hopeless prostration before American air attacks made the abject renunciation of all war the only alternative to suicide. The Japanese had to choose between the Morality of Death, and the Morality of Life.

The bombings marked America's total victory over a militaristic culture that had murdered millions. To return an entire nation to morality, the Japanese had to be shown the literal meaning of the war they had waged against others. The abstraction "war," the propaganda of their leaders, their twisted samurai "honor," their desire to die for the emperor--all of it had to be given concrete form. This is what firebombing Japanese cities accomplished. It showed the Japanese that "this"--point to burning buildings, screaming children scarred unmercifully, piles of corpses, the promise of starvation--"this is what you have done to others. Now it has come for you. Give it up, or die." This was the only way to show them the true nature of their philosophy, and to beat the truth of the defeat into them. It was making them, their own victim. As long as they were the giver of such brutality, they could not see the immorality of such aggression. It could only be when they were the victims, that their eyes would open and their culture and mindset would change from being that of a violent nature, to that of one which valued life.

While after the bombings, Japan was defeated, they did not surrender. And surrendering was incredibly important. It has already been seen that entering a treaty, negotiations, etc... could not change the militaristic nature, it would require a complete surrender and submission in order for this to occur.

President Truman demonstrated his understanding of this concept and willingness to bomb the Japanese out of existence if they did not surrender. The Potsdam Declaration (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Potsdam_Declaration) of July 26, 1945 is stark: "The result of the futile and senseless German resistance to the might of the aroused free peoples of the world stands forth in awful clarity as an example to the people of Japan...Following are our terms. We will not deviate from them. There are no alternatives. We shall brook no delay...We call upon the government of Japan to proclaim now the unconditional surrender of all Japanese armed forces...The alternative for Japan is prompt and utter destruction."

The approach worked brilliantly. After the bombs, the Japanese chose wisely. The method was brutally violent, as it had to be--because the war unleashed by Japan was brutally violent, and only a brutal action could demonstrate its nature. To have shielded Japanese citizens from the meaning of their own actions--the Rape of Nanking (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rape_of_nanking) and the Bataan Death March (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bataan_Death_March)--would have been a massive act of dishonesty. It would have left the Japanese unable to reject military aggression the next time it was offered as an elixir of glory. After the war, many returning Japanese troops were welcomed by their countrymen not as heroes, but with derision. The imperial cause was recognized as bankrupt, and the actions of its soldiers worthy of contempt. Forced to confront the reality of what they had done, a sense of morality had returned to Japan.

Some citizens understood the necessity and morality of "the bomb". Hisatsune Sakomizu, chief cabinet secretary of Japan, said after the war: "The atomic bomb was a golden opportunity given by Heaven for Japan to end the war." He wanted to look like a peaceful man--which became a sensible position only after the Americans had won. Okura Kimmochi, president of the Technological Research Mobilization Office, wrote before the surrender: "I think it is better for our country to suffer a total defeat than to win total victory...in the case of Japan's total defeat, the armed forces would be abolished, but the Japanese people will rise to the occasion during the next several decades to reform themselves into a truly splendid people...the great humiliation [the bomb] is nothing but an admonition administered by Heaven to our country."

Americans should be immensely proud of the bomb. It ended a war that had enslaved a continent to a religious-military ideology of slavery and death. There is no room on earth for this system, its ideas and its advocates. It took a country that values this world to bomb this system out of existence. For the Americans to do so while refusing to sacrifice their own troops to save the lives of enemy civilians was a sublimely moral action. They destroyed the foundations of the war, and allowed the Japanese to rebuild their culture along with their cities, as prosperous inhabitants of the earth.

Were it true that total victory today creates new attackers tomorrow, we would now be fighting Japanese suicide bombers, while North Korea--where the American army did not march--would be peaceful and prosperous. The facts are otherwise. The need for total victory over the Morality of Death has never been clearer.

This not only applied then, but now. Today, the West faces the threat against radical Islam. Let the example of Japan show that what is possible of it, can be possible for all belief systems harboring the Morality of Death, that through its eradication, the Morality of Life will grow in its place and allow for a greater quality of life, more liberties, and actual peace. It was, and is indeed, a moral action.

There is nothing moral about dropping a bomb and killing people. There can be no moral goodness in killing; killing is an unfortunate necessity in circumstances, but never "deal out death and judgment" as Tolkien said.

We were faced with a group of evils; there was no moral high ground. The only best choice we had was to weight life ratios in a balance and make a descision. No, Apok, we are not always faced between that which is moral and that which is immoral, but by that which is best case compared with that which is worst.


And I think that is the only retort that suffices.

Zhavric
December 28th, 2006, 09:03 AM
I see this thread easily spiraling off into a discussion of what is "moral". Remember that what is legal & justifyable isn't necessarily moral. Having no choice but to act in an immoral manner by an aggressor doesn't make one moral.

War is a bloody and horrible thing. While many actions are justifyable, very few are moral.

Finding a way to get the Japanese to surrender WITHOUT killing hundreds of thousands of them would have been the moral thing to do. No, I don't know how that could have been done, but as any Christian will tell you, the moral path isn't the easy path.

Dr. Gonzo
December 28th, 2006, 09:04 AM
Apok...if I can prove that crucifying Jesus and killing him would have quelled any possible rebellion and maintained order, would you concede that killing Jesus was moral?

If I could prove that dropping an atomic bomb on Judea and killing Jesus, the 12 diciples and everyone would have prevented the future Arab-Israel conflict, would you have supported it?

Gaius
December 28th, 2006, 07:23 PM
Japan wanted to surrender long before we dropped the first bomb.
They simply wanted their emperor spared, it was rejected, we bombed them, and then spared the emperor.

Moral ? No

Galendir
December 29th, 2006, 12:33 AM
Apok...if I can prove that crucifying Jesus and killing him would have quelled any possible rebellion and maintained order, would you concede that killing Jesus was moral?
Very doubtful unless his views have taken a 180.
(From: http://www.onlinedebate.net/forums/62491-post53.html)

Take the crucifixion of Christ...a horribly evil act that resulted in great good. Despite it resulting in good, Acts 2:22-23 (http://biblegateway.com/cgi-bin/bible?language=english&version=NIV&passage=Acts+2%3A22-23) makes it clear that it was indeed an evil act, not one of "good".
It says those who crucified him were wicked or lawless. It does not say that the act itself was evil. Perhaps the men were considered evil only because their primary motive was to cause suffering. If their motive had been more like God's, and they knew that it was ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY for Christ to be crucified so that men could experience heavenly bliss and Christ could accomplish his purpose and God's will could be done, etc., then, perhaps, they might have been considered good for working to achieve this end.

It was God's will that Christ be crucified.
God does not will evil.
Therefore, the crucifixion of Christ was not evil.
Acts 2:23 Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:

I take this to mean it was God’s will that the Christ be crucified. (cf. Jn 10:18, 1Cor 2:7, Rev 13:8 et al. for further support) Do you disagree?
If the act/event of the crucifixion itself is evil then, clearly, God wills that evil acts/events occur. Also, both the "wicked" men and God intended (and acted) to effect the crucifixion. If the men are deemed wicked solely because of their participation in the crucifixion, and motive is not a determining factor in their culpability, then what exculpates God for his involvement in this event?
On the face of it, it does appear that to claim that the willful slaying of over a hundred thousand civilians in order to potentially save a similar number of military combatants is moral, yet the temporary slaying of an individual necessary to save hundreds of millions (potentially billions) of eternal lives is immoral is a hypocritical double-standard.

FruitandNut
December 29th, 2006, 01:14 AM
Japan wanted to surrender long before we dropped the first bomb.
They simply wanted their emperor spared, it was rejected, we bombed them, and then spared the emperor.

Moral ? No


I think you will find that Tojo and the military council argued to continue with the fight. Since the Emperor went along with the war and in effect presided over Japanese atrocities, it would have been a bit like leaving Hitler or Mussolini as titular heads of their nations after the war. It was really a non-starter. Saddam was 'guilty' of far less, and he is being 'knocked off'. It may be reasonably regarded that not executing the Emperor was actually an act of political largesse.

In the First World War we saw a 'conditional surrender'/armistice of the German forces, which as a consequence led to the Second.

pikatore
December 29th, 2006, 01:43 AM
Moral? Hell no.

Trying to justify the reason for dropping an atomic bomb on another country sickens me.

FruitandNut
December 29th, 2006, 02:31 AM
pikatore - What is so special about being killed by an Atomic bomb rather than being killed in the Massacre of Nanking {approx 150,000 to 300,000 killed with many women and girls being raped first], or as part of the tens of millions of others that were killed and maimed by more conventional means during WWII - please let me know.

Dr. Gonzo
December 29th, 2006, 07:50 AM
So then Apok is a deontologist?

That kind of shoots his teleology in the foot. His run-of-the-mill consequentialist utilitarianism.

ChrisTC
December 31st, 2006, 09:11 AM
I found that the author of the article made one obvious error; he assumes that Japan would not have surrendered, which is an impossible assertation to prove.

FruitandNut
January 3rd, 2007, 01:37 AM
I found that the author of the article made one obvious error; he assumes that Japan would not have surrendered, which is an impossible assertation to prove.

And vice versa?

There is an argument that to demonstrate the bomb first, for instance, would have left the US with but one other ready atomic weapon if the demo didn't work; and that Russia could have benefitted from this earlier awareness of Western Allied technology. And of course there is the small matter of many Allied troops and others still dying on a large scale, daily.

Zhavric
January 3rd, 2007, 04:08 AM
*sigh*

I think Apok and the other op supporters have given up on this thread. F&N: your comments work if you're trying to justify the bomb's use. I have never questioned the tactical effectiveness of the atomic bomb... but being tactically effective doesn't make it moral.

The U.S. should have picked a military target... a fleet of ships... a military base... an island inhabited ONLY by Japanese troops. Even then, I'm not sure it would have been moral.

FruitandNut
January 3rd, 2007, 04:17 AM
Zhav - I don't think that war, as in killing and injuring (often innocent in varying degrees) folks, is 'moral'; but I do feel that there are instances when the concept of a 'greater good' can be 'justified'/mitigated. A conventional invasion of the main islands were liable to have caused even greater casualties - on both sides.

To use the bomb away from civilians would not have had the impact on the Japanese public. Indeed I suspect that a censored media would have largely airbrushed it. As for dumping it on a fleet, well they had no fleets left. Most of their large military complexes were in and around cities and large towns anyway, and their large numbers of reserve kamikazi aircraft were well dispersed.

Zhavric
January 3rd, 2007, 04:27 AM
The goal wasn't to convince the public. The goal was to convince the emperor. The country would have gone along with anything the emperor had done. Regardless, you're still stuck with the dilemma that blowing up women & children is preferable to risking the lives of our own fighting men.

War is just terrorism with a bigger budget.

FruitandNut
January 3rd, 2007, 04:39 AM
War is just terrorism with a bigger budget.

Yes, my dad and uncles were all terrorists in WWII, how dare they attempt to defeat Hitler, Tojo and Mussolini. Still, at least one was killed doing it.

ps. Even AFTER Hiroshima, the Japanese military council stayed/persuaded the Emperor not to surrender.

I guess that even hindsight is controversial.

Firewing
January 30th, 2007, 04:45 AM
just look at the logic side of it. if we hadn't done that then the japaninese would be ruling us now. i'm not saying that it was the right thing to do, but it was right in some strange kinda way. i mean we even warned them that we would do it but they refused to surrender, after we dropped the bomb the president of japan tried to surrender for the good of the country one of the japaniese army generals tried to assinated him! but fortunatly it failed so we didn't have to dropp another.

catch22
January 30th, 2007, 11:27 AM
just look at the logic side of it. if we hadn't done that then the japaninese would be ruling us now. i'm not saying that it was the right thing to do, but it was right in some strange kinda way. i mean we even warned them that we would do it but they refused to surrender, after we dropped the bomb the president of japan tried to surrender for the good of the country one of the japaniese army generals tried to assinated him! but fortunatly it failed so we didn't have to dropp another.

There is no way of knowing that the Japanese would be ruling us, and they probably wouldn't. The United States was much too powerful to be defeated that totally. And I am pretty sure that the Japanese attacked mainland America exactly...zero times during the war.

And we did drop another...on Nagasaki I believe...yes, yes we did

Castle
January 30th, 2007, 12:17 PM
just look at the logic side of it. if we hadn't done that then the japaninese would be ruling us now
Patently false. They were about to surrender anyway.
Atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atomic_bombings_of_Hiroshima_and_Nagasaki#Militari ly_unnecessary)

Based on a detailed investigation of all the facts, and supported by the testimony of the surviving Japanese leaders involved, it is the Survey's opinion that certainly prior to 31 December 1945, and in all probability prior to 1 November 1945, Japan would have surrendered even if the atomic bombs had not been dropped, even if Russia had not entered the war, and even if no invasion had been planned or contemplated."[63][62]


after we dropped the bomb the president of japan tried to surrender for the good of the country one of the japaniese army generals tried to assinated him! but fortunatly it failed so we didn't have to dropp another.
Ermm...you do know that two bombs were dropped, right?

Apokalupsis
January 30th, 2007, 04:22 PM
castle, then if it were the case that Japan were not going to surrender, the dropping of the bomb was justified?

It seems as if this is your only argument against the bomb being dropped (that Japan would have surrendered anyway).

If it is the case, that Japan would have surrendered anyway, and the US did not have knowledge of this alleged surrender, then dropping of the bomb was most certainly immoral, unjustified and unnecessary. But despite your devout faith in this survey, many experts testify otherwise, that there was no way Japan was going to surrender.

Regardless, let's play pretend. Let's say that Japan was conclusively not going to surrender. We drop the bomb, they then surrender.

Is the dropping of the bomb justifed and moral or not?

Castle
January 30th, 2007, 04:29 PM
I was not making an argument against the morality of dropping the bomb in post #48; I was correcting false information. But since you asked...


Regardless, let's play pretend. Let's say that Japan was conclusively not going to surrender. We drop the bomb, they then surrender.
Is the dropping of the bomb justifed and moral or not?
Well, see, it was always my understanding that targeting civilians was basically the definition of terrorism, and that terrorism was a bad thing. So I'm going to have to go with "no".

Apokalupsis
January 30th, 2007, 04:32 PM
There is nothing moral about dropping a bomb and killing people. There can be no moral goodness in killing; killing is an unfortunate necessity in circumstances, but never "deal out death and judgment" as Tolkien said.
This is false. Taking life and and of itself is an amoral act. Without context, it is impossible to determine the value of the act (moral or immoral). Killing is a broad category. Killing with intent, unintentional, negligence, ignorance, malice, self-defense, punishment, assistance, sacrifice, mercy, etc... all have a variance of moral value.

Not all killing is the same as you have claimed. Killing is sometimes necessary. It is unfortunate, but it being unfortunate does not make it immoral by default.



We were faced with a group of evils; there was no moral high ground. The only best choice we had was to weight life ratios in a balance and make a descision. No, Apok, we are not always faced between that which is moral and that which is immoral, but by that which is best case compared with that which is worst.
Greater good. The greater good being (assuming Japan would not have surrendered) either not attacking Japan with the bomb(s) and thus, allowing them to live but result in loss of life far surpassing that of the bomb by way of amphibous assualt (with large casualties on both sides)...or the greater good of saving all these lives by way of dropping the bomb.

That is: Saving fewer lives by not dropping bomb vs saving more lives by dropping bomb.

It isn't a lessor evil, but greater good. Appears similar, but it is quite different. In either case, a moral good is the resultant act.
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Well, see, it was always my understanding that targeting civilians was basically the definition of terrorism, and that terrorism was a bad thing. So I'm going to have to go with "no".
This is incorrect. From post #20:


First, a little background...Hiroshima wasn't a random selection based on civilian population. It was a major port and manufacturing center for aircraft and synthetic fuel.

Now for Nagasaki...it was not the primary or desired target. The other cities that were on the primary list were Kyoto (but it was dropped due to its religious associations, it it being declined is what put Nagasaki on the map as a potential target), Niigata (but it was dropped due to the distance) leaving just Kokura and Nagasaki. Kokura, was the intended target. Nagasaki was on the list due to its shipbuilding capabilities, but due to it being bombed 5x already, it was determined that Kokura was the primary.

If "civilian population" was the focal intent, there were larger cities that could have been targeted.

Castle
January 30th, 2007, 04:43 PM
First, a little background...Hiroshima wasn't a random selection based on civilian population. It was a major port and manufacturing center for aircraft and synthetic fuel.

Now for Nagasaki...it was not the primary or desired target. The other cities that were on the primary list were Kyoto (but it was dropped due to its religious associations, it it being declined is what put Nagasaki on the map as a potential target), Niigata (but it was dropped due to the distance) leaving just Kokura and Nagasaki. Kokura, was the intended target. Nagasaki was on the list due to its shipbuilding capabilities, but due to it being bombed 5x already, it was determined that Kokura was the primary.

If "civilian population" was the focal intent, there were larger cities that could have been targeted.
I wasn't suggesting that the major intent was to kill as many civilians as possible. I was suggesting that committing an act that you know is going to kill tens of thousands of non-combatants is a bad thing.

Booger
January 30th, 2007, 05:10 PM
The greater good being (assuming Japan would not have surrendered) either not attacking Japan with the bomb(s) and thus, allowing them to live but result in loss of life far surpassing that of the bomb by way of amphibous assualt (with large casualties on both sides)...or the greater good of saving all these lives by way of dropping the bomb.

That is: Saving fewer lives by not dropping bomb vs saving more lives by dropping bomb.

First, false dilemma. As one author writes (http://http://www.countercurrents.org/hr-krieger070803.htm):


Since the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki there has been a struggle for memory. The story of the bombings differs radically between what has been told in America and how the survivors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki recount this tragedy. America’s rendition is a story of triumph – triumph of technology and triumph in war. It views the bomb from above, from the perspective of those who dropped it.

In the minds of many, if not most US citizens, the atomic bombs saved the lives of perhaps a million US soldiers, and the destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki is seen as a small price to pay to save so many lives and bring a terrible war to an end. This view leaves the impression that bombing these cities with atomic weapons was useful, fruitful and an occasion to be celebrated.

The problem with this rendition of history is that the need for dropping the bombs to end the war has been widely challenged by historians. Many scholars, including Lifton and Mitchell, have questioned the official US account of the bombings. These critics have variously pointed out that Japan was attempting to surrender at the time the bombs were dropped, that the US Army Strategic Survey calculated far fewer US casualties from an invasion of Japan, and that there were other ways to end the war without using the atomic bombs on the two Japanese cities.

Among the critics of the use of nuclear weapons at Hiroshima and Nagasaki were leading US military figures. General Dwight Eisenhower, Supreme Allied Commander Europe during World War II and later US president, described his reaction upon having been told by Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson that atomic bombs would be used on Japanese cities:

“During his recitation of the relevant facts, I had been conscious of a feeling of depression and so I voiced to him my grave misgivings, first on the basis of my belief that Japan was already defeated and that dropping the bomb was completely unnecessary, and secondly because I thought that our country should avoid shocking world opinion by the use of a weapon whose employment was, I thought, no longer mandatory as a measure to save American lives. It was my belief that Japan was, at that very moment, attempting to surrender with a minimum loss of ‘face’. . . .”

In a post-war interview, Eisenhower told a journalist, “…the Japanese were ready to surrender and it wasn’t necessary to hit them with that awful thing.”

General Henry “Hap” Arnold, Commanding General of the US Army Air Forces during World War II, wrote, “It always appeared to us that, atomic bomb or no atomic bomb, the Japanese were already on the verge of collapse.”

Truman’s Chief of Staff, Admiral William D. Leahy, wrote,

“It is my opinion that the use of this barbarous weapon at Hiroshima and Nagasaki was of no material assistance in our war against Japan. The Japanese were already defeated and ready to surrender…. My own feeling was that in being the first to use it, we had adopted an ethical standard common to the barbarians of the Dark Ages. I was not taught to make war in that fashion, and wars cannot be won by destroying women and children….”

Despite these powerful statements of dissent from US World War II military leaders, there is still a strong sense in the United States and among its allies that the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were justified by the war. There is insufficient recognition that the victims of the bombings were largely civilians, that those closest to the epicenters of the explosions were incinerated, while those further away were exposed to radiation poisoning, that many suffered excruciatingly painful deaths, and that even today, more than five decades after the bombings, survivors continue to suffer from the effects of the radiation exposure.

Second, as a conservative writes in the National Review (http://www.nationalreview.com/ponnuru/ponnuru200508150817.asp):


There is a distinction between military actions that have the goal of killing civilians or kill civilians as a means to a goal, on the one hand, and military actions that have the foreseeable but unintended effect of killing civilians, on the other. It is the difference between willing the death of innocents and causing it.

The conservative error is to assume that the intentional killing of civilians is justified in order to avert a greater number of deaths.

It has commonly been argued that the alternative to the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki was to launch an invasion involving "at least 1.5 million Allied soldiers" (to quote Harry Truman). The bombings saved lives and thus, runs the argument, were justified.

t is not necessary to make a definitive judgment that Truman made the wrong choice in order to be troubled by the justifications that have been made for that choice — [I]and to wonder about their implications for the war on terrorism...To the extent that the intentional killing of civilians had become a routine military technique — and Churchill's qualms about it are among the reasons for refusing to endorse that view completely — that might mitigate Truman's culpability for making the wrong choice (if it was the wrong choice). But it would not yield the conclusion that his choice was right. We might well conclude that Hiroshima and Nagasaki were part of a class of immoral, though understandable, acts committed by the good guys during World War II.

As the above author notes, for those who justify the intentional killing of innocents in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, what standard of morality stops us from intentionally targeting civilians whenever we thought that doing so would hold our military casualties down (or even hold the total number of civilian and military casualties down)?

Any op supporters willing to take on Zhavric's challenge here (http://www.onlinedebate.net/forums/197858-post31.html)?

Zhavric
January 31st, 2007, 04:22 AM
Any op supporters willing to take on Zhavric's challenge here (http://www.onlinedebate.net/forums/197858-post31.html)?

Clearly, the op supporters have confused "tactically advantageous" with "moral".

Apokalupsis
January 31st, 2007, 12:21 PM
Boog, it is only a false dilemma if it is the case that the reason given for dropping the bombs was false. I admitted this in a previous post, so for sake of the argument, and in order to justify the argument, it must be the case that it was necessary to cause Japan to surrender.

For if it was not the case that Japan would not have surrendered anyway, then the bomb being used, was indeed unjustified no matter how one slices it.

As far as the second point, it is indeed seemingly problematic to equate civilian lives with military lives in a war. If one considers both to be equal, then there is nothing to prevent the military from purposefully targetting civilians, nor is there any measure in place to take into account the extent of collateral damage. It is a case of ends justify the means (a philosophy I oppose).

Here is how I sum up the argument on the pro side...

1) The justification of dropping the bomb is contingent upon Japan not surrending without the attack. If it is not the case that it was the bomb that brought about the surrender, then there is no need to move foward in the argument, it is defeated right here. Thus, prove that Japan was going to surrender or would have otherwise, and the argument against dropping the bomb, is won.

2) Assuming the bomb was the mechanism for Japan's surrender, it would then have to be argued the loss of civilian life was worth it. In the arguments I've seen on the pro side, it is argued that more civilian life would have been lost if the US forces invaded in an amphibious assault. I've never seen an argument that argues for the justification of the event on simply the grounds that it saved only US Military lives.

I do not deny that they exist, and I'm open to such an argument, but I'm skeptical as to how convincing it could be. Thus, the argument I'm most familar with is that it was necessary to stop the war with Japan as it is the only action that could have caused Japan to surrender; that the targets were chosen due to their military value; that the civilian casualties was justified becuse the alternative would have resulted in a greater loss of life in civilians, as well as massive US forces casualties.

Booger
January 31st, 2007, 12:25 PM
Clearly, the op supporters have confused "tactically advantageous" with "moral".

Isn't it interesting, Zhav, that the main proponents of the morality of bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in this thread are purported Christians, whereas the detractors are atheist or agnostic? I don't understand that.

I thought that as a Christian, one believes that absolute morality comes from God himself. Accordingly, if Christians argue that the intentional targeting and killing of innocent women and children in Hiroshima and Nagasaki was moral, aren't said Christians also arguing that God therefore approved of the bombings? Does the Christian God approves of intentionally targeting innocent women and children for annihilation?** You'd think it the opposite. You'd think that Christians would uniformly condemn the intentionally targeting of innocent civlians for slaughter as inherently immoral and a crime against God (which is a view held by the Vatican). You'd also think that Christians would expect that as atheists (and therefore purportedly devoid of an appropriate moral compass), atheists would support the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki because it was arguably in America's best interests (and therefore in the individual best interests of American atheists) to do so, definitively securing teh win for America. What a strange result!

I also think that the supporters of Hiroshima and Nagasaki utterly fail to appreciate that their justification is equally applicable to the justification proferred by Islamists in attacks on innocent civilians. In fact, aren't similar justifications used in the fatwa granting Osama bin Laden and other terrorist leaders permission to use nuclear, biological or chemical weapons against the United States and its allies?

Let's come back to Apok's conclusory argument in the op:


Americans should be immensely proud of the bomb. It ended a war that had enslaved a continent to a religious-military ideology of slavery and death. There is no room on earth for this system, its ideas and its advocates. It took a country that values this world to bomb this system out of existence. For the Americans to do so while refusing to sacrifice their own troops to save the lives of enemy civilians was a sublimely moral action. They destroyed the foundations of the war, and allowed the Japanese to rebuild their culture along with their cities, as prosperous inhabitants of the earth.

Now, let us rewrite it as if it had been written by bin Laden after Islamists were successful in simultaneously detonating nuclear bombs in Manhattan, D.C., Chicago, L.A. and San Francisco:


Muslims should be immensely proud of the bomb. It ended American influence that had enslaved Muslim lands to an ideology of the infidel. There is no room on earth for this system, its ideas and its advocates. It took Muslims of courage that value this world to bomb this system out of existence. For brave Muslims to do so while refusing to sacrifice their Muslim brethren to save the lives of enemy civilians was a sublimely moral action. Our Muslim brothers have destroyed the foundations of American (and therefore infidel) world dominance and shall now allow America to rebuild its culture along with their cities, as prosperous inhabitants of the earth and followers of the Sharia.

**Apparently the resident ODN Christians believe this to be the case, but not the Pope(s). Pope Paul VI called America’s use of the atomic bomb "butchery of untold magnitude." Pope John Paul II called the bombings "a self-destruction of mankind" and referred to Nagasaki, Hiroshima and Auschwitz as moral destinations of pilgrimage showing humankind what human sin can lead to. Finally, Second Vatican Council condemned our use of the atomic bomb: "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."

KevinBrowning
January 31st, 2007, 02:26 PM
To repeat what should be one of the most obvious facts of 20th century military history: at that time there was a strong militarist, anti-surrender culture in Japan, revived from the feudal period and the samurai code to fuel the nationalism driving Asian expansionism in Japan. Suicide was considered immeasurably more honorable than surrender.

It took a weapon of unprecedented and horrific proportions to compel Japan's leaders to surrender, and even then they would not submit to the unconditional terms demanded by the Allies, demanding to keep their emperor. The Allies, happy to end the nightmare of WWII and now completely victorious, permitted it.

Zhavric
February 1st, 2007, 11:55 AM
Isn't it interesting, Zhav, that the main proponents of the morality of bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in this thread are purported Christians, whereas the detractors are atheist or agnostic? I don't understand that.

Very interesting, yes.

What I find most interesting is how they cen be sure god is real, but consider post 31 (http://www.onlinedebate.net/forums/197858-post31.html) to be a figment of their imagination.

Jabs aside, I really don't see any of the supporters with a leg to stand on until they address the issue I brought up.

Booger
February 8th, 2007, 12:29 AM
Zhav for teh win

CliveStaples
February 8th, 2007, 09:02 AM
If you answered no to any of the above, please justify how it is moral for us to do these things with one bomb. The bombings may have been tactically advantageous, but (as the Nazis demonstrated) wiping out large civilian populations is NOT moral.

If any of those could have been avoided, they would have.

Guess what, Zhavric: War sucks. Very, very badly. We did what we had to in order to prevent the Axis from winning the war and taking over a large portion of the world. We needed to cow the Japanese, and in a war of survival you don't always have the luxury of sacrificing your warriors for the sake of your enemy's civilians. If the same situation came up again, I'd drop the bomb. Every time. To save American lives.

If you have a better way of saving American lives, by all means, give it. If we could go in to Hiroshima and Nagasaki and take it by ground troops, we'd have already lost hundreds of thousands of troops, and would stand to lose more. What else could we have done? Send in our boys to die in order to save the lives of foreign nationals? I thought you liberals were against that sort of thing...or maybe that's just when it's convenient.

All jabs aside...well, I don't really have much more. I just wanted to use a free out to avoid charges of ad hom.

starcreator
February 8th, 2007, 09:37 AM
Guess what, Zhavric: War sucks. Very, very badly. We did what we had to in order to prevent the Axis from winning the war and taking over a large portion of the world. We needed to cow the Japanese, and in a war of survival you don't always have the luxury of sacrificing your warriors for the sake of your enemy's civilians. If the same situation came up again, I'd drop the bomb. Every time. To save American lives.

Except, Germany had already been defeated and Japan was against every nation in the world. It seems that surrender was inevitable anyway.

Zhavric
February 8th, 2007, 10:14 AM
Guess what, Zhavric: War sucks. Very, very badly.

Never said otherwise.

All I stated is that the atomic bombing of two cities wasn't moral. As I stated earlier, the writer of the op has confused tactically advantageous with moral. As a Christian, I'm sure you'll agree that doing what is moral isn't always easy... is most often the LEAST easiest thing to do.

Thank you, though, for at least ACKNOWLEDGING the post in question.

Apokalupsis
February 8th, 2007, 10:42 AM
Anyone who believes the bombing of Hiroshima & Nagasaki is moral, please answer the following question:

Would it have been moral for American troops to march into Nagasaki & Hiroshima and perform the following acts on the grounds they were necessary to teach the Japanese a lesson as detailed in the op:

1) Build extremely hot ovens and march each and every citizen who would have died in the initial atomic blasts into said ovens to die. This would include women and children.

2) Use chemical weapons to simulate the effects of radiation poisoning on all individuals who died of radiation related maladies.

3) Deliberately knock over buildings with no military signifigance including schools and hospitals.
No. No. No.



If you answered no to any of the above, please justify how it is moral for us to do these things with one bomb. The bombings may have been tactically advantageous, but (as the Nazis demonstrated) wiping out large civilian populations is NOT moral.
See post #57.

Zhavric
February 8th, 2007, 10:56 AM
No. No. No.

I reviewed post 57. You're still arguing on the side of "tactically advantageous". To that end, there's little argument. The bomb was tactically advantageous, but that doesn't make it moral. Think back to our discussions of morality, Apok. You are a moral absolutist, but now you're arguing that killing X number of infants was not just necessary, but MORAL. This is not a tenable position for you.

Again I ask: to all the things you stated 'no' to, why is it moral to do them with one bomb?

EDIT: A better question would be is it moral to murder a Japanese infant to save the life of an American soldier? If saving American lives in the beginning and end of what is moral, then we may as well stop here.

Apokalupsis
February 8th, 2007, 11:24 AM
It's intent vs collateral damage. Your 3 questions were all intent oriented... my offered justified situation was not.
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EDIT: A better question would be is it moral to murder a Japanese infant to save the life of an American soldier?
No...as already explained in a previous post. It was also shown how this was not a proper argument in that it isn't the argument for the pro side. Post 57. ;)

Zhavric
February 8th, 2007, 11:52 AM
It's intent vs collateral damage.

How is the intent any different? Let me re-word the argument a bit.

Let x = the number of people killed by the initial blast / fire inclusive of women & infants.

Let y = the number of people who died from radiation poisoning inclusive of women & infants.

Let z = the number of buildings destroyed in the bombings & fire including schools & hospitals.

X + Y + Z = Japanese surrender.

Instead of a bomb, imagine that we had instead developed a teleportation system that could move an army from point A to point B safely on a massive scale, but would only work twice.

Would it have been moral to teleport in and overnight wall off hiroshima & nagasaki and, in 24 hours, burn X number of people to death, use chemical weapons on y number of people and knock over Z buildings with the intention of forcing a surrender?

Effectively, your answer is "That's horrible immoral... but it's okay to do with one bomb!" This is not a tenable position for you. If it's not moral to do with troops, why is it moral with a bomb?

KevinBrowning
February 8th, 2007, 08:45 PM
Except, Germany had already been defeated and Japan was against every nation in the world. It seems that surrender was inevitable anyway.

There were no other nations with sufficiently powerful military might and will left. Europe had been decimated, the Soviet Union didn't care about Japan, and Japan was going to keep attacking the United States. It was either commit mass virtual suicide for an eventual win via ground invasion, or drop nukes until they realized they were beat and save millions of our people's lives. Seems like a no brainer.

Apokalupsis
February 8th, 2007, 10:30 PM
How is the intent any different?
It makes all the difference in the world Zhav. It is what our legal system is based on, most legal systems throughout the world are based on the concept. It is also what most moral philosophies are based on.

Me hunting you down and running over you with my car is significantly worse than me hitting you in an auto accident. The end result is the same, you got hurt. But to place blame, which is what you are wishing to do here...intent must be shown and circumstances known to validate the existence of intent.

I don't see where you have done this. I've addressed this in my previous posts.

Turtleflipper
February 8th, 2007, 11:50 PM
But to place blame, which is what you are wishing to do here...intent must be shown and circumstances known to validate the existence of intent.

I don't see where you have done this. I've addressed this in my previous posts.

It was an airblast, which the Halifax explosion taught us was many times more deadly, it was over a major metropolitian area, and it's follow-up happened in almost the exact same manner.
I don't see how you can't derive intent from the above. It was intented to kill as many people as possible. To show we had the fortitutde to irradiate there entire population base if need be.

Forgive me, but if you drive 50 miles to find a crowded area, rev up to 100
miles an hour, then blow through the crowd, TWICE, whatever your motivation, we can at least say it was intended.

Booger
February 9th, 2007, 12:48 AM
Zhavric: War sucks. Very, very badly.

The issue isn't about war "sucking." Or even war "sucking" "very, very badly," or whatever other obvious statement you want to make about the nature of war. The issue is whether intentionally targeting innocent civilians for mass slaughter is morally justified and if so, under what circumstances. To wit:


I'd drop the bomb. Every time. To save American lives.

Interesting viewpoint coming for a purported Christian. Where in the Bible does it say that intentionally killing the innocent women and children of the tribe across the pond is justified to save the lives of those of your tribe? Verse references always appreciated! :afro:

And, are we always entitled to kill the innocent, including women and children, if so doing will "save American lives." Where's the line? Under what circumstances?


I thought you liberals were against that sort of thing...or maybe that's just when it's convenient.

Heh. And I thought you Christians were against stuff like, say, targeting innocent women and children for slaughter? Also curious as to whether Jesus would drop the bomb, "every time."
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Me hunting you down and running over you with my car is significantly worse than me hitting you in an auto accident. The end result is the same, you got hurt. But to place blame, which is what you are wishing to do here...intent must be shown and circumstances known to validate the existence of intent.

I fail to see the relevance of this post. There is no issue of intent here. In both scenarios posited by Zhav the intent is the same--intentionally targeting civilians for mass slaughter to achieve a stated goal. In short, the difference between dropping the bomb and sending in troops to destroy the city and its civlians is not in any way similar to the difference between accidentally killing someone in a car accident and intentionally running them down with your car.
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Seems like a no brainer.

No brainer to Christ? No brainer as far as acting in the best interests of America I can accept, but "no brainer" to Christ? Not sure I agree...

Zhavric
February 9th, 2007, 03:56 AM
Me hunting you down and running over you with my car is significantly worse than me hitting you in an auto accident. The end result is the same, you got hurt.

O_o

"Oops. Sorry, people of Japan. We were aiming these bombs at your resolve to keep fighting us & not surrender and SOMEHOW they just happened to vaporize tens of thousands of your men, women & children as well as poisoning tens of thousands more.

We honestly didn't see that coming.

It was an accident.

We just wanted to drive our proverbial atomic cars to the negotiation table, but how were we to know that all those lumps in the road were your babies?

As you would say, 'so solly'. lol"

Booger and Turtle summed this up nicely. All silliness aside, your rebuttal about intent is untenable. We intended to slaughter tens of thousands of civilians to get the Japanese to realize we have a superior force and to stop the war - Now, does that statement apply to the bomb or my troops murdering civilians statement? The answer is both.

CliveStaples
February 9th, 2007, 08:19 AM
We intended to slaughter tens of thousands of civilians to get the Japanese to realize we have a superior force and to stop the war - Now, does that statement apply to the bomb or my troops murdering civilians statement? The answer is both.

Do you understand the fighting that went on against Japan?

There were no civilians. The women fought to the death. The men fought to the death. The soldiers fought to the death. The civilians fought to the death.



Here's the thing, Zhavric: if the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki was wrong, then we shouldn't have done it.

What should we have done instead? What was the better choice?


The issue isn't about war "sucking." Or even war "sucking" "very, very badly," or whatever other obvious statement you want to make about the nature of war. The issue is whether intentionally targeting innocent civilians for mass slaughter is morally justified and if so, under what circumstances. To wit:

This is about the nature of war, Booger. And I'm sorry that I didn't use high-falootin' enough vocabulary for the likes of Your Majesty.


Interesting viewpoint coming for a purported Christian. Where in the Bible does it say that intentionally killing the innocent women and children of the tribe across the pond is justified to save the lives of those of your tribe? Verse references always appreciated! http://www.onlinedebate.net/forums/../images/smilies/oct2006/afro.gif

Interesting viewpoint coming from someone who has specifically cited such examples in the Bible in his arguments.


And, are we always entitled to kill the innocent, including women and children, if so doing will "save American lives." Where's the line? Under what circumstances?

Do you know Japanese tactics? No surrender, fight to the death? Do you think only the soldiers were taught that?


Heh. And I thought you Christians were against stuff like, say, targeting innocent women and children for slaughter? Also curious as to whether Jesus would drop the bomb, "every time."

Jesus did not come to judge, but to save. Have you read what he does the next time he comes?

The Japanese did not share our notion of the laws of war. Some of them were akin to bushido, but many did not apply. It would have been different if we were fighting, say, England.




Oh, and Zhavric...look up the Doctrine of Double Effect. It is rather simple.

Zhavric
February 9th, 2007, 08:38 AM
Here's the thing, Zhavric: if the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki was wrong, then we shouldn't have done it.

What should we have done instead? What was the better choice?

I've stated time and again that the bombing was definately tactically advantageous. You, Apok and the few supports of the op are the only ones determined to make the bombing a "moral" action.

We did a very terrible thing that helped us win the war. That doesn't make it right. It just means we won.

CliveStaples
February 9th, 2007, 08:45 AM
I've stated time and again that the bombing was definately tactically advantageous. You, Apok and the few supports of the op are the only ones determined to make the bombing a "moral" action.

Er, what?

When did I ever posit that the bombing was moral?

I have only claimed that it was our best option at the time. No more.

I have claimed that I would do the same in the same circumstances. No more.

Pay more attention to what people write, and maybe you can avoid putting words in their mouths.


We did a very terrible thing that helped us win the war. That doesn't make it right. It just means we won.

So it was wrong to bomb Hiroshima and Nagasaki, in your opinion, correct?

If so, what should we have done?
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Additionally...if it helped the survival of our group, what was "terrible" about it?

Zhavric
February 9th, 2007, 08:45 AM
Er, what?

When did I ever posit that the bombing was moral?

Then we're on the same page.

CliveStaples
February 9th, 2007, 08:48 AM
Then we're on the same page.

Answer the question that I've been asking you for three straight posts, please.

Zhavric
February 9th, 2007, 08:56 AM
Answer the question that I've been asking you for three straight posts, please.

Why? The topic of the thread is to determine whether or not the bombings were moral. They clearly were not. You agree on this with me. As I've stated many times, the op supporters have confused tactically advantageous with moral.

CliveStaples
February 9th, 2007, 09:00 AM
Why? The topic of the thread is to determine whether or not the bombings were moral. They clearly were not. You agree on this with me.

There you go again, Boy Wonder.

Where did I claim that the bombings were immoral?

Answer: nowhere! Except in Zhav's Universe, apparently.

I made specific challenges to specific claims.


As I've stated many times, the op supporters have confused tactically advantageous with moral.

Fine. I really don't care.

What would the moral choice have been, Zhavric?

If there was no better choice, then our hand was forced. If there was a better choice, we were wrong for doing what we did.

Zhavric
February 9th, 2007, 11:30 AM
Where did I claim that the bombings were immoral?

Ah, the know-nothing stance. Excellent. You're coming along quite well as a fundamentalist agnostic.


What would the moral choice have been, Zhavric?

Why do you assume there is one?

From a Darwinian standpoint, our morality has evolved to deal with a primitive hunter-gatherer wilderness setting. Our ancestors never had to deal with atomic bombs that could wipe out huge swaths of enemies in the blink of an eye.

War is like War Games, Clive: the only moral move is not to play. We console ourselves by telling one another we had no choice (when we can). Remember that a weapon is nothing more than a tool used to change someone's mind and while effective it is not moral; there are better ways to change minds.

Apokalupsis
February 9th, 2007, 12:24 PM
It being moral merely means that "it ought to have been done" Zhav. If it was not moral, as you and Boog contend, then there was a superior moral action to take. What was that superior moral action?

KevinBrowning
February 9th, 2007, 02:24 PM
No brainer to Christ? No brainer as far as acting in the best interests of America I can accept, but "no brainer" to Christ? Not sure I agree...

So Christ would want exponentially more people to die? Not buying it.

Dr. Gonzo
February 9th, 2007, 02:45 PM
It being moral merely means that "it ought to have been done" Zhav. If it was not moral, as you and Boog contend, then there was a superior moral action to take. What was that superior moral action?

Exactly what I've been saying...I mean this child rapist used the Apok defense in court.

"So how exactly was raping a child a moral thing?"

"Well...what else was I supposed to do...NOT rape a child?"

"Ummm...yeah."

"Well, that's not technically doing ANYTHING. I mean think of all the people who are going to learn from this trial that raping children is wrong. We probably saved at least a million children from being raped....and even if we didn't as history and normal human beings can agree to, I don't know what the future holds."

Killing Jesus Christ was uber moral because think of all the people we saved...

starcreator
February 9th, 2007, 07:42 PM
There were no other nations with sufficiently powerful military might and will left. Europe had been decimated, the Soviet Union didn't care about Japan, and Japan was going to keep attacking the United States. It was either commit mass virtual suicide for an eventual win via ground invasion, or drop nukes until they realized they were beat and save millions of our people's lives. Seems like a no brainer.

What seems like a no-brainer is the fact that Japan, with no allies and the world against it, would probably have surrendered without your murdering thousands of its civilians. The US was like a police force that murdered a criminal's wife and children to get him to surrender.


It makes all the difference in the world Zhav. It is what our legal system is based on, most legal systems throughout the world are based on the concept. It is also what most moral philosophies are based on.

Me hunting you down and running over you with my car is significantly worse than me hitting you in an auto accident. The end result is the same, you got hurt. But to place blame, which is what you are wishing to do here...intent must be shown and circumstances known to validate the existence of intent.

While this is true, I think that the idea of bombing Hiroshima and Nagasaki (rather than invading with soldiers) in order to be able to claim that there wasn't an intent to kill civilians is absurd. Normally, when people are awarded exemptions under the law for a lack of intent, they don't know the outcome in advance. It was very clear what the outcome of those bombings would be in advance. Claiming that civilian deaths were not the "intent" of Hiroshima and Nagasaki is an intellectual cop out. It's like dropping a ball and claim that your "intent" was not for it to fall.

Of course, the US had the intent to kill civilians. If it didn't intend to kill civilians, it wouldn't have dropped the bomb. It simply felt that the death of two hundred thousand innocent people was justified to defeat this "threat" - an economically crumbling, rogue nation with no allies.


Do you understand the fighting that went on against Japan?

There were no civilians. The women fought to the death. The men fought to the death. The soldiers fought to the death. The civilians fought to the death.

When someone "fights to the death", he's no longer a civilian. I don't think the thousands America killed in Hiroshima and Nagasaki were busy fighting America, though.


Here's the thing, Zhavric: if the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki was wrong, then we shouldn't have done it.

What should we have done instead? What was the better choice?

Better than killing 200,000 innocent people? Let me lay the scene out for you. It's the end of the war in Europe. Japan had 5 percent of the production of the allies, and no allies. The rest of the allies could have devoted only 5% of their GDP to the war effort, and still matched Japan's maximum strength (assuming it was possible for Japan to dedicate 100% of GDP to the effort). Yet, all powers were still spending 30-40% of their GDP - at least - on their military forces, meaning that they exceeded Japan's strength by many, many times. On the Pacific front, it was Canada, Australia, the US, China, New Zealand, the UK, the Netherlands, India and the USSR vs Japan. Even if the allies had decided to resort to passive economic strangulation, Japan's decline was inevitable.

Sure, war sucks. But if there is one step that we can take when war is necessary, it is to try our best to keep civilians out of it. So, better than killing the 200k civilians? Even playing the waiting game seems like a better option to me.


The Japanese did not share our notion of the laws of war. Some of them were akin to bushido, but many did not apply. It would have been different if we were fighting, say, England.

So, our laws of war are only applied if they're shared by the enemy?


I've stated time and again that the bombing was definately tactically advantageous. You, Apok and the few supports of the op are the only ones determined to make the bombing a "moral" action.

It's funny. Normal adherents to strictly code-based, deontological ethics have no problem turning to act utilitarianism in times of war.

KevinBrowning
February 9th, 2007, 09:58 PM
What seems like a no-brainer is the fact that Japan, with no allies and the world against it, would probably have surrendered without your murdering thousands of its civilians. The US was like a police force that murdered a criminal's wife and children to get him to surrender.

Using the word murder is inaccurate in the context of total war. Japan would not have surrendered, their culture preferred death to surrender. No evidence has been given that they would have. They didn't surrender after the first bomb, and even after the second they demanded to keep their emperor.

Apokalupsis
February 9th, 2007, 10:32 PM
Exactly what I've been saying...I mean this child rapist used the Apok defense in court.

"So how exactly was raping a child a moral thing?"

"Well...what else was I supposed to do...NOT rape a child?"

"Ummm...yeah."

"Well, that's not technically doing ANYTHING. I mean think of all the people who are going to learn from this trial that raping children is wrong. We probably saved at least a million children from being raped....and even if we didn't as history and normal human beings can agree to, I don't know what the future holds."

Killing Jesus Christ was uber moral because think of all the people we saved...
If taking no action was the superior moral action, then you agree with the loss of lives military and civilian and the government of the United States of America. If taking no action is what ought to have been done, then you support the complete and utter destruction of the US by an aggressor.

I disagree. It would be immoral to allow that to happen.

Turtleflipper
February 10th, 2007, 01:40 AM
If taking no action was the superior moral action, then you agree with the loss of lives military and civilian and the government of the United States of America.



Just military at that stage. But every GI knew he might die, and accepted it. However, the civilians of Hiroshima made had no such acceptance.
Honestly, that 4 million men, who were willing to die, must, rather then 250,000 who do not, and have done nothing, is the most morale, though terribly bloody, choice.



If taking no action is what ought to have been done, then you support the complete and utter destruction of the US by an aggressor.


Really? Any evidence whatsoever? At this stage in the war, do you honestly believe the Japanese had even the logistical capability to GET to mainland America?



I disagree. It would be immoral to allow that to happen.


People gotta die in war. I'd just prefer it if it was just the people who were willing to accept that

starcreator
February 10th, 2007, 08:32 PM
Using the word murder is inaccurate in the context of total war.

All right. Let's simply say "killed".


Japan would not have surrendered, their culture preferred death to surrender.

Proof?

Even if they wouldn't have surrendered, their total GDP was 5% of that of the allies. Defeat would have been just around the corner - and likely wouldn't have required 200k civilian deaths.

KevinBrowning
February 10th, 2007, 09:42 PM
Proof?

Even if they wouldn't have surrendered, their total GDP was 5% of that of the allies. Defeat would have been just around the corner - and likely wouldn't have required 200k civilian deaths.

Not sure what kind of proof can be offered, aside from the fact that Japan did not surrender till after the second atomic bomb, and even then it was with conditions. There was a whole class of aerial warfare the Japanese developed involving suicide rather than surrender, i.e. kamikaze.

As for comparisons of their finances to the Allies, the United Kingdom was in little state to begin a ground invasion of Japan after the bombings it took from Germany, and the Soviet Union couldn't care less about anything but defending their borders, which Japan was not threatening, after the unthinkable casualties they had suffered. That means it was up to the United States to end the war with Japan, which Japan had started, in the United States, by bombing Hawaii.

So, there were two options, conventional ground invasion, more years of war and many more casualties, or using the new weapon, which they hoped would quickly end the war, even with the fight to the end ideology of the enemy.

Another point is that none of the military commanders really knew what to expect as far as the lasting effects of the bomb. They seemed to think it was a really huge and devastating bomb, but not to grasp the effects of radioactivity.

Finally, the firebombing of Tokyo, as in Dresden, killed many more people than the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

It is really the surprise and immediacy of the bombs which caused Japan to finally surrender, and for it to have become such an emotional focus for historical criticism.

Zhavric
February 11th, 2007, 12:47 PM
It being moral merely means that "it ought to have been done" Zhav.

What a horrible and slippery definition of "moral"?

I prefer the meaning which begins with the dictionary definition "of or relating to principles of right and wrong in behavior". If your goal in this thread was to sing the praises of the a-bombs' tactical advantage, we're all right there with you. You can accomplish that without a Clintonian smokescreen on what moral means.

You're an absolute moralist, Apok. Your view as you've expressed it cannot reconcile blowing up infants & hospitals with the absolute morality you claim to invoke. Is it moral to blow up infants, Apok? Yes or no? If you answer with a qualifyer of any kind you'll have contradicted yourself by establishing morals relative to something else. i.e. It's okay to blow up infants if it saves the lives of American armed forces.

Stormer
February 11th, 2007, 03:29 PM
Using the word murder is inaccurate in the context of total war. Japan would not have surrendered, their culture preferred death to surrender. No evidence has been given that they would have. They didn't surrender after the first bomb, and even after the second they demanded to keep their emperor.

Would you be so kind as to review and respond to post #29 in this thread.

I would love to debate you on a few details you have raised about the neccessity of the bombs, in particular the Nagasaki bomb, however I do not want to repeat points I have raised earlier.

Cheers

StOrMeR

starcreator
February 11th, 2007, 05:04 PM
Not sure what kind of proof can be offered, aside from the fact that Japan did not surrender till after the second atomic bomb, and even then it was with conditions.

I don't think their continuing in the war was a matter of wanting to win. Japan hung on in the hope that the allies, seeking an end to the war, would bargain leniently for its surrender. As a whole, Japan wanted to retain a certain amount of pride following the war, and I think if the allies let Japan know in a slightly less violent way that they weren't willing to negotiate the terms of surrender, surrender would have come anyway.


As for comparisons of their finances to the Allies, the United Kingdom was in little state to begin a ground invasion of Japan after the bombings it took from Germany, and the Soviet Union couldn't care less about anything but defending their borders, which Japan was not threatening, after the unthinkable casualties they had suffered. That means it was up to the United States to end the war with Japan, which Japan had started, in the United States, by bombing Hawaii.

Each nation was still pumping out 40% of its production in war spending. Even if the US alone, which was producing 10 times what Japan was producing, was to turn all its military resources over to the Pacific front, a 10:1 ratio of military strength seems like it would have been sufficient to invoke a surrender. The United States alone overpowered Japan infinitely. Economic strangulation alone, via the blockading of ports and stopping the shipment of supplies, would have sent Japan into ruin. This is not to mention the fact that China wanted back Manchuria, the UK wanted back Singapore and the Dutch wanted back Indonesia.


So, there were two options, conventional ground invasion, more years of war and many more casualties, or using the new weapon, which they hoped would quickly end the war, even with the fight to the end ideology of the enemy.

What about restriction of trade and control of goods entering Japan?

As well, I doubt ground invasion would have resulted in 200,000 deaths - especially not civilian deaths.


Another point is that none of the military commanders really knew what to expect as far as the lasting effects of the bomb. They seemed to think it was a really huge and devastating bomb, but not to grasp the effects of radioactivity.

Radioactivity was discovered in 1896. Nikola Tesla published his observations on radioactive burns to his skin in 1896. In 1927, Hermann Joseph Muller published research (which later merited a Nobel Prize) about the genetic effects of radioactivity, including possible cancer risk. I think scientists knew quite well about the biological hazards of radioactivity, especially on such a large scale.


Finally, the firebombing of Tokyo, as in Dresden, killed many more people than the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Weren't those bombings strategically targeted to halt war production?

KevinBrowning
February 11th, 2007, 08:06 PM
I think if the allies let Japan know in a slightly less violent way that they weren't willing to negotiate the terms of surrender, surrender would have come anyway.

And where is the evidence for that, considering surrender did not come after the first bomb?


Economic strangulation alone, via the blockading of ports and stopping the shipment of supplies, would have sent Japan into ruin.

Eventual economic ruin, yes, timely military surrender, no.


As well, I doubt ground invasion would have resulted in 200,000 deaths - especially not civilian deaths.

Most credible estimates (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Downfall#Estimated_casualties_for_Downfa ll) say otherwise.


I think scientists knew quite well about the biological hazards of radioactivity, especially on such a large scale.

Perhaps, although military commanders are not scientists.


Weren't those bombings strategically targeted to halt war production?

Yes, through killing civilians (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tokyo_firebombing#Firebombing).

Stormer
February 12th, 2007, 02:11 PM
And where is the evidence for that, considering surrender did not come after the first bomb?


I gave a link above that detailed the emperor was leaning towards surrender before the Nagasaki bomb. However do you really think 3 days was enough time to give them?

StOrMeR

KevinBrowning
February 12th, 2007, 02:25 PM
However do you really think 3 days was enough time to give them?

Yes. It takes a few minutes to telegraph that they give up.

Stormer
February 13th, 2007, 01:11 AM
The situation was a lot more complex than that and you know it.

Tell me, what would the US have lost by waiting a few more days?

StOrMeR

Booger
February 13th, 2007, 11:46 AM
So Christ would want exponentially more people to die? Not buying it.

So it is your view the Christ approved of the bombings? Obviously, at least three Popes and the Vatican disagree, but I find your bin Laden-like view of God...interesting. Perhaps this viewpoint is limited to American evangelicals?


Eventual economic ruin, yes, timely military surrender, no.

"Timeliness" was so important that intentionally targeting women and children for anhiliation was moral?

KevinBrowning
February 13th, 2007, 12:55 PM
The situation was a lot more complex than that and you know it.

Doesn't seem complex at all. Get nuked, surrender, or get nuked again. Very easy choice, and communications technology was perfectly able of handling it quickly.
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So it is your view the Christ approved of the bombings? Obviously, at least three Popes and the Vatican disagree, but I find your bin Laden-like view of God...interesting. Perhaps this viewpoint is limited to American evangelicals?

Um, no, plenty of non-Americans think it was the right choice. Popes can say what they want, but they're not infallible. Yes, it seems Christ would want less people to die and for a system of government which respected people's rights to triumph.


"Timeliness" was so important that intentionally targeting women and children for anhiliation was moral?

The war was a terrible period that the free world wanted to end as soon as possible. Plenty of other non-combatants died, such as the mentioned Tokyo firebombing.

People today are too sentimental about the atomic bombs because they don't understand what WWII was like. Just be glad that total war is not being waged today and be glad our nation's leaders had the good sense to do what it took to win the war, gruesome as it was.

It's a lesson which, while not a total conflict, could serve us well in Iraq.

Stormer
February 14th, 2007, 12:26 AM
Doesn't seem complex at all. Get nuked, surrender, or get nuked again. Very easy choice, and communications technology was perfectly able of handling it quickly.

As you have acknowleged previously the bushido culture of a lot of the Japanese High Command meant that surrender was not that easy a decision to make. It would have taken at least a week for the emperor to convince his Council.

Now, don't dodge this question:

What exactly did the US have to lose by waiting a few more days, maybe even weeks? Japan was confined to its home islands, not capable of an offensive.

StOrMeR

KevinBrowning
February 14th, 2007, 02:57 PM
It would have taken at least a week for the emperor to convince his Council.

Or for them to decide not to surrender. The nukes shook them out of their death-adoring ideology.

Stormer
February 14th, 2007, 04:34 PM
Wow, you dodged that question again, here it is for you in case you missed it:


What exactly did the US have to lose by waiting a few more days, maybe even weeks? Japan was confined to its home islands, not capable of an offensive.

StOrMeR

GoldPhoenix
February 16th, 2007, 01:56 PM
It makes all the difference in the world Zhav. It is what our legal system is based on, most legal systems throughout the world are based on the concept. It is also what most moral philosophies are based on.

Me hunting you down and running over you with my car is significantly worse than me hitting you in an auto accident. The end result is the same, you got hurt. But to place blame, which is what you are wishing to do here...intent must be shown and circumstances known to validate the existence of intent.

I don't see where you have done this. I've addressed this in my previous posts.

You are kidding me, right?

So, me accidentally hitting you is the same thing as blowing you up on purpose?

If that is your argument, then I think this thread is bubbling with lunacy.

Comtesse
March 10th, 2012, 11:59 PM
We should consider the context in which this bomb was used. The bomb would have been moral if perhaps another five years of war seemed inevitable. This wasn't the case. It was literally world v. tiny Japanese island at this point. There's a line between an execution, and a gruesome overkill. Nothing justifies thirty bullets in the head and a chainsaw down the spine, legs mutilated and genitals stuffed in the mouth. That's just cruelty.

Apokalupsis
March 11th, 2012, 10:13 PM
So, me accidentally hitting you is the same thing as blowing you up on purpose?
No. What an absurd thing to say.

thegreenape
March 12th, 2012, 04:37 AM
Apok,

I'm having trouble reconciling your argument related to this thread and your other moral arguments. You've made the point that the moral choice of dropping the bomb based on what "would have happened" had we NOT dropped the bomb. Obviously, all of these "would haves" are speculative and there have been many on this thread who have put some doubt in to all of these assumptions. And, I'm not necessarily arguing against the bomb dropping.

I'm just curious how is it that you afford the opportunity to defer moral judgement in this case based on speculation and convenience? Or, if we pretend we were around before it dropped, saying it the moral choice based on speculation and end result (which includes killing so many civilians).

I cannot help but specifically think of the numerous abortion debates where one could make the same case based on assumptions.

To be extra clear, I do not want to turn this in to an abortion debate. I merely want to understand why the moral judgement of these bombs can be based on the result (after the fact) and speculation while someone arguing for abortion with results and speculation cannot?

Apokalupsis
March 12th, 2012, 06:49 AM
I'm just curious how is it that you afford the opportunity to defer moral judgement in this case based on speculation and convenience? Or, if we pretend we were around before it dropped, saying it the moral choice based on speculation and end result (which includes killing so many civilians).
Not speculation, but reasoned, studied outcome.

I'll put it this way: If it is the case that the data was accurate (about # of lives lost if there was a land invasion), then it was moral to drop the bomb. If the data was inaccurate, then it was not moral. It must pertain to reality.

-------


However, keep in mind that this is a 5 yr old thread. I don't remember the argument and its defenses in its entirety. I'd have to spend some time on it to confirm that it is indeed, the position I still maintain. At the time, it was not necessarily a firm conviction, but rather a reasonable position that I'd only recently concluded based on a particular and interesting article. I don't know that I have much interest in dredging up this old argument.

thegreenape
March 12th, 2012, 06:52 AM
Not speculation, but reasoned, studied outcome.

I'll put it this way: If it is the case that the data was accurate (about # of lives lost if there was a land invasion), then it was moral to drop the bomb. If the data was inaccurate, then it was not moral. It must pertain to reality.

-------


However, keep in mind that this is a 5 yr old thread. I don't remember the argument and its defenses in its entirety. I'd have to spend some time on it to confirm that it is indeed, the position I still maintain. At the time, it was not necessarily a firm conviction, but rather a reasonable position that I'd only recently concluded based on a particular and interesting article. I don't know that I have much interest in dredging up this old argument.

Ha - understood. I can take the idea and move it to a more pertinent thread.

I thought you may have read thru since your reply earlier today was to GPs 5 year old comment.

Apokalupsis
March 12th, 2012, 07:00 AM
Ha - understood. I can take the idea and move it to a more pertinent thread.

I thought you may have read thru since your reply earlier today was to GPs 5 year old comment.
My position on the bombing of Hiroshima is not contingent upon GP's response of an analogy. He misunderstood the "relevant similarity", which every analogy has regardless of issue.

thegreenape
March 12th, 2012, 07:01 AM
My position on the bombing of Hiroshima is not contingent upon GP's response of an analogy. He misunderstood the "relevant similarity", which every analogy has regardless of issue.

Yes, totally understood. I meant that I thought you had refreshed yourself to the thread since you had replied to a 5 year old comment from GP.

Apokalupsis
March 12th, 2012, 07:15 AM
I see. I only responded because it was brought back from the dead by Comtesse..and the last response before him was easily seen. That last response happened to be directed to me, about a very simple issue that could be responded to in less than 30 secs. ;)

Morality is influenced by "intent". And if that does not exist, or it is unknown, then it is difficult to give a moral judgment one way or the other. Zhav's post ignored this fact.

Sigfried
March 12th, 2012, 08:25 AM
I think its problematic to call it a moral act. It was an act of terrorism in the formal sense. A weapon designed and used to cause mass fear by virtue of unexpected and violent destruction of civilians in a manner that is nearly impossible to defend against. Calling that a moral acct endangers ones idea of morality.

I think its better to argue it is justifiable, which I think it may well be. We couldn't know, in the thick of the war, what the outcomes would be of one action or another with certainty. We had a weapon, we were in a deadly all out war, we took our best shot at victory. This is why you try to avoid war, once under way, the rubric of what is justified or not changes dramatically such that near unthinkable horrors make a lot of sense and can be justified.

I find you have to judge moral acts both within and outside of the circumstances they happen in. So in this case you can say that in the circumstance we were in, you could call it a moral, or justified act, but that justified is a better term. From outside the war, it is clearly an immoral and horrifying act. I think what this most informs is the horror and morality of war in general. Sometimes one must fight, but no war is truly moral in its inception. Somewhere at the root of any war is a grave moral crime.

Apokalupsis
March 12th, 2012, 08:49 AM
What is the difference between justifiable and moral, do you think?

Sigfried
March 12th, 2012, 09:35 AM
What is the difference between justifiable and moral, do you think?

Good question, as I'm kind of shooting from the hip on this. I mean to distinguish that justified implies there is not wrong doing on the part of the justified party, but the act itself is a regrettable one that is only justified by the unusual circumstance it occurs in. You might say it is applicable in a circumstance where there is a hierarchy of moral conflict at play. The lesser of two evils if you will.

So here I am using morality to describe an act in a relative vacuum and justification as an act in the throws of conflict of some kind. I just want to highlight that outside the context of WWII, dropping atomic bombs on cities is one of the most horrific and moral single acts human beings can commit. Only in the context of what is a larger collection of immoral act of a war can it be justified as the lesser of many evils.

thegreenape
March 12th, 2012, 10:09 AM
The question becomes can you have more than one moral choice?

Choice #1: Dropping the bomb on two Japanese Cities knowing that you will kill tens of thousands of innocent people. In addition, it will provide an advantage which may end the war based on reasoned speculation.

Things to consider: What is moral in this situation? Saving the most # of innocent lives (read: civilians -- japanese or otherwise)? Or saving the most # of ally lives (non-japanese lives which may be soldiers or civilians)?

Choice #2: Leverage the current tactical position to end the war without dropping nuclear bombs and only engage in the 'rules of combat'. As has been pointed out, in essence, Japan was standing alone at that point which would mean it was "Japan vs the World" -- an unlikely scenario for them to win.

If we argue that Choice 1 is moral, does that automatically make Choice 2 immoral? or vice versa?

Can we argue that Choice 1 is justifiable (a reasonable choice based on the circumstances) but ultimately immoral due to the number of innocent civilian deaths?

Apokalupsis
March 12th, 2012, 11:20 AM
Good question, as I'm kind of shooting from the hip on this. I mean to distinguish that justified implies there is not wrong doing on the part of the justified party, but the act itself is a regrettable one that is only justified by the unusual circumstance it occurs in. You might say it is applicable in a circumstance where there is a hierarchy of moral conflict at play. The lesser of two evils if you will.
I understand. I won't get into a nature of morality debate in this particular thread. However, your view here is similar to mine. It is known as hierarchicalism. It differs however, in that it evaluates moral rights, not wrongs. In your view, the person is wrong no matter what. But if wrong, then being justified in doing wrong is problematic for it is contradictory. It is saying "It's ok to do evil". But if evil is that which never ought to be done, then we can see the problem.

Instead, for a philosophy that can be used to not only lead us...but also help us determine moral values with sound judgments...we measure the moral worth of 2 competing morals.

A very simple example:

You are walking down the street. A woman, beaten and scared runs up to you and says that she is being chased by a murderer. She sees a container nearby and says she is going to hide in it and asks you not to tell her pursuer. She hides in the box. The murderer (who for the sake of the argument is confirmed) come to you and asks if you know where a woman he may be looking for is. You realize he's the murderer that the woman is hiding from. Do you lie or tell the truth? Most would lie.

Now, your reasoning for lying in this scenario according to your moral theory above, would be that it is better to lie than to assist in a murder. Either way, you are going to have to do something immoral. However, the immoral act can be justified (in your theory) because it is a lessor evil than assisting in murder. But this is still immoral. Lying is still lying, and to do wrong is still to do wrong. Justified wrong is a contradiction.

A more accurate representation of events with a superior theory IMO, would be that we lie because of a good. The two competing goods here are "telling the truth" and "protecting innocent life". Both are good to do. However, one is more good. It is better to save innocent lives. There is intrinsic value in the subject of the proposition (innocent life). Telling the truth is good, but the subject of the proposition is a statement about reality. While its value may be worthy of reality, it has no intrinsic value such as an innocent human life has. So there is an hierarchy here, and we have a way to determine the hierarchy of values. Thus, it is always more good to save the life of the innocent than it is to tell the truth. We are truly justified in saving the lives of the innocent, even thought in this instance it was at odds of being honest. We have not committed any wrong here, because we've done the "greatest good." In a lessor of 2 evils theory, there is always wrong doing...and wrong doing cannot be justified (made good).

I'll let you have the last response to this, as I said, I don't want to discuss the nature of morality in a specific topical thread. It deserves its own thread. If you wish for a response from me or to discuss this more, then a new thread should be created.

---------- Post added at 12:20 PM ---------- Previous post was at 12:17 PM ----------



Things to consider: What is moral in this situation? Saving the most # of innocent lives (read: civilians -- japanese or otherwise)? Or saving the most # of ally lives (non-japanese lives which may be soldiers or civilians)?
I don't think it is that simple. I think the op, if I recall, argues that many civilian lives will be lost in a land war. So it is not the case that we are merely comparing innocent civilians vs Allied military. Civilians were going to suffer significant losses either way.

But again, this all has to do with the op's argument...of which I've not read in years and at this particular time, don't have much interest in tbh. Perhaps I'll pick it up over the summer or something.

thegreenape
March 12th, 2012, 11:59 AM
I don't think it is that simple. I think the op, if I recall, argues that many civilian lives will be lost in a land war. So it is not the case that we are merely comparing innocent civilians vs Allied military. Civilians were going to suffer significant losses either way.

But again, this all has to do with the op's argument...of which I've not read in years and at this particular time, don't have much interest in tbh. Perhaps I'll pick it up over the summer or something.

I understand. And your answer to Sig was helpful. I was merely asking the questions regarding the topic and if nobody wants to debate it now...then we'll just have to wait.

Sigfried
March 12th, 2012, 12:11 PM
If we argue that Choice 1 is moral, does that automatically make Choice 2 immoral? or vice versa?

Can we argue that Choice 1 is justifiable (a reasonable choice based on the circumstances) but ultimately immoral due to the number of innocent civilian deaths?

I think both can be justified. The future is unpredictable so it is mostly a matter of what you think the likely outcomes are. In the first you risk few of your own lives and in the second you risk many. In both casualties on the enemy are likely high. In the first it is a deliberate targeting of civilians, in the second it is less so but you know many will die regardless. I think you can justify either.

---------- Post added at 01:11 PM ---------- Previous post was at 01:01 PM ----------


I'll let you have the last response to this, as I said, I don't want to discuss the nature of morality in a specific topical thread. It deserves its own thread. If you wish for a response from me or to discuss this more, then a new thread should be created.

I think both perspectives are valuable. In one you establish virtues and in the other you establish vices. In your example its pretty easy to know the good you are doing in protecting a life. In the Hiroshima example its much more uncertain. You objective is to crush a nation to achieve your own protection. Even in the act of protection you must be very aggressive. Its like in your example instead of having to tell a lie you had to shoot the assailant in the back. Its a much graver moral challenge than lying.

I think we both agree in the value of highlighting both the positive and negative moral questions at stake. I'm just trying to find the right language to convey the meaning in common understanding. For me, to say it is a moral act is to say it should somehow be celebrated. I don't think it should. It was a very regrettable and terrible thing, a great evil in many respects, but at the time it was the evil we were all but forced to choose. I don't like to use the word evil much outside of my fantasy games, but this is a case where it really feels like evil to me and calling it moral is hard to swallow since I place a lot of value on that word.

KevinBrowning
March 12th, 2012, 12:19 PM
Although in the past 5 years I have changed my views somewhat on the morality of the death penalty and war, I still believe that the nuclear bombings were the only way to force Japan to surrender and put a stop to World War II. It was the lesser of two evils. The bombings took many innocent lives, but a protracted ground war in Japan would have cost even more lives.

FruitandNut
April 5th, 2012, 05:38 AM
Although in the past 5 years I have changed my views somewhat on the morality of the death penalty and war, I still believe that the nuclear bombings were the only way to force Japan to surrender and put a stop to World War II. It was the lesser of two evils. The bombings took many innocent lives, but a protracted ground war in Japan would have cost even more lives.

I think we would all agree that it is impossible to wage war without casualties and indeed, miscalculations - afterall it is in the nature of humanity to be fallible - BUT like you have now concluded, the A-bombs were probably the lesser of two evils. I also believe that the bombing of Dresden was not an entirely bad thing either, since the city had hundreds of companies engaged in war production and support, and had a major railhead/junction. Also, with the war coming towards an end such a bombing was a salutory reminder to Stalin and the Soviet forces that if they moved their armies west of the agreed stop line, that they would have the face RAF Bomber Command AND the USAAF Mighty Eighth.

Kodiak
January 7th, 2013, 05:19 PM
Japan... is quite different from the middle east. What you need to understand is that they were all crazy, the number of civilians we would have had to kill for violent resistance would likely be 99% of all able males on the island. We needed something to prevent losses on both sides, something that show them what they were up against, and (not kidding on this one) something that the Russian communists tremble with fear. The bombs had a minute affect on the death toll directly, however, the death toll would have skyrocketed had we invaded. It is projected that our losses alone for the invasion of the Japanese mainland would be in the four millions. What got them to stop then? The fact that one bomb wiped an entire city of the map, the fact that one bomb killed more than a hundred-thousand people, not an invasion, not even a single bombing run, not even an a full attack from a bomber, a single weapon blew Hiroshima off the map, not even a squad of attackers. Now, this wouldn't work in the middle east for three reasons, 1: they don't have those rates of civilian resistance, not every man, woman and child down there is a terrorist. 2: We're not the only people on the planet who have these weapons anymore, Russia, the same country we competed with in the cold war, has a nuclear arsenal second only to ours. 3: Thermonuclear warheads destroy a lot, and there's a few things down there that we want, like oil.