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August Bomb Follies 2017

In general, the principle is, the farther from the scene of horror the easier the talk. One young combat naval officer close to the action wrote home in the fall of 1943, just before the marines underwent the agony of Tarawa: “When I read that we will fight the Japs for years if necessary and will sacrifice hundreds of thousands if we must, I always like to check from where he’s talking: it’s seldom out here.” That was Lieutenant (j.g.) John F. Kennedy.

And Winston Churchill, with an irony perhaps too broad and easy, noted in Parliament that the people who preferred invasion to A-bombing seemed to have “no intention of proceeding to the Japanese front themselves.”

Paul Fussel, Thank God for the Atomic Bomb

 

 

 

It has been rather quiet this year on the annual breast beating over the Atomic bombings around Saint Blogs.  Here are a few posts I have seen:

  1.  Deacon Jim Russel at Crisis looks at the principle of Double Effect and the bombings.  It is a rather good piece.  Go here to read it.
  2.  Ah, what would the August Bomb Follies be without Patheos.  Mary Pezullo at Steel Magnificat puts us on notice that she is not like those terrible Catholics who defend the bombings.  Go here to read it.
  3. Matthew Walther at The Week I think would like to dig up Harry Truman and put him on trial if he could.  Go here to read his post.
  4. Mark Shea contributes the latest droppings from his mind here.

I recall on this day a late uncle of mine, one of the toughest men I have even known.  I saw him cry only once, at the funeral of my father.  I heard of him crying on only one other occasion.  He had been a Marine in the Pacific during World War II and had been involved in some of the very worst of the island fighting.  At 20 he was a hardened combat veteran, morally certain that it was his fate to die on some Japanese beach during the invasion of the Home Islands.  My grandmother told me that he told her that he wept when he heard about the atomic bombings, hoping that they would end what he always referred to as “the damn War”.  As a result of Truman’s decision, he always maintained, he got to go home, get married, have two sons, and lead a long and peaceful life.  Since he isn’t around now to contribute to the debate, I thought I would add his comment from the large group of which he was a member:  the Hiroshima Survivors.

 

 

The defensive plan called for the use of the Civilian Volunteer Corps, a mobilization not of volunteers but of all boys and men 15 to 60 and all girls and women 17 to 40, except for those exempted as unfit. They were trained with hand grenades, swords, sickles, knives, fire hooks, and bamboo spears. These civilians, led by regular forces, were to make extensive use of night infiltration patrols armed with light weapons and demolitions.(43) Also, the Japanese had not prepared, and did not intend to prepare, any plan for the evacuation of civilians or for the declaration of open cities.(44) The southern third of Kyushu had a population of 2,400,000 within the 3,500 square miles included in the Prefectures of Kagoshima and Miyazaki.(45) The defensive plan was to actively defend the few selected beach areas at the beach, and then to mass reserves for an all-out counterattack if the invasion forces succeeded in winning a beachhead.

From an examination of the plan for Operation Ketsu-Go, the Japanese plan to defend the Home Islands in 1945

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Donald R. McClarey

Cradle Catholic. Active in the pro-life movement since 1973. Father of three and happily married for 35 years. Small town lawyer and amateur historian. Former president of the board of directors of the local crisis pregnancy center for a decade.

46 Comments

  1. This seems a corollary of Einstein’s definition of insanity. It happened.

    Millions of US servicemen (RIP) that daily were being killed in the Pacific would offer to fight them for their virtue signaling.

    Judge not lest . . .

    The Hiroshima/Nagasaki canard makes them feel superior and diverts attention from their tacit support of abortion, class hate, sodomy privileges, socialism, etc.

    Seen at Instapundit. For them, there is no “right” answer or “wrong” answer There only are evil and good. And, everyone that disagrees is evil.

    “Droppings” indeed.

  2. Having to use nuclear weapons against Japan in WW II, and the concommitant loss of civilian life, was regrettable but we all know it would have been far worse for both side with full scale invasion of the Japanese islands.

    On a side not, I will say again what I have always said: the best nuclear weapon is one whose U-235 or Pu-239 has been recycled for use in fuel for commercial nuclear reactors. Generating electricity from heavy metal atoms once intended to destroy an enemy is in the best tradition of turning swords into plowshares. And the former US-Russian program of Megatons into Megawatts did much to reduce the stockpile of weapons grade uranium. Would Mark “I am the Pope’s gift to the Catholic blogosphere” Shea support ANY of that? Being one of the left coast inhabitants who general have ZERO military experience and NO Godly patriotism, likely NOT.

    In the meantime, we need an overwhelming, modernized, safe and effective nuclear deterrent. The United States, United Kingdom and Israel are the good guys. Russia, China, North Korea and Iran are the bad guys. It is really that simple. The jury however is still out on France (very confused country ever since Robespierre in the 1790s), and the Pakistan-Indian situation never did make much sense, but at least their mutual nuclear deterrents have kept both countries at bay.

    As an American, I think we should have an overwhelmingly powerful nuclear deterrent and an extremely effective missile shield. We should be able to strike with impunity and immunity, and we should be able to prevent any nuclear aggression from reaching us. After all, I am an American and I want us to be victoriously on top. That’s called being patriotic. If someone (like Mark Shea) doesn’t want America on top, then that person needs to leave this country (and perhaps emigrate to the DPRK).

  3. If you look at the title of the link to Shea’s dropping at New Advent it says, “Just think of the Enola Gay as a big abortion clinic with wings.”

    Mark gets more than a few facts wrong. Surprising I know.

    First of all, he trots out the false claim that Pius XII condemned the bomb drops. Pius XII said nothing about them publicly.

    Secondly, the Urakami Church (it didn’t become the archdiocesan cathedral until 1981 when it was designated as such by St. John Paul II during his Apostolic Journey to Japan) was not the target of the bomb drop. The target was the Mitsubishi Torpedo Factory. The placards at ground zero at Nagasaki point that out. The church is almost a mile away from ground zero.

    Prominent Catholics (and Shea is not the only one by any means) who condemn the bombings without honestly interacting with the historical facts of the situation Truman faced need to shut the hell up because they do nothing but bring shame on the Church with their calumny!

  4. I notice at Shea’s posting on the bomb that he’d not allowing any comments. I guess his ever thinning skin can’t handle differing opinions like he used to do!

  5. Maybe someone could organize a crowd-funding campaign to raise enough money to convince Shea to convert back to whatever misbegotten sect he was in before he allegedly became Catholic. It would be a public service.

  6. ” Mark “I am the Pope’s gift to the Catholic blogosphere” Shea”

    With this pope, that might be more a literal than a rhetorical statement. And with gifts like this, who needs…? Oh, never mind.

  7. I don’t know if Catholic Weekly ever allows comments, none of Shea’s other pieces have there – could be site policy, could be him just not wanting to be called out on his lies.

    In reply to the invasion question, there’s been 3 major counters I’ve seen from the anti-bombers.

    1) Japan was trying to surrender already.
    2) It was unjust to require unconditional surrender.
    3) We could have blockaded them.

    I’ll leave the others to the board to disprove. I’ll merely note with #1 that America had signed a peace treaty with Japan right before the attack on Pearl Harbor. So with what reason would America have to believe future treaties?

  8. Also there is this:
    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/markshea/2017/08/haggling-about-the-price.html

    Where Shea adds:

    This was written before Trump’s threats of nuclear annihilation against North Korea began, but there is something chillingly poet that he should choose August 6-9 to give Catholic apologists for nuclear mass murder a chance to repent the lies they have told all these years.

    Of course how could they repent to Pope Shea when he doesn’t allow any of them to come by and talk? It’s a cold religion indeed that demands repentance, then locks the doors on the confession booth.

  9. 1) The guys who tried to overthrow the god-king AFTER the bombs were “trying” to surrender?
    2) Baloney
    3) And starved to death the entire population. Brilliant.

    *****
    I got through to a lady I know when we were dancing around the subject– it was from the angle of WWII itself– and I pointed out that boys her son’s age were to be handed bombs and told to roll under tanks. And about the teenage girls who charged Marines, armed only with pointy sticks… the Japanese leadership of the time was seriously sick.

  10. 1) Japan was trying to surrender already.
    2) It was unjust to require unconditional surrender.
    3) We could have blockaded them.

    What the Japanese viewed as an acceptable resolution of the War was no occupation and their retaining some of their foreign conquests. The Japanese government, as opposed to factions within the government which wished to see the War concluded on acceptable terms to Japan, never prior to the bombs agreed to surrender. Of course this argument is laughable since even with the two atomic bombings, the Japanese did not surrender until eight days after Hiroshima.

    In regard to unconditional surrender, since Japan was the aggressor in a War in which they killed tens of millions of civilians, unconditional surrender to the US would have been a completely moral result. However, we did not demand unconditional surrender. We gave them conditions in the Potsdam Declaration and Truman lived up to each of the conditions:

    Proclamation Defining Terms for Japanese Surrender
    Issued, at Potsdam, July 26, 1945
    1.We-the President of the United States, the President of the National Government of the Republic of China, and the Prime Minister of Great Britain, representing the hundreds of millions of our countrymen, have conferred and agree that Japan shall be given an opportunity to end this war.
    2.The prodigious land, sea and air forces of the United States, the British Empire and of China, many times reinforced by their armies and air fleets from the west, are poised to strike the final blows upon Japan. This military power is sustained and inspired by the determination of all the Allied Nations to prosecute the war against Japan until she ceases to resist.
    3.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. The might that now converges on Japan is immeasurably greater than that which, when applied to the resisting Nazis, necessarily laid waste to the lands, the industry and the method of life of the whole German people. The full application of our military power, backed by our resolve, will mean the inevitable and complete destruction of the Japanese armed forces and just as inevitably the utter devastation of the Japanese homeland.
    4.The time has come for Japan to decide whether she will continue to be controlled by those self-willed militaristic advisers whose unintelligent calculations have brought the Empire of Japan to the threshold of annihilation, or whether she will follow the path of reason.
    5.Following are our terms. We will not deviate from them. There are no alternatives. We shall brook no delay.
    6.There must 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, for we insist that a new order of peace, security and justice will be impossible until irresponsible militarism is driven from the world.
    7.Until such a new order is established and until there is convincing proof that Japan’s war-making power is destroyed, points in Japanese territory to be designated by the Allies shall be occupied to secure the achievement of the basic objectives we are here setting forth.
    8.The terms of the Cairo Declaration shall be carried out and Japanese sovereignty shall be limited to the islands of Honshu, Hokkaido, Kyushu, Shikoku and such minor islands as we determine.
    9.The Japanese military forces, after being completely disarmed, shall be permitted to return to their homes with the opportunity to lead peaceful and productive lives.
    10.We do not intend that the Japanese shall be enslaved as a race or destroyed as a nation, but stern justice shall be meted out to all war criminals, including those who have visited cruelties upon our prisoners. The Japanese Government shall remove all obstacles to the revival and strengthening of democratic tendencies among the Japanese people. Freedom of speech, of religion, and of thought, as well as respect for the fundamental human rights shall be established.
    11.Japan shall be permitted to maintain such industries as will sustain her economy and permit the exaction of just reparations in kind, but not those which would enable her to re-arm for war. To this end, access to, as distinguished from control of, raw materials shall be permitted. Eventual Japanese participation in world trade relations shall be permitted.
    12.The occupying forces of the Allies shall be withdrawn from Japan as soon as these objectives have been accomplished and there has been established in accordance with the freely expressed will of the Japanese people a peacefully inclined and responsible government.
    13.We call upon the government of Japan to proclaim now the unconditional surrender of all Japanese armed forces, and to provide proper and adequate assurances of their good faith in such action. The alternative for Japan is prompt and utter destruction.

    Yes we could have blockaded them and caused a famine that would have killed tens of millions of Japanese. As it was, MacArthur barely averted famine with massive shipments of food for the US. MacArthur threatened to resign if the food was not forthcoming, flatly stating that famine was not going to happen in Japan on his watch.

  11. The problem with debating this is that those who are against it from a traditionally liberal perspective rest on the idea that Japan was finished, it was all about peace, it wanted to end the hostilities, we had them beat, there was no reason to invade, Russia had ended the war in the Pacific already, or anything that makes it wrong. I don’t support the decision personally, but I don’t see it as some unique fluke from an evil United States just itching to nuke Japanese babies in order to take over the world.

  12. If one uses Catholic non-consequentialist moral reasoning partly based on Double Effect, then whether or not Japan was going to surrender anyway or how many lives might have been lost in an invasion is irrelevant.

    I tend to think they shouldn’t have done it (though I’m still not completely sure). But whatever the answer, I would never condemn or blame anyone involved. And of course the bombings came after years of conventional terror bombing by both sides.

  13. If one uses Catholic non-consequentialist moral reasoning…

    It seems to me (especially when these a-bomb discussions come up) that in trying to run from consequentialism, many Catholics has ended up in the opposite error of moral equivalency. If not the sheer insanity that results never matter with actions.

  14. I’m with Oakes. Consequentialism cannot save the decision, only Double Effect can. I am not convinced by Deacon Russell’s explication (or other similar efforts), but I acknowledge that the analysis is very tricky and very smart folks can disagree. In any case, I would no more condemn Truman et al than I would blame a soldier who intentionally kills his dying comrade in order to stop his suffering. Acts can be wrong but understandable and forgivable. Good people do bad things for good reasons all the time, and the actors remain good and the actions remain bad.

  15. Nate, you are right that it is erroneous to suggest that results never matter. But when it comes to acts that are intrinsically evil (such as the deliberate targeting of non-combatants in war) the relevance of results is limited chiefly to evaluating an actor’s level of subjective culpability.

  16. Well, around and around we go, but nothing alters the fundamental division of opinion: one side believes avoiding the predicted consequences of ground invasion justified the bombings (consequentialism) and the other view is that the deliberate targeting of non-combatants is never moral and not subject to any kind of moral “trade-offs,” being intrinsically evil. I suspect neither side will convince the other. But I *am* certain the ad hominems will continue to fly.

  17. The use of atomic weapons in general violates the teachings of Just War and must be condemned no matter what. America committed a war crime when it dropped those terror bombs. No ifs, ands or buts about it.

  18. One perhaps “good” effect of the bombings was to demonstrate the bomb’s devastation. And they are much more devastating now. However, quite effective devastation can be and has been wrought by non-nuclear, conventional weaponry, like firebombs and guns. Shoulda, coulda, woulda? Only answer to that is, “Was ya dere?”

  19. Tom, it must be pointed out that the intrinsically evil nature of the intentional targeting of non-combatants is an undisputed Catholic teaching. What is disputed is whether Nagasaki and Hiroshima fall within that category as a matter of fact. The debates centers both on the facts surrounding the bombings as well as the proper technical application of Double Effect. There is plenty to study and presumably debate here, but Catholics who believe that an action that has net positive results cannot be wrong is not thinking with the Church.
    Finally, yes all too many folks resort to name-calling and ad hominems, but I don’t think I see any such behavior on this thread, at least yet.

  20. But I *am* certain the ad hominems will continue to fly.

    Well… yes. Starting a debate by calling the other side evil will usually mean ad hominems fly. 😉

  21. As a side note, Japan embraced nuclear energy for electricity after the atomic bombing because the country has no oil, no gas, no coal. Then Fukushima happened and unlike Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Fukushima neither hurt nor killed any member of the public (though 12 recovery workers did die in industrial non-nuclear accidents after the event). Now the country opposes nuclear power.

    The atomic bombing motivated the Japanese to embrace nuclear energy because a small amount of uranium contains a huge amount of energy.

    The Fukushima accident motivated the Japanese to shut all their nuclear power plants down even though NO member of the public was either hurt or killed.

    This is so unlike the natural gas tank explosions in the Chiba Prefecture which killed hundreds, releasing chemical toxins that never ever decay away, and so unlike the hydro damn failures that killed thousands by drowning – all caused by the Tohoku earthquake that led to the tsunami).

    I have never understood such stupidity. The hydro and fossil fuel accidents after the earthquake and tsunami in 2011 killed tens of thousands and nuclear killed ZERO in the public. I thought the Japanese were at least above that sort of thing.

    BTW, corollary: all those chemical explosives rained on Tokyo and other cities during WW II killed far more that the nuking of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

    But the Roman Catholic Church has NOTHING to say about that and how that would have continued on indeterminately without the nuking.

    I am disgusted.

  22. For two weeks prior to the bombing, American planes dropped leaflets warning the inhabitants to evacuate. A truth that seems to have been eradicated by the liberal, not so patriotic individuals.

  23. Lucius, many Catholic prelates and theologians have pointed out that the so-called carpet bombings of Germany and Japan were morally indistinguishable from Hiroshima and Nagasaki and therefore intrinsically evil. Of course, this assertion rests on the conclusion that these bombings were, in fact, the deliberate targeting of non-combatants. Not all historians agree with that assessment.

    Mary, yes that is true and is this fact is often cited as evidence that the bombing therefore cannot fairly be regarded as the deliberate targeting of civilians. This argument is vulnerable to serious rebuttals, however, and I encourage you to research them.

    I have read quite a bit over the years regarding the moral legitimacy of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings, and on balance have concluded that they were intrinsically evil acts, even if certainly understandable and forgivable under the circumstances. But my conclusion is not shared by all well-informed Catholic thinkers, and I certainly don’t regard it as free from doubt. Like many moral analyses of historical events, the analysis benefits from high dosages of humility.

  24. “I have read quite a bit over the years regarding the moral legitimacy of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings, and on balance have concluded that they were intrinsically evil acts, even if certainly understandable and forgivable under the circumstances.”

    Mike, that is where I fall on it. Unfortunately, too many use condemnation of the events as mushroom cloud shaped cudgels with which to bludgeon America, ideological opponents, or anything else. And, as some have charged, Japan is not innocent of having used the clouds as shields to downplay the millions who suffered and died under its administration of the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere.

    Like always, it’s not what we do and don’t remember, it’s what we do with it.

  25. I haven’t called anyone evil. I used to be just as vociferous in defense of the bombings as I now am against them, so I understand the indignation that people dare to question the morality of an action that may have in fact saved many of *our side’s* military lives. It’s just that at the end of the day, I could not rationalize away the clear traditional teaching (which also appeals to my sense of natural justice) that it’s wrong intentionally to target innocent women and children, a calculus that is changed not one whit by the attempt to “recategorize” the inhabitants of these towns as “combatants,” twisting normal language beyond breaking point. Read the post linked by Don which tells of the priests and penitents incinerated by Fat Boy. They were not combatants. Nor were the small children, and in fact, to my knowledge, while the terror effect of the bombings was extolled as a reason for their use, the flimsy claim that the entire populace of these towns were “combatants” was never advanced.

  26. I see a lot of pontification, especially this time of year, about nuclear weapons by people who know little if anything about military strategy and nothing of any matters relating to nuclear. Such people wouldn’t know the difference between a neutron and an alpha, or what critical means, or how fusion and fission differ, but they perversely believe that they are entitled to an opinion. Really?!

    I therefore highly recommend reading and studing The Strategy of Technology by Dr. Jerry Pournelle (one of President Reagan’s science advisors on the Stategic Defense Initiative), Dr. Stefan Possony and Dr. Francis Kane (Colonel, Retired, USAF):

    https://www.jerrypournelle.com/slowchange/Strat.html

    I served aboard a nuclear armed, nuclear propelled submarine back in the Cold War, maintaining the peace by the doctrine of Mutual Assurred Destruction – a doctrine that demonstrably worked. Every sailor on my sub prayed we would never have to launch our nukes. But if we were given the order, then by God Russians were going to die. The Old Testament has plenty of precedence for God ordering the Children of Israel to wipe out every man, woman and child in the cities of the Promised Land during the initial invasion. Failure to comply with God’s direction led to continued strife and conflict with unsubdued pagan neighbors. Sadly and regrettably war kills women and children instead of just combatants. God’s wrath rains out on the just and unjust alike. But we get all Pharisitically self-righteous as arm-chair philosopher and theologians filled with useless, worthless sentimentality. War is freaking hell and it is NEVER a good thing and is to be avoided if at all possible, but when it comes, may God see fit to let America win. I don’t want war. None of us guys on the USS Jacksonville SSN-699 wanted war. But when it comes, you got to be able to rain hell on whoever is on the enemy’s line. Yes, avoid non-combatants. But there’s Biblical precedence here. Let’s not forget that.

  27. The Bomb Follies are IMO an exercise in “imaginary” virtue at the expense of real virtue — for the sake of being on the “right” side of a moral dilemma that none of of have ever or will ever face (unless we have a time machine that can take us back to 1945 and turn us into Harry Truman), we indulge in rash judgment and contempt toward real, live persons in the here and now. I suppose that debating whether or not Hiroshima and Nagasaki were morally justified is supposed to help us make a sound moral decision in the future if/when nukes have to be used again (North Korea?) but even then, most of us pontificating on these blogs aren’t going to have any say in that matter. A morally messed up world in which there are, sometimes, no options except “evil” and “less evil” is the price we pay for original sin, I guess.

  28. “A morally messed up world in which there are, sometimes, no options except “evil” and “less evil” is the price we pay for original sin, I guess.”

    Comment of the week Elaine! Take ‘er away Sam!

  29. Someone pick up the phone because I called it!

    Over at Dave’s the ever cliche CC (Don knows who I’m talking about) says:

    The bomb was not needed to win the war. Japan was about to surrender anyway. This is according to Churchill, MacArthur, Eisenhower, Admiral King, Admiral Leahy, and others.

  30. Churchill defended the use of the bomb at the time on the floor of the House of Commons. Big Mac was told about the bomb just prior to it being dropped. He was furious. He was looking forward to commanding the invasion of Japan, the biggest amphibious invasion in History. He argued after Hiroshima that an invasion would still be necessary. Ike, contra his memoirs, made no comment on the atomic bombings at the time. Even in his memoirs he noted that he had no responsibility for, and little knowledge of, conditions in the Pacific Theater. King and Leahy wanted to let the blockade lead to a famine that would have starved the Japanese into capitulation. Leahy’s pride also was stung when his prediction that the bomb would be a dud proved to be a dud.

  31. “an exercise in “imaginary” virtue”

    “As regards his more general attitude to the war, you must not rely too much on those feelings of hatred which the humans are so fond of discussing in Christian, or anti-Christian, periodicals. In his anguish, the patient can, of course, be encouraged to revenge himself by some vindictive feelings directed towards the German leaders, and that is good so far as it goes. But it is usually a sort of melodramatic or mythical hatred directed against imaginary scapegoats. He has never met these people in real life—they are lay figures modelled on what he gets from newspapers. The results of such fanciful hatred are often most disappointing, and of all humans the English are in this respect the most deplorable milksops. They are creatures of that miserable sort who loudly proclaim that torture is too good for their enemies and then give tea and cigarettes to the first wounded German pilot who turns up at the back door.”
    CS Lewis, The Screwtape Letters.

  32. I don’t think it’s a worthless pursuit to figure out if certain actions are morally justified or not, and we don’t need to be nuclear scientists to do it. The rhetoric of “well, it’s a messy world, sometimes you hafta choose evil to avoid evil” is not a Catholic viewpoint. Our martyrs would reject that line of reasoning, having rejected doing some “small” evil to avoid some “great” evil. I suspect Thomas More probably heard this argument when he was being urged to accept the Act of Supremacy. It’s curious to me that among otherwise orthodox Catholics, this mushy “morality is not black and white, but gray” line is lifted from the religious Left, who use the exact same language to justify why definitive judgments can’t be made about sexual morality, their pet cause. Vindicating anything the US military has ever done seems to be the cause on “our” side that brings out the “morality is a fuzzy, gray thing” line. It doesn’t diminish our patriotism or national greatness to admit certain of our leaders made a really bad decision. Or don’t we get to criticize our leaders in this country without being accused of being unpatriotic or simpletons?

  33. As to the Annual Bomb Argument, my thought is that I’m glad I didn’t have to be in Harry Truman’s shoes.

  34. One thing that gets left out of a lot of these discussions Mark Shea is that 20,000 Japanese soldiers died in the Hiroshima bombing. Calling it a terror attack, specifically targeting civilians misses some important facts.
    It’s ironic that people who say supporting welfare payments makes one more pro-life than outlawing abortion would suggest starving the Japanese through a blockade would be better than the bomb.
    I also appreciate Don’s explanations of backgrounds of MacArthur, Eisenhower, etc perspectives above.

  35. I guess our option is not the relative magnitude of evil- but our option is prayer. We can do nothing about the past, it is fixed. The future is not fixed and prayer and repentance can change things, according to B16.

  36. This is only peripherally related to the topic of this post. I just got some sad news today. After 40 years of service on nuclear power, my old submarine the USS Jacksonville SSN-699 is returning from her last voyage. She will be decommissioned in 2018 or 2019. She was refueled only once in 4 decades – a heck of a lot of energy in a uranium atom – ain’t God great?

    http://m.navaltoday.com/#newsitem-142063

    I was a reactor operator aboard her in the late 70s and early 80s. I got to sleep next to a subroc nuclear missile in the Torpedo Room because I was a junior petty officer and there wasn’t enough berthing space. Basically, we were a nuclear propelled weapons launching platform and people space was a second thought. Oh, I hated it at the time, but every young man ought to have the opportunity of cleaning the bilges beneath the reactor coolant charging pumps while in the North Atlantic in November.

    I wouldn’t trade those memories for anything in the world. Sadly nit wit idiots like Mark Shea have no idea what responsibility and integrity and patriotism really are.

  37. Mary, yes that is true and is this fact is often cited as evidence that the bombing therefore cannot fairly be regarded as the deliberate targeting of civilians. This argument is vulnerable to serious rebuttals, however, and I encourage you to research them.
    After the warning the non-combatants were to be absent. So, there cannot be any charge of targeting non-combatants. Nobody knew what the atomic bomb could do. Initially, the scientists believed that the atmosphere would catch fire and a chain reaction would burn our air and kill all of us. Now we know a little more of how to handle nuclear fission. Applying today’s standards to yesterday is not fair. Today’s atomic bombs are more sophisticated as are our scientists.
    Hiroshima and Nagasaki ended the War. The devil is in the details and you and I are dealing with the devil. War is bad. The devil is worse.

  38. I can not help but note that Old Testament wars were fought between entire nations rather than just armies. In fact, David was admonished by Nathan for not having destroyed the whole of his enemies. The brutality of the Japanese can scarcely be imagined today. Presently, they refuse to acknowledge their war crimes and instead blame white colonialism (though they were never colonized) for the Asian part of WW II. Easy to make judgements from seven decades in the future.

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