Friday, July 23, 2010

Atomic Bombing of Japan
Can Catholics say it was moral?

In just a handful of days, it will be 65 years since we dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan. So to answer the above question, without a doubt, I say yes.

Here's some of my rationale;
1. In an invasion of the Home Islands, U.S. KIA estimates were approx 1,000,000.

2. In an invasion of the Home Islands, British Commonwealth KIA estimates were approx 1,000,000.

3. In an invasion of the Home Islands, Japanese civilian deaths from famine alone were estimated at approx 5,000,000.


Blogger Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus said...

Yes, the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki was the most moral decision that could have been made at the time given the alternatives that existed.

8:20 PM  
Blogger Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus said...

By the way, just to put things in perspective, there is a world of difference between nuclear weapons and nuclear energy for electricity. The latter does NOT inexorably lead to the former, and nuclear fuel for a reactor CANNOT be used for a weapon.

Furthermore, I just coincidentally posted at my blogsite a summary of the recent US NRC news announcement about abnormal occurrences at nuclear licensed facilities in the US for fiscal year 2009. There were NINE medical events and ZERO events at the nation's 104 operating nuclear power stations. Please see the following for links to NUREG-0090 Volume 32 that give the substance of the report:

8:35 PM  
Blogger CynicalSon said...

I disagree to an extent. I think we need to view the situation from the perspective of when the decision was made and limit ourselves to the information available at that time. I think the first bomb should have been dropped on a military target that would have minimized civilian damage. Once it successfully detonated, we should then have conveyed our intention to be less discerning in our future targets (i.e., conveyed to the Japanese government that cities—such as Hiroshima and Nagasaki, etc.—that contained valid military targets would be fair game).

Since the Japanese did not surrender after the Hiroshima bomb, we may conclude that neither would they have surrendered had the first target been more selective in minimizing civilian casualties. At that point, I think we should have proceeded as we actually did.

9:27 AM  
Blogger ignorant redneck said...


We need also to look at the other strategic air power option on the table.

Immediatly following the capitulation of Germany, the Air Forces (US/UK) looked at what they had done and reached the conclusion that attacks against cities was not particularly effective in reducing the war making potential of a Nation. Rather, they found that attacks on transportation systems were. (The Nazis had plenty of weapons and ammo in April '45, but couldn't move it to where they were actually fighting!)

A geographic feature of Japan was that food was produced in the North, and industry was in the South, and these two areas were linked rail along a norrow corridor on the western cast of Hokkaido. It was estimated that four breaks in the line, at the right places would prevent the distribution of food. The resulting hunger--well let's be honest the resulting famine would bring the Empire of Japan down. Of course the estimate of the martality that would cause was in excess of 10 million civilians.

BTW--the last time the US had Purple Heart Medals struck was in 1945, in preparation fro the invasions of Japan. Also, the US/UK intellegince community underestimated by nearly 100% the numbers of troops in the areas to be used as the initial landing zones in Olympic.

Not to mention the dismal record we had compiled in moutain campaigns in Europe and North Africa.

It would have been worse than the projections. Of course, that's hind sight.

9:52 AM  
Blogger Dymphna said...

Do the Japanese obsess about Pearl Harbor every year? I bet they don't.

2:53 PM  
Blogger VSO said...

We're still fighting the Civil War, so we'll be fighting over this too for years to come.

10:57 AM  
Blogger Arkanabar Ilarsadin said...

In the hopes of doing a bit more justice to the opposing view, I offer this post by the Western Confucian.

The one thing I know about our employment of nuclear weapons in wartime is, that I do not know enough to make a valid moral judgment.

2:29 AM  

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