Guilt and the Murder of Innocents.

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Darknacht:

Reiterpallasch:
You both really miss the point.
If the atomic bombs were not dropped, then the Allied powers would have been forced to initiate Operation Downfall, the invasion of Japan.

There were more options then bomb civilians or an invasion of the home islands. The allies could have negotiated peace, before the bombing Japan knew it had lost the war and was trying to keep fighting long enough that they could get a decent peace deal.

I think your missing the fact that no, they could not have negotiated a peace, the Japanese considered the humiliation of surrender worse than death at the time(hence Kamikaze planes) if they were willing to sacrifice needed men and materials to do as much damage as possible to America's unstoppable war machine, what makes you think that anything other than proof that they and their culture could be entirely wiped out by weapons with unprecedented destructive power would make them stop?Japan knew they were going to lose, but surrender just wasn't an option

FluffyWelshCake:

senordesol:

FluffyWelshCake:

That's the difference between soldiers and civilians. Soldiers fight and risk their lives so that civilians don't have to, at least that's the idea. So slaughtering that number of innocents when you have several powerful military forces ready to go is completely unforgivable.

They fight so YOUR civilians don't have to. The enemy's civilians be damned.

So you're willing to murder thousands of innocents because they're different than you? War is much more complicated that them vs. us. That kind of attitude is horribly outdated and is a cause of racism and bigotry.

Bigotry has nothing to do with it. War has been declared. They are the enemy. Their cause is my submission or destruction. My cause is theirs.

War is exactly as simple as 'us' versus 'them', clouding the issue invites defeat and unnecessary loss of life. Our duty is to our own in war. Everyone else is an ally, a neutral, or an enemy. The Japanese populace are governed by the Japanese government, which makes them part of the enemy war machine.

They put the bullets in the enemy's guns, food in his belly, boots on his feet, gas in his tanks, a replenishing pool of potential recruits, and -not least of which- something to fight for.

Take all that away, and victory is assured and if you can do it in a way that assures YOUR soldiers get to go home to their wives and mothers; so much the better.

First we need context: Bombing civilian targets was common practice at the time, it was seen as a method of demoralizing the enemy and reducing support for the regime. Just look at what we did in Dresden and Hamburg.

Also, were I in that same situation, I would have dropped the bomb. 166,000 of the enemy is less than ~3,000,000 of my own countrymen. (We didn't mass produce purple hearts in anticipation of nothing...) Guilt? I honestly can't say if I would feel it, I've never dropped a bomb on a city before, though I think I wouldn't feel regret.

The nuclear bomb droppings were a terrible evil, but a necessary one.

senordesol:

FluffyWelshCake:

senordesol:

They fight so YOUR civilians don't have to. The enemy's civilians be damned.

So you're willing to murder thousands of innocents because they're different than you? War is much more complicated that them vs. us. That kind of attitude is horribly outdated and is a cause of racism and bigotry.

Bigotry has nothing to do with it. War has been declared. They are the enemy. Their cause is my submission or destruction. My cause is theirs.

War is exactly as simple as 'us' versus 'them', clouding the issue invites defeat and unnecessary loss of life. Our duty is to our own in war. Everyone else is an ally, a neutral, or an enemy. The Japanese populace are governed by the Japanese government, which makes them part of the enemy war machine.

They put the bullets in the enemy's guns, food in his belly, boots on his feet, gas in his tanks, a replenishing pool of potential recruits, and -not least of which- something to fight for.

Take all that away, and victory is assured and if you can do it in a way that assures YOUR soldiers get to go home to their wives and mothers; so much the better.

But we have to cloud the issue, or we'll end up with morally bankrupt killing machines slaughtering anybody different to them. Look at a child that has been born destined to die a slow and painful death because of radiation poisoning, and tell me that he is the enemy.

If someone should feel guilty, it's the people who made the call not the ones who executed the mission. They just basically pressed a button on command. If they hadn't, someone else would have. I completely understand someone feeling guilty after something like this but it's ultimately not their fault.

senordesol:

Bigotry has nothing to do with it. War has been declared. They are the enemy. Their cause is my submission or destruction. My cause is theirs.

War is exactly as simple as 'us' versus 'them', clouding the issue invites defeat and unnecessary loss of life. Our duty is to our own in war. Everyone else is an ally, a neutral, or an enemy. The Japanese populace are governed by the Japanese government, which makes them part of the enemy war machine.

They put the bullets in the enemy's guns, food in his belly, boots on his feet, gas in his tanks, a replenishing pool of potential recruits, and -not least of which- something to fight for.

Take all that away, and victory is assured and if you can do it in a way that assures YOUR soldiers get to go home to their wives and mothers; so much the better.

No, it can never be that simple. At that time the Japanese government was controlled entirely by the military, the average citizen had no control over the actions of his country. What were they meant to do? Protesting or resisting meant certain imprisonment and execution. Saying that those people are equally morally culpable to the generals who ordered the slaughter of Chinese people in their thousands is absurd.
Two questions. Firstly, on what basis do you value the lives of your/our citizens and soldiers over the enemies? And secondly, if an Islamic extremist terrorist broke into your house and killed your entire family, on what basis would you morally condemn that terrorist? After all, he was simply taking out a part of 'his enemies war machine'.

FluffyWelshCake:

But we have to cloud the issue, or we'll end up with morally bankrupt killing machines slaughtering anybody different to them. Look at a child that has been born destined to die a slow and painful death because of radiation poisoning, and tell me that he is the enemy.

Check your terminology here. They weren't different insofar as they happened to be another color. They were different in that Japan was out to dominate the Pacific and destroy or subjugate anyone who got in its way.

The kid dying of radiation poisoning is sad, but he only has the Japanese government to blame. They brought war. They got war. And they sure as hell weren't looking out for our children. They could have stopped the killing any time and surrendered. They didn't, so our course was clear and decidedly NOT cloudy: Keep hitting them until they do.

Typhusoid:

senordesol:

Bigotry has nothing to do with it. War has been declared. They are the enemy. Their cause is my submission or destruction. My cause is theirs.

War is exactly as simple as 'us' versus 'them', clouding the issue invites defeat and unnecessary loss of life. Our duty is to our own in war. Everyone else is an ally, a neutral, or an enemy. The Japanese populace are governed by the Japanese government, which makes them part of the enemy war machine.

They put the bullets in the enemy's guns, food in his belly, boots on his feet, gas in his tanks, a replenishing pool of potential recruits, and -not least of which- something to fight for.

Take all that away, and victory is assured and if you can do it in a way that assures YOUR soldiers get to go home to their wives and mothers; so much the better.

No, it can never be that simple. At that time the Japanese government was controlled entirely by the military, the average citizen had no control over the actions of his country. What were they meant to do? Protesting or resisting meant certain imprisonment and execution. Saying that those people are equally morally culpable to the generals who ordered the slaughter of Chinese people in their thousands is absurd.
Two questions. Firstly, on what basis do you value the lives of your/our citizens and soldiers over the enemies? And secondly, if an Islamic extremist terrorist broke into your house and killed your entire family, on what basis would you morally condemn that terrorist? After all, he was simply taking out a part of 'his enemies war machine'.

That's a huge heaping helping of 'Not our problem'. We were at war with JAPAN.

Question 1: (In order of life value) American Civilians, Allied Civilians, American Soldiers, Allied Soldiers, Enemy Civilians, Enemy Soldiers.

Question 2: None. Since we already seek his death (I'm assuming that's the kind you mean), it is in his best interest to destroy the enemy war machine. The only problem is that particular tactic is -on the whole- ineffectual.

That doesn't mean I wouldn't be fucking pissed about it. That doesn't mean I wouldn't make it my life's work to track the fucker down and kill his ass. But that's war.

Dropping a bomb doesn't feel like killing people, it's just pushing a button. I don't know if I could do it, but if I could, I probably wouldn't have been able to live with myself.

senordesol:

Typhusoid:

senordesol:

Bigotry has nothing to do with it. War has been declared. They are the enemy. Their cause is my submission or destruction. My cause is theirs.

War is exactly as simple as 'us' versus 'them', clouding the issue invites defeat and unnecessary loss of life. Our duty is to our own in war. Everyone else is an ally, a neutral, or an enemy. The Japanese populace are governed by the Japanese government, which makes them part of the enemy war machine.

They put the bullets in the enemy's guns, food in his belly, boots on his feet, gas in his tanks, a replenishing pool of potential recruits, and -not least of which- something to fight for.

Take all that away, and victory is assured and if you can do it in a way that assures YOUR soldiers get to go home to their wives and mothers; so much the better.

No, it can never be that simple. At that time the Japanese government was controlled entirely by the military, the average citizen had no control over the actions of his country. What were they meant to do? Protesting or resisting meant certain imprisonment and execution. Saying that those people are equally morally culpable to the generals who ordered the slaughter of Chinese people in their thousands is absurd.
Two questions. Firstly, on what basis do you value the lives of your/our citizens and soldiers over the enemies? And secondly, if an Islamic extremist terrorist broke into your house and killed your entire family, on what basis would you morally condemn that terrorist? After all, he was simply taking out a part of 'his enemies war machine'.

That's a huge heaping helping of 'Not our problem'. We were at war with JAPAN.

Question 1: (In order of life value) American Civilians, Allied Civilians, American Soldiers, Allied Soldiers, Enemy Civilians, Enemy Soldiers.

Question 2: None. Since we already seek his death (I'm assuming that's the kind you mean), it is in his best interest to destroy the enemy war machine. The only problem is that particular tactic is -on the whole- ineffectual.

That doesn't mean I wouldn't be fucking pissed about it. That doesn't mean I wouldn't make it my life's work to track the fucker down and kill his ass. But that's war.

I didn't ask which you valued more, I could infer that from what you said. I asked WHY. What is about a person being American that makes a person more valuable than if they are Japanese. Think about the world we'd live in if everyone thought as you do. There'd be no Geneva Convention, we'd see American soldiers raping and killing Afghani/Iraqi citizens as much as they pleased and there'd be no human rights for anyone whatever (since you seem to see individuals as nothing more than appendages of a particular government. If I'm just a part of my government's 'machine' then why can't my government hurt me, imprison me or even kill me whenever it pleases?
Also, another question. Is this 'us vs them' mentality confined to nation-states? Say I'm a muslim. Am I morally justified in killing any Christian I meet in the name of Jihad? Some food for thought (I hope).

Wow, I didn't expect to get quoted four or five times on one quote. Notice nowhere in my post in this thread did I say how POWs were treated means innocent people deserve it. Stop trying to put words in my mouth. When Pearl Harbor was attacked, did that justify their families having to lose their fathers? There, how does that feel.

And to the person who made a pathetic attempt to threaten me over the internet:

image

It's their people or my people. I choose mine. No guilt required.

Melon Hunter:

Chairman Miaow:

Melon Hunter:

You did say none of them. Not meaning to nitpick, but there were definitely some of the crew members who felt remorse, hell, even apologised to the Japanese people after the war. Of course some would be jingoistic asses about it, but such is the way of the human race. As I said, when you have the level of disconnect from the suffering you cause these men did, it's easy to mentally erase the guilt of your acts.

As for bombing cities... it was a case of revenge, in a way. By that point, America had been at war with Japan for over three and a half years. Hundreds of thousands of American troops had come home dead or wounded thanks to the Japanese forces in the Pacific. As horrible as it is to say it, I doubt the American military or government particularly cared about the welfare of Japanese civilians by that point; they just wanted to end it without a messy, lengthy and casualty-heavy invasion of Japan. Hiroshima was designed to shock the Japanese emperor into surrendering. When that didn't work, the Americans also destroyed Nagasaki to get their point across. And it worked. Destroying a city has far more of a psychological impact than any military base.

If you recall, the Japanese had a very unyielding mindset in war. If they saw the destruction of an atomic bomb visited upon a military base, that would not deter them from continuing to fight. Hell, the firebombing of Tokyo didn't either. Using the atomic bombs was horrific, but it did bring about the unthinkable; a Japanese surrender, which is all the Americans really wanted by that point.

Because three days is plenty of time to consider surrender.

Not to the Japanese, at least not at that point in time. Although, frankly, I don't think the Americans were willing to give them that much of a grace period. I'd be amazed if the military even tried to consider the situation from a Japanese standpoint. All they saw was that they'd wiped a Japanese city off the map, and the Japanese had just kept on fighting. I'm not justifying their actions; I'm simply explaining why the Americans did what they did.

Also, a full scale invasion of Japan would have cost far more lives than the bombs claimed.

Demongeneral109:

Darknacht:

Reiterpallasch:
You both really miss the point.
If the atomic bombs were not dropped, then the Allied powers would have been forced to initiate Operation Downfall, the invasion of Japan.

There were more options then bomb civilians or an invasion of the home islands. The allies could have negotiated peace, before the bombing Japan knew it had lost the war and was trying to keep fighting long enough that they could get a decent peace deal.

I think your missing the fact that no, they could not have negotiated a peace, the Japanese considered the humiliation of surrender worse than death at the time(hence Kamikaze planes) if they were willing to sacrifice needed men and materials to do as much damage as possible to America's unstoppable war machine, what makes you think that anything other than proof that they and their culture could be entirely wiped out by weapons with unprecedented destructive power would make them stop?Japan knew they were going to lose, but surrender just wasn't an option

Except that they wouldn't accept the allied peace deal because it included unconditional surrender.

Typhusoid:

I didn't ask which you valued more, I could infer that from what you said. I asked WHY. What is about a person being American that makes a person more valuable than if they are Japanese. Think about the world we'd live in if everyone thought as you do. There'd be no Geneva Convention, we'd see American soldiers raping and killing Afghani/Iraqi citizens as much as they pleased and there'd be no human rights for anyone whatever (since you seem to see individuals as nothing more than appendages of a particular government. If I'm just a part of my government's 'machine' then why can't my government hurt me, imprison me or even kill me whenever it pleases?
Also, another question. Is this 'us vs them' mentality confined to nation-states? Say I'm a muslim. Am I morally justified in killing any Christian I meet in the name of Jihad? Some food for thought (I hope).

Misunderstood, sorry.

Americans are most valuable because they are my countrymen. Allies are more valuable because they are assisting my country. The enemy is the least valuable because he is part of the effort to destroy my country (and likely my allies). Hope that's clear enough.

We are not at war with Iraq or Afghanistan, so I'd obviously have an ethical issue with our soldiers raping and pillaging their way through those countries. And even if we were, such actions don't really serve a strategic purpose.

Regarding being a part of your government's 'machine' and its ability or lack thereof to hurt you, imprison you, etc for no damn reason -- would it surprise you to know that many governments do just that? I'm not saying that's a good thing, I'm saying you are beholden to whomever's in charge until they are not in charge anymore. Just so, it is none of our concern how another government chooses to conduct itself regarding its own citizens (at least so far as a war effort is concerned, human rights watch being a separate issue). Its policies regarding its citizens have no bearing on us, all that matters is that it uses its citizens in the war against us.

Regarding Christians and Muslims: Christianity is not engaged in a war against islam as Christianity has no central leadership it is beholden to (except the man upstairs, of course). Now I am aware that there are certain sections of Islam whom have effectively declared war on Christianity. As such, any Christian who wishes to protect what he holds dear on this Earth is well justified in eliminating all those who would seek to harm him and all those who would knowingly assist toward that end.

For further clarification, all of this is only valid for enemies who retain the will to fight. It would have been morally reprehensible to drop a nuke on our enemy after they have surrendered.

FluffyWelshCake:
The bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were nothing short of war crimes. The Japanese were isolated, their two allies (Germany and Italy) had been beaten. Hitler was dead, the Japanese were losing. But instead of losing American soldiers who knew the risks going in they instead decided to slaughter thousands upon thousands of innocent people who never asked to be part of a war. Is anybody so naive to think that Hiroshima and Nagasaki were full of soldiers? No, they were full of civilians.

"They knew the risks going in" is a pathetic argument. Both sides were using conscript armies. These were people who did not choose to be in the military. These were people who were made to fight because their nations demanded it. They were not given the option to be civilians or soldiers. This was true on both sides. They were civilians who were given a gun and made to fight and made to die. Not because they wanted to be there or they chose this life but because their name was drawn in a lottery. A person does not stop being an innocent victim of war because you forced him to pick up a gun.

I find it disturbing how readily you and others have dismissed the lives of conscripted soldiers as worth significantly less than a civilian life.

senordesol:

Typhusoid:

I didn't ask which you valued more, I could infer that from what you said. I asked WHY. What is about a person being American that makes a person more valuable than if they are Japanese. Think about the world we'd live in if everyone thought as you do. There'd be no Geneva Convention, we'd see American soldiers raping and killing Afghani/Iraqi citizens as much as they pleased and there'd be no human rights for anyone whatever (since you seem to see individuals as nothing more than appendages of a particular government. If I'm just a part of my government's 'machine' then why can't my government hurt me, imprison me or even kill me whenever it pleases?
Also, another question. Is this 'us vs them' mentality confined to nation-states? Say I'm a muslim. Am I morally justified in killing any Christian I meet in the name of Jihad? Some food for thought (I hope).

Misunderstood, sorry.

Americans are most valuable because they are my countrymen. Allies are more valuable because they are assisting my country. The enemy is the least valuable because he is part of the effort to destroy my country (and likely my allies). Hope that's clear enough.

We are not at war with Iraq or Afghanistan, so I'd obviously have an ethical issue with our soldiers raping and pillaging their way through those countries. And even if we were, such actions don't really serve a strategic purpose.

Regarding being a part of your government's 'machine' and its ability or lack thereof to hurt you, imprison you, etc for no damn reason -- would it surprise you to know that many governments do just that? I'm not saying that's a good thing, I'm saying you are beholden to whomever's in charge until they are not in charge anymore. Just so, it is none of our concern how another government chooses to conduct itself regarding its own citizens (at least so far as a war effort is concerned, human rights watch being a separate issue). Its policies regarding its citizens have no bearing on us, all that matters is that it uses its citizens in the war against us.

Regarding Christians and Muslims: Christianity is not engaged in a war against islam as Christianity has no central leadership it is beholden to (except the man upstairs, of course). Now I am aware that there are certain sections of Islam whom have effectively declared war on Christianity. As such, any Christian who wishes to protect what he holds dear on this Earth is well justified in eliminating all those who would seek to harm him and all those who would knowingly assist toward that end.

For further clarification, all of this is only valid for enemies who retain the will to fight. It would have been morally reprehensible to drop a nuke on our enemy after they have surrendered.

A few points. About the raping/pillaging in the middle east: sorry, I should have been more clear. I was refering to the times when they were at war with America, when those citizens were members of an enemy nature.
On the question of government oppresion, you are right in a sense but what I was really asking was if you see this as in any way wrong and if so why given how you seem to view citizens in relation to their country
The thing about the Muslim, you are ofcourse right to point out there is no unified formal leadership there. To be more specific lets say we are talking about a Shi'a Muslim (Shi'a does have a formal leader, the Ayatollah) If the Ayatollah were to 'declare war' on Christianity (or any religious group), would a Muslim acting as I described be acting fairly? Basically I'm saying is you conception of 'us vs them', 'cogs in the war machine' limited to nationality, or is it equally applicable to other characteristics such as religion or race.
More questions: for clarity, I am a citizen of the United Kingdom. Hypothetically, my country declares war on, lets say, France. But I protest and argue against the decision as loudly as possible on moral grounds. After the declaration of war I quit my job at a munitions factory because I refuse to be a part of such an evil war. Am I legitimate target for the French military?
You seem to believe that the identity and actions of any man or woman are inextricably linked to the actions of their counrty, but how can this be? I have no control over my country of birth. I refuse to simply be a 'cog in the machine'. I am an individual who can agree or disagree with anything as I see fit. I believe we have a moral duty to do right by whoever we can on an individual basis. If a government commits an evil act, you take out the government. Not their janitor.

This can go on and on for a while. There are still many Japanese deny there was any wrong-doing on their part in mainland China. There are even more who are not even aware of it, or even the atomic bombings. I wrote to Paul Tibbets just before he died and I've also interviewed a Hiroshima bomb survivor who was twelve years old at the time. The one thing I really got from all of that is that we can in no way judge what it was like for them to make the decisions they did in the world they were living in at the time.

I don't know, to me killing one man face to face would be a lot harder to live with than killing a thousand from a plane a mile in the air. Would I have done it? Only if I was ordered to I guess.

i saw a documentary about it some time ago,they interviewed a couple of the people in the plane.
and it was disgusting.
one of them was cherrily proud and boasted "lol yeah and then we went and drank beer and celebrated when we got home". so no,they didnt show remorse.

Typhusoid:

A few points. About the raping/pillaging in the middle east: sorry, I should have been more clear. I was refering to the times when they were at war with America, when those citizens were members of an enemy nature.

I already addressed that point. Such actions serve no strategic purpose. That means they are irrelevant to the war effort and would be, in a word, wrong.

On the question of government oppresion, you are right in a sense but what I was really asking was if you see this as in any way wrong and if so why given how you seem to view citizens in relation to their country

Of course I see it as wrong. I love being American because I don't have to put up with that crap, and I wish liberty from oppression on everyone. But that is irrelevant to the conversation. I am discussing a war effort in the strictest sense. How the enemy government treats its own citizens is not a factor in the battle plans (except for, perhaps, a propaganda effort). Be they a democracy or a monarchy, the only difference it makes to the commanding Generals is how many people they have to kill/convince in order to stop the fighting.

The thing about the Muslim, you are of course right to point out there is no unified formal leadership there. To be more specific lets say we are talking about a Shi'a Muslim (Shi'a does have a formal leader, the Ayatollah) If the Ayatollah were to 'declare war' on Christianity (or any religious group), would a Muslim acting as I described be acting fairly? Basically I'm saying is you conception of 'us vs them', 'cogs in the war machine' limited to nationality, or is it equally applicable to other characteristics such as religion or race.

The Christians have no war machine. They have no ability to field troops, or maintain supplies. There's no fight in them, so there's no reason to fight. Here again, I must stress; continued war is only acceptable (and I am using that word in only the strictest clinical sense) when the enemy you're fighting has the will to fight you.

More questions: for clarity, I am a citizen of the United Kingdom. Hypothetically, my country declares war on, lets say, France. But I protest and argue against the decision as loudly as possible on moral grounds. After the declaration of war I quit my job at a munitions factory because I refuse to be a part of such an evil war. Am I legitimate target for the French military?

So long as you remain a part of the UK, you are.

You seem to believe that the identity and actions of any man or woman are inextricably linked to the actions of their country, but how can this be? I have no control over my country of birth. I refuse to simply be a 'cog in the machine'. I am an individual who can agree or disagree with anything as I see fit. I believe we have a moral duty to do right by whoever we can on an individual basis. If a government commits an evil act, you take out the government. Not their janitor.

You misunderstand. It is not that they are inextricably linked, it's that they are irrelevant. No war machine has the time to take a census of who in your country supports the war and who doesn't. No Admiral's going to say 'make sure the bombs don't hit Typhusoid's house'. They are too busy worrying about their OWN people. Concerning themselves with not hitting you is not going to end the war any faster, they need to defeat their enemy (whoever it is), and bring their OWN boys home alive.

senordesol:

Typhusoid:

A few points. About the raping/pillaging in the middle east: sorry, I should have been more clear. I was refering to the times when they were at war with America, when those citizens were members of an enemy nature.

I already addressed that point. Such actions serve no strategic purpose. That means they are irrelevant to the war effort and would be, in a word, wrong.

I think this right here says it all. Rape and murder are't wrong because the victims are civilians. They aren't wrong because they cause suffering. They aren't wrong because of common human compassion, or human rights. They're wrong because they're 'strategically irrelevant'. Bullshit. You tell me that your enemy must have 'will to fight'. What does this even mean? If I'm an infant child who happens to be a member of a country which is at war, how in the name of all fuck do I have 'the will to fight'? Its utter crap to say that you can judge everything on the actions of a government regardless of the will of the civilian population.
Don't respond to this. You answered me politely and I thank you for it, but you seem to be amongst the most morally reprehensible people I've met. Let me leave you with one last question, one last hypothetical. The year is 1941. The place, the Soviet Union. There is a family of peasants, who happen to be Jewish. The did not vote for their government, they simply try to eek out what little living they can manage. One day an armoured car pulls up to their farmhouse an a member of the SS steps out. He has been told by others living nearby that the family are Jews . He shoots the entire family; a man, a woman and three children. Was that SS man a vile murderer, or was he elminating a legitimate target; 5 members of the enemies 'war machine'? If you have no way within your moral system to condemn such a man, I think you have a serious need to reevaluate your world view.

Typhusoid:

senordesol:

Typhusoid:

A few points. About the raping/pillaging in the middle east: sorry, I should have been more clear. I was refering to the times when they were at war with America, when those citizens were members of an enemy nature.

I already addressed that point. Such actions serve no strategic purpose. That means they are irrelevant to the war effort and would be, in a word, wrong.

I think this right here says it all. Rape and murder are't wrong because the victims are civilians. They aren't wrong because they cause suffering. They aren't wrong because of common human compassion, or human rights. They're wrong because they're 'strategically irrelevant'. Bullshit. You tell me that your enemy must have 'will to fight'. What does this even mean? If I'm an infant child who happens to be a member of a country which is at war, how in the name of all fuck do I have 'the will to fight'? Its utter crap to say that you can judge everything on the actions of a government regardless of the will of the civilian population.
Don't respond to this. You answered me politely and I thank you for it, but you seem to be amongst the most morally reprehensible people I've met. Let me leave you with one last question, one last hypothetical. The year is 1941. The place, the Soviet Union. There is a family of peasants, who happen to be Jewish. The did not vote for their government, they simply try to eek out what little living they can manage. One day an armoured car pulls up to their farmhouse an a member of the SS steps out. He has been told by others living nearby that the family are Jews . He shoots the entire family; a man, a woman and three children. Was that SS man a vile murderer, or was he elminating a legitimate target; 5 members of the enemies 'war machine'? If you have no way within your moral system to condemn such a man, I think you have a serious need to reevaluate your world view.

I'll respond to whatever the hell I want, thank you very much. And I'll respond to this because you are misconstruing my point.

Murder is wrong. Yet we expect -nay- demand soldiers kill complete strangers for the sake of war.

Trespassing is wrong. Yet armies take ground from their enemies for the sake of war.

Things we consider wrong in everyday life are commonplace, expected, and demanded in war. So that is why Strategic Validity is a big goddamn factor.

Your example at the end proves that you have missed my point entirely. The Jews HAD no war machine; no ability to fight, no ability to surrender, NONE. So if he was killing a Jewish family, solely because they were Jewish that would be wrong.

You further misconstrue my point when you say I am 'judging' anybody based on the actions of their government. No judgment has occurred whatsoever. The simple, ugly, horrifying fact is: They. Do. Not. Matter.

The only thing that matter is whether the enemy war machine is still ticking, and what it will take to rectify that state of affairs. That is what I mean by 'will to fight'. If you captured an enemy village, there would be no need to hurt anyone in it because they are no longer part of the war machine.

1:

EDIT: Part of the criteria for target selection was "The target was larger than 3 miles (4.8 km) in diameter and was an important target in a large urban area." so they intentionally chose a target which would cause a great number of civilian casualties.

WHAT

That is a crime

Chairman Miaow:

Melon Hunter:
snip

That's one man, out of 12.

Another said "I'm proud that I was able to start with nothing, plan it, and have it work as perfectly as it did .... I sleep clearly every night." In March 2005, he stated, "If you give me the same circumstances, I'd do it again."

Jacob Beser, who took part in both bombings said "No I feel no sorrow or remorse for whatever small role I played. That I should is crazy."

And that message could have been sent without bombing two cities. It could have been sent without bombing any. The destruction caused by one of these bombs could easily have been seen without targeting so many civilians. If that didn't work, then sure, bomb one of those targets.

You know the US government sent a message asking for a surrender after the Hiroshima bombing? And they didn't, so Nagasaki got bombed as well. Then they surrendered.
Hell, the Japanese didn't believe them when the US told them about the atom bomb before any bombings. Japan had ample opportunities to surrender beforehand, but chose not to, the whole honour before surrender thing still being rather prevalent.

senordesol:

Typhusoid:

senordesol:

I already addressed that point. Such actions serve no strategic purpose. That means they are irrelevant to the war effort and would be, in a word, wrong.

I think this right here says it all. Rape and murder are't wrong because the victims are civilians. They aren't wrong because they cause suffering. They aren't wrong because of common human compassion, or human rights. They're wrong because they're 'strategically irrelevant'. Bullshit. You tell me that your enemy must have 'will to fight'. What does this even mean? If I'm an infant child who happens to be a member of a country which is at war, how in the name of all fuck do I have 'the will to fight'? Its utter crap to say that you can judge everything on the actions of a government regardless of the will of the civilian population.
Don't respond to this. You answered me politely and I thank you for it, but you seem to be amongst the most morally reprehensible people I've met. Let me leave you with one last question, one last hypothetical. The year is 1941. The place, the Soviet Union. There is a family of peasants, who happen to be Jewish. The did not vote for their government, they simply try to eek out what little living they can manage. One day an armoured car pulls up to their farmhouse an a member of the SS steps out. He has been told by others living nearby that the family are Jews . He shoots the entire family; a man, a woman and three children. Was that SS man a vile murderer, or was he elminating a legitimate target; 5 members of the enemies 'war machine'? If you have no way within your moral system to condemn such a man, I think you have a serious need to reevaluate your world view.

I'll respond to whatever the hell I want, thank you very much. And I'll respond to this because you are misconstruing my point.

Murder is wrong. Yet we expect -nay- demand soldiers kill complete strangers for the sake of war.

Trespassing is wrong. Yet armies take ground from their enemies for the sake of war.

Things we consider wrong in everyday life are commonplace, expected, and demanded in war.

Your example at the end proves that you have missed my point entirely. The Jews HAD no war machine; no ability to fight, no ability to surrender, NONE. So if he was killing a Jewish family, solely because they were Jewish that would be wrong.

You further misconstrue my point when you say I am 'judging' anybody based on the actions of their government. No judgment has occurred whatsoever. The simple, ugly, horrifying fact is: They. Do. Not. Matter.

The only thing that matter is whether the enemy war machine is still ticking, and what it will take to rectify that state of affairs. That is what I mean by 'will to fight'. If you captured an enemy village, there would be no need to hurt anyone in it because they are no longer part of the war machine.

No, it most certainly is not the only thing that matters. What matters is the collective moral output if a given action. If all that matters to you is the defeat of your enemy you will inevitably be led to commit monstrous acts. You tell me murder is wrong. How is killing an enemy non-combatant not murder? Simply on value of being a citizen, apparently. Tell me, what must one do to no longer be part of a country's 'war machine'? You told me I am still a part of it as long as I am 'a part of the UK.' So what I am I meant to do, emigrate? Stop paying taxes? If I stop paying I'll be imprisoned for sure. And many countries in the past have prohibited emigration in times of total war. So then I'm faced with a complete Sophie's choice. I rebel against my own government and get imprisoned/killed, or I get killed by my enemy for being a 'part of the war machine'. In what fucked up world would that be moral?
If you're going to respond, please answer my prior hypothetical about what you'd do concerning a baby or infant. Are they legitimate targets too. I'm sure they are, right. After all, they could grow up and become - god forbid - florists.

Typhusoid:

No, it most certainly is not the only thing that matters. What matters is the collective moral output if a given action. If all that matters to you is the defeat of your enemy you will inevitably be led to commit monstrous acts. You tell me murder is wrong. 1. How is killing an enemy non-combatant not murder? Simply on value of being a citizen, apparently. Tell me, what must one do to no longer be part of a country's 'war machine'? 2. You told me I am still a part of it as long as I am 'a part of the UK.' So what I am I meant to do, emigrate? Stop paying taxes? If I stop paying I'll be imprisoned for sure. And many countries in the past have prohibited emigration in times of total war. So then I'm faced with a complete Sophie's choice. I rebel against my own government and get imprisoned/killed, or I get killed by my enemy for being a 'part of the war machine'. In what fucked up world would that be moral?
If you're going to respond, please answer my prior hypothetical about what you'd do concerning a 3. baby or infant. Are they legitimate targets too. I'm sure they are, right. After all, they could grow up and become - god forbid - florists.

1. When it will save the lives of your own troops. (and ONLY then)

2. Do whatever you can to get out, collaborate with the invading forces, hide out in the hills if you have to. The forces at work are much bigger than you and certainly don't care about you. Yeah, it sucks. There are no good options. That's why war is terrible.

3. Which one was that? The only one I remember was the Rad Poison one (which I already answered)

You seem to be overly concerned with 'collective moral output' in wartime. I'm sorry, but 'collective moral output' doesn't win battles. 'Collective moral output' doesn't bring anyone's dad home. You do what is necessary to win or you are prepared to lose. End of story.

It probably also has something to do with the scale of the event. Those bombings were such epic events and the number of victims that huge, that the human brain can never fully grasp it.

You can sympathize with the suffering of a family. Maybe a few. But 150'000 dead peole, 2 completly destroyed cities and probably years of sorrow?
You can barley imagine it.

Chairman Miaow:
EDIT: Part of the criteria for target selection was "The target was larger than 3 miles (4.8 km) in diameter and was an important target in a large urban area." so they intentionally chose a target which would cause a great number of civilian casualties. I cannot understand why they didn't target exclusively military bases, the message of power would have been understood regardless.

First of all, the Japanese government (and many people) were insanely nationalistic and prideful at that time. Bombing only military targets frankly just doesn't make the same statement of "Surrender now or we'll level your entire damn country." That's the reason they targeted cities. Plus at this point lots of the military and military industry was based in major cities anyway.

As for why the pilots weren't massively guilty, WWII was total and unrestricted warfare. Bombing civilian targets wasn't exactly unusual for either side. I don't think the pilots from the firebombing of Tokyo were hugely guilt-ridden, and that raid killed 100,000+ people.

Me, however, in a modern war and knowing what a nuke can do, I don't think I could do it.

The people who disagree with the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki are blissfully ignorant of the nature of war. They are the privileged children of a previous generation of flower children who protested against war and thus never came to know the threat of eradication by an enemy zealously obsessed with their demise.

Judging by your posts you are all likewise judging this scenario from the comfort of your homes; in a peaceful, non-hostile environment; having never been asked to make a sacrifice or to know and experience true suffering. My guess is that, like myself, you have never known the threatening prospect of being drafted - of being dragged out of all that cushy modern convenience and shipped to some godless jungle-island in the pacific to fight complete psychos who have been hiding in a patch of swamp or up in the trees for days on end just for the sole chance of stabbing you to death with bayonet fixed to an outdated rifle. After the fighting, and you move into the civilian areas, they all decide to desperately charge you with knives, spears, and cheap explosives (if not jumping off cliffs or committing ritual suicide).

Saying you survive, by all means I can imagine you would all be quite scared-shitless and prejudiced towards the Japanese at that point. If you then had the deciding choice of whether to then storm the enemy homeland and experience that all again, but exponentially worse, or dropping an experimental weapon on them that could end it all within the week, would you really choose the former option?

Of course, you morally-superior intellectuals speaking from behind the comfort and safety of computer screens would always make the reasonable, rational and politically correct decision - of course. Surely, isn't everything just easier when pondered over half a century later in retrospect while enjoying the comforts of the modern era?

Given the context, I would do it and probably feel justified afterwards.

TL;DR: This thread has the pungent odor of naivety, anti-American angst, Weeaboo-ism, and indifference to context.

I am aware though that my charged words and incredibly non-PC opinion warrants flaming, though.

The Japanese concept of racial supremacy was catching on faster than it even did in Germany. There's no other way to fight back at those ideas than an act of total dominance. It disproved the idea that Japan was destined to control Asia almost immediately.

It was an atrocity, and there's no way I could have done it. In a twisted way though, I'm glad that other people don't have my reservations.

Also, if we hadn't realized how destructive and horrible nuclear weapons were, who knows how the 1960s would have played out. Pure speculation, but still...

Chairman Miaow:
If given the order, and the circumstances were exactly the same, could you have done it?

Absolutely.

BUT: I worked in NBC Warfare at the end of the Cold War. Hiroshima and Nagasaki was like two drunks brawling in an alley compared to the battleplans then, and I would have done my job back then.

Would you have felt it was needed?

Not my decision. If it wasn't an illegal order, if the confirmations went through, if it was that time, whether or not it was needed would not be my concern.

Whether or not I hit the target correctly would be.

Justified?

Again: Not my concern. As long as it was strak down the line, justification are for those who want to feel good about what they did, not for me.

Would you feel guilty?

If I did it, it meant that everything was already flying. Everything was in the air, closer targets had already been hit, and the people NATO was formed to protect were being turned to radioactive dust. Guilt would had nothing to do with it.

I wouldn't live for another hour. But it wasn't the point.

If I was on the Enola Gay? Absolutely. Better I do this than the war kill millions more, devastate Japan far far far worse than two atomic hits would do.

I wouldn't feel guilty.

But I wouldn't brag about it either.

Could you live with it?

I wouldn't have to.

IF I did survive? Then yes.

The Enola Gay criteria? Absolutely.

Would I wake up every night screaming? I'd like to say so.

EDIT: Part of the criteria for target selection was "The target was larger than 3 miles (4.8 km) in diameter and was an important target in a large urban area." so they intentionally chose a target which would cause a great number of civilian casualties. I cannot understand why they didn't target exclusively military bases, the message of power would have been understood regardless.

I can. And no, it wouldn't have.

This was about showing not only the ruling powers that the war was over, but showing the Japanese people (and some rather thick headed people in power that insisted that Japan could still win, or wanted to go down with their hands locked around the US's throat) that NOTHING could protect them from this.

Target selection for nuclear weapon is VERY clear.

It was meant to show the ruling body that it was OVER. There was no way to justify fighting any longer. That the US was ready to take this to the hilt.

That the Allies could kill every living thing in Japan and there wasn't JACK that the Japanese people or government could do about it.

In war you break the enemies ability and will to fight.

Their ability to do anything more than last minute attrition had already been proven, and everyone knew it. The Japanese government KNEW they couldn't win, but still had armed the populace, dug in everywhere, and were ready to force the Allies to take it foot by bloody foot.

The Japanese people were ready to help. (I had a book of survivor stories from Hiroshima, a required reading for my old job, that the first part talked about training to kill Allied soldiers. From the point of view of a 13 year old girl. Her last ditch plan, once she had fired off her 22 bullets, was to blow up one last medic with a grenade because she knew that American weakness would lure a medic to her.) Imagine the horror stories you hear about civilian involvement in other wars. That would have happened. Again.

A military target strike would have been acceptable losses to the Japanese people. That's just the price of doing business.

Showing the population that we'd moved from standard conventional bombing into a whole new realm of weaponry and it was time for them to get their leaders to understand that it was over was a very valid tactic.

Those two bombs broke the Japanese people's will to fight, in general.

So would I have felt guilty?

Not one damn bit.

EDIT: But I'm a monster. So there's that. Don't worry, I'm perfectly aware of that fact. But I watched the films taken right after the hits, the films of testings, read and watched survivor interviews that occurred right afterwards. I don't view nuclear weapons as anything but a terrible solution to a terrible situation that will have terrible repercussions. The launching or utilization of a nuclear weapon is not something that ANYONE with the slightest bit of sanity wants to do. It's a horrible thing to be faced with, and knowing that you might be asked to kill thousands of people is a terrible thing. But I was trained to do it.

And I would have.

So I'm a monster. I volunteered to be transformed from a teenager who wrote really really bad poetry into something that could use NBC weapons without flinching. I volunteered to be driven insane because it was an insane time (MAD). I can live with that.

I would certainly have dropped the bomb, whether I was aware of its potential or not.

Would I regret that such action had to be taken? Of course, the taking of human life is never something that should be celebrated, for that demeans it.

If the bombs hadn't been dropped then its quite likely that Japan would have had to be invaded, more people would have died but the outcome would have remained the same.

Nuclear bombs saved lives, and have continued to save lives every since their inception, even though they pose one of the greatest risks to mankind itself.

GistoftheFist:
People sure love to point out how horrible it was that America bombed Japan, nobody ever seems to remember just how brutal the Japanese were to POWs. Anyone else notice this?

Not just to POWs.

Anyone recall the 'Rape of Nanking'?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nanking_Massacre

The Japanese soldiers were complete dicks.

DrOswald:

Darknacht:
There were more options then bomb civilians or an invasion of the home islands. The allies could have negotiated peace, before the bombing Japan knew it had lost the war and was trying to keep fighting long enough that they could get a decent peace deal.

You are going to need to provide a reference for that claim. Because as far as I know everyone ever disagrees with you. I have read a lot about the Japanese in World War 2, and it seems highly unlikely this is true. I may be wrong, but I am going to need to see some real evidence.

In any case, if this is true then how can we blame the Americans for resorting to desperate measures? The Japanese were clearly beat. They knew defeat was inevitable, but they still refused to surrender instead insisting on being slaughtered into submission. Lets then look at what the Americans knew at the time about the Japanese: they never surrendered, they would kill themselves rather than give up, if they did lose they would kill themselves to avoid dishonor. all signs said the Japanese would never surrender due to military loss.

The Americans had hoped that this sort of fanaticism didn't go all the way to the top, but according to you that is exactly the bluff the Japanese were making. "We will never surrender, you will have to slaughter us." The Japanese knew that the last thing the Americans wanted to do was invade them because the casualties would be horrific on both sides. So they lied to us to back us into a corner in the hope that they could hold onto some power. Given the two horrible options before them (the nukes or the invasion) the Americans chose the lesser of two horrible evils (as they judged according to what they knew at the time, with the British in agreement of the necessity of the bomb and having given their consent), gave the Japanese one last chance to surrender (basically saying "We are done with this war. We will annihilate you unless you surrender right now."), and then started slaughtering the Japanese with our nuclear bombs.

If it was true that the Japanese were holding out for a better deal, as you claim, then they were gambling with a gun pointed at their head. I find it hard to blame the Americans for believing the Japanese when they claimed to be ready to fight to the death when they had proven time and time again that was exactly what they would do.

That is if what you claim is true, which I doubt.

DrOswald:

Darknacht:
There were more options then bomb civilians or an invasion of the home islands. The allies could have negotiated peace, before the bombing Japan knew it had lost the war and was trying to keep fighting long enough that they could get a decent peace deal.

You are going to need to provide a reference for that claim. Because as far as I know everyone ever disagrees with you. I have read a lot about the Japanese in World War 2, and it seems highly unlikely this is true. I may be wrong, but I am going to need to see some real evidence.

In any case, if this is true then how can we blame the Americans for resorting to desperate measures? The Japanese were clearly beat. They knew defeat was inevitable, but they still refused to surrender instead insisting on being slaughtered into submission. Lets then look at what the Americans knew at the time about the Japanese: they never surrendered, they would kill themselves rather than give up, if they did lose they would kill themselves to avoid dishonor. all signs said the Japanese would never surrender due to military loss.

The only reason the Japanese soldiers refused to surrender was the fact that when they did surrender, they were killed. So they had to fight to the death, otherwise they would be killed.

Agayek:

Anomynous 167:
At least the Japanese took in prisoners of war, and took care of them. Let's see how the Japs treated their POWs.
1.They give them jobs (working on indo-china railways)
2. For those captured in Indonesia, they were permitted to give their capturers regular beatings. And by beatings, I mean that the ANZACs beat the stuffing out of the japs during the POW camp games of cricket.

Meanwhile the average Japanese POW was executed immediately after surrendering to an American. There was a reason most of them fought to the death, and it had nothing to do with bushido or "HONOUR!"

You're forgetting about the experimentation performed on the POWs, the death marches, and all that fun stuff being a POW in Japan had in store for you. They had it as bad as (and in some cases worse than) the prisoners in German concentration camps.

American POW treatment wasn't sunshine and roses obviously, but at least it didn't include you being cut open while conscious and without anaesthetic so they could see how you work.

I didn't forget about them, I just refused to mention them. The point is that the quality of life in the POW camps varied on a case by case basis.

Demongeneral109:

Darknacht:

Reiterpallasch:
You both really miss the point.
If the atomic bombs were not dropped, then the Allied powers would have been forced to initiate Operation Downfall, the invasion of Japan.

There were more options then bomb civilians or an invasion of the home islands. The allies could have negotiated peace, before the bombing Japan knew it had lost the war and was trying to keep fighting long enough that they could get a decent peace deal.

I think your missing the fact that no, they could not have negotiated a peace, the Japanese considered the humiliation of surrender worse than death at the time(hence Kamikaze planes) if they were willing to sacrifice needed men and materials to do as much damage as possible to America's unstoppable war machine, what makes you think that anything other than proof that they and their culture could be entirely wiped out by weapons with unprecedented destructive power would make them stop?Japan knew they were going to lose, but surrender just wasn't an option

What Dark thingy said, plus.
1. They could of negotiated a peace, just not with the Americans.
2. It is down-right near impossible to try and declare your surrender to the people that are trying to BLOW YOU OUT OF THE SKY while you are flying a plane. What with all that noise, and the language barriers, and the high-speeds. Maybe that's why they (the Kamikazes) crashed? They were trying to get out of the cock-pit and wave the white-flag, and then the planes went out of control because they put their hands off the steering wheel.
3.

senordesol:

FluffyWelshCake:

But we have to cloud the issue, or we'll end up with morally bankrupt killing machines slaughtering anybody different to them. Look at a child that has been born destined to die a slow and painful death because of radiation poisoning, and tell me that he is the enemy.

Check your terminology here. They weren't different insofar as they happened to be another color. They were different in that Japan was out to dominate the Pacific and destroy or subjugate anyone who got in its way.

The kid dying of radiation poisoning is sad, but he only has the Japanese government to blame. They brought war. They got war. And they sure as hell weren't looking out for our children. They could have stopped the killing any time and surrendered. They didn't, so our course was clear and decidedly NOT cloudy: Keep hitting them until they do.

Technically the Americans started the war between America and Japan, when they launched an oil embargo on the Japs. They tried to surrender for better terms.

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