Ethics and The A-Bomb

Discussion in 'Military' started by Madeline, May 8, 2010.

  1. Madeline
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    Madeline BANNED

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    Was it ethical to use the A-bomb on the Japanese?

    If so, was it ethical to bomb both Hiroshima and Nagasaki?

    And if so, why did we not use the A-bomb on Berlin?

    Are these questions still relevant for use in deciding the ethics of nuclear weapons deployment today?
     
  2. RetiredGySgt
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    RetiredGySgt Platinum Member

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    First thing. The Atomic Bombs were not ready until Summer 1945. Germany surrendered in April. We had no reason to drop said bombs on Germany.

    The reality is that it took BOTH bombs to get the Emperor of Japan to over ride his Army Controlled Government and order an immediate surrender. With those bombs we would have starved Japan through the winter killing untold thousands followed by an Invasion of a Home Island which would have seen MILLIONS of dead Japanese civilians and soldiers.

    Japan was teaching her civilians to arm themselves with Bamboo spears and human wave charge any invasion. The continued invasion of Japan could have seen the potential elimination of the Japanese race.

    The lie that Japan was ready to surrender is revisionist history. Japan under the Army had no intention of surrender. What they "offered" through the Soviet Union was a cease fire with Japan keeping everything she still possessed and the return of Japanese home possessions like Saipan and Okinawa. Japan was offering to let us just stop attacking them. They would retain all of their Chinese, Korean and other possessions and we would return their home island captures.

    Here is a link to SOURCE documents verifying that Japan was NOT offering a meaningful surrender, that even after two atomic Bombs the Army controlled government refused to surrender, that the Emperor failed to act until after the second atomic bomb and that the Army attempted a Coup to prevent the Emperor from surrendering.

    The Atomic Bomb and the End of World War II: A Collection of Primary Sources

    The atomic bombs were necessary unless one thinks we should have just let Japan keep everything from before the war and not disarm. They SAVED millions of lives.
     
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  3. JW Frogen
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    JW Frogen Gold Member

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    Despite the Germans having already surrendered I think we should have dropped an A bomb on Berlin, or at least Hamburg, simply as a gesture of good will to the Japanese, to prove to them that Hiroshima and Nagasaki was not a racist attack.
     
  4. Madeline
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    So, in the future, will military leaders be guided by the ethics of the A-Bombing of Japan, or has it become irrelevant now that there may be suitcase boms, etc.?
     
  5. Dr Gregg
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    War, especially WWII was horrible. 50 million people died, most of them civilians.

    I have absolutely no problem with dropping the bomb. The Japanese were sick fucks during WWII. What they did to other people they conquered, POWs, etc was deplorable. THey fought to the death, never surrendering, even committing suicide rather than surrender. They even told civilians, women and children, to kill themselves because the Americans were going to do bad things to them. Despicable. As much as monday morning QBs want to claim they would of surrendered, the Japanese showed no signs throughout the war of ever doing such a thing. And an invasion likely would of caused much more death, and more suffering. THere were bombing campaigns that killed as many as the A bombs did.

    Second reason why I think it was a good thing, is it showed the world the horrors of the A-Bomb and the nastiness of radioactive fallout, which was not fully appreciated until after the bombs were dropped. Imagine if they never dropped the much weaker A bomb, and later during the Cold War, with weapons much stronger than the A bomb, what would of happened? Imagine the first use was US vs USSR, which much more powerful weapons, how devastating that would be?

    We did other bad things during WWII, like firebomb Dresden, which killed more people than the A bombs, and likely more horrible deaths.
     
  6. Dr Gregg
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    Why not Berlin? Because we had the Germans beat, we were already in Germany, and they were much less fanatical during the war than the crazy Japanese, who never showed signs they would surrender. Not sure when the A bomb was even available, and they only had 3 of them

    NO nuclear weapons should ever be used again, they are so powerful, and the radiation fallout can reach vast areas. Plus, with other nuclear powers, it would spell our doom

    And as much as we destroyed a lot of Japan, we built them up to be a technological and economic superpower.WHat other countries treat their enemies like that? they benefitted greatly from not having a emperor that thought he was god, not having a military to spend money on, all while getting protection if needed. This allowed them to have strong education and build up their economy and technological skills.
     
  7. namvet
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    namvet Gold Member

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    wow Madeline did you open a can a worms . I can hear the clicking of liberal keyboards. we were murderers.

    it saved the lives of millions of American servicemen. all who were grateful (and their families) it ended the war. my opinion

    they did consider using it on the Nazi's. but it would have killied allied soldiers and civilians. fortunatley the war there ended.
     
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  8. Madeline
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    I don't think they knew, really, what radiation poisoning would be like. I have never been all that conflicted about what happened myself...my Daddy served in the Pacific. But the second bomb has always given me pause, and I sorta like asking folks who seem to know their military history.

    Worms, shurmes. How many topics are so off-limits we cannot ever speak of them? In my mind its shame and silence that harms us, not an airing of POVs.

     
  9. Quatermass
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    Quatermass Member

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    Madeline asks if the unbridled slaughter of old men, women and little children in Hiroshima and Nagasaki was 'ethical'. One has to realise here that barbarity is the ethical standard which defines of the International Capitalist system. Just as we can recognise a tree by its fruits so can we determine a socio-economic method by its historical consequences.

    The colours of Capitalism the world over are brutal and primitive. Chaos ensues from an extension of a system of class division and institutionalised greed, along with the protection of private property; the fierce competition for new markets, the subjugation and exploitation of international indigenous populations for super profits and the inevitable wars the ruling class demand in order to maintain their established hierarchies of Imperialist stranglehold.

    [​IMG]

    Nothing in History is the result of 'accident' and everything a consequence of the fundamental economic and social structures we maintain by our political choices, or lack of therein.

    So it is important to recognise that the ethic of an exploitative system is social chaos and war. And 'Behold', the societies in which Humanity now languish reflect this truth abundantly.

    More specifically, in the context of Japan and the Nuclear attacks America unleashed upon the Japanese civilian population, the consensus of independent rational opinion realises that these atrocities were completely unnecessary, and the result of a malevolent Capitalist superpower besotted with displaying its aggressive abilities to the World so it could dominate post-war affairs with an iron fist, in a climate of fear. And it has. As is evidenced by America's exhaustive plethora of post WW2 invasions, interventions, all out wars and both covert and explicit funding of terrorism.

    RetiredGySgt is, as usual, blinkered to any reality which shows up the nefarious nature of his beloved terrorist nation. Perhaps his own complicity as a servile military tool is too much to bear, if he were to ever open his eyes to the harsh light of day. And so it is his ilk that in fact revise history with Pavlovian synergy, every time the truth begins to dawn upon a new generation.

    Dwight D. Eisenhower, Supreme Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Force and later president of the U.S., when informed of the decision to drop Atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki stated:

    "I voiced my misgivings, first on the basis of my belief that Japan was already defeated and that dropping the bomb was completely unnecessary, and secondly because I thought that our country should avoid shocking world opinion by the use of a weapon whose employment was, I thought, no longer mandatory as a measure to save American lives. It was my belief that Japan was, at that very moment, seeking some way to surrender with a minimum loss of "face."

    Admiral William D. Leahy, Chief of Staff to Presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt and Truman, revealed to his biographer Jonathan Daniels:

    "they went ahead and killed as many women and children as they could which was just what they wanted all the time."
    [Alperovitz, Decision, p. 326.]

    [​IMG]
    (Shinichi Tetsutani, almost 4 years old, was playing on his tricycle when the brave U.S.A.F. atomic-bombed his home. Such was the intensity of the nuclear glare all but the metallic frame melted.)

    And in his autobiography, Admiral Leahy states:

    "It is my opinion that the use of this barbarous weapon at Hiroshima and Nagasaki was of no material assistance in our war against Japan. The Japanese were already defeated and ready to surrender because of the effective sea blockade and the successful bombing with conventional weapons."
    [Atomic Diplomacy: Hiroshima & Potsdam , by Gar Alperovitz, p. 14.]

    General Douglas MacArthur, officer in charge of Pacific operations, questioned the military usefulness of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings. His consultant Norman Cousins wrote in 1987:

    "The war might have ended weeks earlier, [MacArthur] said, if the United States had agreed, as it later did anyway, to the retention of the institution of the emperor."
    [Hoover and Cousins quoted in Alperovitz, Decision, pp. 349-50.]

    Many military and government officials under Truman failed to fathom his decision to pursue the bombings when surrender was within their grasp. Joseph Grew, Under Secretary of State; John McCloy, Assistant to the Secretary of War; Ralph Bard, Under Secretary of the Navy; and Lewis Strauss, Special Assistant to the Secretary of the Navy, to name but a few.

    [​IMG]
    (ghostly shadows created by incinerating radiance are all that remained of some anonymous Japanese victims of American atomic-war barbarity.)

    After the carnage was unleashed U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey concluded:

    "certainly prior to 31 December 1945, and in all probability prior to 1 November 1945 [the date U.S. forces were to invade.], Japan would have surrendered even if the atomic bombs had not been dropped, even if Russia had not entered the war, and even if no invasion had been planned or contemplated."
    [, Atomic Diplomacy: Hiroshima & Potsdam , by Gar Alperovitz, pp. 10-11.]
     
  10. Madeline
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    Quatermass wrote:

    Okay, this apparently is the POV you hold. The rest of the post you made contains the regrets and hindsight of men and women involved in the decision to use the A-Bomb on Japan....and I have no trouble believing they carried a powerful sense of conflict and regret over that choice till they died. They would not have been human if they did not. I seem to recall even Einstein regretted invention of the A-Bomb.

    But emotion alone does not control the questions of ethics and the A-Bomb.

    Personally I think it is irrelevant whether or not Japan had a "superior economic/political system" to the US's in 1945. I don't happen to believe that they did, but either side in a war seeks conquest. I like to think at least some military people place ethical limits on their warfare behavior.

    In that vein, what I am asking is this:

    * Was the A-Bomb a useful weapon? Did the war end faster because we unleashed it on Japan?

    * Why was it necessary to drop TWO A-Bombs?

    And most urgently:

    * Did humans learn anything from the A-Bombing of Japan that military types today can or should reflect upon before firing off the nuclear weapons in their arsenals?
     

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