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"Okinawa, Kamikazes, Hiroshima and the End of the War" Topic


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Legion 405 Nov 2018 5:20 p.m. PST

The only way there can be peace is if all sides agree to it. Until the 2 A-bombs were dropped … it looked like the Japanese were going to continue the conflict. Then it goes back to us or them …


IMO sending a million + Allied soldiers mostly from the US to their deaths, etc. instead of using the 2 bombs to prevent those dead, WIAs, etc. … That would be not only immoral, but illogical …

Blutarski05 Nov 2018 5:42 p.m. PST

The essay, whose link I posted above, gives an excellent account of the complicated see-sawing multi-year bureaucratic process that transpired not only within the US government leadership, but also among the Allied nations over whether to pursue a "hard peace" (unconditional surrender) or a "soft peace" (conditional surrender) with respect to Japan.

Problems of this sort always seem simple to people who are ignorant of the real world complications involved in such decision processes. A reading of the document (~65pp) will help to clarify the true complexity of the surrender issue (both for the Allies and for the Japanese).

B

Zephyr105 Nov 2018 9:44 p.m. PST

"Fourthly, it cannot be proven that the use of those nuclear bombs saved lives. "

Ah, well, my mom used to play cards with US Marines who fought on Okinawa who talked about that subject (other stuff that happened in combat there they'd never talk about.) They were scheduled to go in on the first waves when Japan was invaded. I don't have to guess (and they didn't either) that those bombs saved their lives. Not enough "proof" for some, I know…

Ruchel06 Nov 2018 6:42 a.m. PST

Fred Cartwright,

Precisely it is mandatory to talk about morality and war. In fact, the application of basic moral principles and values is essential in this case.

War is not necessary in the sense that human beings and human societies can live successfully without it. War is not absolutely unavoidable because we know many historical situations in which war has been avoided. But we also know, however, that war exists, that war is a real possibility.

War is inherently immoral. Moral principles and values aspire to eradicate war in all its forms. This is the ultimate objective. But we have to be humble and honest: it is a very difficult task and we have a long way to go. So the first step is to limit the damaging effects of war as much as possible.

You think that we can give up the aims of reducing the worst effects of war because for now we cannot completely eradicate war. You think that we can despise moral principles and values because they are not able to eradicate war. But those conclusions are basically wrong.

For example, medical science aspires to cure every illness and to bring health to all patients. But we know that, for now, those aims are not possible. But medical science can improve people's health and can combat many diseases. Following your reasoning, medical science is useless and must be disregarded simply because it cannot cure all diseases.

So, moral principles and values are absolutely necessary and indispensable, especially against the horrendous consequences resulting from the acceptance of the concept of Total War. This is the key to their usefulness and necessity.

Evidently, soldiers are common people and the loss of their lives is painful and regrettable. It is preferable to avoid any loss of life, military or civilian. But it should be noted that, usually, soldiers are trained for war, they are aware of the dangers and characteristics of war. They have weapons, vehicles, training, protections, procedures and all military infrastructures. They have the chance to defend themselves and to survive. Defenceless civilians do not have any chance. The difference is obvious. The annihilation of defenceless civilians is especially reprehensible. The massive annihilation of defenceless civilians, consciously planned and executed, marks a definitive turning point in human behaviour: human beings become the worst immoral beasts ever seen.

Soldiers always have the option to refuse to carry out a war crime or to take part in it, even although that decision may lead them to be prosecuted and punished. Fundamental moral values and principles are above any order, especially above insane, brutal and cruel orders. And of course they are above any fanatical nationalism or patriotism.

Moral values and principles are not restricted to a bunch of human conventions or printed codes. Moral values and principles are an integral part of human nature. In fact, they are precisely essential ingredients that make us be what we are: human beings.

Ruchel06 Nov 2018 8:16 a.m. PST

Blutarski,

Precisely that "complicated process" and the "real world complications" are the reasons which governments should take into account in order to avoid criminal options, like that massive war crime, whose consequences are irreversible. By the way, that massive annihilation was very real. Definitely and regrettably it belonged to that "real world". And I live in the "real world": I am aware of the horrendous consequences of that criminal decision.

I am equally aware of that "complicated process": diplomatic contacts, peace proposals, conditions to surrender, intensive talks between the Allied nations, and so on. Precisely, again, that process is the proof that there were many other possible options and alternatives which did not imply the commission of that immoral war crime. That is the proof that the use of those nuclear bombs was not the best and only option possible. The use of those nuclear bombs had nothing to do with the reasons (nonsenses), conjectures and absurd justifications given by a criminal government.


Legion 4,

The previous paragraph contains the answer to your last comments.


Zephyr1,

While the subjective opinions given by individual soldiers may be interesting, they are historically irrelevant in this case. Obviously, their knowledge about the high-level decisions and processes (governments and highest echelons of armies) was limited or inexistent. And soldiers can be easily indoctrinated and fooled by fallacious arguments coming from those criminal governments and immoral military echelons. So no, not enough proof for anybody.

Legion 406 Nov 2018 8:17 a.m. PST


The previous paragraph contains the answer to your last comments.
I know … I still wanted to state my POV if for no other reason than as a Veteran who served in the Infantry. Even if it was not during WWII.
Soldiers always have the option to refuse to carry out a war crime or to take part in it, even although that decision may lead them to be prosecuted and punished.
We were trained that we only have to follow legal orders. And spent a day or 2 with the JAG, on the subject of war crimes, crimes against humanity, etc. E.g. My Lai …

As for the dropping of nukes on Japan. I don't think anyone at the time and many today do not see that as a war crime. Of course if some then would not follow that order, there would have been a number of replacements to take their place. And those refusing that order would spend some time in a military jail/prison. And be charged, etc.

Fred Cartwright06 Nov 2018 8:45 a.m. PST

Ruchel civilians are not defences they have their government to protect them by providing civil defence, shelters, gas masks, air raid warning, fire and rescue services, medical aid and they have the armed forces to defend them too, anti aircraft guns, fighters, radar etc. If a government fails to provide such protection whose fault is that?
You did not answer my question directly about what the moral choice is when you have to decide between saving 1 civilian life and losing a million soldiers lives, but I think I see what your stance is. You consider a civilian's life to be worth more than that of a soldier's. Personally I see that as immoral. No one life is more important than any other. My moral stance is what causes the most good. How can I save the most lives and alleviate the most suffering, regardless of if they are men, women, children, soldiers, civilians, young or old. Within that comes rules about how civilians, the wounded, POW's etc should be treated, but if those rules conflict the guiding principle of what does the most good for the most people I would not hesitate to break them. Yours is not a morality I could subscribe to. Many an evil deed is perpetrated under the guise of sticking to the rules.

Starfury Rider06 Nov 2018 9:54 a.m. PST

Ruchel,

We've had this argument before on here I know, and I have to question myself for coming back again. Still, I've now paused and read back through your first and second paragraphs in your reply (5th Nov 7.12am PST) to my post (4th Nov 10.38am PST).

I am content to say that I personally do find much of what you say there deeply offensive. I have come to dislike those sentences that start with 'so what you're saying is then…' because I think that is a way of guiding the conversation down a route the person saying is wants to go. I think those paragraphs do though help me understand why I find your posts so uniquely infuriating.

"Thirdly, in this topic we are not talking about the unavoidable and unintended loss of civilian lives due to the intensity of fighting. We are talking about the conscious and planed annihilation of hundred thousands of defenceless civilians (old people, women and children), that is, a despicable, horrendous, monstrous, immoral and unjustifiable war crime. It is entirely different, right?"

I will admit I'd glided past this paragraph, still chewing on the opening ones. So it is tolerable to kill civilians up to a particular point, the question is just defining the point, right? Probably needs some really smart guys to set that number.

So back to my infuriation with these types of posts and discussion then. It feels like getting a lecture from a professor who neatly, and without any opposition, dissects the actions and reactions of now deceased entity (person or government) to explain why most, if not all, of what they did was morally unjustifiable by the standards of today.

Then the 17 year old kid in the third row raises a hand and says; "OK professor, I follow your point and I've read the testimony you've quoted as well. What interests me though is what other alternatives were open, you've sort of alluded to them being there but haven't said what they were. Because I'm not filled with joy at what happened, it's not deserving to be on the end of. So how do I get to an end of the conflict without walking through a different landscape and different dead people, but fewer of them, or may be more of them, but more easily justified? What I'm saying I suppose is, you're saying that what did happen did not need to happen, but we know the result. And you say we don't know the result was only achieved because of what happened, so that means what happened wasn't absolutely necessary, which I think I get. But the thing is, something else was going to happen, this was not a situation that could continue indefinitely. So if the ultimate barometer is lives lost, how could they have achieved the aim with fewer, different, lives lost? Or is the number of lives lost not linked to the outcome either, so long as there's a stronger moral argument to be advanced?"

And the professor looks at his watch, takes off his glasses and says, 'I'll see you all tomorrow'. Because it's not his job to provide answers to real world issues, but develop the conscience of those who will have to for when they have to…so why the hell am I arguing with him anyway.

Gary

Fred Cartwright06 Nov 2018 11:18 a.m. PST

For example, medical science aspires to cure every illness and to bring health to all patients. But we know that, for now, those aims are not possible. But medical science can improve people's health and can combat many diseases. Following your reasoning, medical science is useless and must be disregarded simply because it cannot cure all diseases.

I think that is a poor analogy. War and morality is more like flying a plane, subject to the laws of aerodynamics. However if I stall the plane the laws of aerodynamics no longer apply and the law of gravity takes over. Does that make the laws of aerodynamics useless? No of course not. It is what enables me to fly in the first place.

Legion 406 Nov 2018 2:47 p.m. PST

I am content to say that I personally do find much of what you say there deeply offensive.
I may not go that far … but yes it is a bit offensive to me as well overall …

Because it's not his job to provide answers to real world issues, but develop the conscience of those who will have to for when they have to…
Yes, good analogy. IMO, sometimes/many times intellectual academics have no real world experience with the way things really work in the real world. Especially when it comes to certain aspects of the military and military history …

Lion in the Stars06 Nov 2018 6:04 p.m. PST

Thirdly, in this topic we are not talking about the unavoidable and unintended loss of civilian lives due to the intensity of fighting. We are talking about the conscious and planed annihilation of hundred thousands of defenceless civilians (old people, women and children), that is, a despicable, horrendous, monstrous, immoral and unjustifiable war crime. It is entirely different, right?

Actually, we are talking about the unavoidable loss of civilian lives due to the intensity of fighting.

I've already said, twice, in this thread that the US was having to destroy entire Japanese cities to remove their war production capability.

Industries in Japan were not like in Europe, where one big factory did everything (and which was relatively easy to target from aircraft). Instead, you'd have one small shop making the control surfaces of the airplanes, another one putting the fabric covers on, a third building the wings, a fourth building the fuselage, and then all the different pieces would be shipped to a hangar at an airfield to be assembled into an airplane. About the same for building the engines.

Those individual shops were scattered all over the city. It'd take a thousand bombs to hit any one of those small shops. Each of those 999 bombs that missed would destroy a dozen other houses, even if deliberately, specifically dropped on a War Production shop.

That's the sad truth of the matter. The US had shifted from European-style high altitude mass bombing raids to night-time low-altitude firebombing, because that was more effective at stopping Japanese War Production.

There is exactly ONE city in Japan that was completely untouched in the War. Kyoto was the center of Japanese culture, the old Imperial Capital. And had zero war industries. The US didn't bomb Kyoto because of those two reasons.

Hiroshima was the headquarters of the Second General Army and the Chuugoku Regional Army. Army Marine Headquarters was at the port. The city had large supply depots and was one of the key coast-transport shipping ports.

Nagasaki was a major shipbuilding center and port for the Sasebo Naval District. Also, fully 90% of the population of the city was directly employed by war industries: "During World War II, at the time of the nuclear attack, Nagasaki was an important industrial city, containing both plants of the Mitsubishi Steel and Arms Works, the Akunoura Engine Works, Mitsubishi Arms Plant, Mitsubishi Electric Shipyards, Mitsubishi Steel and Arms Works, Mitsubishi-Urakami Ordnance Works, several other small factories, and most of the ports storage and trans-shipment facilities, which employed about 90% of the city's labor force, and accounted for 90% of the city's industry." – Wikipedia: link

Blutarski06 Nov 2018 9:20 p.m. PST

"I am equally aware of that "complicated process": diplomatic contacts, peace proposals, conditions to surrender, intensive talks between the Allied nations, and so on. Precisely, again, that process is the proof that there were many other possible options and alternatives which did not imply the commission of that immoral war crime."

Sorry, but your continual references to "war crimes" is evidence of an intellectual disconnect from the moral realities of warfare in the era of modern nation states – a sophistic rhetorical cocktail served up as an all-purpose justification for your self-anointed Olympian moral dictates. Read Douhet. He published his book "Command of the Air" in 1921 to worldwide critical acclaim; no one deemed his advocacy of strategic aerial bombardment of civilian centers as constituting a "war crime".

The "complicated process" was evidence of profound disagreements among numerous participating parties on the Allied side, tortuously negotiated back and forth over a period of at least three years. In the end, this "complicated process" ultimately delivered the "soft peace" conditional surrender solution to which the Japanese were culturally able to agree. But internal conflict between the Japanese civilian political leadership, the military and the Emperor, coupled with a desperate hope of enlisting the USSR to negotiate favorable peace terms for Japan (in exchange for generous territorial concessions) meant that Japan ultimately surrendered too late to save Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It wasn't the invasion of Manchuria that tipped the scales; it was the Soviet declaration of war, which finally awoke the Japanese to the unhappy fact that the USSR had been stringing them along since Yalta and in the end was not going to act on behalf of Japan as a broker in peace negotiations. The Japanese leadership had played its cards very badly and IMHO was the agent truly responsible.

Legion 407 Nov 2018 8:52 a.m. PST

Sorry, but your continual references to "war crimes" is evidence of an intellectual disconnect from the moral realities of warfare in the era of modern nation states
Bingo !

As a sidebar, shortly on Nov 11th, we celebrate Veterans Day in the USA. Albeit many WWII Vets have passed, but I have 2 friends whose Fathers are still alive @ 95. One an Infantryman at Normandy and one a B29 crewman in the PTO. I'm sure they would disagree with anyone calling the dropping of A-bombs on Japan a war crime …

Wolfhag Supporting Member of TMP07 Nov 2018 9:14 a.m. PST

Ruchel,
In order to have a crime, you have to break a law that you agree to, not a law someone else establishes (unless you end up losing of course). Morality does not necessarily matter when it comes to the law as killing can be legal. Killing someone is immoral but legal as a means of self-defense.

So let's talk about legalities and the letter of intent of the law that concern crimes you are accusing governments of and forget the morality for a moment. Warning: As Blutarski said, it's rather complicated just like any other law:

International law relating to aerial bombardment before and during World War II rests on the treaties of 1864, 1899, and 1907, which constituted the definition of most of the laws of war at that time which, despite repeated diplomatic attempts, was not updated in the immediate run up to World War II. The most relevant of these treaties is the Hague Convention of 1907 because it was the last treaty ratified before 1939 which specify the laws of war regarding the use of bombardment. In the Hague Convention of 1907, there are two which have a direct bearing on this issue of bombardment. These are "Laws of War: Laws and Customs of War on Land (Hague IV); 18 October 1907" and "Laws of War: Bombardment by Naval Forces in Time of War (Hague IX); 18 October 1907". It is significant that there is a different treaty which should be invoked for bombardment of land by land (Hague IV) and of land by sea (Hague IX). Hague IV, which reaffirmed and updated Hague II (1899), contains the following clauses:

See page 11
PDF link

Article 25: The attack or bombardment, by whatever means, of towns, villages, dwellings, or buildings which are undefended is prohibited.

Yes, cities were bombarded but almost all targeted cities were defended by artillery and aircraft. Therefore, they were not defenseless.

The code as finally approved by the commission contains the crucial decisions on these points. As summarized by Moore this article provides:
(1) That aerial bombardment is legitimate only when directed at a military objective; (2) that it is legitimate only when it is "directed exclusively at such an objective"; (3) that such objectives are specifically enumerated and denned; (4) that the bombardment of cities, towns, villages, dwellings or buildings, not within the combat area, is prohibited; (5) that where a military objective is so situated that it cannot be bombarded without the indiscriminate bombarding of the civilian population, it cannot be bombarded at all; (6) that even in the combat area the bombardment of cities, towns, villages, dwellings, is legitimate only if there exists a reasonable presumption that the military concentration is sufficiently important to justify such bombardment, having regard to the danger thus caused to the civilian population; (7) that a belligerent state is liable to pay compensation for injuries to persons or to property caused by the violation of the rules.

Other articles forbid aerial bombardment for the purpose of terrorizing the civilian population, of destroying or damaging private property not of a military character, or of injuring noncombatants, or for the purpose of enforcing compliance with requisitions in kind or the payment of contributions in money. The code also provides for protection of certain privileged buildings and historic monuments.

So if the civilian workers are living in the vicinity of a military target are they themselves a valid target? It mentions "indiscriminate bombing". So if you are on a night bombing mission targeting a military facility is that indiscriminate even if less than 10% of your bombs hit the target? Do the bombers get a pass if the enemy shoots at them when defending themselves?

Article 26: The officer in command of an attacking force must, before commencing a bombardment, except in cases of assault, do all in his power to warn the authorities.

The Allies had extensive propaganda that was carried out to warn the authorities and civilian occupants to leave including leaflets and radio warning.

link

link

Postwar surveys showed that the Japanese people trusted the accuracy of the leaflets and many residents of the targeted cities prepared immediately to leave their homes. The Japanese government regarded the leaflets with such concern that it ordered the arrest of those who kept or even read the leaflets and did not turn them in to their local police stations. Thousands of lives were spared by this leaflet campaign. The Japanese authorities are responsible for not saving many thousands more. There was nothing stopping the authorities from evacuating the cities.

Article 27: In sieges and bombardments all necessary steps must be taken to spare, as far as possible, buildings dedicated to religion, art, science, or charitable purposes, historic monuments, hospitals, and places where the sick and wounded are collected, provided they are not being used at the time for military purposes. It is the duty of the besieged to indicate the presence of such buildings or places by distinctive and visible signs, which shall be notified to the enemy beforehand.

As Blutarski stated, Japanese cultural locations were spared or not bombed on purpose.

Are the British guilty of war crimes?

When Bomber Harris (who bombed civilian Iraqi villages into compliance after WWI) arrived at Bomber Command, he found a directive from the Air Ministry: 'the primary object of your operation should now be focused on the morale of the enemy civilian population and, in particular, of the industrial workers'. But he applied it with a relish.

At least Harris was honest: his aim was to destroy whole German cities and their inhabitants. Others were not. The official British line was doubly dishonest. First, the government had said, at the beginning of the war (as did the United States), that it would always refrain 'from attacking the civilian population as such for the purpose of demoralisation'.

You could say that the Brits violated article 25 "forbid aerial bombardment for the purpose of terrorizing the civilian population" right? Well, they did warn the population:
link

Sir John Steel, who was to become the first commanding officer of Bomber Command, had scorned 'a lot of nonsense talked about killing women and children. Every objective I have given my bombers is a point of military importance otherwise the pilots, if captured, would be liable to be treated as war criminals.'

Yet by June 1940, Churchill was musing about 'a devastating, exterminating attack by very heavy bombers on the Nazi homeland'. In October the War Cabinet decided that 'the civilian population around the target areas must be made to feel the weight of the war'.

Is there a difference between a defenseless civilian, innocent civilian and a civilian that is contributing to the war effort (voluntary or forced)? Without civilians manufacturing the implements of war the weapons are sticks and stones. Could we argue that it is the civilians that are morally responsible for war as they enable it and profit but do not fight? If so, then aren't they a valid and even more desirable target (they don't shoot back)?

So was the deliberate targeting of German and Japanese civilians a war crime based on the agreed laws? I think attorneys could argue both ways. Immoral? Maybe but all war is immoral isn't it? Did the allies attempt to comply with the spirit of the law? It appears so. Does dropping warning leaflets absolve the combatants of a crime? Legally yes? Did the Allies make a valid attempt to limit the civilian causalities? Legally yes but maybe not morally?

This is a good article that documents the decisions, policy changes and tough decisions and compromises leaders had to make during the war:
link

Like I said, complicated. Trying to establish absolute moral standards on someone trained, paid and condoned by his government (that is at least attempting to comply with international law) to carry out orders to kill the enemy is like saying the guy who pulls the switch on the electric chair is guilty of murder when he is carrying out the law of a jury that legally pronounced the death sentence.

Wolfhag

Legion 407 Nov 2018 11:58 a.m. PST

Good research Wolf again. But some still won't/can't get the reality or legality of certain actions during a war.

Ruchel07 Nov 2018 1:31 p.m. PST

Fred Cartwright,

No, civilians are only protected by some passive defensive measures at best, and in that case and in other similar ones, those measures were absolutely useless against nuclear weapons and massive napalm bombs. By the way, soldiers, besides all their protections, training and weapons, also have at their disposal most of the defensive resources you have listed. Following your argument, if the armed forces have to defend civilians, it is obvious that it is because they are better equipped and trained for war and for defending themselves and civilians than those defenceless civilians. In my previous posts, I have already commented the evident differences between armed forces and defenceless civilians, so I do not want to repeat them.
But if you do not want to accept the obvious, it is your business.

I have never stated that one life is more important than any other. I was talking about the different situation of defenceless civilians in comparison with soldiers. Again, it is evident that if soldiers can defend themselves and civilians as well, is because civilians are always considered more disadvantaged and vulnerable than soldiers.

You have written: "How can I save the most lives and alleviate the most suffering". Well, massive war crimes never save lives and never alleviate the most suffering. It is exactly the opposite: war crimes such as Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Tokyo, Dresden and many others, caused hundreds thousands of dead and provoked the most terrible human suffering , and they did not save any life. War crimes, by definition, never save lives. Again, it is obvious.

It is not "my morality", it is the basic human morality expressed in the fundamental moral principles and values, and in the Human Rights. And war crimes are not included in the Human Rights. But if you prefer to follow the principle "the end justify the means", including war crimes as a mean, you are opening the door to every kind of atrocity. So, really, in the case of those war crimes, the worst evils have been perpetrated under the guise of good ends.

The medical science example is a correct analogy. But, obviously, it is not relevant to you if your primary intention is to remove moral principles and values due to their supposed inefficiency. In this case, for you, no example is useful. You simply may brush aside any moral obstacle and justify any human behaviour, including war crimes. Immorality is the first step towards amorality. You can do whatever you want, without moral reflection and without moral constraints.

If some members of this forum are advocate of the concept of Total War, then any moral or ethical argument or principle is irrelevant for them. In this case I do not want to continue this discussion with them. I consider Total War as the worst immorality ever thought and ever practised: an abhorrent, heinous and monstrous concept. And admitting that concept is a choice, an immoral choice. Any argument that tries to convince anybody about the inevitability of Total War is morally and logically a fallacy.


Starfury Rider,

Please, read carefully my comments. I have never said that "it is tolerable to kill civilians up to a particular point". I wrote that the loss of civilian lives may be unavoidable due to the intensity of fighting, even although the soldiers involved intend consciously not to kill civilians during the combat. War crimes are exactly the opposite: they are planned and conscious criminal actions, the conscious annihilation of civilians. Again, the difference is evident, but if you do not want to accept the obvious, it is your choice.

Again, in previous posts at this forum, I offered many comments about other options, possibilities, results, outcomes, and so on. I offered many arguments and reasoning about the fallacious justifications given by that criminal government and repeated by its supporters. If you want to read them, you can search in the TMP archives. I do not want to repeat them again.

You, and other members, refer continuously to the "real world issues", as if the commission of war crimes were justifiable merely because those crimes are committed in "the real world". So, following your reasoning, war crimes are also acceptable simply because they take place in the "real world". But we must denounce and expose war crimes precisely because they happen in the real world, and they cause real destruction, pain and suffering, all in the name of the worst purposes and justified with fallacious reasons.

"The real world" does not create itself. We make "the real world". It is our responsibility. And it is our choice to change things in it, especially those which cause harm, pain and suffering. It is our choice to live and die according to moral principles and values.


Lion on the Stars,

No, the main purpose of those massive bombings (Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Tokyo, Dresden,…) was not to remove war production capabilities. It is not true. The main aim was to undermine the enemy's morale at any cost, including the criminal annihilation of hundred thousands of defenceless civilians. It was villainy, a coward atrocity. Even in the case of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, we can also see additional reasons related to the beginning of Cold War.

In March 1945, Japanese military production was insignificant, especially compared to US and/or Allied production. Most remaining resources and weapons were protected underground. Japanese industries lacked all kinds of resources. Even they were using wood to make planes. Sorry, but at that date the very little Japanese production was no longer a menace or an object of concern. And so it was in the case of Tokyo and other cities. Those absurd justifications were a bunch of lies and fallacies.

The bombing of Tokyo (especially on March 9/10) was an example of "Terror Bombing", another despicable and massive war crime which caused more than one hundred thousands of victims, cruelly annihilated. You can see on the Internet photographs of piles of bodies, bodies incinerated by napalm bombs. That bombing, like many others aforementioned, was unnecessary. Or it was necessary according to the worst criminal intentions.


Blutarski,

I repeat the same comment:

You, and other members, refer continuously to the "real world issues", as if the commission of war crimes were justifiable merely because those crimes are committed in "the real world". So, following your reasoning, war crimes are also acceptable simply because they take place in the "real world". But we must denounce and expose war crimes precisely because they happen in the real world, and they cause real destruction, pain and suffering, all in the name of the worst purposes and justified with fallacious reasons.

"The real world" does not create itself. We make "the real world". And it is our choice to change things in it, especially those which cause harm, pain and suffering. It is our choice to live and die according to moral principles and values.

If some members of this forum are advocate of the concept of Total War, then any moral or ethical argument or principle is irrelevant for them. In this case I do not want to continue this discussion with them. I consider Total War as the worst immorality ever thought and ever practised: an abhorrent, heinous and monstrous concept. And admitting that concept is a choice, an immoral choice. Any argument that tries to convince anybody about the inevitability of Total War is morally and logically a fallacy.

And Douhet was an advocate of the concept of Total War. Regrettably, he was a model and a sinister point of reference for those criminals who defended the immoral and monstrous concept of Terror Bombing (well known "officers" who belonged to the Luftwaffe, the RAF and the USAAF). Logically, he supported fascism. He was a disgusting and sinister character.

US looked for and fought that war in order to gain supremacy and hegemony in the Pacific area. Taking into account that aim, it is logical that US would accept only an unconditional surrender, at any cost, including the massive annihilation of hundreds thousands of defenceless civilians, even although those massacres were unnecessary. Then, in the last stages of war, US had to affirm its power (nuclear power included) and hegemony in that area, especially against the predictable Soviet ambitions. The Cold War had already started.

It is not a good idea to blame others for our own crimes. It is a dangerous path that leads nowhere and that opens the door to insane justifications and conclusions.

Fred Cartwright07 Nov 2018 1:59 p.m. PST

Ruchel I have never claimed that moral principles are of no use, which is why your medical analogy is inaccurate. My claim is they take you only so far and at the point where moral principles conflict with saving the most lives that is when the plane stalls. I still fail to see your point. How can being better trained and equipped for war make them less worthy to live than those who are not? You say your morality is the norm, but it is not one I recognise. A morality that would contemplate the loss of a million lives to save 1 life because the loss of that life would be a war crime is one I think very few would share. It is moral dilemma I have put to you now on 3 occasions and so far you have ignored. I can understand your reluctance as once you admit that the death of one life to save a million is acceptable, even if that death is a crime, then your comfortable moral absolutism fails and you have to face the much more rigorous task of proving your case that more lives were lost than saved. When it comes to Dresden and much of the RAF bombing campaign personally I would agree with much of that and of course Guernica, London, Coventry etc. It would also apply to the U boat campaigns, of course, where thousands of defenceless civilians lost their lives.

Ruchel07 Nov 2018 2:27 p.m. PST

Fred Cartwright,

It is easy to understand. A massive war crime like those aforementioned never saves lives. It is the opposite: war crimes cause the loss of many lives unnecessarily. You base your arguments on these premises:first, that war crimes save lives. Second, there is a conflict between moral principles and the intent to save the most lives.
Both premises are wrong. War crimes do not save lives, they annihilate lives. And the application of moral principles is the only one way in order to preserve human life.

Fred Cartwright07 Nov 2018 2:36 p.m. PST

Ruchel then please address the moral dilemma. Does your morality only apply to massive war crimes? What is the moral choice if 1 death, a war crime, leads to the saving of a million? To claim that moral principles are an absolute it must apply in all circumstances. If moral principles are not an absolute then one can question the circumstances of each act.

Bill N07 Nov 2018 3:22 p.m. PST

The gap between those who maintain that any killing of civilians in warfare is morally unacceptable and a war crime on the one hand, and those willing to discuss the circumstances under which warring parties may intentionally take actions which will result in the death of noncombatant civilians on the other is too wide and deep to be bridged.

Zephyr107 Nov 2018 4:17 p.m. PST

I'm concluding that the real beef is with those who made the decision to use the bombs. I can understand the rage and emotion of somebody 70+ years after the events, sitting on a moral high ground judging those who had to make the (hard) decisions at the time, and the frustration of not being able to reach back in time and punish them. Right or wrong (depending on your viewpoint), what's done is done and nothing can change it. Nursing a grudge against ghosts you can never harm may be your crusade, but they've gone to their Maker who has better cause to judge their actions and/or punish them. Feel your sorrow, say a prayer for the lost, remember them, and let go of the hate. Forgiveness for what you cannot change is a moral principle, too…

Peace out, all… peace

Lion in the Stars07 Nov 2018 4:43 p.m. PST

@Ruchel: I guess you think I'm a War Criminal, too, since my military service was on ballistic missile submarines.

Ruchel08 Nov 2018 5:04 a.m. PST

Wolfhag,

Moral principles and human laws are different in essence. Sometimes laws and legal codes may include moral principles, or they may be inspired by them. But human laws change continuously and depend absolutely on historical or ideological circumstances. In fact, we know many examples of laws which contradict totally the most basic moral principles and values. Moral principles tend to be ahistorical, that is, they do not depend on the historical and ideological contingencies. It is true that some characteristics of the different historical periods may influence some aspects of certain moral principles but this influence usually affects only the form but not the substance. It is the case of certain habits and customs. Moral principles and values have their origins in several sources: specific human intuitions related to the inherent moral sense (reflections on good and evil, right or wrong, happiness and suffering…), the Natural Law and many religious precepts which are identical in most religions.

So, it is evident that a law may be immoral. Morality and legality do not necessarily coincide. Basic moral principles and values never become outdated. They never expire. And they take precedence over any law or legal code. Any law that contradicts or violates those moral principles and values must be disobeyed and ignored. The same applies to any law that falls short of what is morally required.

Usually human laws become outdated due to several reasons: for example, political and social changes, and scientific and technological advances.

The laws and legal codes that you have mentioned had become obsolete due to many circumstances. Firstly, the political and ideological evolutions: the triumph of fanatical nationalist and patriotic ideologies. This implies the removal of moral constraints and the reinforcing of concepts such as Total War, or principles based on this well-known sentence: "the end justify the means". Secondly, the existence of new weapons and resources: advanced bombers (and their massive use), napalm, high explosive, nuclear bombs.

Nevertheless, despite their shortcomings, those aforementioned laws contained the basic arguments to condemn the war crimes about which we are talking.

And regarding the supposed justifications: Firstly, the leaflets were useless and they were just a formal act without practical importance, and the Allies knew it. Secondly, in 1945, the defences were almost no-existent or ineffective against new weapons (including nuclear bombs). Thirdly, the evacuation of the population was not possible: Where? How can millions of people be evacuated when most of the cities were being bombed? Maybe they could have concentrated most Japanese population in Kyoto…

Allied generals and politicians were aware of the consequences: they knew that those bombings were going to cause the annihilation of hundreds thousands of defenceless civilians. They consciously committed despicable and immoral war crimes, regardless the obsolete details and ridiculous formal procedures mentioned in those outdated laws. In fact, in the substance, they must be considered war crimes even by the standards of the essential doctrine expressed by those obsolete laws you have aforementioned.

Ruchel08 Nov 2018 5:37 a.m. PST

Fred Cartwright,

Sorry, but that is not a real moral dilemma, it is an absurdity. All of us here know that we are discussing real war crimes: Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Tokyo, Dresden, etcetera. I do not like to waste my time "resolving" irrelevant exercises that have nothing to do with this topic.

It is not reasonable to divert the discussion to nowhere.

Starfury Rider08 Nov 2018 5:44 a.m. PST

Ruchel,

Yes, I did read back on your comments. I wrote what I wrote, went away, came back, read your comments again, re-read my reply, and decided I said what I'd felt.

I'll say in more detail what I took and take issue with;

"Firstly, living according to strict moral values is immensely more difficult than following an immoral behaviour. Someone who decides to follow fundamental human values has to educate himself as much in order to achieve personal growth, moral maturity and critical thinking."

What am I to take away from that? That only a minute number of people in the world are truly moral? That only a handful of stout souls display the courage to forge ahead in a world of immorality while never veering from their true course, no matter what happens to those around them?

"This attitude usually leads to the complete misunderstanding and hostility from most people, because the masses prefer to live instinctively and without moral constraints. For this reason, most people can be easily indoctrinated in fanatical nationalist and insane patriotic ideologies. For this reason, the masses believe blindly the justifications made up by their governments and accept immorally and uncritically the worst war crimes ever seen."

I barely know where to start with that. The majority of people live without moral constraints? Literally, 4 billion or so people live without moral constraints? So how do we handle that thing called 'the popular vote' then, when we ask the masses' what they want to do and who they want in charge? Can we trust the decision they render when they are too unschooled and immoral to make it? And if we don't ask them, who do we ask? They better be really smart.

(Comic relief disclaimer – I am putting myself with the thronging masses here, though it might not be an official status. I did apply to join once but they just sent a text back saying they were full-up).

"Only a minority of people, those people who follow those strict moral values, are the only dissenting voices that are unwilling to accept lies, absurd justifications and the commission of horrendous war crimes. And they suffer the social rejection. So, following strict moral values and practising critical thinking are not easy."

When I read that I come away with two things. One is 'man on the silver mountain' playing in my head, don't know why. The other is the vision of an 'intellectual Samurai' wandering the wastelands, taking in the full awfulness of mankind and being certain never to engage with it, lest it compromise their own moral fortress.

And no, I don't think you have offered any actual real world alternatives to what did happen. And the reason the real world keeps getting referenced is because that's the plane of existence of the war was fought in; not a convenient construct in which you can control the horizontal and the vertical and ignore outright questions.

1. How do you write-down or otherwise degrade German war production capabilities in the period 1942-45 while staying within strict confines on the impact on German civilians?
Gary's answer – I don't know. I know we don't have very accurate bombing capability and I know that some very critical targets are located within heavily populated areas. It will take a lot of time and effort to improve capability and accuracy and German production will continue in the interim.
Realistic outcome if we do bomb – German civilians will be killed and German output will be impacted; how much depends on the actual damage caused.
Realistic outcome if we do not bomb – German civilian casualties will be spared. Unless there is a direct and proportionate response from Nazi Germany UK civilian casualties will continue (German bombing of the UK has been on going since 1940). German war industries will be able to operate without any external factors (doesn't mean they will get better as they demonstrated poor judgement in mass production anyway) but they are unlikely to get worse. Overall German benefit of no/minimal/tightly controlled Allied bombing – they will be able to put better resourced forces into the war.
Overall German negative effects of same – I don't think any.
Overall Allied benefit of same – post-war moral high ground on this issue.
Overall Allied negative effects of same – reasonably likelihood of increased Allied military casualties as a direct result of better German supply and resupply situation and/or probability of extended length of the war in Europe (note – this does not mean the Allies will definitely NOT win, but there will be certainly greater resistance to overcome).

2. How do we degrade and/or destroy the rail and road infrastructure of Germany and the occupied nations by applying the same rationale of 1 with limited use of airpower?
Gary's answer – we can probably still degrade. This will still kill civilians, including those of the nations we are intending to liberate and put 'the masses' back in control of. There may be greater opportunity for precision attacks to do damage. Repairs may be more easily affected as well.
Realistic outcome of a reduced campaign against road, rail and canal networks – better movement of German forces and supplies.
Overall negatives – Germany – again nothing obvious
Overall positive effects – Allies – less civilians casualties inflicted.
Overall negatives – Allied – more effective German response to eventual Allied landfall in western Europe.
3. Same as 1 and 2, but substitute Imperial Japan for Nazi Germany.
Gary's answer – largely the same I think. Re Japan there is also the question of the Naval blockade. That impacted Japanese civilians as well as its military. Could it be restricted to targeting only vessels known to be carrying war materials? Difficult to say the least.
4. Do the Allies offer less stringent surrender terms to Imperial Japan in an attempt to persuade them to cease on going operations (as of early 1945) in China, Korea, Burma, Malaya, the Philippines, that whole spread of horrible Pacific islands and anywhere else I've forgot? If the Japanese offers to revert to its 6th Dec 1941 territorial boundaries, release Allied prisoners and end operations against Allied forces, but keep its forces in China and Korea (which were in place before war with the West), is that an acceptable achievement for the West? Or morally does it suggest you can push until you accept ultimately you'll lose, but there is a major international precedent for a simple 'reset' of pre hostility realities?

5. Does Imperial Japan understand the concept of surrender as found in Western culture? Do they get that by stopping fighting they will no longer be subject to bombing and the blockade will be lifted (likely in stages, but eventually)? Or have the actions of Japanese soldiers and sailors (including of late their aviators), and if we've still gotten to Okinawa, their civilians, now suggest they simply will die without end no matter what?
Gary's answer – hard to look at actual IJA/IJN operations right into Apr-Jun 1945 and not think they had no concept of individual surrender, and harder still to assume from that there was a national surrender forthcoming.

There is a very real disconnect for a lot of people when told that dropping two A-bombs 'saved lives' because the bombs actually ended very many lives. Equally there is a real disconnect for a lot of people that Imperial Japan was expecting to continue the war, on the Home Islands, as late as 14th August 1945. There seems an unfulfilled belief that Japan was desperately trying to surrender, particularly as it was clear to everyone that they no longer had a chance of defeating their legion of enemies. Everyone but the body of Japanese men who made the decisions (ooh, new note – Imperial Japan did not abdicate responsibility to 'the masses'. It relied on a select group of very intelligent men to make the right decisions).

If in a different reality conventional bombing continued, did not offer a different result from that encountered already up to August 1945, and landings began in November 1945, who knows. There's no acceptance of the argument that Imperial Japan would have contested landings to it's utmost and that a toll would have been taken on Japanese civilians as well as military personnel, because I've come to observe those making the argument always assume Japan surrenders before then anyway, which is held to be a more valid assumption than they would not.

6. OK Gary, would you have dropped the A-bombs then, not knowing if it would make a difference, probably thinking it was 'just another bomb', because who in 1945 knew what a mushroom cloud was outside of Los Alamos? Gary's answer – I don't Bleeped texting know.

Gary

Ruchel08 Nov 2018 6:13 a.m. PST

Zephyr1,

Yes, nothing can change it. And I am not interested in "punishing" those criminals or hating them. That is absurd and useless. The key point is that war crimes cannot be justified, never. War crimes are never a choice. They cannot be an acceptable mean. Moral principles and values must be placed above orders, ideologies, fanatical nationalism, insane patriotism, unjust laws, ambition, greed, etcetera.

This is the purpose of this kind of discussions: we discuss war crimes of the past in order to learn that war crimes are totally unacceptable and that we must not commit them again, never, under no circumstances. In order to learn that such actions can never be justified.

Yes, God has better cause to judge their actions and punish them: "Vengeance is Mine, I will repay," says the Lord. Deuteronomy 32:35 and Romans 12:19.

And yes, forgiveness for what you cannot change is a moral principle too.

Ruchel08 Nov 2018 8:56 a.m. PST

Starfury Rider,

Usually the excessive use of sarcasm and irony hides a lack of solid arguments.

People with high moral standards have always been a minority, and they may not necessarily belong to the ruling classes. In fact, you do not find many moral people within the ruling elites.

Yes, what I have written about the masses is true. The existence (even excessive) of abundant legislation in order to regulate every aspect of human life gives an idea of the need to control the instinctive and dangerous behaviour. In the absence of coerciveness, due to the emergence situations in which there is no police or any institutional control available, you can see masses of people causing disturbances, looting shops and causing excesses (including race riots and rapes). We have seen many examples on TV.

And those masses can be easily indoctrinated and fooled. There are many examples: Nazism, modern ethnic cleansings, communism, Western nationalism and fanatical patriotism (European populations just before the beginning of the First World War, for example), Cold War propaganda, and so on. It is evident.

Yes, I have offered many arguments and alternatives, but if you are unable to understand them it is not my business. If your concept of "real world" gives you the excuse to accept all kind of atrocities and war crimes, any other argument is futile.

We can analyse and explain each action on a case-by-case basis, from 1939-1945, from 1914-1945 or from 1914-2018, as you prefer. But it would take us many months. And we are not discussing every possible situation. Actually it is a desperate way to look for justifications for the commission of war crimes. Actually it is another way to divert the discussion to nowhere.

In the case of war crimes such as Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Tokyo, Dresden and other similar ones, which are the ones that we are discussing here, there was not any military or economic justification. As I have already mentioned, in the last stages of that war (March-August 1945) those cities could not be considered military targets. Those actions were typical examples of Terror Bombing. The target was the civil population. Those actions were carefully planned and executed in order to annihilate hundreds thousands of defenceless civilians. They were immoral and unjustified war crimes and nothing else.

Again, Regarding Hiroshima and Nagasaki I repeat what I wrote in my initial posts:

The supposed justifications are based on hypothetical data, conjectures and statistics. But statistics are not facts. There is not a necessary connection between cause and effects in this case. And other options were possible. I offered a deeply explanation of those arguments and options in previous topics at this forum. I do not want to repeat them. They can be searched in the TMP archives.

The attack of Soviet army was the key point. That attack was a shock for the Japanese government and armed forces, a severe blow to their morale that caused a rupture within their leadership and ruling group (in fact, they were already divided and were looking for a way to negotiate the surrender months before).Japanese armed forces became demoralized and unreliable, diminishing significantly their fighting spirit. Thousands of Japanese soldiers surrendered massively, something never seen before. So, an effective military cooperation between USA and the Soviet Union would have resulted in the Japanese surrender, with minimal losses.

But the last stages of the war in the Pacific were the beginning of the Cold War (like in Europe, few months earlier). USA wanted to affirm its power and hegemony, and the nuclear weapons were the best instrument in order to achieve that aim.

Finally, despite the use or abuse of any kind of arguments, the fact remains that nothing can justify the massive annihilation of hundreds thousands of defenceless civilians. It is an unjustifiable atrocity.

Blutarski08 Nov 2018 9:42 a.m. PST

You, and other members, refer continuously to the "real world issues", as if the commission of war crimes were justifiable merely because those crimes are committed in "the real world". So, following your reasoning, war crimes are also acceptable simply because they take place in the "real world". But we must denounce and expose war crimes precisely because they happen in the real world, and they cause real destruction, pain and suffering, all in the name of the worst purposes and justified with fallacious reasons.

>>>>> False logic in the service of the sophistry that always hallmarks your arguments:
1 You are not the indisputable arbiter of what does or does not constitute a war crime.
2 No one except you has ever suggested that a true war crime is to be deemed acceptable under any circumstances.

- – -

"The real world" does not create itself. We make "the real world". And it is our choice to change things in it, especially those which cause harm, pain and suffering. It is our choice to live and die according to moral principles and values.

>>>>> More false logic. We do not "make" the real world. We exist within it. The real world (in human terms) is ultimately the distillation of a never ending and ever changing competition of ideas and beliefs waged among nations, cultures, races, religions, social mores, political concepts, ad infinitum.

- – -

If some members of this forum are advocate of the concept of Total War, then any moral or ethical argument or principle is irrelevant for them.

>>>>> Yet more false logic and schoolboy sophistry. "Total War" is a totally nebulous and undefined phrase here. Can you perhaps define the term before issuing the blanket indictment? Then explain how the waging of such a war inevitably erases all traces of mores and ethics from those human beings who might wage one.

- – -

Any argument that tries to convince anybody about the inevitability of Total War is morally and logically a fallacy.

>>>>> Well, that depends upon the definition of "Total War", which you have failed to present.


And Douhet was an advocate of the concept of Total War. Regrettably, he was a model and a sinister point of reference for those criminals who defended the immoral and monstrous concept of Terror Bombing (well known "officers" who belonged to the Luftwaffe, the RAF and the USAAF). Logically, he supported fascism. He was a disgusting and sinister character.

>>>>> The above remark is demonstrable proof that you fail to grasp the underlying motivations that drove Douhet's (flawed) thesis.

- – -

US looked for and fought that war in order to gain supremacy and hegemony in the Pacific area. Taking into account that aim, it is logical that US would accept only an unconditional surrender, at any cost, including the massive annihilation of hundreds thousands of defenceless civilians, even although those massacres were unnecessary.

>>>>> The US in fact accepted a conditional surrender by guaranteeing the continuity of the Japanese imperial seat; do better homework. Japanese civilians might have been inadequately defended, but they were not defenseless. your claim is irrational soapbox rhetoric. The civilian deaths were not "massacres" more soapbox rhetoric.
How does one classify "civilians" who work in war industries? In either case, are you aware that, in the days before the fire raids, the US made mass drops of leaflets over Tokyo urging residents to evacuate the city?

- – -

Then, in the last stages of war, US had to affirm its power (nuclear power included) and hegemony in that area, especially against the predictable Soviet ambitions. The Cold War had already started.

>>>>> I've heard this claim made before, inevitably from the political Left. Show some proof.

- – -

It is not a good idea to blame others for our own crimes. It is a dangerous path that leads nowhere and that opens the door to insane justifications and conclusions.

>>>>> Your own crime is one of lax, selective and very likely (IMO) biased logic and reasoning. However, your conclusion as to the direction to which it leads is absolutely spot on.


B

Legion 408 Nov 2018 10:25 a.m. PST


I've heard this claim made before, inevitably from the political Left.
Yep very much so …

Starfury Rider08 Nov 2018 10:25 a.m. PST

Excessive irony, I thought I was pitching it about right. Still, every night's a new audience.

No irony intended, when someone starts quoting scripture I know it's time to get me coat. Assuming the masses haven't nicked it while I had my back turned.

OK, that was sarcastic…

Gary

Wolfhag Supporting Member of TMP08 Nov 2018 10:34 a.m. PST

Ruchel,

And regarding the supposed justifications: Firstly, the leaflets were useless and they were just a formal act without practical importance, and the Allies knew it. Secondly, in 1945, the defences were almost no-existent or ineffective against new weapons (including nuclear bombs). Thirdly, the evacuation of the population was not possible: Where? How can millions of people be evacuated when most of the cities were being bombed? Maybe they could have concentrated most Japanese population in Kyoto…

Merely a formal act? The leaflets were effective at creating panic, flooding the roads, decreasing production. The people that did get away were relatively safe but not comfortable in the countryside. If the Japanese authorities had to stop people from leaving then it must have been having the desired effect. Some accounts describe panic and riots in the streets by people wanting to leave. The act of dropping the leaflets (when they could have been dropping napalm) saved more people than the Japanese authorities did. I think it's a little disingenuous of you to say that pilots and crews that risked their lives to save lives of their enemies is a "formal act without practical importance" when you should be considering it an act of moral courage on their part. The fact that the Japanese authorities and government would not save their citizens from certain death even after repeated warnings and demonstration of the certain destruction to follow, is not the fault of the US military. It is a terrible thing that happened and could have been prevented but that on the Japanese government, I sincerely wish it turned out differently. I think the real immorality of the situation was the Japanese authorities that condemned their people to a certain death by not evacuating them.

The Americans bombed AFTER they reduced the Japanese defenses and thousands of airmen lost their lives and tens of thousands lost their lives in battles to get to Saipan where the bombers took off from. Stating the Japanese were "defenseless" is a moral slap in the face to the serviceman and families that made that supreme sacrifice. I'll let you retract that statement. Is the only "moral" thing to do is to attack only when you are sure your enemy may defeat you and cease attacking when his defenses are suppressed? Real wars are not fought with balanced scenarios drawn up by philosophers.

Your words are not magic that creates reality in the physical universe, even if you think they should, they don't. Philosophers do not practice law and for a very good reason. Philosophically you are correct, in a court of law your accusations of transgression against morality you are immaterial. Real accusations of a crime are made in court, not on a philosophical forum. Prosecutors and defense attorneys do not call philosophers as expert witnesses to give testimony and for a very good reason. This is not my opinion, it's reality. You may feel laws are inadequate but it is all us mere mortals have to go on. You may assume your moral superiority over us as you see fit. If you are making accusations of a crime press charges against the individuals that are the perpetrators and hold them responsible. Start naming names and quit the philosophical musings and generalities.

I showed what the laws and rules of engagement were that the countries signed off on and agreed to. You state they are inadequate and maybe immoral, you are immaterial in a court of law. I showed historically how the US tried to abide by the law and you simply dismiss it. Your response is it does not make any difference? Really? In a court of law, you can't just dismiss admissible evidence!

If you want to get moralistic and philosophical about this examine the German and Japanese governments that purposely slaughtered millions of people and POW's that were not belligerents and that were not contributing materially to the war effort and had absolutely no means to defend themselves. These people were truly defenseless. Governments have a moral responsibility to protect their citizens, not force them to sacrifice themselves to certain death after they cannot protect them in a war they are certain to lose. The Japanese government was given a chance, under the rules of war, to surrender and save their people. They refused because they did not like the conditions.

At that point, the US had a legal right (philosophy is immaterial here) to continue to prosecute the war. The fact that some people wanted to absolutely drop the bomb under any circumstance is pretty much inadmissible in a court of law. Intention in the non-commission of a crime is not a crime. If Japan had accepted the terms the bomb would not have been dropped on Japan, maybe somewhere else.

If the US intent was to only kill they could have easily killed a few million more Japanese citizens and probably wiped out the entire island but they didn't. This shows their intention was to attempt to keep causalities to a minimum by making continuing the war so horrible the Japan government would surrender. They could have turned Japan into a nuclear bomb testing site but they didn't.

I think the true intentions of the US are clearly evident AFTER the war in the humane treatment the Japanese people were shown. Occupation is never perfect and different cultures do clash but nothing was stopping the US doing to the Japanese what the Russians did to Germany and Eastern Europe.

You continually make accusations of "war crimes", seem to agree that no man-made law was broken while stating that man-made laws are pretty much irrelevant and immoral. My opinion is that in this discussion that philosophically you are right. However, in the real world and in the legalities of war (whether you think the legalities are moral or not is immaterial) you are out of your element and in the end you are irrelevant, no government or military would take your advice.

Feel free to stay in your Ivory Tower and righteously condemn us from your academic perch. Just don't expect any attorney to take of your case of a perceived "crime" or a judge to find a guilty verdict. Just try telling a Judge his law is "immoral" and see where it gets you. Philosophers do not belong in the courtroom. "Bailiff, kindly show the good philosopher the way out of the courtroom and back to his Ivory Tower where he belongs".

Thankfully, you were not in charge of the war effort for the Allies in WWII but I do know who wishes you were. Snarky, maybe but it goes to show how dangerous your advice would be in prosecuting any war or in self-defense.

Blutarski's excellent post above goes to the historical underpinnings of the real outcome of the war. Hegemony by a merciful enemy is better than enslavement by friendly Communists with empty promises that lead to bondage.

Without US intervention Japan could have ended up like Eastern Europe rather than an economic powerhouse. Without the threat of the atom bomb, and it's demonstration, there was nothing stopping Russia from taking China and SE Asia. This is strictly theoretical of course.

In closing, my Dad was in on the invasion too. I'm glad things turned out the way they did but wish it had been accomplished differently with less loss of life. Pontificate philosophically as you see fit but please stay out of the courtroom with your accusations of "war crimes".

Wolfhag

Fred Cartwright08 Nov 2018 12:56 p.m. PST

Ruchel I see we only discuss real war crimes those perpetrated by the allies such as Dresden, Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Tokyo. We ignore those perpetrated by the Axis, Nanjing, Guernica, London, Coventry, unrestricted submarine warfare by the Kriegsmarine. We also ignore the smaller crimes a concern ourselves with only with the massive ones which only seem solely the province of allied powers. And we ignore any exploration of fundamental moral principles as an irrelevance for I suspect that to do so might expose the weaknesses in your arguments. But then you will probably just dismiss me as one of the morally unenlightened as if I am unable to see past all the lies I have been fed. And yet while I would largely agree with you about much of the conventional bombing and having looked long and hard at the events surrounding the Japanese surrender I can't quite convince myself that those that say it saved many lives might not have a point. The fact that the Emperor mentions the atom bombings in the Jewell Speech, while ignoring completely the Soviet declaration of war, makes me wonder if this was the key event that enabled the peace party to gain the upper hand and sell the surrender to the Japanese people. No one can know for sure, well except maybe you, with your unswerving faith in your rightness. I will leave you to your moral high ground. You will have to forgive such doubting Thomases.

Ruchel08 Nov 2018 2:09 p.m. PST

Blutarski,

1. What it is absolutely unacceptable is to consider that killing hundreds thousands of defenceless civilians is not a war crime. Those criminal actions define themselves. My opinion is irrelevant. Obviously immoral people, or indoctrinate people, do not consider that kind of actions as a war crime, and make up or believe blindly any absurd justification.

2. So we agree: those true war crimes are totally unacceptable, under any circumstances.

Regarding the real world, ideas, beliefs, cultures, races, religions, social mores and political concepts are all human activities, they are established by human beings and/or they are comprised by human beings. So, we exist within a world created by ourselves, human beings. We, human beings, make the real world. It is evident. So, it is our choice if we want to carry out moral or immoral actions within a world created by ourselves. We can change the real world, for better or worse.

The concept of Total War is well-known and it is well studied. And it is not difficult to understand. Most history enthusiasts know it. Maybe you should do a lot of homework. Regrettably, this concept has been put into practice many times during the last century, and it is practiced nowadays as well. It is a despicable and immoral concept, but it is loved by war criminals and their supporters.

Douhet's underlying motivations are related to an insane mind beset by psychopathy and sociopathy. A typical fascist or totalitarian mentality.

So, false logic, sophistry? No, they are truths that you do not want to accept. "False logic, sophistry, irrational soapbox rhetoric": I think that those comments are impolite and unnecessary. They add nothing to this discussion and hide the lack of solid arguments. It is advisable to avoid childish tantrums.

The real sophistry consists in making up a bunch of fallacious reasons, excuses and absurd conjectures in order to justify the worst war crimes.

A conditional surrender? Is it a typical American euphemism? A "conditional surrender", yes, but including the criminal annihilation of hundreds thousands of defenceless civilians (Hiroshima, Nagasaki and Tokyo). And those leaflets were very useful: they helped those criminals to feel better and with a "clean" conscience.

"I've heard this claim made before, inevitably from the political Left. Show some proof."

You can find many proofs in any basic textbook. I am not interested in left or right: two sides of the same coin.

The "leftists conspiracy" is the typical American obsession. Maybe it is a legacy of the Cold War (American propaganda, McCarthyism,…). Or maybe it is the result of decades of indoctrination in the fanatical nationalist and patriotic ideology.
I recommend the use of critical thinking. "American" and "war crimes" are not contradictory terms.

The direction of my reasoning leads to not to accept and not to justify war crimes. There is not any other path but the one that leads us to expose, recognize and condemn every kind of war crime. It is your choice If you want to follow this direction or not.

Timbo W08 Nov 2018 5:20 p.m. PST

So Ruchel, if you were Truman in 1945 what would you have done?

Lee49408 Nov 2018 5:56 p.m. PST

I'm not Ruchel but I'll take a shot at answering. Just maintain the blockade and stop other fighting including the bombing. Japan was finished. They had virtually no navy or air force left to speak of. Their army wasnt going anywhere and the country was virtually starving. We can speculate they would have fought forever and never sued for peace but the truth is within several months, if not sooner, they would have likely responded to a negotiated peace without our resorting to The Bomb.

Now there is no definitive way to prove that. In fact we simply dont know because we didn't try. What we did was take the easy way out, for us, and justified it by saying we "saved lives". I guess if it makes you feel good do it. The simple hard truth is that because of Pearl Harbor we wanted Japan destroyed to the last brick and the last person. As cheaply in terms of US lives as possible. So the A Bombs were the perfect solution.

Cheers!

Wolfhag Supporting Member of TMP08 Nov 2018 6:28 p.m. PST

To be consistent with his postings:
Surrendered unconditionally to Japan, apologize, pay war reparations and turn himself over to the Nuremberg Court and plead guilty to war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Wolfhag

Blutarski08 Nov 2018 6:40 p.m. PST

Ruchel,
You endlessly repeat the same tiresome old mantra. It further appears that you are either unwilling or incapable of addressing opposing counterpoints in any articulate manner. In short, you have regrettably become rather boring.

Consider taking your act elsewhere. Try new pastures to spread you preaching, as it were. Good luck.


B

Blutarski08 Nov 2018 7:23 p.m. PST

Lee494 wrote -
"Just maintain the blockade and stop other fighting including the bombing. Japan was finished. They had virtually no navy or air force left to speak of. Their army wasnt going anywhere and the country was virtually starving. We can speculate they would have fought forever and never sued for peace but the truth is within several months, if not sooner, they would have likely responded to a negotiated peace without our resorting to The Bomb."

Now there is no definitive way to prove that. In fact we simply dont know because we didn't try. What we did was take the easy way out, for us, and justified it by saying we "saved lives". I guess if it makes you feel good do it. The simple hard truth is that because of Pearl Harbor we wanted Japan destroyed to the last brick and the last person. As cheaply in terms of US lives as possible. So the A Bombs were the perfect solution. "

- -

>>>>> You are certainly entitled to your opinion. But I would kindly ask you to clarify how the idea that a Japanese disinclination to surrender comes to be classified as mere "speculation", while the notion that Japan was in any case going to sue for peace in a few months' time, regardless of Allied military action, is confidently anointed as a "truth". I cannot quite work out how you get there.

100,000 deaths in Tokyo (Mar 1945) made no impression.

80,000 deaths in Hiroshima (6 Aug 1945) elicited no response.

It finally took 40,000 deaths in Nagasaki, coupled with the realization that the USSR was not going to pull their fat from the fire at the negotiating table when Stalin declared war upon Japan on the same day (9 Aug 1945), for Japan to come to its collective senses.

Were the Allies supposed to continue bearing the burden and expense of maintaining huge armed forces half a world away at parade rest for an indeterminate period of time, waiting for Japan to make up its mind? Such an approach would (to the best of my knowledge) be the first of its kind in human history. I don't think you are being realistic. I think you are superimposing your own logic upon a very different oriental cultural mindset.

Strictly my opinion, of course …..

B

Levi the Ox08 Nov 2018 9:37 p.m. PST

I've read through this thread and came upon something that was mentioned but not much expanded upon:

Ruchel then please address the moral dilemma. Does your morality only apply to massive war crimes? What is the moral choice if 1 death, a war crime, leads to the saving of a million? To claim that moral principles are an absolute it must apply in all circumstances. If moral principles are not an absolute then one can question the circumstances of each act.

And the response:

Fred Cartwright,

Sorry, but that is not a real moral dilemma, it is an absurdity. All of us here know that we are discussing real war crimes: Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Tokyo, Dresden, etcetera. I do not like to waste my time "resolving" irrelevant exercises that have nothing to do with this topic.

It is not reasonable to divert the discussion to nowhere.

Ruchel,

This is not an "absurdity". Fred may have used an extreme ratio in his(?) example, but it is certainly not irrelevent. The Allied strategic bombing campaigns occurred in the context of a larger war, one that had been initiated in almost every theater by the Axis as aggressors.

I may have missed it in your preceding posts, but what are your opinions regarding the morality and criminality of waging war in general?

For example, was it moral for the various nations attacked by the Axis powers to conduct defensive war to protect their nations, territory, culture, and lives? Would it have been moral to instead surrender, even as evidence mounted that the Axis powers were likely to inflict harm upon the populations of those nations regardless of their resistance?

What of the Allies (most notably Britain and France) who were not initially attacked, but who entered the war in an effort to protect their neighbors who had been?

Furthermore, once Poland, France and the later Axis conquests had fallen, was it moral to continue the war for the purpose of eventually liberating them? Would agreeing to a treaty that left these nations victim to the Axis have been moral instead?

Once it was resolved by the remaining Allied powers to liberate the occupied nations from their oppressors, what level of war effort would be moral? What kind of resolution to the war would it be moral to accept?

---

I ask these questions not as a diversion, but because they are a necessary foundation to any moral judgment of the Allied strategic bombing campaigns.

You have repeatedly decried the concept of "total war", but the very concept of a "total war" implies that there is such a thing as a "less than total war", and that demonstrates a continuum along which acts of war exist.

We can certainly discuss what levels of warfare are moral, legal, or acceptable, but if *any* resistance to aggression can *ever* be moral than we are already talking about a judgment that must factor in the relative morality of the alternatives.

This, in turn, means that those alternatives must be assessed in their *degree* of morality, and for that some method of measurement is required. The cost of each possibility in human lives is an uncomfortable but relatively clear metric. If greater granularity is needed some proportional value could be assigned to some lives compared to others; non-combatants weighted more heavily than combatants, those of the defending nation more heavily than those of the aggressor, etc.

It is a grisly kind of mathematics to talk about, but something that combatants past and present have had to face, sometimes with the future of their people at stake. For any moral argument to be relevant to decisions about acts of war, it must take into account the context in which those decisions are made.

Firstly, you may think that "the end justified the means" and that the use of those bombs was justified by a supposed better end. But the supposed justification does not change the nature and the meaning of the action. It is a massive war crime regardless the justification you offer. In other words, the end does not change the meaning and the nature of the means. It is an evident and indisputable fact. For example, livestock manure may be useful for agriculture. But the correct plant development resulting from its use does not change the fact that livestock manure is livestock manure, and it is a dirty, disgusting, repulsive substance that produces an offensive smell.

So it would be sane and honest to recognize that a massive war crime was used for other purposes, regardless the supposed justification. If you negate this evidence, you are lying. This is an absolute truth everywhere in the world, USA included.

Finally, despite the use or abuse of any kind of arguments, the fact remains that nothing can justify the massive annihilation of hundreds thousands of defenceless civilians. It is an unjustifiable atrocity.

We disagree about the acceptability and degree of morality of the Allied strategic bombing campaigns, but your claims about their *absolute* immorality are either incorrect or utterly meaningless.

The logic for this conclusion is as follows:

Either a continuum of morality exists, along which one could measure the Allied strategic bombing campaigns (and their contribution to the war effort) in comparison to the Axis treatment of the populations of their enemies and occupied territories, as well as various other potential consequences of the war.

Or actions can only be judged as completely moral or completely immoral, in which case morality is effectively useless in informing decisions of any significance and should be wholly disregarded in any discussion of conflict, as it cannot meaningfully distinguish between any of the feasible alternatives.

To use your original analogy, I accept that manure is repulsive, but that does not change the fact that it is useful in sustaining the lives of myself and others in a specific context.

Levi

Ruchel09 Nov 2018 6:37 a.m. PST

Wolfhag,

You wrote: "The act of dropping the leaflets (when they could have been dropping napalm) saved more people than the Japanese authorities did".

They would have saved more lives if they had not bombed those cities. The true fact is that they annihilated hundreds thousands of defenceless civilians (Hiroshima, Nagasaki and Tokyo).They dropped leaflets, but nuclear bombs and tons of napalm too.

When a crime is committed, the blame lies with the criminal who has committed it. The criminal takes the blame and is responsible for that crime. It is a basic legal principle.

Using an analogy, it is as if we blame the police for every robbery and murder committed, arguing that the police have been unable to protect us and to prevent those crimes. No, the blame lies with the criminals.
We can talk about the Japanese negligence, which did not help to alleviate that situation, but the blame for the annihilation of hundreds thousands civilians lies with those people who planned and carried out those bombings. And it is a fact that, at Hiroshima, Nagasaki and Tokyo, in March-August 1945, civilians were defenceless.

In your opinion, there was no intention to cause the killing of civilians because the population were informed previously. Then, which was the reason for bombing those cities?

As I wrote before, in March-August 1945, Japanese military production was insignificant, especially compared to US and/or Allied production. Most remaining resources and weapons were protected underground. Japanese industries lacked all kinds of resources. Even they were using wood to make planes. Sorry, but at that date the very little Japanese production was no longer a menace or an object of concern. And so it was in the case of Tokyo and other cities. So Hiroshima, Nagasaki and Tokyo were not military or industrial targets of any importance.

Then, the only aim was to carry out a terror bombing against the population, and those people who planned and carried out those bombings knew that the supposed previous warning was going to have no effect. They knew that they were going to kill hundreds thousands of civilians. Nobody bombs an empty target. Nobody drops napalm and nuclear bombs on a desert.

Using another analogy: a thief who wants to burgle a house, previously warns its owners that soon he is going to burgle their home. Presumably, the owners will take out the valuable from their home. But the thief, knowing that there will be not any valuable in that house due to his previous warning, decides to go on with the plan and to burgle the house. It sounds absurd, doesn't it?

They bombed civilians because they knew that there were civilians at those cities.

You want to separate moral principles and values from a supposed real world in which only the law and courtrooms can establish the "truth". You are opening the door to the worst kind of relativism ever imagined. Because laws change continuously, and what it is true today may be untrue tomorrow. You should not rely blindly on laws and courtrooms. Laws depend on political, ideological and economic interests. Someone may be considered a criminal today, but the same person may be considered a hero tomorrow. This is the unreliable relativism of human laws. Regarding the courtrooms, a lawyer can defend a legal precept today and defend a contrary one tomorrow, both related to the same matter, due to the temporary and relative nature of laws. And then we can talk about juries, judges and lawyers. If you have enough money (or good political and/or economic support) and the best lawyers the establishment of procedural "truths" will differ enormously.

So no, laws cannot monopolize the definitions of anything. High moral principles and values never change. They are not affected by the changes and relativism of laws and courtrooms. They are the only one reliable referent. The main task of laws and courtrooms is to punish and to compensate a particular action or situation according with their own definitions. But their definitions cannot be considered as "truths" of universal or continued validity. We do not need that laws and courtrooms establish things whose definitions are morally evident.

If I see a man killing a baby in the street, I conclude that I have seen a crime, an immoral action. I do not need to wait until a law or a courtroom decides that that action is a crime.

You cannot remove moral values and principles from the "real world". It is impossible. They exist within the real world, and they are the best instrument and the best point of reference in order to improve the human behaviour. You cannot put them in a box, forget them and then live a supposed "real life" full of relativism and fallacies. True philosophers, people with high moral principles, must be the model and the example for civil society instead of that bunch of Machiavellian and Hobbesian politicians, despicable economic and ideological lobbies, and unreliable laws and courtrooms. It is a pity that there are not many moral people (philosophers, in your opinion) within governments and courtrooms. Instead, we can see many despicable and greed people, corrupts and sophists within those institutions, designing our supposed "real world". If true philosophers, people with high moral principles and values, had been in charge of governance in most nations that war would have never existed.

Japanese, German, Soviet and British governments committed despicable and immoral war crimes. I condemn them too, as I have said in previous posts.

Yes, US could have easily killed a few million more Japanese citizens. But is that a justification for the annihilation of "only" hundreds thousands of civilians? So thanks must be given for killing "only" that amount of civilians. Thanks must be given for reducing the number of the war crimes. Is it a joke?

In fact, Hiroshima and Nagasaki were nuclear bomb testing sites. But not a simulation testing, it was a real one, and using real "guinea pigs", thousands of defenceless civilians.

So, if laws and courtrooms have failed miserably to condemn and punish that kind of war crimes, we can always invoke the moral principles and values in order to expose, recognize and condemn every kind of war crime, with the hope of preventing and eradicating them.

Ruchel09 Nov 2018 7:14 a.m. PST

Blutarski,

Yes, I will repeat that the annihilation of hundreds thousands of defenceless civilians is a despicable, immoral and heinous war crime. I will repeat it endlessly, now and forever.

And there are no arguments or counterpoints that contradict that truth. Even so, I have respectfully answered most comments.

I do not care if I have become boring or entertaining. I am not discussing this topic in order to entertain anyone.

Ruchel09 Nov 2018 9:24 a.m. PST

Levi,

You wrote: "I may have missed it in your preceding posts, but what are your opinions regarding the morality and criminality of waging war in general?"

Yes, I think you have missed it. I have written about that matter in my preceding posts. In fact, most of your questions have already been discussed previously. I do not want to repeat them again.

Machiavelli "discovered" that moral principles and values were a major obstacle to the implementation of "ambitious policies". So the reasons of State can justify any action or policy, regardless the possible immorality of such policies. This way of thinking opened the door to the gradual precedence of the end over the means. The Thomas Aquinas' principle which established that means must be intrinsically good and just, was totally ignored. Everything can be justified.

Taking into account that way of thinking, it is evident that moral principles and values have been relegated to second place and kept in the philosopher's box, far from the "real political decisions".

So, it is widely and erroneously accepted that the application of moral principles leads to paralyse any political (or military) action. Moral principles and values are seen like annoying burdens. We can see the destructive consequences of this way of thinking: modern states have used, and use today, instruments such as war crimes, invasions, bombings, torture, coups, murders, destruction of environment and resources, and so on, in the name of that "reasons of State" and using despicable justifications.

But no, contrary to what is commonly believed, moral principles and values are not useless. It is true that they are considered an obstacle by those people who want to achieve an end at any cost (including an immoral one).

Morally speaking, it is easy to find "feasible alternatives". But if you want to achieve an aim at any cost, you do not need to look for alternatives. It is unnecessary. Because those alternatives would supposedly paralyse the decision making process. In this way, you believe that you are free of obstacles (those "complex" and "nebulous" moral principles) and you can implement your "real" political and military decisions. Congratulations.

Logically and really speaking, those war crimes were not the only option, they were not inevitable and they were not necessary. I have explained the reasons in previous posts. I do not want to repeat it.

In short, a war crime is never an option, is never a mean. But even if you think that a war crime is useful in order to achieve a supposed good end, that war crime remains a war crime.

Returning to my analogy: manure may be useful in sustaining the lives of yourself and others provided that the plants are edible. But it is also possible that the resulting plants are inedible or poisonous. The manure is equally useful for good plants and for bad ones. It is also possible that those plants can grow without the need for using manure, and you have unnecessarily used it. It is also possible that the use of manure is more expensive than the expected benefits.The ends can vary enormously, but there is a thing that is constant and invariable: the used mean, the manure. A war crime is a war crime, regardless the supposed aim you want to achieve committing it.

Bill N09 Nov 2018 12:11 p.m. PST

People with high moral standards

How do we define that? Morality is neither ahistoric nor universal. Morality is a reflection of the values of society, so morality changes as society does. Slavery existed for thousands of years and was deemed morally acceptable, until it was not. European settlers in various places around the world slaughtered indigenous peoples and it was morally acceptable, until it was not. Men in parts of the world treated women as second class citizens or even property and that was morally acceptable, until it was not. Today in parts of the world people will argue their morality requires or permits certain actions which in other parts of the world would be considered morally repugnant. Which moral code governs?

Before we can even discuss whether someone has "high moral standards" we have to first agree on what those standards are. As this discussion shows there is genuine disagreement on what moral standards should be applied to these events.

Timbo W09 Nov 2018 3:03 p.m. PST

I wonder what course of action would not be considered a war crime

Blockade Japan to starve millions
Invade Japan killing probably millions
Bomb, conventional or nuclear killing hundreds of thousands

Which is it?

Fred Cartwright09 Nov 2018 4:52 p.m. PST

Gentleman you are wasting time. No argument about saving lives is going to cut any ice with Ruchel. Having read the arguments it seems clear to me that Ruchel does not care if the bombs saved lives or not. If a different approach had been taken and it went wrong say a blockade of Japan (his suggestion, not mine) and a million Japanese starved to death Ruchel would consider it lives worth losing as it avoided the war crime of dropping the bombs. And before anyone complains it would never happen, once you depart from what happened you have no way of knowing how any alternative timeline would work out. It may work out better. It may work out much worse, but in Ruchel's morality any worse outcome is fine providing no mass war crimes such as dropping the atomic bombs. At least that is the only conclusion you can come to based on his following statements.

Yes, I will repeat that the annihilation of hundreds thousands of defenceless civilians is a despicable, immoral and heinous war crime. I will repeat it endlessly, now and forever.
And there are no arguments or counterpoints that contradict that truth.

Lee49409 Nov 2018 5:47 p.m. PST

Reading this thread one can readily understand how some people could, in their own minds at least, justify the Holocaust. And one can also see why we will have more of them in the future. Sad. But true. The fact that there can even be a DEBATE about the morality of deliberate MASS killings of unarmed and defenseless women, children, babies and the elderly is a shocking testament to the fact that today's world is morally bankrupt! Ugh.

Lion in the Stars09 Nov 2018 5:48 p.m. PST

Agree with Fred Cartwright. Just put Ruchel on Stifle, call it a day.

I don't like doing this, because sometimes people have useful insights in another area of history, even when they have … strong opinions about something here (or in Ultramodern).

But I haven't seen Ruchel post anywhere else but WW2. So Stifling it is.

Levi the Ox09 Nov 2018 8:53 p.m. PST

Gentleman you are wasting time. No argument about saving lives is going to cut any ice with Ruchel. Having read the arguments it seems clear to me that Ruchel does not care if the bombs saved lives or not. If a different approach had been taken and it went wrong say a blockade of Japan (his suggestion, not mine) and a million Japanese starved to death Ruchel would consider it lives worth losing as it avoided the war crime of dropping the bombs. And before anyone complains it would never happen, once you depart from what happened you have no way of knowing how any alternative timeline would work out. It may work out better. It may work out much worse, but in Ruchel's morality any worse outcome is fine providing no mass war crimes such as dropping the atomic bombs.

It's a shame, because he's so set on the immorality of nuclear bombs that he won't engage with any of the other concepts that are worth a discussion in their own right. I appreciate everyone else's input, I learned a lot from the rest of the thread!

Agree with Fred Cartwright. Just put Ruchel on Stifle, call it a day.

I don't like doing this, because sometimes people have useful insights in another area of history, even when they have … strong opinions about something here (or in Ultramodern).

But I haven't seen Ruchel post anywhere else but WW2. So Stifling it is.

Presumably this is a chat-block function? I don't plan to use it yet but how do you access it?

Zephyr109 Nov 2018 10:05 p.m. PST

"Yes, I will repeat that the annihilation of hundreds thousands of defenceless civilians is a despicable, immoral and heinous war crime. I will repeat it endlessly, now and forever.
And there are no arguments or counterpoints that contradict that truth."

Then I guess I'm a despicable, immoral, and heinous war criminal for all the defenseless cities I've nuked in Civ2… ;-)

Fred Cartwright10 Nov 2018 1:06 a.m. PST

Reading this thread one can readily understand how some people could, in their own minds at least, justify the Holocaust.

Ah the Holocaust analogy! Well it has only taken nearly 2 pages for that to pop up. Yes of course bombing a city in wartime is the same as systematically attempting to wipe an entire race of the face of the earth, therefore the causes of the first must be the same as the second.
If a second holocaust comes it will be lead by those who are convinced of their own moral superiority and for whom "there are no arguments or counterpoints that contradict the truth."
I have looked long and hard at the strategic bombing campaigns of WW2 over the years and have changed my views based on what I read. If something new came up I might change again.

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