Thursday, August 23, 2007

Is It Ever Justified?

I've been having the same debate with the same lefty at two different blogs. It started at Serial Extremist where ELAshley put up several posts in reference to the anniverary of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings. It also came up during a discussion at Casting Pearls Before Swine. There, Mark was posting on illegal immigration, an issue that always provokes mention of WWII.

So my friend Dan, who is very confused about most things, is very concerned about war crimes. He is insistant that our leaders answer for anything considered outside the mandates of several conventions regarding proper behavior during wartime. He's a rock. He's unrelenting. He stands firm for the rule of law without question or exception. (Not really. Only about this.)

For my part, I insist that the action he won't tolerate might be justified. I think Truman was justified. Dan likes to cite two or three generals of the time who disagreed and I insist there were likely two or three who were in full agreement with Truman. Either way, the decision was Truman's and Truman's alone to make. He based it on what he felt were the likely consequences of action vs. non-action, drop the bomb vs. not dropping the bomb, and believed the non-action course to be the most risky to us and our allies.

Since that time, there have been many who claim that the bombings were not justified and that they constituted a war crime based on our own laws alone. Some, mostly those from the comfort and safety of sixty years later, insist that there's never a reason for such extreme action. Again, considering I was not cursed with making such a decision, I defer to Harry's judgement.

So the real question here is, what do honorable men do when faced with great risk and few options? Do they abide by the law even when doing so will result in the worse consequences? Or do they do what's necessary to preserve life, or as much of it as possible? There's a saying bandied about in the world of martial arts that goes like this: "I'd rather be judged by twelve men, than carried in a box by six." This has to do with the use of lethal force when confronted on the street and whether it is better to risk one's life or the judgement of a court of law. The same dynamic played out for Give 'Em Hell Harry Truman. I have every confidence that the leaders we elect are likely to make such judgements from the same place Truman was when he made his, rather than rashly. Thus, though the life saving actions they take may be on Dan's and the law's list of war crimes, rational men will spare them and pray that such decisions need never be made again. It's a good prayer to pray now.

37 comments:

Timothy said...

Hi Marshall,
Good post. Yes, it is easy for us in this decade to sit in judgment of Truman with what he was facing, knowing the thousands that had died already, the unprovoked attack Japan made against us, etc., and declare that he was wrong. By doing so, we get a real sense of moral superiority. I think this is why it is done so much. We lambaste those in the past to make ourselves feel good, while ignoring the sins our culture will be bashed for in the future.

I believe Truman did the right thing. But I don't expect to convince Dan of that. He has made me think about the issue, but has not swayed me on it.
Blessings

Dan Trabue said...

Why is saying that some things are war crimes and ought to always be wrong so controversial? Why is saying that, "It is always, always, always wrong to target civilians - children included - for destruction, is wrong" unacceptable?

Would you always defer to our president on breaking our own laws, with the reasoning being that "It's his decision to make," or is there some circumstances where you'd denounce a president? And, if you defer to our president, which OTHER nations' leaders will you also defer to?

These aren't mocking questions, but reasonable ones to ask given your position. You're saying that it is okay sometimes to break our own laws and target civilians - children included! - it's reasonable to ask where you would draw the line and under what reasoning.

If you don't think we need to obey the law, do you think other nations need not obey the law?

This just seems to be a highly immoral position for someone who's interested in morality (as you are) to take. From where I sit, it seems to be an "anything goes!" position. Might makes right. Winner takes all. "As long as Right is on our side, may God/Allah bless us."

Help me understand your position and how it would work in the real world without descending into anarchy.

Dan Trabue said...

"So the real question here is, what do honorable men do when faced with great risk and few options?"

What honorable men do is act honorably. Killing children is not an honorable action. Targeting civilians is not an honorable action.

I can't believe we can't agree on something as basic as this. Targeting civilians is what terrorists and thugs do, not honorable men and women.

mom2 said...

What honorable men do is act honorably. Killing children is not an honorable action. Targeting civilians is not an honorable action.>

Dan, why do you need to be reminded that babies in the womb are just children in the very earliest stage? Where is your outrage? Is that an honorable action? According to who?

Parklife said...

Mom2.. "focus.. like a laser beam."

mom2 said...

Yeah, Parklife, You don't want to look at the sacredness of life in the terms of an innocent little baby, so off you go with the "focus" thing. Does it gouge your conscience just a little to have it brought up? As I have said before, deaths in war are part of the consequences but abortion is deliberate killing of innocent life. Either get off the killing of innocent in war or get the courage to look at the killing in the womb as what it is.

Dan Trabue said...

One difference, mom2, is that I think for our gov't to deliberately kill children is wrong. Period. You, on the other hand, are saying that sometimes it's okay for our gov't to do so.

Why wouldn't you want to join the group of us who say it's always wrong for gov't to kill children? Your abortion arguments on the personal level might hold more water if you were consistently opposed to it by the gov't.

mom2 said...

Vice, versa Dan. Your government comments might make more sense if you were consistent and quit voting for Dems that want abortion legal (you know the killing of the unborn). How could one be more innocent than they?

hashfanatic said...

Mom2, if you don't want to have an abortion, you're not required to have one.

Marshall Art said...

Though I'd have preferred that the discussion stay on point, Mom2's abortion angle makes perfect sense in the face of firm beliefs against government sanctioned targeting of civilians, children being among them. By allowing for abortion on demand, the government is definitely allowing the targeting of innocent children. But please, no further abortion talk here. I've totally shredded the pro-abortion position on an earlier thread.

A quick response to Hash:

If you don't want to nuke a civilian population, you're not required to.

For Dan,

"Why is saying that some things are war crimes and ought to always be wrong so controversial?"

Because there exists the possibility when the most heinous action (by OUR standards) might be the only means to resolve a situation. You seem to want to overlook the fact that after diplomacy fails, after conventional warfare fails, after constant sacrificing of American lives fails, after all other ideas for turning back the agression against us fails, that we might be compelled to do the unthinkable, and be justified for doing so.

It's seems all sweet and Sunday school to maintain that it is always wrong to do it, but it isn't so simple. You are certainly free to turn the other cheek, but that's only as long as it's YOUR cheek that's being slapped. You have no right to insist that others sacrifice themselves for your principles. So the question becomes, just how many American and allied lives are YOU willing to sacrifice before using the one strategy likely to guarantee the end of hostilities?

Don't misunderstand. I hope there will never be another such detonation ever again in the future of all mankind. I hope that there will never be a foe for whom such a plan is the only answer. But I will say, that since there has been such an action taken, I'm glad it was US who took the action, and not our foes.

I support Truman's decision. Should we ever find ourselves in a similar situation, I would support the decision being made by the president at the time. I applaud the sentiment that went into the creation of the "rules of war", but the simple fact of the matter is that it prolongs war. At one time it was considered dishonorable to fire upon officers. A more expeditious method is to bomb the enemy headquarters. The MOST expeditious route is to bomb the entire population of the enemy. Game over. The further we step back from that action, the more we risk the lives of our own and the prolonging of the war.

(Quite frankly, in this war on terror, we could be stepping up our actions a bit, but the collateral damage potential will rise with it.)

So where do I draw the line? I let the enemy draw it for the most part. I will warn the enemy against taking up arms against us. I will make clear the consequences for doing so. What consequences they suffer will then be up to them. My duty is to protect mine. The mere threat will provoke mobilization of forces. Any agression will bring a shitstorm. Any action on my part will only be retaliatory unless intel is uncovered that justifies pre-emptive attacks. To end what they've started will require a total and unconditional surrender on OUR terms.

If we are electing the right type of person to lead us, if we as a people insist on leading righteous lives, what could possibly provoke us to consciously do wrong? Thus, we could only be responding to agression since we'd never initiate it. Some, like Hash, like to believe that elements of our political community wish to provoke war for profit, but that's crap. So to break any law regarding behavior in wartime would be on the same plain as David taking food from the priests for his hungry troops. We would break the laws only because the situation begs for it.

Which enemy have we faced in the last century that abided any Geneva-type convention? How much will you take in order to maintain principles? How many will have to die before you do what needs to be done? That's the real issue. Here's a rule of war we should be supporting as a nation: Don't war with us.

And finally, I don't consider myself a thug or terrorist if my actions protect my children, even if the enemy's children suffer. It is my children that is my only concern. I spare the lives of my enemies based on their actions, not at the risk of my own people. Call me a thug or terrorist if you like for my overwhelming concern for my own people. I can think of no noble term for one who holds an overwhelming concern for law over the lives of his own people.

Dan Trabue said...

"It is my children that is my only concern."

But what if the actions that you take in hopes of protecting your children set precedents and means that only serve to endanger your children?

Again, you are saying that the rules that countries must live by are:

1. If you think it necessary, you can ignore laws - even horrifying war crime laws.
2. There are no limits on what you can do to defeat an enemy. Defeat him at any cost with any methods.

What if others take you up on your guidelines - how does that make the world a safer place for your children?

I maintain that we can never defend our children by killing other people's children. I reckon we just disagree there, but at the least, I'd hope that you could see that there is no honor in that sort of victory. Only terror.

Dan Trabue said...

"Mom2's abortion angle makes perfect sense in the face of firm beliefs against government sanctioned targeting of civilians, children being among them."

Actually, no. It doesn't.

The gov't isn't sanctioning abortion. It's noting that there are some difficult decisions to make and leaving it up to individuals to make that call because we, as a nation, can't agree on when life begins and under what circumstances the medical procedure of abortion is a viable option and when it's not.

But I'm not sending tax dollars to support abortion and the US gov't has not begun forcibly killing babies. With abortion.

Unfortunately, with Hiroshima, Dresden, Nicaragua, etc, etc, the US IS deliberately (if regrettably) targeting civilians and children.

That's one big difference. You're asking me to give my tax dollars to support killing children in my name by my gov't. I will not abide by that.

Mark said...

I wasn't too sure about whether America did the right thing when we dropped the A-bomb until I found out that japan had 400,000 prisoners at the time. Our troops were poised to invade the Japanese mainland in a D-Day type invasion, which would surely have taken thousands more lives, both japanese and American. The japanese were under orders to execute all 400,000 prisoners if even one American soldier set foot upon Japanese soil.

When one looks at the probable consequences of going ahead with the invasion, and not dropping the bombs, it would seem pretty clear that Truman took the path of least destruction. I vote for "justified".

Now. I agree with Art, but allow me to play devil's advocate on one statement he made, re:

"I will warn the enemy against taking up arms against us. I will make clear the consequences for doing so. What consequences they suffer will then be up to them."

With all due respect, Art, that sounds a lot like what a wife abuser would say to his wife after he beats her up. "you made me do it!"

Neverless, I appreciate what Art means, and agree.

hashfanatic said...

"If you don't want to nuke a civilian population, you're not required to."

This is true. Point?

Goat said...

I quit commenting about the moonbats that frequent Mark's site a while back, it ain't worth my time. War is always justified to protect the innocent from evil. We are fighting a just war against Satan's spawn, islamo-fascism and those that follow it, it is as just as WWII and the Cold War. Dan, the only people targeting civilians and using them as shields are the jihadi scum, why are you incapable of admitting that? Or do you root for the jihadi scum to defeat us? You are one shallow very ignorant person if you agree with either question if you actually have the balls to be truthful. It does no good to try and argue with these fools, they care not what you have to say. They are brainwashed zombies afraid to face the truth because the truth is painful. I would suggest a heavy dose of Yon, Totten and Emmanuel for them. War is an ugly, nasty thing but not near as bad as someone unwilling to fight for what they care for, to paraphrase JS Mill.
Umm, Parklife is banned at my site for it's one-line inane insults and failure to add a substantive argument and Dan won't even come near me though I have blasted him at Mark's many times. These loonbat fools are not worth your effort my friend, they wiil not be converted from their insanity, so it is a waste of your time to respond to their provacateur posts.

Erudite Redneck said...

Not to oversimply things, but I think a man's got to do what a man thinks he's got to do, then, he should be man enough to face the consequences.

And so, I think President Bush has done what he thinks should have been done. And my own damned party is going to let him get away with it, even though he should be impeached for it.

Some people do get away with murder. Truman did. Nixon did. Reagan did. Other presidents, too.

Perhaps the evil that some think has befallen this country can be attributed to all of them, that is, all of us.

Erudite Redneck said...

BTW, if Dr. ER and my Bird were in the house, and somebody busted through the front doot with the clear intent of doing them harm, asnd I had a gun handy, I'd use it. But I wouldn't expect the cops to pat me on the back. I'd expect to be adjudicated.

Erudite Redneck said...

One more pointlet: I'm supposed to turn my own cheek, not me wife or daughter's, or anyone else's -- and some people I'm obligated to take positive steps to protect, not just defend. The law, however, may think differently.

hashfanatic said...

"Perhaps the evil that some think has befallen this country can be attributed to all of them, that is, all of us."

Not me, ER. I knew what they were from day one, I opposed them, and prayed for their destruction right up till the present.

I will NEVER accept guilt or blame for their crimes, never.

Marshall Art said...

Well, Dan. I'll agree with you on one thing: war crimes laws ARE horrifying. It was a big mistake to put our name to paper on any agreement that prohibits us in any way. It signifies that we are open targets who will only go so far to retaliate. That's a big problem. It's just like all the pants-wetting over torture. It's one thing to abstain from savage practices, but it's quite another to let the scum of the world know that we will. What you fail to recognize is that in the real world, where you happen to live, by the way, there are those for whom pronouncements of kindness or benevolence is like a "kick me" sign pasted to the nation's back. "They will know us by our actions" is how it should work. Those paying attention will know that we go out of our way to avoid unnecessary deaths, injuries, or property destruction. Those paying attention will know that we allow the actions of our enemies to dictate our response and they'll realize that the enemy brought it upon themselves. They'll know that if our elected officials turn out to be evil, we will revolt against them for the benefit of all. And above all, they MUST know that we will not allow anyone to fuck with us, ever.

As to other countries adopting that attitude, what the hell difference does it make? What influence do we have on other nations if they don't know us by now? If they adopt the attitude I just described, how in the hell would they get the notion that we need to be attacked? Didn't I just say that our actions will speak for our character? Those that would pretend to adopt this attitude only to bastardize it and use it as an excuse to perpetrate their evil were evil to begin with and would have found other reasons to engage in your "war crimes".

The precedents have already been set by those against whom we've battled for the last 100 years. And no matter what we do today, the jihadist scumbags will use anything as an excuse to kill more of us. Frankly, as far as precedents, we've already set one with Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

You really need to stop framing this discussion as "targeting children or civilians" as if I mean it's an initial tactic as opposed to a last ditch effort to prevent further deaths of our own. It's not "targeting...", it's stopping the enemy once and for all when all else has failed. But hey, feel free to sacrifice YOUR women and children any time you like.

Now the following is just a load:

"The gov't isn't sanctioning abortion. It's noting that there are some difficult decisions to make and leaving it up to individuals to make that call because we, as a nation, can't agree on when life begins and under what circumstances the medical procedure of abortion is a viable option and when it's not."

By allowing it's unabated use for any reason whatsoever, the government does indeed sanction the practice. This is especially true considering all we now know about the process of reproduction. Allowing for the life of the mother is self-defense, but all else is the killing of human beings. Kill 'em one by one or with a bomb, it's all the same. Trouble is, there is absolutely no military advantage to aborting a child. The atomic bomb ended the war.

Marshall Art said...

Mark,

"With all due respect, Art, that sounds a lot like what a wife abuser would say to his wife after he beats her up. "you made me do it!""

Actually, it's more like what an abused wife would say to the abusive husband. "You hit me again and I'll kill you!" Like my example, the agression came first, then the wife, or the USA, responds.

Goat,

I don't really think Dan supports the jihadies in any way (at least I hope not). My problem is that he can't distinguish between the war crimes actually being committed by such scum, vs. the desperate actions of a Harry Truman trying to end the war. No one's saying what Truman did was a wonderful thing, just that the war coming to an end was wonderful. What's nice about war? But to "play nice" when people are trying to kill you, enslave you, conquer you, is just complete lunacy and stupidity. We won't take such actions without our hand being forced.

ER,

I totally agree with your initial statement, but then you get all Koz-like about who deserves blame and punishment. But then you get back on track with you next two posts, so I'll give you a 90% and a happy face, but no star. So close.

Hashfundie,

You're just goofy.

Goat said...

As to WWII, it was the bombs or millions more deaths, and ended a long very bloody war, a just reason. If we look at the bloodbath of the Pacific war it was our best option, the Japanese were not going to just give up. They were highly trained, well equipped and determined. Thank God they are now our allies, as is East germany and much of the old Soviet Republic.
Peace through superior firepower is the rule not the exception.
If Dan or any other loonbat is incapable of distinguishing between jihadis using VBIEDS in civilian markets and the US taking out an AQ compound, they are simply idiotic fools, unworthy of effort or promotion by trying to argue with them. You will not change their deluded minds, just as they will not change my deluded mind, in their opinion.

Dan Trabue said...

As to WWII, it was the bombs or millions more deaths, and ended a long very bloody war, a just reason.

That is one supposition, we don't know that targeting civilians saved ANY lives. But assuming you are correct, then the rule that you're advocating would be:

- IF you think that your nation could save some lives by targeting civilians, then your action is justified

Is that correct?

At that point, I would ask: How many lives must you be guessing will be saved in order to target civilians? Must the numbers be comparable? If you could save ten soldiers by targeting ten civilians, is it justified? If you could save ten soldiers by targeting 1000 civilians, is THAT justified?

What I'm asking is what rule is it that you're asking the rest of the world abide by? Or are you saying all rules are fluid, up to each nation and individual to decide?

I am suggesting that your position is not practical, nor legal, nor moral. The age of deliberately targeting civilians is past. The citizens of the US are better than that and we will not abide by it.

I suspect that you'll have to get used to that reality, like it or not.

Marshall Art said...

And you'll have to get used to the reality that war can bring about the need to do awful things in order to preserve the lives of OUR countrymen.

You'll also have to get used to the fact that these decisions must be judged through the eyes of the guys making them according to the information available to them at the time. To look back and say "we don't know that targeting civilians saved ANY lives." is to assume that we can have certainty regarding any action or non-action and the results that will follow.

I have no doubt that the majority of Americans prefer that we never engage in what you like to call war crimes or torture. I also have no doubt that the majority of Americans would accept most any action that extricates them from impending death. They likely would be in greater favor of the most heinous actions if it meant their loved ones were saved.

You have to get out of your mush-filled mind that there's no difference betweeen targeting civilians as does people like the Islamoscumbags, and the no-other-option situation that I'm describing for self-defense against agressors. The citizens of the agressor nations have a duty to oppose the agression of their leaders. If they choose to ignore the actions of their leaders, then they are complicit on some level.

Dan Trabue said...

"I have no doubt that the majority of Americans prefer that we never engage in what you like to call war crimes or torture."

You should note that it's not what I "like to call war crimes" - it's what the Law calls war crimes, or sometimes "crimes against humanity," or "crimes against peace." By your repeated assertions such as the one above, you are trying to make it sound like it's just a matter of opinion, and that I'm choosing to call it war crimes, but what it actually is, is self-defense.

It is against US law to target civilians and to engage in torture. To do so IS a war crime - a crime against humanity, according to OUR law. Don't try to downplay what words I'm using.

Also, you repeatedly set up the false dichotomy that we can either choose to engage in war crimes to "defend" ourselves, or we can be slaughtered. As always, there are more than two choices. I suspect that most americans reject the notion that we can be made more secure by engaging in war crimes. We don't buy your belief system.

Marshall Art said...

I think it's pretty arrogant of you to suppose you speak for anyone but yourself. So cut the "we the people" crap.

Also, I set up no "false dichotomy" as I refer to the Truman decision to support my position. HE had to make the decision. HE had to bear the consequences and second thoughts after the fact. YOU have no freakin' idea of what it might be like being in his position. If the conventions you've cited were in place at the time, it's pretty obvious the world didn't see his actions as war crime at the time, or do you have any trial info regarding Truman dropping the bombs?

It's shameful that you won't concede that the lives of your own countrymen might have more value than adhering to some law that can't possibly cover every circumstance. It's downright stupid to believe that there will always be an alternative that will render decisions like Truman's unnecesary.

Goat said...

The Pacific War was so incredibly bloody and the Japanese regime so intrenched, was there any other option, really. If we had invaded the mainland just to extrapolate off what the fight for the outer islands was like, the death toll would have been horrendous.
I will admit , while it ended one war it started another that we won as well, the Cold War, we lost a battle,Vietnam and satlemated Korea, we still won in the long run.
Peace through superior fighting ability, even the jihadis respect our ability to kill them at will and that is why they terrorize local soft targets.
Dan, you have proven yourself ignorant, do you still wish to continue to make a fool of your self?
We told them in no uncertain terms, surrender or we will sink your island, they are now fast allies,I'll take the trade off.

Les said...

Completely unrelated topic:

I offer the following, posted by Chicago's own Marshall Art, June 27, 2007 at 10:44 PM:

"Fine, dude. If you wanna get shitty, keep bringing up baseball! We got no baseball in Chicaga this year! It's freakin' killin' me!!!!"

Oh, the winds of change...

Monumental 3-game series of near Biblical proportions starts tomorrow, Art. In my 33 years of existence, I have NEVER beaten my head against the wall like I have with these 2007 Brewers. They're my own personal Ike Turner - just when I convince myself I love them, they get drunk and punch me in the face. Granted, we're not haunted by 1969 or some crazy billy goat nonsense, but c'mon already - the Brewers are the undisputed MASTERS of the hot start followed by the inevitable cataclysmic downfall. If it happens again this year, I just might have to sue Major League Baseball and the Brewers for false advertising.

And you thought you had no baseball in Chicago. Ha! You're in the NL Central, dude! Ain't nobody got no baseball in the NL Central!

Congratulations, Cardinals. It's all yours.

Oh, yeah - and atomic bombs suck.

Marshall Art said...

Oh yeah. The Cards have been lurking in the background waiting to pick of the scraps left behind by the Cub and Brewers who have blown their loads, er, leads. But I have to say, in what must be the most strange description ever applied to the Cub, they have been finding ways to win and stay competitive. Could they stumble their way to a division title? It seems like they have the tools, but not quite the chemistry yet. One thing's for sure, they don't look like they did when the season began.

Kirk said...

I admit at the outset of this post that I have not followed the discussions closely on this site. I just don't have the time. I am a long-time friend of Art's, so occasionally I peek in. Now the discussion appears to be about whether or not it is morally acceptable to kill civilians in time of war. Why the focus is on the events of WWII escapes me, although Art did say this is a carryover discussion from another site. I suppose blogs are similar to discussions in bars, where everyone is entitled to an opinion. Regarding the atomic bombs that were dropped on Japan at the end of WWII, I would like to inject some facts into the discussion.

"In 1945 Secretary of War Stimson, visiting my headquarters in Germany, informed me that our government was preparing to drop an atomic bomb on Japan. I was one of those who felt that there were a number of cogent reasons to question the wisdom of such an act. During his recitation of the relevant facts, I had been conscious of a feeling of depression and so I voiced to him my grave misgivings, first on the basis of my belief that Japan was already defeated and that dropping the bomb was completely unnecessary, and secondly because I thought that our country should avoid shocking world opinion by the use of a weapon whose employment was, I thought, no longer mandatory as a measure to save American lives." Eisenhower, Dwight D. (1963). The White House Years; Mandate For Change: 1953-1956. Doubleday & Company, pp. 312-313.
Other U.S. military officers who disagreed with the necessity of the bombings include General Douglas MacArthur (the highest-ranking officer in the Pacific Theater), Fleet Admiral William D. Leahy (the Chief of Staff to the President), General Carl Spaatz (commander of the U.S. Strategic Air Forces in the Pacific), Brigadier General Carter Clarke (the military intelligence officer who prepared intercepted Japanese cables for U.S. officials), Admiral Ernest King, U.S. Chief of Naval Operations, Undersecretary of the Navy Ralph A. Bard, and Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, Commander in Chief of the Pacific Fleet.
"The Japanese had, in fact, already sued for peace. The atomic bomb played no decisive part, from a purely military point of view, in the defeat of Japan." Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, Commander in Chief of the U.S. Pacific Fleet.
"The use of [the atomic bombs] at Hiroshima and Nagasaki was of no material assistance in our war against Japan. The Japanese were already defeated and ready to surrender." Admiral William D. Leahy, Chief of Staff to President Truman.
Major General Curtis LeMay commented on the bomb's use: "The War would have been over in two weeks without the Russians entering and without the atomic bomb. The atomic bomb had nothing to do with the end of the War at all." Except that it drastically speeded the War's end to deprive the Russians of territory in East Asia.
Freeman, Robert (August 6 2006). "Was the Atomic Bombing of Japan Necessary?". CommonDreams.org.
But why talk about something that happened 60 years ago? What of the half-million civilians that have died in Iraq since the US military invaded over 4 years ago? Or another half-million during the Clinton embargo? This is happening as we tap-tap away at our computers.

ELAshley said...

Some sobering facts, Kirk. I happen to agree, despite catching all kinds of grief for expressing the same.

Marshall Art said...

Kirk's input, welcome as always, aligns with Dan's info regarding those who disagreed with the necessity of the bombing. I've not denied that there were those opposed to it. I have also heard of Japan's supposed readiness to surrender, but I've never seen anything but the quotes supplied by Kirk that speaks of it. Allowing for the possibility that we're reading not just the opinion of the bommbing's dissenters, but actual fact, it does add to the argument that the bombing wasn't necessary. But it doesn't have much to do with Truman's decision and the necessity he obviously felt. The reason he felt it is also a point for debate. Perhaps there's a book I can find that discusses this situation.

At the same time, it still doesn't change my feelings regarding how far a leader, or if you prefer, how far I would go were I the leader, to protect and preserve the lives of my people. If there is some action so heinous that I would not employ it, even to save my people. I insist that to draw such lines immediately puts one's people at risk. It assumes there are allies smart enough to come up with something effective that preserves lives, rather than finding out that it accomplished little and people died anyway, leaving us at square one. How many times do we go through that, how many of our people should die so that some idiot can feel superior for holding to some arbitrary principles?

Timothy said...

Kirk wrote:
"I suppose blogs are similar to discussions in bars, where everyone is entitled to an opinion."

The sad reality is that in a bar, you can at least buy your opponent a beer at the end of the discussion and ease tensions... in the blogosphere, we have no such option. Everyone just sort of retreats to his or her corner... refusing to drink alone.
Blessings
And yes, I can say that being a pastor. I'm Presbyterian!

Neil said...

Sorry to be off topic, but I wanted to let you know that I appreciated your response on Geoffrey's idiotic "Dead baby jokes" post. I'm debating whether to do a post on his hopelessly flawed radical pro-abortion views.

Goat said...

Umm, the General's complaint is that it did not go far enough and take out China at the same time.Both wanted extreme Nuke bombing raids.

Geoffrey Kruse-Safford said...

Neil, I didn't know you cared! Radical pro-abortion views . . . I'm honored, and a bit touched that you would see fit to take the time to, um, "refute" me. Feel free. I'm so glad you would think it "idiotic". Since you seem to miss the point of the piece altogether (not that I would think you would get it), I'm not sure who is the idiot here.

Goat said...

Lets see, Dem abortion 40+million dead, socialism/communism add a couple hundred million more, bombing Japan priceless. Peace through superior firepower. Maybe Dan should watch the PBS documentary of the building of the railroad along the Kwai river by slave labor to understand Japanese brutality.