Ethics? Be Warned. All of Us Will Be Tested.

There are some things that we just believe with 100% certainty. One of the beliefs I have long held is that the invention of nuclear weapons was the very worst invention of mankind and that the U.S. using nuclear weapons against Hiroshima (August 6, 1945) and Nagasaki (August 9, 1945) was cruel, inhumane, and unjustifiable by any reasoning. Leave it to our good friend Roger to make me question my long-held belief. No, I haven’t changed my mind … yet … but he has given me pause to wonder if maybe at the time, under the circumstances, using those weapons may have been the only plausible option. I’ll let you know when I finish reading the book he cites! So, long story short, I think we could all benefit from a bit of introspection and thus I am reblogging Roger’s post! Damn/thank you, Sir Roger!

Writing Despite Computers and Programmes


Folk who write will at some stage cite ‘The Muse’. According to Ancient Greek literature there were nine of them, each with an allotted art, science or as we would recognise it, genre. In this case, for my defence I will cite that Melpomene the Muse of Tragedy has been, for some time, nagging at me to get this done.

The final push was made by listening to an audio book version of Prompt and UtterDestruction by J. Samuel Walker an historian whose subject matter is the nuclear age. Originally published in 1997, and revised in 2004 this is a work that would be in its inception 30 years old. In this the author manages to accomplish the near impossible of balancing the pros and cons of the US use of atomic weapons on Japan in 1945, while at the same time sewing compelling doubt as to whether…

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9 thoughts on “Ethics? Be Warned. All of Us Will Be Tested.

  1. I have held the oposite view about the Hiroshima bomb, though I think the second one on Nagasaki was not necessary. Hiroshima would have proved the point.
    The Japanese military was unspeakably cruel. Their atrocities in China, Korea, and other countries before and during WW2 were on a par with the Holocaust in Europe. But unlike Germany, I don’t think they would ever have surrendered. That would have left the allies having to invade the Japanese mainland (and islands) with amphibious assaults. I feel sure that fighting could have dragged on into the 1950s, killing far more civilians than the atom bombs. It could also have caused up to one million casualties (an estimate from the time) for the allies, already exhausted after a long war that was not of their choosing.
    So the bombs stopped the war in the Pacific, and turned around the whole mentality of the Japanese people.
    (My uncle was a POW of the Japanese in Burma. Their treatment of POWs was appalling, and he returned home a broken and changed man. They used live prisoners for bayonet practice, and on rifle ranges as targets, for example)
    Best wishes, Pete.

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    • While I agree that the treatment of POWs by the Japanese was horrific, and I agree that the Japanese would not have surrendered as quickly without Hiroshima and Nagasaki, I still don’t think it justifies the killing of over 100,000 innocent civilians. Bomb military installations if we must, shoot to kill soldiers, but the utter cruelty of the nuclear bomb is … sickening, appalling, and I don’t think there’s anything that will cause me to view it differently … though I’ve only just started the book Roger recommended and am trying to keep an open mind. Sometimes it’s hard to keep an open mind when you think of children being slaughtered. Sigh.

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      • Worth remembering that around 500,000 German civilians, many of them (perhaps up to one third) children, were killed by British and American bombing during WW2, using conventional bombs. The allied bombing of Dresden in February 1945 killed around 30,000 civilians in just two days. By comparison, deaths from both atom bombs were listed at 166,000, including those who died later from radiation sickness. As General Sherman once said, “War is Hell”.
        Best wishes, Pete.

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        • True enough, but … two wrongs never equate to a right. Sigh. Yes, war is hell, and in an otherwise just world, it would be those who start the war, those who escalate it, whose lives would be on the line, not innocent men, women, and children. But alas …

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