Mandeville, LA – Every year around this time the flag waving, bomb bomb bomb, kill kill kill army suits up in flag adorned baseball caps and t-shirts to continue the 71 year old gloat of the United State’s vaporization of the civilian populations of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. If you are in that number and already boiling with rage that another “liberal, America-hater” is about to unload another attack against patriotism, I suggest you continue in your propagandized bliss and go back to watching barely clothed female “contributors” on Fox News warning about the impending destruction of San Diego by the Iranian Luftwaffe, it gets worse for your case from here. Are we all good, now? Great, let’s continue but first, let me offer a few confessions:
Nothing written above or below disparages the loss of life of the American servicemen killed in the Pacific theater. Any attempt to claim it does is purely manufactured because that is not my intent and I pray not the result.
•I am a Roman Catholic, through the Grace of God I practice her dogma and teaching, emphasis on practice.
•I am not “anti-war” or a “pacifist”. I am anti UNJUST war as defined by the jus ad bellum teachings of Our Lord, clarified by St Augustine, St Martin of Tours and St Thomas Aquinas. You can learn much more about Just, Christian warfare here, here is an excerpt that clearly identifies what is NOT permissible:
With respect to these last two issues, the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches:
“The Church and human reason both assert the permanent validity of the moral law during an armed conflict. ‘The mere fact that war has regrettably broken out does not mean that everything becomes licit between warring parties.'”18 For example, “Noncombatants, wounded soldiers, and prisoners must be respected and treated humanely.”19 Moreover, the Catechism affirms the following teaching of Vatican Council II’s Gaudium et Spes: “Every act of war directed to the indiscriminate destruction of whole cities or vast areas with their inhabitants is a crime against God and man, which merits firm and unequivocal condemnation.”20
•I do not “hate” the military nor do I believe the military is not a requisite institution in civilized society.
My introduction to the topic of the hallowed status given the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki now completed, I will leave the remainder of the heavy lifting to previous scholarship including John LaForge’s The Enduring Myth of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
That most people in the United States still believe the “saved lives” rationale to be true is because of decades of this censorship and myth-making, begun by President Harry Truman, who said Aug. 6, 1945, “Sixteen hours ago an American airplane dropped one bomb on Hiroshima, an important Japanese Army base. … That was because we wished this first attack to avoid, insofar as possible, the killing of civilians.”
In fact, the city of 350,000 had practically no military value at all and the target was the city, not the base three kilometers away.
Taking President Truman at his word, the 140,000 civilians killed at Hiroshima are the minimum to be expected when exploding a small nuclear weapon on a “military base.” Today’s “small” Cruise missile warheads ¾ which are 12 times the power of Truman’s A-bomb ¾ could kill 1.68 million each.
Official censorship of what the two bombs did to people and the reasons for it has been so successful, that 25 years of debunking hasn’t managed to generally topple the official narrative.
In 1989, historian Gar Alperovitz reported, “American leaders knew well in advance that the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki was not required to bring about Japan’s surrender;” and later, in his 847-page The Decision to Use the Atomic Bomb (Random House, 1995), “I think it can be proven that the bomb was not only unnecessary but known in advance not to be necessary.” The popular myth “didn’t just happen,” Alperovitz says, “it was created.”
When my friends are confronted with the above, it causes such a violent reaction that any response requires my disclaimers written above. Sample the usual invective from my alleged “friends” on Facebook:
This reaction is, as I explained on my Facebook page in response to a friend’s admission of confusion on the matter of pride or shame: Be humbly ashamed that we live under the aegis of a government capable of such an atrocity. The “millions of lives saved” is a sop believed by flag waving rubes who have personal stake in the sanctity (as heretical as that is) of ‘Muriach as Eden. Any discussion of Christian Just War will involve St Augustine and this essay is not deviant. In his de Libiro Arbitrio, Augustine erases the doubt of anyone who thinks our Unjust actions are excusable because “we’re Muricah” and we have some divine power to play God:
“For me the point to be considered first is whether an on – rushing enemy, or an assassin lying in wait may be killed with no wrong-headed desire [for the saving] of one’s life, or for liberty or for purity…. How can I think that they act with no inordinate desire who_fight for_that [i.e., some creaturely good], which they can lose without it? Therefore the law is not just which grants the power to a wayfarer to kill a highway robber, so that he may not be killed [by the robber]; or which grants to any one, man or woman. to slay an assailant attacking, if he can before he or she is harmed. The soldier also is commanded by law to slay the enemy, for which slaying, if he objects, he will pay the penalty by imperial order. Shall we then dare to say that these laws are unjust, or more, that they are not laws? For to me a law that is not just appears to be no law— For that he be slain who lays plans to take the life of another is less hard [to bear] than the death of him who is defending his own life [against the plotter]. And acting against the chaste life of a man in opposition to his own will is much more evidently wrong than the taking of the life of him who so does violence by that one against whom the violence is done. Then again the soldier in in slaying the enemy is the agent of the law [in war] wherefore he does his duty easily with no wrong aim or purpose… That law therefore, which for the protection of citizens orders foreign force to be repulsed by the same force, can be obeyed without a Wrong desire: and this same can be said of all officials who by right and by order are subject to any powers. But I see riot how these men [who defend themselves privately], while not held guilty by law, can be without fault: for the law does not force them to kill, but leaves it in their power. It is free therefore for them to kill no one for those things [life or possessions] which they can lose against their own will, which things therefore they ought not to love…. Wherefore again I do not blame the law which permits such aggressors to be slain: but by what reason I can defend those who slay them I do not find…. How indeed are they free of sin before Providence, who for those things which ought to be held of less worth are defiled by the killing of a man?”
Note that the Christian view of Just War is created out of love for the human person and soul. To prevent the uncharitable act of causing an unjust killing to stain the soul or to be the recipient of an unjust killing leaving a wife widowed and a children, fatherless. Thus, it can be said with confidence that jus ad bellum is of great benefit to both sides in any conflict BEFORE the shooting begins. LaForge Concludes:
President Dwight D. Eisenhower, a five-star general and the Supreme Allied Commander in Europe, said in his memoirs he believed “that Japan was already defeated and that dropping the bomb was completely unnecessary.”
Adm. William Leahy, the wartime Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, wrote in 1950, “It is my opinion that the use of this barbarous weapon at Hiroshima and Nagasaki was of no material success in our war against Japan. The Japanese were already defeated and ready to surrender.”
Feller’s, Ike’s and Leahy’s opinions were conspicuously left out of or censored by the Smithsonian Institution’s 1995 display of the atomic B-29 bomber “Enola Gay.”
Admiral Leahy’s 1950 myth-busting and censor-busting about the Bomb could be an epitaph for the nuclear age: “I was not taught to make war in that fashion,” he said of Hiroshima’s incineration, “and wars cannot be won by destroying women and children.”