August 06, 2014 marks the 69th year since the bombing of Hiroshima.
It may not be widely known that many high-ranking military officers serving in the US armed forces at the time were opposed to the bombings, and went on record to say that they believed the use of two atomic bombs against Japan (the first against the city of Hiroshima on August 06, 1945 and the second against the city of Nagasaki on August 09, 1945) was unnecessary and morally wrong.
This site published by a professor at the University of Colorado gives a partial list of high-ranking US officers who opposed the bombing, along with quotations in which they stated their reasons.
One of the first quotations given is from the Chief of Staff to the Commander-in-Chief during the war, Admiral William D. Leahy (1875 - 1959), who declared that in using the atomic bomb against cities full of noncombatants, the United States
adopted an ethical standard common to the barbarians of the Dark Ages. I was not taught to make war in that fashion, and wars cannot be won by destroying women and children.
General Douglas MacArthur's pilot, Weldon E. Rhoades, wrote an entry in his diary the day after the Hiroshima bombing, in which he stated:
General MacArthur is appalled and depressed by this Frankenstein monster. I had a long talk with him today, necessitated by the impending trip to Okinawa.
A common theme among the quotations cited is the opinion, given by high-ranking military officers who had been commanding at various levels throughout the war and whose professional judgment on the subject should be respected, that the bombings were not necessary in order to end the war and that they were employed for political reasons rather than military reasons. This opinion, which is repeated several times among those officers quoted, is in direct opposition to what children in the United States are taught in school about the necessity of using the atomic bombs against Japan.
Also present in many of the quotations are opinions that it was wrong to target noncombatants and that if a demonstration of the atomic bombs was considered necessary it could have been done over an uninhabited area in order to show their destructive power.
Nevertheless, questioning the decision to use the atomic bombs in the way that they were used often elicits powerful emotional responses, including at times hostility, name-calling (such as "revisionist history" or "revisionism," as well as "anti-American" and "unpatriotic," and even "disrespectful to those who served in World War II"), and the general opinion that questioning the decision is off-limits.
This fact in and of itself should set off an alarm, in that the declaration that some subjects cannot be discussed or that only one conclusion is allowed to be considered is often a sign that natural universal law is being violated and the violation is being covered over with arguments to try to excuse it and to deflect the natural human reaction to such violation, which is revulsion. Note that the military officers cited above almost universally rejected the arguments and excuses offered in support of the use of the atomic bombs against Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Because most people recognize violations of natural law, and reject it, it generally takes a concerted and coordinated effort to convince large numbers of people that a violation of natural law is actually something to applaud rather than something to reject. Two previous posts in particular have discussed this subject: "Lysander Spooner, natural law, and human consciousness," and "A Memorial Day meditation on natural universal law."
In those two previous essays, quotations from nineteenth-century natural law advocate, anti-slavery abolitionist, and philosopher Lysander Spooner are cited in which Spooner declares:
- that acting as an officer of government in any capacity does not give anyone the right to violate natural universal law,
- that artificially-enacted laws which violate natural universal law may and must be resisted at all times (and must not be "obeyed until they are overturned," as some incorrectly argue),
- that officers of government who violate natural universal law may and must also be declared to be criminals and treated as such,
- and that those who try to argue that artificial law can ever trump natural law will always resort to "pretences and disguises" to try to overcome the innate human revulsion towards violations of natural universal law.
The twin facts of the high numbers of American military officers who were appalled and revolted by the decision to use the atomic bomb against Japan, and the situation in which questioning this decision has been declared to be "unpatriotic," "anti-American," and "off limits" in the decades since, indicate that the use of the two atomic bombs was in fact completely in violation of natural law, and that "pretences and disguises" have been heavily employed in the decades since in order to try to cover-over this violation.
Another name for these "pretences and disguises" is mind control.
The horrific destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the hideous incineration of the citizens of those cities -- including huge numbers of noncombatant men, women and children -- was quite simply an illegal and immoral violation of natural law.
The fact that this destruction was inflicted using atomic weapons had the additional effect of exposing thousands of those who survived the initial day of the bombing to lingering death from radiation and the diseases such as leukemia which that radiation caused in their human bodies.
Emblematic of the horrible effects of the bombing, its illegality under natural law and its lack of justification was the death of Sadako Sasaki, a young girl who was two years old when the bomb was dropped near her home next to the Misasa Bridge in Hiroshima. Nine years later, at the age of eleven, she began to develop swelling and purple spots in the tissues of her body. She died of leukemia less than a year later, at the age of twelve. In addition to symbolizing the wider tragedy, her death at such a young age was of course also a personal tragedy for Sadako herself and for her family.
There is simply no way to argue that the deliberate targeting of women and children, the rubbling of their homes, and the inflicting of such diseases upon noncombatants, is in accordance with natural law.
Although next year will mark seventy years since this tragic event and the tragic bombing three days later of Nagasaki, these issues remain absolutely relevant today -- perhaps more relevant than ever.
image: Origami crane (orizuru), Wikimedia commons (link).