Sunday, August 09, 2009

Nagasaki - August 9, 1945

Today is the anniversary of the atomic bombing of Nagasaki.

Imagine that you had been President in 1945. Two days earlier, an atomic bomb had annihilated Hiroshima, and somewhere around 100,000 human beings -- mostly civilians -- are now dead. It was clearly one of the most significant events in human history.

Do you let the significance of that event sink in, hoping that the Japanese will now surrender?

On August 10, Truman told his cabinet that he was reluctant to drop a third atomic bomb on Japan. "The thought of wiping out another 100,000 people was too horrible," he said; he didn’t like the idea of killing "all those kids."

Why didn't this moral reasoning interdict the bombing of Nagasaki?

The lack of time between the bombings has led some historians to state that the bombing of Nagasaki was "certainly unnecessary", "gratuitous at best and genocidal at worst", and not jus in bello.

But then, this moral reasoning should have taken place before the bombing of Hiroshima. But something took priority over this moral value.

It was not the Japanese Emperor. The U.S. had demanded the unconditional surrender of Japan, meaning giving the U.S. total jurisdiction over the Emperor and his control over the Japanese people. But in the end, Japan surrendered conditionally, that is, on the condition that the Emperor be allowed to retain his throne, which he did until 1986.

The U.S. knew for months before the atomic bombings that Japan was ready to end the war. On July 12, the Soviets (with whom Japan had a pact of neutrality) were given this message:

His Majesty the Emperor, mindful of the fact that the present war daily brings greater evil and sacrifice upon the peoples of all the belligerent powers, desires from his heart that it may be quickly terminated. But so long as England and the United States insist upon unconditional surrender, the Japanese Empire has no alternative but to fight on with all its strength for the honor and existence of the Motherland.

The war could have ended before a quarter of a million Japanese were nuked.

Bombing Nagasaki soon after Hiroshima also prevented Russia from entering the war against Japan and securing a piece of the post-war spoils.

Having dropped the uranium-based bomb on Hiroshima, the decision to drop the second atomic bomb also gave the U.S. an opportunity to deploy the more complex plutonium bomb on Nagasaki.

There are historians and other observers who may sincerely believe the atomic bombs were dropped out of military necessity. They weren't. They may then believe that they were dropped for shrewd strategic political reasons. This is the more probable motivation.

The question is then, was this political motivation in fact successful? Or better, was the political motivation for the atomic bombings of Japan what most people think it was?

Most people think that preventing Russian from entering the war against Japan was an anti-communist motivation. There were certainly those within the Truman Administration who were opposed to Soviet-style communism. But there were also those who supported. And those who opposed Soviet-style communism were not opposed to an Anglo-American-style one-world government. Here is an interesting discussion of this conflict in vision, from a source that may lean toward the left:

Why Hiroshima Was Bombed: The 'Utopians' Duped a Nation

Here is a view from the right:

Dropping the Bomb by John F. McManus

Here is a view, again from the right, on the post-war alignment of powers:

How China Became Communist:
to understand why Mao triumphed, it is necessary to look beyond the battlefields in China to the fateful decisions emanating from Yalta and Washington.

In summary, the U.S. prevented Japan from conquering China, only to allow the Communists to do so. The Communists killed over 40 million Chinese. Would the Japanese have been more vicious than the Communists? Would you have been willing to use atomic bombs to kill a quarter of a million men, women, and children, in order to hedge your bet on which side -- Japanese fascists or Chinese Communists -- was more evil?

Looking back, should we have trusted Washington D.C. to intervene in Asian affairs? Did Washington do so successfully? Did the unleashing of the atomic bombs make the world more secure? Did it increase "Liberty Under God?" Did atomic annihilation make America more moral, and ensure God's blessings on our nation?

These last questions show that the decision to drop atomic bombs on Japan -- especially the second one on Nagasaki -- is a worldview question. It wasn't just a matter of military calculations. It was a matter of political prognostication, as well as deeply moral questions. The Truman Administration concluded that suspending God's Law against mass murder would bring long-term political prosperity ("blessing"). The failure to drop the bombs, the White House concluded, would not bring political blessings, even if we avoided metropolitan murder.

This is a religious faith. It is a religious worldview. It is faith in the saving power of the State and its military-industrial complex.

The federal government made its choice in the 20th century to repudiate God and put its trust in the military state. In 1892 the U.S. Supreme Court reminded an increasingly-secular nation that America was intended to be a Christian nation. That conclusion was overruled in the 20th century, when the Court ruled that our allegiance to the warfare State must be greater than any allegiance we have toward God, just as Truman demanded that Japan's allegiance to the U.S. be greater than her allegiance to the Emperor. Surrender must be "unconditional." The Court declared:

we are a nation with the duty to survive; a nation whose Constitution contemplates war as well as peace; whose government must go forward upon the assumption, and safely can proceed upon no other, that unqualified allegiance to the nation and submission and obedience to the laws of the land, as well those made for war as those made for peace, are not inconsistent with the will of God.

But as the bombing of Nagasaki shows, they are inconsistent.

Even if you believe the atomic bombing of Japan was necessary, the federal government does not have the right -- as the Framers of the Constitution envisioned this nation -- to impose that belief on Christians. But the Framers' vision for America was discarded long ago, and today a Christian who would defy a government order to nuke the enemy rather than love the enemy cannot become an American citizen.

Deuteronomy 28 and Leviticus 26 set forth the consequences of obedience and disobedience. Obedience to God's Commandments brings "blessings," while disobedience brings curses.

Among the curses the come upon a nation are these:

Deut 28:43 “The alien who is among you shall rise higher and higher above you, and you shall come down lower and lower. 44 He shall lend to you, but you shall not lend to him; he shall be the head, and you shall be the tail.

Sound familiar? Or this:

Deut. 28:32 Your sons and your daughters shall be given to another people, and your eyes shall look and fail with longing for them all day long; and there shall be no strength in your hand.
41 You shall beget sons and daughters, but they shall not be yours; for they shall go into captivity.

America's Founders wanted their children to live confidently under their own Vine & Fig Tree. They would look at America in 2009 and see their posterity in captivity, not enjoying "the blessings of liberty." Seeing America deeply in debt, America's Founders would understand why "the borrower is the slave of the lender" (Proverbs 22:7).

When Israel asked for a king "like all the nations," they were warned,

“This is what the king who will reign over you will do: He will take your sons and make them serve with his chariots and horses, and they will run in front of his chariots. Some he will assign to be commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and others to plow his ground and reap his harvest, and still others to make weapons of war and equipment for his chariots. He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers. He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive groves and give them to his attendants. He will take a tenth of your grain and of your vintage and give it to his officials and attendants. Your menservants and maidservants and the best of your cattle and donkeys he will take for his own use. He will take a tenth of your flocks, and you yourselves will become his slaves. When that day comes, you will cry out for relief from the king you have chosen, and the Lord will not answer you in that day.”
. . . But the people refused to listen. “No!” they said. “We want a king over us. Then we will be like all the other nations, with a king to lead us and to go out before us and fight our battles.”

America believed -- and still wants to believe -- that the Truman administration was more competent to fight our battles and bring "national security" -- indeed, global peace and security -- than God. As a result, we are in captivity. We are slaves. Sure, we have our microwaves and cell phones, but that just means we are still pampered slaves. If we continue to spend over $2,000 a year for every man, woman, and child in America on efforts to kill human beings in other nations, we may not long be so pampered.

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