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As United States Senator and former Vietnam prisoner-of-war John Mc Cain has stated, we treat prisoners of war humanely to preserve our own humanity and in the expectation that our captured soldiers will be treated in kind. Joseph Rotblat, a physicist on the Manhattan Project that created the first atom bombs, resigned in protest prior to the successful test detonation.Weapons of mass destruction are banned for similar reasons. Moral and legal prohibitions against the use of weapons of mass destruction in war existed before the Second World War because of their indiscriminate and lasting impact on soldiers and civilians caught downwind.Instead, they planned to confront an American invasion, inflicting such casualties that peace would be made on their terms—no occupation, no disarmament, no war crimes trials, and much of the Japanese empire still intact.
The historian Paul Fussell said something like this in "Thank God for the Atom Bomb," a famous essay published in the in 1981.
After tut-tutting John Kenneth Galbraith and others who have suggested that the bombings were neither morally justifiable nor militarily expedient, Fussell points out that "what's at stake in an infantry assault is so entirely unthinkable to those without the experience of one, or several, or many, even if they possess very wide-ranging imaginations and warm sympathies…
Besides, one might ask, who is Paul Fussell or anyone else who has never watched the skin be ripped from human faces, their features turned to Stygian leather, their voices reduced to low grunts, carrying with charred stumps the blackened remains of an infant, to pronounce on the morality of Hiroshima? Conservatives and hard-nosed centrists tend to scoff at the idea of a world without nuclear weapons. It has been the unchanged teaching of the Catholic Church throughout the post-war era. Ronald Knox, Barbra Streisand, and Colin Powell, among other luminaries.
With North Korea making what looks like rapid progress in the pursuit of its own nuclear arsenal, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's recent call for us "to truly realize a world without nuclear weapons" has rarely been more timely or more desperate.
JOHN SIEBERT We know that the saying, “all is fair in love and war,” is not true. The use of atomic bombs violated these principles: excessive force was used to defeat the enemy; the direct targets were civilians and non-military installations; and the damage caused by radiation poisoning at the blast site and in the surrounding environment was neither limited nor contained.
There are limits to what is acceptable in war because it is in all our best interests. Even before the bombs named Fat Man and Little Boy were dropped on Japan, the devastating blast effects and radiation poisoning were understood.Siebert is executive director of Project Ploughshares ( based in Waterloo, Ont., which conducts policy research on defence and foreign policy. claims to the contrary, these actions were neither justified nor decisive in Japan’s surrender.He is also a former diplomat who was posted to the Canadian Embassy in Washington, D. Halliday, a former member of the Royal Canadian Air Force, community college teacher and a curator at the Canadian War Museum, has written, co-authored or compiled numerous articles and books on general Canadian history and the military. For centuries there have been generally agreed principles on when a war is just and how that war can be fought.Seventy-two years ago this week the United States committed war crimes against the Japanese people on a scale that was previously unimaginable in human history.It is almost impossible to utter this truism in public without being subjected to a chorus of tediously well-rehearsed, half-understood objections learned from high-school classrooms, pop history, and talk radio.If this would-be lofty motive were behind the bombings, it would certainly have come as a surprise to President Harry Truman and the American people at the time. The Japanese began the war from the air at Pearl Harbor. In their present form these bombs are now in production and even more powerful forms are in development. It is a harnessing of the basic power of the universe.Nothing could be more grimly clarifying than the words with which Truman broke the news of Hiroshima to the American people, an address worthy of a villain in which he made it clear that he considered the attack, and its forthcoming sequel, a mission of revenge and spoke rapturously of the "marvel" he had unleashed upon the Japanese and the "achievement of scientific brains" that had made it possible: Sixteen hours ago an American airplane dropped one bomb on Hiroshima, an important Japanese Army base. The force from which the sun draws its power has been loosed against those who brought war to the Far East.When these soldiers, devastated by these and other poisons, returned to their homes in Europe and North America, they shocked the conscience of the general public.Efforts begun in the 1800s gained traction in the 1920s when members of the League of Nations signed and brought into effect the Geneva Protocol, which banned the use in war of chemical weapons.The United States acted against this protocol when it subjected Japan to the known effects of widespread radiation poisoning. When Japan surrendered after the bombings, the need to invade and take Japan by force ended. Documents written by high-ranking Japanese military and political leaders in early August 1945 convincingly show that the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the previous carpet bombing of 66 other Japanese cities, were not the reason Japan surrendered. Ward Wilson, Senior Fellow and Director of the Re-thinking Nuclear Weapons project, sums it up this way: “Japan surrendered because the Soviet Union entered the war.Some still argue that the use of these atomic weapons, even if regrettable, was justified because it shortened the war in the Pacific and saved the lives of many U. Rather, the Soviet Union’s declaration of war against Japan and its invasion of Japanese-controlled territory on Aug. Japanese leaders said the Bomb forced them to surrender because it was less embarrassing to say they’d lost to a miracle weapon. And the myth of nuclear weapons was born.” The myth continues to this day.