Monday, September 05, 2011

The ‘menacing’ Dr Evan Harris – ‘abortion and assisted-death zealot’

As the abortion debate heats up a little, the simmering arguments move to ad hominem boiling point. Nadine Dorries MP writes of Evan Harris’ ‘menacing’ involvement in the removal of No10 support from the Dorries/Field amendment to the Health and Social Care Bill:
"Rumour has it that Evan Harris, abortion and assisted death zealot, is applying huge pressure to the office of Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister. That would be the no longer an elected MP Evan Harris. It would appear that he believes he has immense influence on Government policy, more influence than elected Liberal Democrat MPs even."
Zealot: ‘an uncompromising or extreme partisan; a fanatic’ (OED).

He is, of course. You only have to observe his prolific Twitter feed to observe an obsessive compulsive. Even this morning, he tweeted (multiple) messages about his and Shirley Williams’ demand for the LibDem conference to be permitted to debate NHS reform.

Yesterday, Tim Montgomerie reminded us in The Telegraph of the ‘Dr Death’ moniker, with which Evan Harris pretends to be mortally offended, but of which he has been known to make significant light: he actually clearly revels in the title, wearing it as a badge of honour when among friends, but complaining of a grievous ‘Mengele slur’ when seeking to silence his opponents.

But by way of riposte, Dr Harris (who habitually criticises others for their ad hominem) accused Mr Montgomerie of being anti-Semitic. Which is ridiculous, of course. Not least because some years ago Mr Montgomerie appointed Paul Goodman, a Jew, to the status of co-editor of ConservativeHome. Mr Montgomerie was being anti-Evan Harris; not anti-Jew. But His Grace has noticed this tendency in Dr Harris: whenever you expose his anti-democratic illiberalism, he cries ‘homophobia’ or ‘anti-Semitism’ in a concerted effort to silence you. Melanie Phillips articulates the strategy:
...this demonstrates once again the power of the campaigns of instantaneous demonisation and denunciation now employed to silence those who uphold a socially conservative position by tarring and feathering them as swivel-eyed bigots.
Evan Harris is also a zealot for disestablishment: he seeks to secularise all public institutions and depose the Queen as Supreme Governor of the Church of England. He rails against the ‘disproportionate’ influence of the Church in our legislative process, despite our history, traditions and collective understanding of Judeao-Christian morality and conception of justice.

Why should the Church, which represents millions, be prohibited from contributing to abortion policy, but Dr Evan Harris, who represents no-one, be able to force a change in Government policy?

Why should Christian ‘ideology’ be barred from abortion counselling, but Evan Harris be free to spout his own illiberal ideology via a one-man pro-abortion lobbying company with direct access to the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister? Why are his methods and ‘ideology’ not at least as insidious, unrepresentative and undemocratic as he believes the Church's to be?

Could someone please remind Dr Evan Harris that he lost the last election? Could they remind him that the electorate rejected him? Could they point out that the people of Oxford West and Abingdon actually selected an Evangelical Christian to represent them instead?

And could someone please inform him that his pro-abortion, pro-euthanasia, intolerant, illiberal secular zealotry has nothing at all to do with his Jewish gayness or his gay Jewishness or any other genetic identity chips weighing upon his shoulder?

But doubtless His Grace is a homophobic anti-Semite or an anti-Semitic homophobe merely for pointing that out.

Or perhaps he's just being 'un-Christian'.

144 Comments:

Blogger The Boiling Frog said...

He also uses the term 'denier' frequently when discussing climate change despite its obvious Nazi connotations.

5 September 2011 at 10:11  
Blogger Belsay Bugle said...

Silly nasty person!

Laugh at him; he's a Lib/Dem, he won't be able to deal with ridicule.

5 September 2011 at 10:16  
Blogger The Heresiarch said...

Since when has Evan Harris been gay?

5 September 2011 at 10:39  
Blogger Rebel Saint said...

Just own up Cranmer and get it out of the way ... you're a nasty, intolerant, homophobic, ignorant, islamaphobic, hateful, god-bothering, climate-change denying bigot like I am!

The sad thing is that most government is now under the influence of people like Dr Evans. What the electorate think is irrelevant. Ben Summerskill is the other big policy maker that has influence out of all proportion to his democratic credentials (i.e. Zero). Not to mention all the EU mandarins. The Kinnocks have been laughing (all the way to the bank) ever since they lost the general election.

5 September 2011 at 10:43  
Blogger Rebel Saint said...

The Heresiarch said... "Since when has Evan Harris been gay?"

I think it's mandatory now.

5 September 2011 at 10:59  
Blogger Hadleigh2 said...

Is he sound on capital punishment?

5 September 2011 at 11:58  
Blogger Rebel Saint said...

Hadleigh2 said... "Is he sound on capital punishment?

He's all for it. If you're found guilty of being unwanted then you can be executed.

5 September 2011 at 12:05  
Blogger Hereward said...

The move away from the traditional free vote position on abortion matters is evidence of how manipulative individuals are exploiting Coalition tensions to exert a disproportionate influence on Parliamentary outcomes.

Once again, the Coalition does not appear to be taking much notice of the electorate. According to the Daily Telegraph, a ComRes poll carried out this week has found 78 per cent of people agreed with the statement that "A woman should have a right to independent counselling when considering having an abortion, from a source that has no financial interest in her decision." Additionally, 65 per cent said they would like their own MP to support such proposals.

It is ironical given the outspoken opposition of Dr Evan Harris that the poll found Lib Dem voters are even more strongly in favour of offering independent counselling than supporters of the other two main parties.

5 September 2011 at 12:05  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Perhaps Evan is an honorary gay person?

5 September 2011 at 12:28  
Blogger tory boys never grow up said...

"Could they point out that the people of Oxford West and Abingdon actually selected an Evangelical Christian to represent them instead?"

I think you will find that they elected a Conservative to represent them. You will also search in vain for the candidate attaching such a label to herself during the election campaign.

Perhaps the good voters of Oxford West and Abingdon, as a whole, were rather more interested in things other than the candidates' views on religion and abortion when it came to making their choice.

One does have to ask why hatred comes so easily to those who seek to profess Christian beliefs.

5 September 2011 at 12:34  
Blogger Belsay Bugle said...

Abortion is justified, according to its supporters, on the utilitarian ground of convenience.

Surely, by that rationale, capital punishment is even more justifiable?

5 September 2011 at 12:51  
Blogger Rebel Saint said...

tory boys never grow up said ..."One does have to ask why hatred comes so easily to those who seek to profess Christian beliefs."

That's because those who denounce Christian beliefs seem to define hatred/bigotry/intolerant as, "Those who oppose me or have a contrary view to my own or who beat me in a argument" rather than their more accurate & natural definitions.

5 September 2011 at 13:07  
Blogger tory boys never grow up said...

Rebel Saint

"you started it" isn't really much of an argument I'm afraid. I think the other problem is that most in this debate seek to define their opponents positions using their own values/views (hence the abuse) rather than trying to understand their opponents values.

5 September 2011 at 13:20  
Blogger Rebel Saint said...

@tory boys never grow up

I'm not claiming "you started it" but pointing out that the liberal left like to make their own definitions in order to discredit their opponents.

For example, Cranmer points out the undue influence Dr Evans is having on the democratic process and his zealotry for all things pro-death, and it is assumed his motivation for doing so is hatred.

There's should be a liberal version of Godwin's internet forum law, which states, "As an online discussion with a liberal grows longer, the probability of being accused of being a hateful, intolerant, homophobic, racist bigot approaches 1"

5 September 2011 at 13:39  
Blogger Archbishop Cranmer said...

Mr Rebel Saint,

You are, of course, quite right: you summarise what His Grace has said and Melanie Phillips has also observed. Perhaps we should work on the wording, and introduce the world to 'Cranmer's Law'.

5 September 2011 at 13:47  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Your Grace

The Inspector did not realise Evan Harris is gay. Perhaps he is bi-sexual; does anyone know of his actual stance ?

The Inspector’s favourite humour, Jewish American, is full of references to gay jews, especially in describing their day to day coming to terms with their situation and how it affects their usually ‘in denial’ mothers. Priceless stuff ! And yes it is a day to day issue, and seems to have an effect on their very thought processes !

5 September 2011 at 13:51  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Rebel Saint

As an online discussion with a liberal grows longer, the probability of being accused of being a hateful, intolerant, homophobic, racist bigot approaches 1

It must be so, for the liberal reasons thusly. A conservative only holds the position he does because of three motivations:

1) Ignorance
2) Malevolence
3) Fear

Once the ignorance has been exposed by enlightened reasoning, and the fear has been exposed as irrational, then all that remains to sustain the conservative in his position is malevolence. If he wasn't such a hateful bigot, he would have already acknowledged this enlightened reasoning and rationality. Any conversation thus serves only one of two purposes: 1) to enlighten the conservative away from his reaction, or 2) expose him for what he really is.

As it is written (in whatever passes for liberal Scripture) "The liberal spirit shall not always strive with reactionary man."

carl

5 September 2011 at 14:13  
Blogger tory boys never grow up said...

Rebel Saint

I suspect whatever definitions are used most reasonable persons of whatever politics would say that the language used here in respect of Evan Harris demonstrates more that a little hatred.

5 September 2011 at 14:15  
Blogger Archbishop Cranmer said...

Mr Tory Boys Never Grow Up,

Do, please, elucidate: what is the hateful language deployed by His Grace?

5 September 2011 at 14:21  
Blogger tory boys never grow up said...

Cranmer

I dont think Evan Harris, or most others for that matter, would believe that being called a pro abortion and assisted death zealot was a fair description of his own position. As for the comments by other posters!

It is possible to see "abortion" and "assisted suicide" as least worst alternatives in some circumstances which should be available with proper counselling as being somewhat different from their zealous promotion.

5 September 2011 at 14:47  
Blogger Archbishop Cranmer said...

Mr Tory Boys Never Grow Up,

You failed to answer the question.

In your first comment, in the clear context of referring to His Grace's post, you accuse him of peddling hate. You make no mention of others, and certainly none to His Grace's communicants.

When he enquired for an example of this hatred, you decide to quote Nadine Dorries' words back to him, which he quite clearly prefaced with the phrase 'ad hominem boiling point'. Unless you are obtuse and interpret that as some kind of assent or approval, you have found no evidence to support your comment.

Are you retracting your allegation that His Grace peddles hate? Or is it that the comments of others are perceived by you as hate? How are you proposing His Grace should deal with this? Stop all comments? Censor? Close down his blog?

The fact is that Dr Evan Harris has a view with which some very strongly disagree. While you and His Grace may not express our disapproval quite like they do, we live in a country which lauds freedom of speech and expression.

Their irritation may be your hate; their hate your annoyance. But it is quite wrong to impose your emotional limitations upon others. The Lord rebuked the money changers in the Temple. Was that hate? He criticised the beliefs and behaviour of the Pharisees. Was that hate? Before you ascribe to others the emotions you most fear or despise, please consider that your own misjudgement may be construed by them as hate.

5 September 2011 at 15:18  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

tory boys never grow up

It is possible to see "abortion" and "assisted suicide" as least worst alternatives in some circumstances which should be available with proper counselling as being somewhat different from their zealous promotion.

It's also possible to see drowning a newborn like a rat in the bathtub as the least worst alternative in some circumstances which should be available with proper counseling. Expedience doesn't make it right. Virtue often requires the sacrifice of expediency - the denial of self - for the sake of the Good.

Clarity must replace the ambiguity in your statement. "Least worst alternative" for whom? One party dies in an abortion. The other party avoids the responsibilities that attach to parenthood. What ethical standard would allow this juxtaposition as representing the "least worst alternative?" And how would it not also justify pushing an infant's face into a tub of water and holding it there?

carl

5 September 2011 at 15:24  
Blogger G. Tingey said...

I'd be very careful with libellous and untrue statements about people like Dr Harris, if I were you.

Remember, that natural abortions have ALWAYS outnumbered live births, and always will, never mind "artificial" or "assisted" ones.

So, what's your take on the big invisible sky fairy's responsibility for thoise natural abotions?
Especially If you believe (no evidence) that human life begins ate zygote-formation ????

The deliberate lies, misinformation and truly bigoted spite being vented here is a real revelation as to religious believers attitudes, and absence of thought.

5 September 2011 at 15:38  
Blogger Rebel Saint said...

@G Tinley

Ignoring my mantra of not feeding trolls ... with your accusations of bigotry, spite & ignorance thank you for providing such early proof of the newly postulated "Cranmer's Law". QED.

5 September 2011 at 15:44  
Blogger Rebel Saint said...

@G Tinsley ...

With regard to your argument re: natural "abortions", I guess the "sky fairy's" response would be the same as for all natural deaths.

Or is your argument that since people die anyway, what's the harm in killing a few more?

5 September 2011 at 15:49  
Blogger tory boys never grow up said...

Cranmer

"He is, of course. You only have to observe his prolific Twitter feed to observe an obsessive compulsive"

I would have thought that this demonstrated an endorsement of ND's view - and I might also wish to look at why you would wish to give oxygen to her boiling point views and join in on her attack on Harris. I will not withdraw any allegation of peddling hate - since I made no such allegation but criticised the use of hateful languange which is something weaker.

I have no problem with anyone expressing their views or hatred for that matter - but likewise I have the right to say what I think. And I very much doubt that the use of such language or arguments will progress things one jot.

Carl Jacobs

I am sorry but I don't believe that clarity is available in this world - and sometimes least worst alternatives and judgement about what they are is necessary. My own personal views and values on abortion and assisted suicide may be nearer your own than you imagine - but I can appreciate that others may hold different values without necessarily being a zealot or a bad person. You perhaps should also note that even Dorries herself claims to be pro choice when it comes to abortion - so even she believes that there are cases when it is acceptable.

5 September 2011 at 15:51  
Blogger whitespacebug said...

I can't see an awful lot of difference either way as far as flinging slurs around is concerned. No one side has a monopoly.

5 September 2011 at 16:04  
Blogger Rebel Saint said...

@G Tinley ...

I tried your line of reasoning on a mother-to-be who had just experienced a natural "abortion" and said to her, "Never mind, it was only zygote". She didn't seem best pleased. In fact she almost seemed distraught. Can you advice me what I did wrong?

5 September 2011 at 16:05  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

tory boys never grow up

I am sorry but I don't believe that clarity is available in this world

Yes, you do. I doubt you would exhibit any difficulty at all in providing clarity on:

1. Selling a five-tear old to an adult for sex.

2. Ritual clitoridectomies.

3. Rape.

4. Pushing an infant into a tub of water until he is dead.

You are free to tell me how those behaviors (and the plethora of additional examples I could list) might exhibit clarity from you, and yet still fit into the idea that 'clarity is not available in this world.' Or your could be consistent and tell me that each of the above is a 'least worst alternative' which you "appreciate that others may hold different values without necessarily being a zealot or a bad person."

However, I was asking a much simpler question. For whom is abortion the 'least worst alternative?' Are you truly saying that the aborted child is better off dead, or are you only considering the interests of the parent?

carl

5 September 2011 at 16:07  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

menacing
abortion and assisted death zealot,
more influence than elected Liberal Democrat MPs even."
Zealot: ‘an uncompromising or extreme partisan; a fanatic’ (OED).
an obsessive compulsive.
complaining of a grievous ‘Mengele slur’ when seeking to silence his opponents.
anti-democratic illiberalism
he cries ‘homophobia’ or ‘anti-Semitism’ in a concerted effort to silence you.
zealot for disestablishment:
he seeks to secularise all public institutions and depose the Queen as Supreme Governor of the Church of England.
He rails against the ‘disproportionate’ influence of the Church in our legislative process
represents no-one
illiberal ideology
a one-man pro-abortion lobbying company with direct access to the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister?
insidious,
unrepresentative and undemocratic
he lost the last election
the electorate rejected him
pro-abortion
pro-euthanasia,
intolerant
illiberal
secular zealot


Come on Cranny - get off the fence!

5 September 2011 at 16:09  
Blogger martin sewell said...

Dr Death is a just a vicious unjustified slur laid on him by all those hundreds of thousands of aborted babies

5 September 2011 at 17:07  
Blogger The Way of the Dodo said...

Mr Cranmer said ...

"But doubtless His Grace is a homophobic anti-Semite or an anti-Semitic homophobe ...."

Better than being an anti-Catholic bigot in my book! (Only joking, before you rebuke me!)

I have to say you have gone for the guy's jungular and make a pretty strong case for his somewhat undue influence on the body politic.

On the basis of what you present, accepting it all to be true, he isn't a very nice man at all regardless of his ethnicity, sexuality or secular world view. In fact, setting aside his beliefs, which I personally see as immoral and harmful to the fabric of our society, he appears to be a rather nasty chappy.

The issues always heat up as we go round and round in circles. If you do not believe in a God and in some absolute morals capable of being discerned by reason and experience, then anything goes. However, if you are do believe in a God then you'll have a different stance.

Can these polar extremes ever come together on matters such as abortion, euthenasia, homosexuality etc?

5 September 2011 at 17:16  
Blogger Archbishop Cranmer said...

And here is further evidence of Dr Evan Harris' extra-democratic privileges.

5 September 2011 at 17:30  
Blogger Albert said...

Evan Harris is also a zealot for disestablishment

Just goes to show: nobody's all bad.

5 September 2011 at 17:31  
Blogger Albert said...

Did anyone ask Dr Harris if he would like to debate William Lane Craig?

5 September 2011 at 17:33  
Blogger whitespacebug said...

" . If you do not believe in a God and in some absolute morals capable of being discerned by reason and experience, then anything goes."
Whereas if you're a Christian you can just order atomic bombs to be dropped on Japan. Perfectly harmless.

5 September 2011 at 17:52  
Blogger G. Tingey said...

Perhaps people should be reminded of one of the main reasons Dr Harris lost his last election:

Evangelical christians deliberately targeted his constituency, telling their usual poisonous LIES.

Which are being repeated, in proably libellous form by "his grace"

I'm really not impressed.

5 September 2011 at 18:08  
Blogger len said...

Well this is going the same way as usual a 'circular argument' I believe is the description.

'Atheists are bad Christians are good'? If only life were that simple! Atheists try to reverse this as' Christians are bad Atheists are good'.This in these terms is childishness in the extreme.

The fallen man has the ability to do good and evil!.But the two are linked together, you cannot have one without the other.While desiring to do good fallen man has a propensity towards evil.History bears this out.And you have to be in total denial not to be able see this in others if not in yourself.
Can a 'born again' Christian sin?,yes but it is not his nature to do so.
So life is not that simple not black and white and everyone one who claims to be a 'Christian'can only be identified as such by Jesus Christ Himself.

The born again christian (regarded by some as an oddity, but Jesus Himself defines true believers in this way)has a new nature he is a new creation, joined in spirit with Jesus Christ who is without sin.

5 September 2011 at 18:19  
Blogger Albert said...

whitespacebug

if you're a Christian you can just order atomic bombs to be dropped on Japan.

Truman was also a Mason, a Democrat, a democrat and an American. Does it somehow follow form that the each of those things is somehow morally responsible for the action?

It was an unChristian act, justified on unChristian grounds (i.e. by that most secular of all moral theories (if you can call it "moral"): utilitarianism).

Perhaps we should blame the utilitarians and the secular secular ideology that gave rise to it.

5 September 2011 at 18:23  
Blogger whitespacebug said...

Albert.
No, Truman was responsible. He took that responsibility with his office. That wasn't the point though was it? The quote from Dodo is over simplistic: as Len seems to recognise.

5 September 2011 at 18:30  
Blogger Albert said...

whitespacebug,

This is what Dodo said:

If you do not believe in a God and in some absolute morals capable of being discerned by reason and experience, then anything goes.

Take "God" out of the sentence to avoid polemics. The sentence is true of necessity isn't it?

You're right though, Truman was responsible - and those who taught him the utilitarian ideology had some indirect responsibility. If Christians have any indirect responsibility, it can only be that they failed to communicate Christian morality to him in an adequate way. But he was an intelligent chap - he could surely see what he was doing could not be justified on Christian grounds. He chose a non-Christian option.

5 September 2011 at 18:37  
Blogger Rebel Saint said...

@G Tingley ...

Can you report to my office straight after morning registration tomorrow. And inform your parents that you will be home late after your detention.

Thank you.

5 September 2011 at 18:46  
Blogger Marie1797 said...

Dreadnaught 5th Sept 11 @ 16:09

Isn't Archbishop Cranmer just enlightening us as to what sort of people are opposing the humane and thoughtful proposal by Ms Dorries and Mr Field for women to receive independent counselling in order to enable them to come to the right decision for them? The ones who take up counselling will be those betwixed and between souls who have problems and issues that they are grappling with and would welcome all options, facts & figures of what is available to them.

I doubt that anything His Grace says is untrue or hateful as he doesn't come across as a vengeful type at all.

5 September 2011 at 18:49  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Does Evan ever respond to these polemics? In my mind's eye he just shrugs and carries on regardless, leaving a very localised storm to rage. Or are there twitter wars happening in the background?

5 September 2011 at 18:51  
Blogger whitespacebug said...

Albert.

What was the Christian option?

5 September 2011 at 18:52  
Blogger G. Tingey said...

Rebel Saint
STILL can't spell!

Oh, and I've just realised (oops) that the quotes come from the mad Nadine Dorres.
Which removes all possibility of anything remotely approching rational debate.

5 September 2011 at 19:13  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

For the last time...

President Truman is a hero. He saved a million US and British lives that would otherwise have been lost in conquering the Japanese mainland. A mainland that would have been totally destroyed and be worth jack.

“Lord, allow me to smite thine enemies on your behalf” sayeth the Inspector

5 September 2011 at 19:20  
Blogger Lakester91 said...

Mr Tingey,

'Especially If you believe (no evidence) that human life begins ate (sic) zygote-formation ????'

It's not a belief, it's a scientific fact. I find it telling that those who are most likely to claim that "science" is on their side are the least likely (or capable) to use it correctly in their arguments.

The argument is not whether such a life exists, but whether it should be protected by law, that's all. Pro-abortionists (and by the response to this bill I must assume that they are pro-abortion rather than pro-choice) see that such a life is worthless or meaningless or expendable or inconvenient or whatever justification they see for taking it.

You cannot use the fact that abortions can be spontaneous to justify induced ones. It's like saying "people die every day of natural causes, so why is murder illegal?"

5 September 2011 at 19:20  
Blogger Albert said...

Whitespacebug,

What was the Christian option

The Christian option? I never said there was a single Christian option. I said he took a non-Christian option. The direct and deliberate targeting and mass killing of a civilian population can never justified on Christian grounds.

It can be justified on secular, utilitarian grounds, however.

On what grounds do you think it was wrong?

5 September 2011 at 19:27  
Blogger whitespacebug said...

Albert.
I haven't said it was wrong. It's interesting though that when we discuss a mass killing ordered by a Christian, suddenly it's not clear cut and everyone starts going round and round in circles.

5 September 2011 at 19:36  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Whereas if you're a Christian you can just order atomic bombs to be dropped on Japan.

Because if you are a Christian, you won't care about:

1) The 400,000 allied POWs who would have all been dead by the end of 1945.

2) The 100,000 or so Chinese who were dying every month in war against Japan.

3) The several million Japanese who would have died by famine if blockade had been chosen as an alternate to invasion.

4) The twenty million or so that would have died in an invasion of the main island, including 1,000,000 allied soldiers.

5) The casualties that would have resulted from reducing the 3,000,000 Japanese soldiers still in China.

6) The fate of non-combatants in other bypassed territories still occupied by Japan.

Yes, that moral calculus is so clear. Who gives a damn how many people die so long as we aren't the ones who kill them. Sure, there might have been twice as many allied POWs killed as died in the two atomic bombings, but that is on the head of the Japanese. Sure there might have been an additional (what) half million ... a million ... Chinese dead before the war ended. But there would have been no moral stigma of Hiroshima.

In Europe, the USAAF would send 1000 bombers each with eight 500-lb bombs in hopes of putting just one or two percent on target. We obliterated huge swathes of territory to destroy railyards and factories that supported the German war effort. And who raises a cry? Who says "Oh, no! We should have let the Germans build and fuel and move their equipment unimpeded. Better to let the war drag on and on and on. Better to make it a war of annihilation." There is simply no realization of the terrible choices that leaders face in war as they trade off one man's death for another.

And, for God's sake, can we just this once be spared the historically illiterate claim that the Japanese 'were about to surrender anyways."

carl

5 September 2011 at 19:37  
Blogger whitespacebug said...

Carl,
I agree with you. It seems however that some of your fellow Christians don't. To be fair to you that became evidently in the comments on a different post.

But so, we come to a mass killing supported by Christians and ordered by one, that was the least worst option. Essentially you are making my point for me.

5 September 2011 at 19:46  
Blogger Albert said...

It's interesting though that when we discuss a mass killing ordered by a Christian

Personally, I think it is profoundly clear, because (Carl), as scripture says:

Why not say--as we are being slanderously reported as saying and as some claim that we say--"Let us do evil that good may result"? Their condemnation is deserved.

Frankly, if you're prepared to directly to kill whole cities of innocent men women and children, just because you've got a good reason to do so, why would you worry about the odd abortion?

5 September 2011 at 19:53  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

whitespacebug

Essentially you are making my point for me.

Except Truman was trading off death vs death. He wasn't trading off death vs stretch marks, or death vs a vacation in France, or death vs really cool career plans. There is a difference.

carl

5 September 2011 at 19:55  
Blogger whitespacebug said...

Carl. You don't say.

5 September 2011 at 20:03  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Albert

Do not conflate the responsibility of a private individual with the responsibility of a one given political authority over a nation. Those are two separate spheres of human responsibility. And just for the record, the bombing of Hiroshima was not a deliberate targeting of civilians. Hiroshima was a target of military importance. So also Nagasaki.

If you have some of idea of how that war could otherwise have been ended without adding 35% to the total casualties of the war, then please enlighten us. No one else has ever managed to do so. Truman minimized the casualties necessary to end the war. You may think that doing evil that good may abound. I could just as well accuse you of sitting stationary as millions died around you. Is that any less evil?

But as I said and as you have confirmed "Who gives a damn how many people die so long as we aren't the ones who kill them."

carl

5 September 2011 at 20:10  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Some Christians and observers may be confused at this point...

The commandment, “though shalt not kill”:

Aimed at an individual in his relationship to another individual, especially if that latter individual has eyed up his neighbour’s wife’ s ass (as King David did)

How do we know this, because when hanging from the cross, Christ did not give a monologue of how wrong it was for the Roman empire to take life. He did find time to say to one of the convicted thieves,
“See you in paradise”. (On a personal note, if it was the Inspector there instead of the Lord, he would have said “I’ve had stuff go missing over time, was it you”)

5 September 2011 at 20:23  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

Excellent post Carl

I for one would not be here (not that it would matter in any great sense)but my father as a result of Truman's brave and bold action lived to survive three and a half years as a guest worker of the IJA from Singapore to Burma.

5 September 2011 at 20:38  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Dreadnaught

A few years back, I bought a book of suppressed press dispatches from one of the first reporters into Nagasaki after the war ended. The reports were suppressed because they contained interviews of liberated POWs from the camps around Nagasaki, and the military governors of Japan thought it best not to inflame public opinion against the Japanese. I couldn't finish the book. It was simply to painful to read. Your father's ordeal was truly extraordinary, and he deserves credit for having survived it; for having possessed the courage to survive it.

If I might ask, where was he taken prisoner?

carl

5 September 2011 at 21:03  
Blogger Atlas shrugged said...

carl jacobs said...

With the greatest respect.

I understand your arguments perfectly well, as there once was a time when I used to make the exact same ones.

That time passed when I finally grew-up and realized, or discovered many things that I was at the time completely unaware of.

To cut a long story as short as possible.

REAL history has been rewritten to suit the victors so many times, that it is all but a complete act of fiction.

No less the History of The English Speaking People, by Winston Churchill himself, and therefore the official account of The First and Second World Wars, as well as the events that supposedly lead up to them.

All but absolutely everyone losses during wartime. However there exists, and has always existed a small highly select group of people who have ALWAYS ultimately benefitted from them ALL. More well known as THE POWERS THAT BE.

I will leave it up to your imagination to work out who this highly select group are, for I have a wife and kids to consider, and it really is not at all difficult to work it out for yourself.

If wars benefitted no one, then wars would not ever have taken place. Man may appear to be very stupid indeed, but appearances are very often extremely deceptive. What is more, WARS require vast sums of borrowed cash in order for them to perpetuate themselves for more then a week or so. This is especially true when it comes to modern warfare which can now very easily cost many billions every single day.

Therefore there exists no rights and wrongs when it comes to warfare, because warfare is most self-evidently WRONG whichever way one looks at the finer details of it.

Violence of any kind can only be justified in self defense, and even then only under certain pressing circumstances.

The only way to oppose and then ultimately defeat tyranny is to completely refuse to co-operate with it. This cannot, and never has been achieved by holding a weapon in your hands, still less by actually using it harm another human being.

Quote

There is no road to peace, because the only available road to get there, is peace.

Atlas shrugged September 2011

5 September 2011 at 21:25  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Atlas Shrugged

The Inspector expected better from you. This communication is not taking place in German – go to sleep tonight and remember that...

5 September 2011 at 21:52  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

Atlas Shrugged

Welcome back, old girl.

Huzzah.

All we need now is Not A Machine to get a google account..come on my old lass, you know you want to.

Ernst

5 September 2011 at 21:52  
Blogger martin sewell said...

My father was due to go east with the RAF when Truman took the brave decision to use the nuclear option. I and many others probably owe our existence to his decision.

5 September 2011 at 22:08  
Blogger The Way of the Dodo said...

len said ...
"The fallen man has the ability to do good and evil!.But the two are linked together, you cannot have one without the other.While desiring to do good fallen man has a propensity towards evil.History bears this out.And you have to be in total denial not to be able see this in others if not in yourself."

There is I think a flaw in this line of theological reasoning.

You can have good without evil.

The mystery of evil is just that; man cannot fathom it. However, before God created the angels there was only absolute Good. The Bible tells Satan's rebelliion introduced evil into God's creation.

Man was created in God's image and the external malign influence of Satan led to the exercise of free will. As Christians, we believe that in time, only Good will remain.

Unlike the spirits/demons, who made a once and for all eternal choice against God, (and isn't evil just that - a choice against God's will?) man has the opportunity, through Christ, to repent and reform.

5 September 2011 at 22:23  
Blogger non mouse said...

I also have begun to read the accounts Mr Jacobs mentions --and discarded them for the same reason.

It's a pity about the spoilt generation that's busy re-inscribing everything now, according to its very limited lights. Here they are in hysterics about a few riots, and they have no inkling of the bombardment and distress suffered by our greatest generation, or why. They have no idea of why someone had to stop the world-scale slaughter and torture. And they did stop it.

Nor do the brainwashed know-it-alls understand that they speak and act as traitors to the people who fought to defend us; or that they serve as useful idiots to the marxist euro-peddlars ... who continued to attack us morally and by stealth, once they'd failed by force. As Harold Laski wrote in The Sunday Times (Nov.31,1944)
If it is agreed that these who seek to rebuild what Mr. Churchill likes to call 'traditional' Britain have no hope of fulfilling that end, it follows that there must be a new Britain in a new civilisation.*

So these muppets continue to nurture the predations of foreign powermongers like the millipedes, and Clegg and his libdims. Yet, none of us would be here dancing on the point, had it not been for Enola Gay and her "Little Boy." Most likely of all, neither would the likes of Dr. Harris.

Not that the trolls would ever "debate" whether that would have been a good thing... You know, the benefits of instant genocide of the British, instead of dragging it out in the multi-faceted way their puppet-masters have.

* Qtd. in Eliot, T. S. Notes Towards the Definition of Culture. 2nd ed. London: Faber and Faber Ltd. 1962, 17.

5 September 2011 at 22:33  
Blogger Albert said...

Carl,

He wasn't trading off death vs stretch marks, or death vs a vacation in France, or death vs really cool career plans. There is a difference.

So you're confident that the only ethical principle is proportion?

Do not conflate the responsibility of a private individual with the responsibility of a one given political authority over a nation.

Deliberately killing innocent people remains wrong, even if you have political authority. Is such authority given to do good or evil? You remind me of Nixon thinking he is above the law because he is the President. Only in your argument, it is not US law but God's law.

And just for the record, the bombing of Hiroshima was not a deliberate targeting of civilians. Hiroshima was a target of military importance. So also Nagasaki

Obviously they were not chosen at random. It was more useful to bomb them than other places, but it does not alter the fact that a WMD was used against a civilian population.

I could just as well accuse you of sitting stationary as millions died around you. Is that any less evil?

If an evil cannot be justly stopped, you cannot justly stop it. You are justifying this on secular utilitarianism. Where's your scriptural basis?

There seem to be a number of people saying they owe their existence to Truman's policy. Well and good - it's good to know some good came of it. As this discussion began with Dr Harris and abortion, I wonder how many other people would be here making the same point if our society had a different attitude to that practice.

Non mouse

traitors to the people who fought to defend us

So suddenly you're a traitor if you admit that some of the things our side did were wrong? What about if you attack some of the things the Soviets did - is it okay then, or is that treachery too?

I am in fact hugely sympathetic to Truman. I understand how he may have come to make that decision, but I cannot see how it can be justified on Christian grounds.

5 September 2011 at 22:47  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Hear Hear non mouse

The Inspector speaks as humble servant to the empire. Humble in the light of what our brave folk went through in the past...

5 September 2011 at 22:48  
Blogger Gavin said...

I applaud His Grace's courage and fortitude for continuing to post steadfastly on this most important moral issue.

"For your eyes saw my form, when I was woven together in secret...you knitted me together in my mother's womb. I will praise you Lord, for I was wonderfully made, and my soul knows this well. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them had come to pass". (Ps.139).

5 September 2011 at 22:51  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Albert

It is you who does not appreciate what it is to be a Christian – to be prepared to kill your fellow man for your faith...

5 September 2011 at 22:52  
Blogger whitespacebug said...

I'm just waiting for Shacklefree to mention Boer War concentration camps now. It's nice that Christianity allows for such a rich variety of opinion about mass killing.

5 September 2011 at 22:56  
Blogger Albert said...

Inspector,

It is you who does not appreciate what it is to be a Christian – to be prepared to kill your fellow man for your faith..

What on earth are you talking about?

5 September 2011 at 23:00  
Blogger Rebel Saint said...

Hold on a cotton-pickin' minute.

Are some here trying to equate the military decisions made by opposing forces in a war with the sentencing to death of unborn children by their mother, for conveniences sake?

Have we lost the plot slightly?

5 September 2011 at 23:09  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Albert

Your seemingly conchie stance (5 September 2011 22:47), War is hell on earth, but we don’t need you analysing tactical decisions well after the event. Do you think Truman relished dropping those bombs ?
Suddenly sending a couple of hundred of thousand civilians into eternity...Be your sort of Christian by all means, but don’t besmirch what others did in a ‘either us or them’ situation.

The Inspector considers himself a Christian, but he is prepared to draw blood if he or his faith is under threat. As a final indication of his disapproval, he’ll leave you with his response to Atlas Shrugged...

“The Inspector expected better from you. This communication is not taking place in German – go to sleep tonight and remember that...”

5 September 2011 at 23:16  
Blogger Atlas shrugged said...

You can have good without evil.

You most surely can. My advice is to be very awake to anyone that stridently claims otherwise.

Of course it is true to say that identifying good can cause a little confusion without a tiny little bit of bad here or there to judge it against.

However inside of us all we ALL KNOW what is good and what is not good, and we most certainly have absolutely no problem working out what is evil. Indeed we are born with this innate ability to tell the difference between the two, we do not need any particular political ideology, religious dogma parent, or rabbi, to instruct us in theses kinds of matters, thank God. Otherwise we really would be in much more serious do-do's then we most self-evidently are.

Although a more conscious appreciation of the presence of a higher intelligent creator or being does help somewhat to harmonize our conduct or regulate our actions in certain cases.

Atheists seem not to get it. There is not only no atheists in the trenches, there simply is no genuine atheists anywhere, only a small minority of people who have been lead to believe, or prefer to consciously believe that they are atheists.

God is most certainly within US ALL, to a varying degree, and most likely without to a much greater one, whether an individual knows it, or likes it, or not.

We are all part of a universal consciousness, whether we are fully conscious of this rather too obvious a fact, or not.

I am not a true Christian, and very unlikely to ever become one. I do not for example believe that Jesus is/was the son of God, any more then anyone else is, neither do I believe that a belief that he is/was will ultimately have any baring on my eternal spirits future prospects, or destiny.

I could be wrong, however I very much doubt that I am.

Indeed IMMHO belief systems are to a golden rule highly dangerous, as well as infinitely corruptible man made concepts.

They conspire wittingly or otherwise to hide or conceal most of the truth. Therefore not to reveal any more of it then is strictly necessary to the interests of the people who ultimately contrive these varying system of mind, and therefore population control.

I leave you all to ponder the above for a while, and hope that I have not offended anyone, as this was not my intention.

5 September 2011 at 23:24  
Blogger whitespacebug said...

Rebel Saint

I don't think so. My original remark was intended to illustrate the absurdities of the "Christians only do good stuff/ atheists only do bad stuff" position that some people take.

5 September 2011 at 23:34  
Blogger Atlas shrugged said...

“The Inspector expected better from you. This communication is not taking place in German – go to sleep tonight and remember that...”

Does it really matter what language you speak that you would gladly or otherwise sacrifice your eternal spirit and the lives of yourself and your nearest and dearest for it?

Why?

Also, I dont believe you could have possibly understood what I was trying to get impart.

Please understand firstly that many members of my extended family perished in Polish concentration camps, and the British side of same have a long tradition of service in The British Army.

I also know for sure that if Hitler had won, which incidentally was absolutely NEVER going to actually happen given my subsequent understanding of the true facts of the matter, I would not be speaking German because I would not be speaking at all GET IT?

If not please let me spell it out to you. MY MOTHER IS STILL AND WAS THEN JEWISH.

My personal understanding of WW2 was that the final consequences, as well as the ultimate victors were a done deal, save a few incidental details much before it was most deliberately started.

5 September 2011 at 23:46  
Blogger non mouse said...

Albert(@ 22.47) --- My point is that we had to stop the 20th century bloodfest as soon and as fast as we could. No one's 'suddenly' a traitor for knowing that war requires terrible acts from all its participants. We already know that the men who fought Germans didn't enjoy doing it.

However, (and often unwittingly, I understand) we betray every battle and sorry compromise if we presently help the enemy to finish the job it started. And that's what these critics do by denigrating us, our culture, and our choice to defend ourselves. They refuse to admit how fiercely the enemy used WMDs against us; and they forget the race as to who would make the first nuclear strike. Indeed, who's to say whether or not God willed the eventual outcome? Trial by combat is an old concept.

In any case, the argument about "just war" goes back way beyond ABC's blog and the ken of our warmongering trolls. Although Christianity is essentially anti-war, there's no indication that Celts, Romans, or even the Orthodox Greeks (nb Constantinople) decided it was best to lie down and let their enemies destroy them utterly. And is that not what war is about: the fight for survival against violent aggressors? Had no one ever fought for Christianity, would it have survived so long? Should we have let the enemy abort it, or was it God's will that we didn't?

cont'd....

5 September 2011 at 23:56  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Words fail me Atlas Shrugged.

“The Inspector expected better from you. This communication is not taking place in German – go to sleep tonight and remember that...”

”Does it really matter what language you speak that you would gladly or otherwise sacrifice your eternal spirit and the lives of yourself and your nearest and dearest for it?”

I know what you are trying to impart. I also know that a quarter of a million UK servicemen died so that you could impart it. The next time you pass a WWII memorial, hang your head low, you ingrate.

6 September 2011 at 00:06  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

non mouse

You don't have to justify yourself in front of these conchies.

"Stand fast that man !"

6 September 2011 at 00:10  
Blogger The Way of the Dodo said...

Atlas Shrugged

No offence taken at all.

Accepting there is a God, in your terms a Higher Consciousness, we have to ask why He created us and what purpose, if any, our lives have? We also have to ponder on the 'mystery of evil'. Why a Supreme God permitted evil to arise in the first place and why He allows it to persist?

It also seems reasonable to suppose that such a Being would also reveal Himself to us in some form and provide answers to these human questions.

Unless knowing God and His purposes is considered unimportant or He is unknowable and intends it to remain that way, we have to consider whether He has indeed revealed Himself.

I believe God would reveal Himself to us and show His purposes. Enter the world's faith systems ....

6 September 2011 at 00:14  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

Atlas shrugged 11.34

You never cease to confuse..brilliant.
How I have missed having that deeply furrowed brow and my eyes glazing over whilst contemplating your arguments.
.
"Indeed IMMHO belief systems are to a golden rule highly dangerous, as well as infinitely corruptible man made concepts." Are there any other kinds...Wow, you have just covered all theist and atheist morals and trashed them all into the bin, just leaving Atlassianism.

Something new? Careful that those mohammedians don't get jealous and see you as a false prophet, old girl. hehehe.

Ernsty, my crazed lass.

6 September 2011 at 00:14  
Blogger Atlas shrugged said...

No they did not they died to make a very small amount of people very rich indeed, as well as whole lot more powerful.

This is not their fault, perhaps indeed most certainly if more people knew the truth as well as spoke it back in the thirties, our British, American and Papal banksters would not have been able to finance Hitler so generously if at all. The fact that our own banksters greatly, indeed exclusively financed the rise of Hitler and Nazi Germany is not conjecture on my part, it is well recorded and researched FACT.

The fact that many choose to ignore this information is not my fault, it is not even The BBC's for they made an hour long documentary detailing the whole filthy business, it is people likes yours and many many others.

You cannot fight wars without the CASH, and or the lines of credit. No money therefore no WAR, it really is that simple.

This is as true today as it was in classical as well as medieval times, please try to read a history book covering these periods, especially how wars were then financed, who by, under what sort of conditions, and so ultimately why they were.

The rules of war don't radically change, they just get slightly adapted to better suit more modern banking systems.

6 September 2011 at 00:29  
Blogger The Way of the Dodo said...

This discussion on the rights and wrongs of bombing Japan is not about being proud of "our boys" , "winning the war" etc. It is about moral principles.

The Catholic 'Just War Doctrine' states:

The strict conditions for legitimate defense by military force require rigorous consideration. The gravity of such a decision makes it subject to rigorous conditions of moral legitimacy. At one and the same time:
(1) the damage inflicted by the aggressor on the nation or community of nations must be lasting, grave, and certain;
(2) all other means of putting an end to it must have been shown to be impractical or ineffective;
there must be serious prospects of success;
(3) the use of arms must not produce evils and disorders graver than the evil to be eliminated. The power of modern means of destruction weighs very heavily in evaluating this condition.

The Catholic position is that:

"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."

Countries have not always respected these moral principles.
Lets be honest, grave violations took place during World War II and included the firebombing of Dresden and the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

These were not attacks designed to destroy targets of military value while sparing civilian populations. They were deliberate attempts to pressurise an enemy government by attacking non-combatants. As a result, they were grave violations of God's law, according to which, "the direct and voluntary killing of an innocent human being is always gravely immoral."

This is the same principle that applies to abortion.

This principle requires strenuous efforts to avoid harming innocents, it does not require the result of no innocents being harmed. Such a result is impossible to guarantee. As tragic as it is, collateral damage to innocents is an inescapable consequence of war. Catholic theology recognizes this.

It applies to such situations a well-established principle known as the law of "double-effect". According to this it is permissible to undertake an action which has two effects, one good and one evil, provided that certain conditions are met.

Although these conditions can be formulated in different ways, they may be enumerated as follows:

(1) the action itself must not be intrinsically evil;
(2) the evil effect must not be an end in itself or a means to accomplishing the good effect (in other words, it must be a foreseen but undesired side-effect of the action); and
(3) the evil effect must not outweigh the good effect.

If these three conditions are met, the action may be taken in spite of the foreseen damage it will do.

The law of double-effect would not have applied to the cases of Dresden, Hiroshima, and Nagasaki. In these situations though the act (dropping bombs) was not intrinsically evil and though it is arguable that in the long run more lives were saved than lost, the second condition was violated because the death of innocents was used as a means to achieve the good of the war's end.

6 September 2011 at 00:39  
Blogger Atlas shrugged said...

E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...
Atlas shrugged 11.34

I do not disagree. When telling the truth, you must never expect to be either believed, respected, or even liked for doing so.

Have you ever told your wife or partner what you really think of them?

If so, then you will know exactly what I mean.

The truth does tend to offend virtually everyone, this is of course why we exist is a world of bare faced lies, and liars propagating half truths, bullshit and general disinformation. Why indeed we always get the leaders and politicians we fully deserve, most especially these days.

If our political leaders told any more then a highly censored version of the truth, hardly anyone would buy their product, and so they would never get elected in the first place. Therefore the people would certainly NEVER go to war under any possible circumstances, for them or for anything else. This on the assumption that in many cases our leaders actually know any more then a small part of the truth, which of course they don't, because they are also lied to from cradle to grave.

The lie is different at every level, and an elected politician is not much higher up the chain of command and control then you or I am.

However I can perfectly assure you that I am not alone in my way of thinking, neither am I about to start a one man religion.

There exists a world of difference between actually knowing something, and simply believing something to be so. Knowing is based on correct, or uncorrupted information, which is often carefully concealed, but in no way impossible to find if you view all information with a truly open, logical and highly critical mind.

Wisdom is quite a different matter, for that requires fully understanding what the best and most morally sound thing is to be done once you have attain sufficient amounts of truthful knowledge.

As a great man once said.

You are not told the truth because you simply could not handle it.

Any one that claims to have an insight into the true nature of God, is a fool that can not possibly have the slightest idea what he is talking about. For the true nature is God is not just far too to strange for you to imagine, it is far too strange to be imagined.

Also

Everything you have ever been told is either a lie, or is based on a lie. Or at least it is best that you assume that it is, if finding the actual truth of the matter is your aim.

6 September 2011 at 01:02  
Blogger non mouse said...

In any case, Germanic society has shown the greatest (western) prowess in war-- presenting a problem for Christians. We need only attempt interpretation of Beowulf to see that; for among the Christians who recorded our cultural epic were those who also fought for the survival of Christianity.

Of earlier views, Cook and Herzman point out,
As late as the fourth century the most popular saints included men who refused to fight in the army or who left the military in order to pursue lives of holiness, for example, Saint Sebastian and Saint Martin of Tours. Although Ambrose condoned violence and Augustine developed a theory of the just war, the Church hardly glorified violence....
These writers go on to remind us of the images of St. George, and of Christ as warrior.* I think we should not forget, either, Old Testament fights like those of David and Goliath.

Apart from insular preservation of Western (Christian) scholarship during Viking wars, our efforts to cope with war have resulted in other technological strides. They include medical advances and these wretched computers, all further evidence that "God moves in mysterious ways."

And I do say we can work to His advantage, and so to ours, in this 21st century war of cultural invasion. We need to prevent euro-marxist victory; we should stop participating in our own destruction.


(Thank you, OIG -:))





Cook, William R. and Ronald B. Herzman. The Medieval World View: An Introduction. 2nd ed. Oxford: OUP. 2004; 97.

6 September 2011 at 01:40  
Blogger Atlas shrugged said...

A few more points before I go away and perform something a little less mentally taxing.

A certain gentlemen seems to indicate that if Hitler had actually successfully invaded The UK we would all be speaking German.

Not so.

I can state with absolute certainty that Hitler never posses the plans to insist that any such thing should happen.

Indeed he did invade The Channel Islands, yet there were never any reports that speaking exclusively German had become the norm or the law, or that there where any such plans to make it so.

This is not how building empires is traditional done. Indians still speak Hindi for example, Mauritians still speak French even though the place has been part of The British Empire in one form or another since 1810.

For empires to exist for any amount of time British, German, French, Roman or Greek, and this was supposed to last for 1000 years remember, the native people must to a sufficient degree accept as well as work with their colonial powers or the whole project falls like a house of cards within a notably short time. As Hitler himself soon found out in parts of places like, The Soviet Union, Greece, France and The Balkans.

Jack-boot style repression has never worked in the past, and it would not have worked most especially with the British for long either, unless the large majority of The British people wished it to do so. Hitler did not care about certain other peoples because he already had plans to completely enslave or exterminate them.

Indeed the way Hitler conducted himself in many occupied countries condemned the whole project to a most sticky end before it had even started.

He planned to treat the British very differently indeed, and there was a reason for this.

He thought either rightly or far more likely wrongly, that he had friends on the inside in VERY HIGH PLACES among the British establishment, and had very good reasons to believe that he did.

This as they had already financed him for several billions and promised much more, should he need it. He believed that these people most notably elements within the British Royal family and aristocracy, Lord Halifax for example, where on his side, and would swing the British people behind what was planned to have been relatively nominal German occupation minus of course people like myself.

Hitler was as he claimed betrayed by these con artists who likely never really backed Hitler to actually win in the first place, but were undoubtedly set to make a perfect fortune out of a war they very much conspired to create.

Hitler would not only never have raised the money to continue into power in 1933, his plans for European Domination where doomed to failure as soon as Churchill, the son of an American, strongly liked with Standard Oil, unexpectedly for him at least, turned up on the stage.

Therefore he must have known, and so surely did Hess who crafted the supposed deals, that the game was up as soon as the British Establishment had shown their true treacherous 3 card tricksters hand.

If they did not by 40, they most certainly did by 41.

6 September 2011 at 02:16  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Dodo: "The Catholic 'Just War Doctrine' states:"

[...]

"This is the same principle that applies to abortion."

Chaining oneself to the gates of abortion clinics, marching weekly or even daily on Parliament in protest, and other stuff like that, does not violate those principles. But they are likely to get you a criminal record for public order offences. The armchair sounds much more comfy, it has to be said.

That on its own might be argument enough against armchair-based inaction but to what extent is an abortion-performing doctor innocent? Could one morally take more drastic action against the doctor himself? Afterall, I'm inclined to think I would be morally right to stop, even with deadly force if necessary, an aggressor trying to kill an innocent victim in the street.

When I was reading the Catechism on Just War the other day, anticipating the likely defences before I put out my dilemma, I wasn't at all sure about that but I'd be interested now in how someone could argue against it. It might turn on an 'intrinsic evil' and what other options were available [1] I think but would I have been performing an intrinsic evil on the aggressor? On the face of it, it sounds 'morally licit' to me.

[1] Bearing in mind that a specific individual (the foetus) is involved and demanding the execution of a duty to it itself. I'm not sure utilitarian considerations aimed at the system or the 'long game', layered on top of the deontological considerations, works in moral terms.

6 September 2011 at 06:18  
Blogger len said...

To be a true Christian one should not be expected to kill but to die.By this I mean to die to this World, to die to self for without this death there can be no resurrection.

However for those obsessed with self this death is not advocated for self but for others, whether for the helpless in the womb or for those too old, infirm, or those who are perceived to be of 'no value' to society.
This is the 'brave new Godless ,indeed loveless,(except for self)World' being created by those
who' self 'has replaced God and self has become the idol they worship.

6 September 2011 at 07:37  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

Apologies for being totally OT but to reply to Carl

The Old Chap was taken at the fall of Singapore in 42, After some time in Changi he was put to work building a railway and then a road linking Rangoon and Bangkok. He was living with me until he died aged 91 in 2001.

6 September 2011 at 08:27  
Blogger Surreptitious Evil said...

There have been some fairly amazing arguments in this thread and some very dubious assertions but this one takes not just the biscuit but a whole high tea for two at the Ritz:

"Therefore he must have known, and so surely did Hess who crafted the supposed deals, that the game was up as soon as the British Establishment had shown their true treacherous 3 card tricksters hand."

Yes, ladies, gentlemen and shades of Archbishops, managing the defence of the UK against a foreign military dictator is apparently "true treachery". I refer the aforesaid individual to the, still partly valid, Treason Act 1351:

"or be adherent to the King’s Enemies in his Realm, giving to them Aid and Comfort in the Realm, or elsewhere"

Dealing with Hilter, as it required surrender of UK or Imperial sovereignty or abrogation of existing treaties, would have been treason.

The mind boggles.

6 September 2011 at 08:33  
Blogger Albert said...

Inspector & non mouse,

we don’t need you analysing tactical decisions well after the event

How can we learn from the past if we cannot use analysis after the event? Should not our moral thought relate to real actions?

Do you think Truman relished dropping those bombs ?
Suddenly sending a couple of hundred of thousand civilians into eternity...Be your sort of Christian by all means, but don’t besmirch what others did in a ‘either us or them’ situation.


Perhaps you should re-read the last line of my comment last night @ 2247.

he is prepared to draw blood if he or his faith is under threat

The issue here is purely about the killing of innocent, non-combatants - like Japanese children. Do you find children a threat?

To you both:

Would you not agree with me that when you have gone to war, there are still certain rules that must be followed?

and that's what these critics do by denigrating us, our culture, and our choice to defend ourselves.

I'm not denigrating either of those things. Let me give you an example: Bishop George Bell of Chichester served as a go-between between the German Resistance and the British Government - largely through his friendship with Bonhoeffer and not least about the plan to kill Hitler in 1944. But he was still a vocal opponent of area bombing. Was he denigrating his culture or our choice to defend ourselves?

Dean Thicknesse of St Albans was wounded serving his country at Ypres, he became an Honorary Chaplain to the King, but he still refused to allow St Albans Abbey to used to celebrate the end of the war, because he deplored the use of nuclear weapons against a civilian population. Was he denigrating his culture or our choice to defend ourselves?

I say these two men were defending our culture and upholding our moral right to defend ourselves.

6 September 2011 at 08:34  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

Albert said
Should not our moral thought relate to real actions?

Man holds a gun to yours or members of your family's heads - You have a gun in your hand (there's a war on)
are you telling me to believe that you would have some spurious philosophical argument with yourself before getting off the first shot? - Get real man.

6 September 2011 at 10:19  
Blogger Albert said...

Dreadnaught,

are you telling me to believe that you would have some spurious philosophical argument with yourself before getting off the first shot?

So you think that the principle that it is always and every where wrong for anyone directly and deliberately to take innocent human life is a spurious argument? It's not an argument and it is not spurious. It is a fundamental moral principle, a sine qua non of a person being moral.

Man holds a gun to yours or members of your family's heads - You have a gun in your hand (there's a war on)

If you'd been on trial at Nuremburg, is that how you'd answer? How confident would you be that it would work?

The analogy fails on so many levels. What you're arguing for is a premeditated, deliberate act, directly to kill innocent people. You analogy is of an immediate need to defend yourself from a guilty aggressor.

By your reasoning there would be no such thing as a war-crime.

6 September 2011 at 12:15  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

See, this is why the nonsense that is 'Just War Doctrine' needs to be kept far away from decision makers in war. People end of making arguments like this:

1. It would be perfectly legitimate to destroy Japan's transportation network, because a transportation network is a legitimate military target. Yes, the destruction of that network would create a huge famine in Japan in which millions would starve, but that is a secondary effect.

2. Yes, it is legitimate to drop several thousand bombs on a ball bearing plant knowing full well most of them will miss the target by 1-2 miles, and fall on the surrounding neighborhoods. That is a secondary effect.

3. It is illegitimate to drop one weapon on a city to achieve the strategic effect of several raids because the death that results is not a secondary effect.

And I haven't even touched the distributed 'mom and pop' nature of Japanese industry during the war.

Anyways, I am sure the several million additional dead (combatant and non-combatant alike) would have been mighty impressed with the sophisticated moral analysis that produced such logic. Or at least they would have been impressed if they weren't dead. You should ask the guys on Okinawa what they thought of the atomic bombing.

carl

6 September 2011 at 12:29  
Blogger Albert said...

Carl,

See, this is why the nonsense that is 'Just War Doctrine' needs to be kept far away from decision makers in war.

I asked you a question about proportionality, which you haven't answered, and your biblical basis for deliberately targeting innocent people, which you haven't answered.

Perhaps we could move this discussion on a little if you would give your moral principles on war. At the moment it just looks like expediency.

As a matter of interest, who gave the arguments that you have numbered?

6 September 2011 at 12:39  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Albert

The attack on Hiroshima no more 'deliberately targeted innocent people' than the bombing of ball bearing plants in Schweinfurt 'deliberately targeted innocent people.' The premise of your question is just fundamentally wrong.

As for proportionality, please inform me how I am to trade off the relative value of 400,000 allied POWs in Japan and several hundred thousand Chinese against 80,000 in Hiroshima. As I have said three times now, you don't appear at to be concerned about the consequences of your decisions. You seem to think it a noble thing to cavalierly toss away the lives of millions of people - none of whom would be you, btw - for the sake of intention. I don't care what you intend. I care what you do. I don't care that you intend not to kill 80,000 non-combatants on Hiroshima. I care that your noble intention results in the death of a million non-combatants elsewhere. I don't care that you are concerned not to have unrighteous blood on your hands. I care that seven times the blood will be spilled because you were more concerned with your intentions that with the consequences that attend. I am not impressed by one who says "Go thou forth and die like rats, but be comforted, for the last thing you will see is the noble moral pose I have assumed." Morality is not just found in the intent of an act, but in the actual result of the intention.

carl

6 September 2011 at 13:19  
Blogger Albert said...

Carl,

Firstly, your idea that these are simply military targets seems false to me. Stimpson over-ruled the military chiefs to include Nagasaki, for entirely personal reasons. There were a range of benefits to choosing Hiroshima – such as the fact that it hadn’t been seriously bombed, so the effect could be observed. Meanwhile, purely military targets were not chosen because, without a large urban sprawl there was a risk of simply missing the target and the size of the effect being unrecognised. The presence of civilians was therefore essential to the mission.

As I have said three times now, you don't appear at to be concerned about the consequences of your decisions.

I am concerned about the consequences, but I am not willing to be drawn into a situation in which consequences are the only issue – I am a Christian, I have to live by God’s law, and thus consequences cannot be the only factor, or in many cases, the decisive factor.

To similar effect you wrote:
I could just as well accuse you of sitting stationary as millions died around you. Is that any less evil?

Well, God clearly permitted it. Was God thus evil? Permitting something which you cannot justly stop is not evil. You seem to want to limit the responsibility of the Japanese in their evil. Accordingly, when you say “I care that your noble intention results in the death of a million non-combatants elsewhere”, you are confusing the nature of causality.

You seem to think it a noble thing to cavalierly toss away the lives of millions of people - none of whom would be you, btw

Well we are none of us involved in this! None of the people killed by the WMD were you either.

So the answer to my question about your moral principles is simply consequences is it? Where’s your biblical basis?

I care that seven times the blood will be spilled

One of the real problems of consequentialism, is that we do not know what all the consequences will be. How confident could the US be that the Japanese wouldn’t surrender after the USSR declared war on them, especially as they had sought an envoy with them? or that the Emperor’s plans to bring peace, initiated on 22nd June would fail? or that Japan might give in once they realised they could keep the Emperor? Even now these matters are argued over! You simply cannot state the premises of your argument as facts.

Your are defending the deliberate killing of innocent civilians, on the basis of assumptions which may in fact be false and according to a logic that makes God responsible for all the evil ever committed. How can that be Christian?

6 September 2011 at 13:53  
Blogger The Way of the Dodo said...

carl

If I might chip in ....

It seems to me you are trivialising the 'Just War Doctrine' and, without realising it, opening the door for a pragmatic acceptance of abortion. This was where this discussion started.

To wilfully target a civilian population of innocent people to effectively terrorise Japan into surrender cannot by be justified.

One can argue it ended the war sooner, or that it saved American and Japanese lives but this is not a moral justification for specifically targetting civilians.

Additionally, since the war many historians have demonstrated both these claims to be ill-founded and that intelligence was available at the time indicating this.

6 September 2011 at 14:43  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

Albert; I posed A SIMPLE question - you came back with your own questions. Pointless engaging with you.

6 September 2011 at 14:54  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

DoDo; to operate the machines of war takes people people - the Nazis taught us that when they bombed the shit out of Coventry and set the agenda.

Japan was already murdering hundreds of thousands of Chinese civilians in 1937 - again they set the agenda.

Of course any reasonable person knows that war is a unwelcome form of politics and would have stopped mass bombing if the other side had sued for peace - but they did not and would not, had it not been for the threat of total annihilation.

The point about the PoWs is only too correct, the massive pits had already dug by the prisoners themselves in the belief that they were air raid shelters - but they weren't.

6 September 2011 at 15:10  
Blogger Albert said...

Sorry, Dreadnaught, I thought my answer clear.

Here's your question:

Man holds a gun to yours or members of your family's heads - You have a gun in your hand (there's a war on)
are you telling me to believe that you would have some spurious philosophical argument with yourself before getting off the first shot?


Answer: no.

If I may, you don't seem to addressed Dodo's point.

6 September 2011 at 15:20  
Blogger whitespacebug said...

It seems to me a strange argument that says "dropping the atom bombs must have been right, because if it hadn't happened, I might not be here"

6 September 2011 at 15:21  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

Whitespacebug

Never anywhere has that been said -sorry if your brain can't take that all in.

6 September 2011 at 15:28  
Blogger whitespacebug said...

Dreadnaught. It has been inferred. You tit.

6 September 2011 at 15:32  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

Albert; Didn't realise I was in a discussion with the Blessed DoDo - but thank you for your direct response - I would do likewise in that situation. It would still be taking a life, but something I may have to have lived with in some discomfort for the rest of my life.

6 September 2011 at 15:34  
Blogger Oswin said...

WHO started it; and WHO would have used the bomb, had they been able to complete their design/manufacture?

The atom bomb stopped Japan, and it warned Russia, and others too.

All the rest is blether.

6 September 2011 at 16:52  
Blogger Albert said...

Oswin, if you are going to measure the rightness of our actions by the behaviour and attitudes of our opponents, then I suppose more or less anything would be possible.

6 September 2011 at 17:37  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Dodo

To wilfully target a civilian population of innocent people to effectively terrorise Japan into surrender cannot by be justified.

This comment indicates that you do not understand 1) the Japanese end game for the war or 2) the reason Japan surrendered. Japan was not 'terrorized' into surrender. The leadership of Japan did not say "The Americans can kill 80,000 with one bomb so we must surrender." It was fully prepared to sacrifice fully 300 times the number killed at Hiroshima to salvage its position. The ratio of deaths per bomb was not relevant.

In August 1945, the American war policy towards Japan was in crisis. War weariness was setting in. The war in Europe was over. The battles on Iwo Jima and Okinawa were bloody awful fights, and presaged the future of invasion. The Japanese were learning how to inflict severe casualites in the face of the firepower advantage enjoyed by the US. Japan had correctly guessed the location of the American invasion. They had more soldiers on Kyushu than the US had in its inavison fleet and something like 7000 kamikazies. The US knew this because it was reading Japanese military communications. The invasion in Nov 45 would have been a disaster.

(The idiot) MacArthur wanted to proceed with the invasion. Nimitz wanted nothing to do with it. It was in that environment that Truman authorized the use of atomic weapons. There was complete uncertainty about how to force a conclusion to the war, and achieve the most important war aim in the Pacific - humiliating and destroying the militarist government that started the war so it wouldn't happen again. (And, no, I don't buy the 'Hirohito was a weak man of peace' nonsense. I think a lot of Japanese generals took a bullet for the Emperor.)

This was all in keeping with the Japanese end game strategy set down in Feb 1945. They were planning on forcing an American invasion so they could kill as many Americans as possible. They wanted to trade 25,000,000 Japanese for 1,000,000 Americans because they believed the Americans would concede a settlement more favorable to Japan rather than endure those casualties. The atomic bombings invalidated this strategy. The Japanese plan had one critical assumption. The Americans had to invade, so the Japanese could close and kill them. The Japanese reacted to the atomic bombings by saying "The Americans can destroy us without invading." That is why they surrendered. It had nothing to do with 'terror.' It had to do with a failed strategy, and no credible alternative.

carl

6 September 2011 at 18:36  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

The Inspector abhors war. Any ‘rules’ of war are those of man, not God.

If you have a war, put it out quickly, or as quickly as you can. Otherwise, war becomes mankind’s ultimate game.

Whatever the cost - military, logistical or civilian targets, ALL are eligible.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The Inspector abhors abortion. Any ‘rules’ of how many weeks are those of man, not God.

If you have abortion, stop it quickly, or as quickly as you can. Otherwise, eugenics becomes mankind’s ultimate game.

Need he go on, gentlemen...

6 September 2011 at 18:45  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

*dusts off my ethical dilemma link again*

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/4954856.stm

Dilemmas 2 and 3 seem quite pertinent. They're partly about whether the numbers count.

We don't sacrifice one person who would carry on living in order to harvest his organs so as to save five others who require those organs to survive.

But would we sacrifice 250,000 innocent people to (say) save 250,005 other innocent people in a war? Apparently so.

It either shows most people's moral confusion over moral rules or it shows that our moral reasoning is based on more things that simple moral rules.

I'm going for the latter myself.

6 September 2011 at 18:47  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Danj0

“But would we sacrifice 250,000 innocent people to (say) save 250,005 other innocent people in a war?”

Yes, if it put the war out....

Rather obvious really.

6 September 2011 at 19:13  
Blogger Albert said...

Well Carl, so long as it was all in good cause, I suppose that makes it perfectly acceptable!

But surely, if we accept the principles you are going for, we ought to have made war against the Soviets and dropped a few nukes on them? (After all, we Brits went to war for the freedom of Poland, why not for the rest of Eastern Europe? And what was the US doing allowing the evil to happen until Dec 1941? and thus being, on your logic, somehow causally responsible for it).

Not nuking the Russians left countless millions in misery for decades, and knocking out a few thousand Russian kids (who would only grow up to be communist warriors against us anyway) would seem to be a far price to pay.

Not sure how you'd justify it scripturally mind you (makes you wonder what was so terribly wrong with visiting the Witch at Endor for example).

6 September 2011 at 19:31  
Blogger whitespacebug said...

I would like to read a good book defending Christianity (not just theism) against its critics. It would need to be relatively modern so no one is to suggest anything by CS Lewis. Any suggestions?

6 September 2011 at 21:22  
Blogger The Way of the Dodo said...

whitespace

Why 'modern'? CS Lewis' writing isn't bound by time. The presentation of Christianity is timeless.

6 September 2011 at 22:21  
Blogger whitespacebug said...

He wouldnt have a specific response to Daemons et al though, would he?

6 September 2011 at 22:40  
Blogger whitespacebug said...

Sorry that should be Dawkins not daemons, bloody phone.

6 September 2011 at 22:41  
Blogger The Way of the Dodo said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

6 September 2011 at 22:42  
Blogger The Way of the Dodo said...

carl

What you appear to be saying is that in war the end justifies the means.

Are you seriously suggesting that if Japan had not surrendered the USA would have made more bombs and continually dropped them until Japan was no more or surrender was forthcoming? That's the logic of your position.

I accept a land invasion on its own would have been unacceptably costly as a military option. However, I regret to say it but this cannot justify the mass killing of innocent Japaness civilians. The atrocity was an act of terror to speed up victory.

"As American Christians, we are deeply penitent for the irresponsible use already made of the atomic bomb. We are agreed that, whatever be one's judgment of the war in principle, the surprise bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki are morally indefensible."

('Atomic Warfare and the Christian Faith' Federal Council of Churches, 1946)

6 September 2011 at 22:43  
Blogger The Way of the Dodo said...

whitespacebug

And that matters because ...?

William Lane Craig has pretty much done that and opened the door to ask if there is a God can He be known? Has He revealed Himself?

Enter CS Lewis ....

6 September 2011 at 22:47  
Blogger The Way of the Dodo said...

Albert

Visiting the 'Witch of Endor' didn't help Saul too much or I'm sure the Americans would have considered giving it a try!

6 September 2011 at 22:55  
Blogger whitespacebug said...

It matters because that's what I am interested in reading: and also because I read "Mere Christianity" and found it unpersuasive.

6 September 2011 at 22:59  
Blogger The Way of the Dodo said...

whitespacebug

Pope Benedicts series on 'Jesus of Nazareth' are very highly regarded within and without Catholic circles.

No book, in and of itself, will 'persuade' you of the merits of Christianity.

"You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart."
(Jeremiah 29:13)

"Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you."
(Matthew 7:7)

7 September 2011 at 00:41  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Dodo

Given that I have no difficulty with bombs one and two, why should I have difficulty with bombs three thru N. Of course I would have employed those weapons. But of course the whole argument is a counter-factual since bombs one and two succeeded in producing the desired result.

I accept a land invasion on its own would have been unacceptably costly as a military option.

OK, so what alternative would you have offered? A continuation of the fire raids? Blockade and starvation? Neither seems morally distinguishable from the atomic bombings. And what would you have done about that Japanese Army in China? And in Taiwan? And in Korea? And in all the other occupied territories? Would you ask them nicely to go home? You can't just ignore these questions and turn the problem into a sterile mental experiment in ethics. Decisions have consequences. President Truman wasn't just writing answers in an examination book. He was choosing who would have a finger pointed in his face and hear "You go die."

However, I regret to say it but this cannot justify the mass killing of innocent Japaness civilians. The atrocity was an act of terror to speed up victory.

First off, it wasn't just to 'speed up victory.' It shifted the burden of death from allied lives to Japanese lives. You may think it a little thing that 400,000 non-combatants held as POWs were saved by those two bombs. I don't. If you are going to demand I choose between acting to save allied lives, and acting to save enemy lives, I will choose the former every time. And I will not evaluate the trade at one for one. Those 400,000 POWs were worth more than many Japanese cities. I would not have left them to die simply to protect Japanese non-combatants. POWs are non-combatants as well. What is more, they are my non-combatants to whom I owe a debt of loyalty that does not exist towards the citizens of an enemy country.

Nor was it an act of terror, because that level of death did not terrorize the Japanese. There were more Japanese casualties on Okinawa than in Hiroshima. You seem to think the point was to kill as many civilians as possible. The point was to destroy Hiroshima as a center capable of supporting the Japanese war effort in one single raid. It was not the terror of death that forced surrender. It was the prospect of power beyond response.

Third, what do you think happened in Germany during those 1000-plane raids? The Circular Error Probable of a bomb dropped from a B-17 was about 5000 ft. That means only 4000 bombs out of 8000 fell within one mile of the aim point. Do you think those other bombs fell harmlessly in the meadow? They obliterated huge chunks of the city around the targeted facility and killed whoever happened to be there. The civilian dead in Germany were just as deliberately targeted as any civilian in Hiroshima. Numbers shouldn't matter to the principle, so how is it different. Would you have abandoned the bombing campaign in Germany as well, and simply allowed the full economy of the Third Reich to support the German war effort unimpeded? Do you have even the slightest understanding of what that would have meant? Maybe you should think of the impact of a new fleet of Type XXI boats getting loose in the Atlantic.

War isn't a game. It's series of horrendously bad choices that must be made before the fact with imperfect information. President Truman didn't have the luxury of making a decision in 1945 from the vantage point of 2011. Neither did he have the privilege of arguing about the decision absent the context of knowing men's lives hung in the balance. You sit here easily talking about 'terror' and 'atrocity.' You have no moral burden below your argument. No one dies as a result of your words. Talk is cheap in such a case. It's not so easy when millions of lives are at stake, and you are the one who must command they be ended.

carl

7 September 2011 at 02:40  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

whitespacebug: "Sorry that should be Dawkins not daemons, bloody phone."

One might be tempted to think they're the same thing given the feedback he attracts. :)

7 September 2011 at 03:08  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

As for Christian apologetics, it might be worth just following the online discussions on stock items like the Cosmological Argument. I think it's easier to see their form and the pros/cons in the form of written debate between different people because unstated or invalid assumptions are usually teased out that way.

As with any weighty philosophical debate, great swathes of stuff can be written on the smallest of points. In fact, it can seem like the Mornington Crescent debates at times on whether (say) Morton’s Reversal should be limited to Circle Line post-Crabbitt junctions only; an absurdity to me but then I'm a purist at heart.

7 September 2011 at 03:27  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Albert

One of the real problems of consequentialism, is that we do not know what all the consequences will be.

Do I not really? Let's see.

How confident could the US be that the Japanese wouldn’t surrender after the USSR declared war on them, especially as they had sought an envoy with them?

About this peace envoy to the Russians. A few individuals in the Japanese Gov't were discussing surrender terms amongst themselves. Unfortunately, the Japanese Gov't had no authority to order the Japanese Army to do anything. In 1945, there was no effective Gov't in Japan outside of the Army and the Army was committed to a fight to the death. Those discussing surrender were doing so secretly for fear of assassination. It doesn't matter what the Gov't was doing. It had no power.

... or that the Emperor’s plans to bring peace, initiated on 22nd June would fail?

The Emperor had the power to end the war any time he wanted. He was the only one who could command the obedience of the Army. In his actual surrender statement, he said he surrendered because of the atomic bombings. Nothing previous had impelled him to exercise his authority.

The 'peace initiative' was ignored by Truman because it didn't meet the condition of Unconditional Surrender. Japan sought to exit the war with its honor intact. The allies were determined to humiliate, discredit, and destroy the militarist gov't of Japan. That's why the 'peace initiatives' weren't going any place.

... or that Japan might give in once they realized they could keep the Emperor?

Because the Army was committed to fight, and there was a chance that Japan could still achieve its objective if the American invaded. Because no Japanese military unit surrendered as an organized unit during the entire course of the war. There were thoughts in the Army to kidnap the Emperor and take him into the mountains. There was an attempted palace coup by the Army to prevent the broadcast of Hirohito's surrender speech. Again, Hirohito could have surrendered at any time. He didn't surrender until after Nagasaki. Not a coincidence.

Even now these matters are argued over! You simply cannot state the premises of your argument as facts.

The future deaths I will state as facts. They would have happened. You have no evidence at all that Japan would have surrendered in the absence of the bombings. But there is no doubt what would have happened if the war had continued even to the end of the year. The POWs would have died. The famine in Japan would have been much worse because the allies were preparing to shift from fire raids to attacking transportation networks. The war in China would have continued. There is no reasonable doubt in my mind.

You have to convince me that Hirohito would have surrendered without the bombings in the same time frame as the bombings produced. This you cannot do. He surrendered when he did, and for the reason he stated. That alone impeaches your case.

I am not sure however why you care. To be consistent you should hold your position even if you were to grant that everything I said was true. You should stand up and say "I would not bomb Hiroshima even if I knew it meant 25,000,000 additional dead." Doesn't sound so noble when put it that light does it.

you are confusing the nature of causality.

No, I understand very well what you are saying. I am not confusing anything. You are not concerned with the collateral impacts your decisions would have because you are not the moral agent directly responsible for those collateral impacts. You would wash your hands and say "I am innocent of their blood." I am not impressed with the idea of saving 80,000 at the cost of millions - especially when most of the millions would be Japanese. Your position is simply incomprehensible to me.

carl

7 September 2011 at 03:34  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Albert

It might have escaped your notice, but the US declared war on Japan. The US never declared war on the Soviet Union - which maybe might have something to do with why the US never lobbed any nukes at the Russians. Once you are involved in a war, things change a bit. You must (and in this order of priority):

1) Win ...
2) ... with the least cost to yourself.
3) ... and the least cost to your enemy.

You don't get any prizes for losing nobly, and you don't win awards for distributing casualties equitably. Let me ask you something. You have never worn a Uniform, have you?

You also don't seem to understand that the Scripture is not a handbook of political science. There is almost nothing in it regarding the relationship between man and state, and even less regarding the proper functioning of a state. Many people commit the error of applying the moral imperatives of the individual to the state. They don't translate. The state for example isn't supposed to turn the other cheek. So don't point to the sermon on the mount and use it to condemn Truman. It's not applicable. A man acting as an officer of the state can do things that a private individual cannot do. Nor does Scripture contain any basis that allows me to weigh the relative value in a war of enemy non-combatants, allied non-combatants, neutrals, enemy soldiers, and allied soldiers. Sorry. You are free to enlighten me if you like. Start with why it would have been a good thing that 400,000 POWs should die so that 200,000 Japanese could live. Do you have any reason other than "Because the Japanese would have killed the 400,000 and we wouldn't have killed the 200,000. It's not about how many die. It's about who does the killing." I hope you have something more than that.

This argument has been very simple really:

You: That act was an atrocity!

Me: What do you offer as an alternative?

You: It doesn't matter. There is a principle at stake.

Me: The alternatives produced are all catastrophically worse in terms of human death then what you call an atrocity.

You: The principle is more important than human death.

Me: I see. You aren't the one who would carry the responsibility of all those deaths, are you?

You: What has that to do with anything?

Me: Indeed.


carl

7 September 2011 at 05:33  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

How come there is no reference in the Christian/Jewish records of how many children and innocents were killed when as claimed, the god of their belief brought down his wrath on Sodom and Gomoragh or sent Noah's indiscriminate flood to drown all and sundry - I jest of course - these are just fairy tale conclusions aren't they.

7 September 2011 at 09:40  
Blogger The Way of the Dodo said...

Dreadnaught

The difference, of course, if you read your Bible, is that the Flood and Sodom and Gomoraugh killed people who were not judged innocent in God's eyes. Noah was spared, as was Lot and his wife, because they were innocent in His eyes.

7 September 2011 at 10:08  
Blogger The Way of the Dodo said...

carl said ...
"Once you are involved in a war, things change a bit. You must (and in this order of priority):

1) Win ...
2) ... with the least cost to yourself.
3) ... and the least cost to your enemy."

This 'justifies' just about anything. No need for the War Trials Tribunal. No need for the Geneva Convention. It's a morally hollow position.

I reiterate the principles I believe should be applied to acts in warfare:

(1) the action itself must not be intrinsically evil;
(2) the evil effect must not be an end in itself or a means to accomplishing the good effect (in other words, it must be a foreseen but undesired side-effect of the action); and
(3) the evil effect must not outweigh the good effect.

If these three conditions are met, the action may be taken in spite of the foreseen damage it will do.

The bombings of Japan were not intended to destroy such significant military targets as to merit the actions. They were intended to display over powering might and bring Japan to its knees i.e an act of terror.

It can be argued the first and third condition were met but surely not the second. The foreseen and intended result of the use of the A bomb was a sheer display of unbridled power such as to enforce surrender. It killed innocent non-combatants.

Lets remind ourselves the thread is about the moral justification of abortion and whether there is a moral principle involved. There is. It's the same one that should be applied in warfare:

"the direct and voluntary killing of an innocent human being is always gravely immoral."

7 September 2011 at 10:22  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

Sorry DoDo it's not my bible but yours; but not to be picky, wasn't the wife of Lot was turned in to a 'pillar of salt'? - neat trick dude! - No malice aforethought there then, and still no mention of the innocents (not even the unborn?)who were presumably also sucked into the maelstrom.

I really don't warm to this god of yours.

7 September 2011 at 11:44  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Dodo

The bombings of Japan were not intended to destroy such significant military targets as to merit the actions.

According to who? You? The standard you quote isn't objective. Certainly I think it meets all three criteria. I have said so repeatedly throughout this thread.

They were intended to display over powering might and bring Japan to its knees i.e an act of terror.

That's a humorous assertion. An overwhelming display of power becomes an act of terror. Most people would call it 'breaking the will of the enemy to fight.' Most people in uniform, that is. I don't know about intellectuals who write articles for academic journals. But then, they don't wear uniforms, or pick up rifles, or hold responsibility for other men's lives. They just write cute little syllogisms on paper.

carl

7 September 2011 at 13:11  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Dodo

If the Inspector found himself in a landing craft, the Japanese mainland in the distance and himself shaking with fear, he’d want Carl Jacobs running the show and he certainly wouldn’t want you in the craft with him.

Little thought has been given to the soldier plucked from domesticity to fight these terrible wars. At the very end is personal survival, high ideals can go to hell. There are no glorious dead, sacrificed for the benefit of “man’s laws of wars” ( a truly disgusting idea, on a par with abortion). There are just the dead, and in the case of both sides, plenty of one parent families and bereaved brides...

7 September 2011 at 14:46  
Blogger Albert said...

Carl,

Sadly, I do not now have the time to blog, aS I did before, so I will limit myself to a few points:

I said: "One of the real problems of consequentialism, is that we do not know what all the consequences will be."

You've given a great long list of reasons why you can. But your reasons fall far short of your conclusion. Only an omniscient being could know all the consequences. Moreover, History doesn't operate according clear necessity, and so it is impossible to know the all consequences. Consequently (!), Historians do not agree on the end of WWII. If Historians cannot, then it simply cannot be known before-hand.

After all, it could have been that Japan did not give in after 8th August. This is clearly a possibility as the US was planning for it. So it could have been that more and more nukes were required. How many would be necessary before it became immoral?

My point therefore, is not to say whether or not your are right about the consequences, but that these consequences (and many others) simply could not be known. The alternative scenarios are simply examples. This means that a consequential system of fails.

the US declared war on Japan. The US never declared war on the Soviet Union

Obviously not, but on your terms, perhaps the US should have done. And if so, it would mean that even Truman was not in fact following the principles he applied to Japan.

There is almost nothing in it regarding the relationship between man and state

General principles of morality apply to all. I grant that some things can only be done by someone with appropriate authority, but the action must still be right in itself. It doesn't suddenly become right, just because someone has authority.

I don't know about intellectuals who write articles for academic journals. But then, they don't wear uniforms, or pick up rifles, or hold responsibility for other men's lives. They just write cute little syllogisms on paper.

So where do your moral principles come from relating to war?

7 September 2011 at 14:56  
Blogger The Way of the Dodo said...

carl

If you accept the three criteria were upheld during the bombings of Japan, then who am I to disagree? I'm no military historian but so far as I understand it, the significance of the military target wass secondary to impressing on Japan the ability to obliterate them if they failed to surrender.

I understood you were actually denying such criteria were applicable in war, come what may. A number of your comments state winning the war is the first duty, not winning the war in a morally defensible or principled manner.

Wonder what the allies would have made of such an act if Germany had perpetrated it on, say, Hartlepool and Bognor Regis in Britain? A legitimate act of war or a war crime?

7 September 2011 at 16:54  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Dodo

If you accept the three criteria were upheld during the bombings of Japan, then who am I to disagree?

You missed my point. All I said was that the bombing had a legitimate military purpose. I was denying that this assertion was applicable:

...the evil effect must not be an end in itself or a means to accomplishing the good effect (in other words, it must be a foreseen but undesired side-effect of the action)

I do not find 'Just War Doctrine' binding, nor do I find it objective enough to acually apply. And I certainly am not going to credit any application of said Doctrine that willfully trades up 200,000 casualities for 25 million. If your principles lead you to that conclusion, then there is either something whacked about your principles, or you are applying them wrong.

A number of your comments state winning the war is the first duty, not winning the war in a morally defensible or principled manner.

I have to ask. Would you have advocated losing the Second World War on principle, or are you just playing word games?

The list I provided would not be unusual to any commander. He knows his responsibility, and he knows he is subject to the Laws of War according to his own nations laws. That isn't the issue here. You are claiming that the atomic bombings were in fact war crimes. No, they weren't. They served a legitimate military purpose. That purpose achieved its objective.

btw, I have not failed to notice that none of my opponents have offered any credible alternative other than the historically illiterate suggestion that Japan was going to surrender anyways. Well, if we were to grant the truth of that statement, why would it be true? It wasn't because of the Marianas or Iwo Jima or Okinawa or military reversal in China. It was because American submarines were torpedoing every Japanese ship in sight, and American bombers were burining out Japanese cities. Economic collapse, massive populaton displacement, and above all the looming food shortage were the principle motives for surrender. This is morally different from Hiroshima?

If you say "Yes, it is." you impeach your own principles. Famine is worse than Hiroshima. If you say "No it isn't" you make your own position contemptible. And as always we return to the self-same question. How would you have ended the war without that God-awful bloody invasion? There is a reason you won't touch that question. And we all know what it is.

carl

7 September 2011 at 18:20  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Dodo

If you accept the three criteria were upheld during the bombings of Japan, then who am I to disagree?

You missed my point (because I didn't make it very well). All I said was that the bombing had a legitimate military purpose. I was denying that this assertion was applicable:

...the evil effect must not be an end in itself or a means to accomplishing the good effect (in other words, it must be a foreseen but undesired side-effect of the action)

Even if I accepted your criteria as binding, I would not consider the bombing to be a violation. I do not find 'Just War Doctrine' binding, nor do I find it objective enough to acually apply. And I certainly am not going to credit any application of said Doctrine that willfully trades up 200,000 casualities for 25 million. If your principles lead you to that conclusion, then there is either something whacked about your principles, or you are applying them wrong.

A number of your comments state winning the war is the first duty, not winning the war in a morally defensible or principled manner.

I have to ask. Would you have advocated losing the Second World War on principle, or are you just playing word games?

The list I provided would not be unusual to any commander. He knows his responsibility, and he knows he is subject to the Laws of War according to his own nations laws. That isn't the issue here. You are claiming that the atomic bombings were in fact war crimes. No, they weren't. They served a legitimate military purpose. They achieved that purpose.

btw, I have not failed to notice that my opponents have offered no credible alternative other than the historically illiterate suggestion that Japan was going to surrender anyways. Well, if we were to grant the truth of that statement, why would it be true? It wasn't because of the Marianas or Iwo Jima or Okinawa or military reversal in China. It was because American submarines were torpedoing every Japanese ship in sight, and American bombers were burining out Japanese cities. Economic collapse, massive population displacement, and above all the looming food shortage were the principle motives for surrender. This is morally different from Hiroshima?

If you say "Yes, it is." you impeach your own principles. Famine is worse than Hiroshima. If you say "No it isn't" you make your own position contemptible. And as always we return to the self-same question. How would you have ended the war without that God-awful bloody invasion? There is a reason you won't touch that question. And we all know what it is.

carl

7 September 2011 at 18:28  
Blogger whitespacebug said...

Dodo,

Thanks for the recommendation.

7 September 2011 at 18:59  
Blogger Albert said...

Carl,

I have not failed to notice that my opponents have offered no credible alternative other than the historically illiterate suggestion that Japan was going to surrender anyways

No one has argued that, as far as I remember. What has been argued is that the consequences of any action couldn't be known and thus, you can't resolve this one by a simple calculation. This statement of yours, indicates we have been at crossed-purposes.

Who, this time last year would have predicted the downfall of Gadaffi, or the day before, the way the world would change on 9/11? Who can predict all the evil consequences of any war? By defeating Germany in 1918 we made her twice as much a child of hell as she was before. Perhaps dropping a nuclear bomb on Japan could have had a similar effect on her, or just made the whole world more violent by brutalising it. And yet, you think you can come up with accurate figures, from before the events took place!

These matters of consequences are beyond us, and thus we cannot trump a command "Thou shalt do no murder" with a consequences sum.

Secondly, your principles remain unclear and the sources of them. It appears that you think even the most basic divine law "Thou shalt do no murder" can be trumped by a man in authority armed with enough maths.

Thirdly, you have not shown why other wars were not fought, that ought to have been fought on your principles.

Fourthly, you have not shown how your position allows things like war crimes.

Fifthly, you have offered arguments that decrease the responsibility for crimes against humanity, from those who perpetrated them and pass some of the blame onto those who did not stop them.

Sixthly, you have offered no explanation as to how God is not wicked for permitting evil.

that willfully trades up 200,000 casualities for 25 million

If you divided those proportions down, wouldn't you actually be supporting the murder of small numbers of innocent healthy people to save much larger numbers of sick people? Do you? If not, why not?

It does seem rather harsh of you to come down heavily on Dodo and me for not following your principles, if you do not follow them yourself.

I have to ask. Would you have advocated losing the Second World War on principle, or are you just playing word games?

I think it is profoundly absurd to try to beat an opponent for his crimes, by using the very same crimes against him. Unless some moral principles are involved in the actual fighting, it risks just becoming violence.

7 September 2011 at 19:20  
Blogger The Way of the Dodo said...

carl said ...
"It (Japan's surrender) was because American submarines were torpedoing every Japanese ship in sight, and American bombers were burining out Japanese cities. Economic collapse, massive population displacement, and above all the looming food shortage were the principle motives for surrender. This is morally different from Hiroshima?"

You haven't quite got it, have you? I confess too I am finding it difficult tokeep up with your switching of grounds in the discussion.

Right is right and wrong is wrong.
The deliberate, wilful taking of an innocent life is wrong. One minute you argue the deaths were 'collateral' as the targets were military. The next, you are arguing the 'end justified the means'. Which is it?

Morality requires strenuous efforts to avoid harming innocents. It does not require that no innocents be harmed. Such a result is impossible. As tragic as it is, innocents die in war.

The law of "double-effect" means this it is permissible to undertake an action which has two effects, one good and one evil.

You are now implying that conventional war methods were proving decisive - just taking too long. If true, the A bombs can only be defended on the grounds that the Japanese deaths as a result of the A bombs were less than waiting for the inevitable surrender.

You say the deliberate, intended deaths of innocent people was a justifiable sacrifice.

I disagree!

"The direct and voluntary killing of an innocent human being is always gravely immoral."

This applies in abortion and also in war.

7 September 2011 at 20:13  
Blogger Albert said...

You say the deliberate, intended deaths of innocent people was a justifiable sacrifice.

Calls to mind the following:

But one of them, Ca'iaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, "You know nothing at all; you do not understand that it is expedient for you that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation should not perish."

There are many reasons why John tells us this, but isn't part of it meant to be that we are supposed to be quite shocked by it?

7 September 2011 at 22:02  
Blogger The Way of the Dodo said...

Albert

I'm always amazed at the vast and deep insights to be gleened from the Passion of Christ.

It reveals so much, on so many levels, about human nature, morality, leadership, manipulation, forgiveness and betrayal in human affairs.

7 September 2011 at 23:18  
Blogger Ivan said...

carl for what it is worth, I agree with the morality of your analysis totally. Pres Truman took the shortest way home. He was responsible for the lives of his servicemen. As an aside it is interesting that Gen MacArtur who is quoted as having said that the Japanese could have been defeated by conventional means, was himself removed by Truman when he wanted to extend the Korean War into China - an extension that involves the use of the same atomic weapons.



Ivan

9 September 2011 at 01:47  
Blogger Shacklefree said...

Whitespacebug, said “I'm just waiting for Shacklefree to mention Boer War concentration camps now.”
Thank you for remembering me. I have been out of office and am struggling to catch up with all the comments on this blog. It is indeed a thorny issue and I understand the genuine reasons for making the arguments but I am with Albert when he said. “I am in fact hugely sympathetic to Truman. I understand how he may have come to make that decision, but I cannot see how it can be justified on Christian grounds.” Looking back in history we can see how Christianity weakened itself when it accepted pragmatic policies (selling indulgences, divine right of Kings, divorce etc. and now abortion and weapons of mass destruction) rather than following the clear teaching of Christ.

9 September 2011 at 12:35  

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