Hiroshima, part 2

Hiroshima, part 2

The bombing of Hiroshima troubles our conscience in light of this clear statement from The Catechism of the Catholic Church: “Every act of war directed to the indiscriminate destruction of whole cities or vast areas with their inhabitants is a crime against God and humanity, which merits firm and unequivocal condemnation. A danger of modern warfare is that it provides the opportunity to those who possess modern scientific weapons – especially atomic, biological, or chemical weapons – to use them” (CCC #2314; cf. also Gaudium et Spes #80).

The statement uses the phrase “modern scientific weapons.” Nuclear weapons do have a special destructive power and they are in some way indiscriminate in their very nature. Reportedly President Truman remarked “I don’t think we ought to use this thing [the A-Bomb] unless we absolutely have to. It is a terrible thing to order the use of something that (here he looked down at his desk, rather reflectively) that is so terribly destructive, destructive beyond anything we have ever had. You have got to understand that this isn’t a military weapon. (I shall never forget this particular expression). It is used to wipe out women and children and unarmed people, and not for military uses.” (David Lilienthal, The Journals of David E. Lilienthal, Vol. Two, p. 391)

Sasesbo Japan, firebombed

Other scientific weapons, used with the precision of scientific calculation, could do equal devastation. The firebombing of Japan, under the command of Curtis LeMay (assisted by Robert McNamara, cf. the documentary, Fog of War) did indeed more damage: 330,000 civilians killed, 446,000 civilians wounded, 6 million civilians displaced, 2.51 million homes destroyed (Edward P Hoyt, Inferno: The Firebombing of Japan).

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