Atomic Bombs & Terrorism, Rationalizations & Immorality

Yesterday was the 65th anniversary of Hiroshima day. I’d actually been thinking about that event off and on recently. It’s representative of what is wrong with Americans specifically and humanity in general.

A lot of people were killed in the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The sad part was that the bombs were designed to kill a lot more, but for two reasons the death toll was lower. As I recall, the bomb dropped on Hiroshima failed to cause as big of an explosion as was designed to cause. So, instead of killing as many people, it left many of them severely injured. And, as I recall, the bomb targeted for Nagasaki was accidentally dropped on a nearby village and so the people of Nagasaki didn’t get a direct hit.

Still, the death and suffering caused was immense. More importantly, it was unnecessary. The Japanese military was decimated to the point of non-existence. The Japanese had practically no defense. Many Americans like to rationalize that the bombings were necessary, but such rationalizations have absolutely no validity. The people who espouse such rationalizations are brainwashed by patriotic propaganda. 

The rationalization is two part. First, the rationalizers say that Japan wouldn’t surrender. This is only partly true. The emperor and many others wanted to surrender, but some leaders didn’t want to surrender. However, it didn’t really matter. Since they couldn’t defend themselves, surrender was inevitable and it wouldn’t have taken long. Secondly, the rationalizers argue that we would’ve had to send troops onto the Japanese islands in order to force them to surrender. This would’ve caused many more deaths and so killing all the innocent Japanese civilians helped reduce the death of innocent American soldiers. This is utter bullshit. We didn’t need to do anything. The Japanese were stuck on an island. They were trapped and defenseless. All we had to do was surround them with our navy in order to create a blockade and wait until the people started to starve.

At the point we dropped the nuclear bombs, we had already been firebombing their major cities to oblivion. The war was over at that point. The nuclear bombs accomplished nothing in terms of practical military tactics. These cities were civilian populations. Dropping bombs on cities in order to terrorize the population is the very definition of a war crime. This bombing was the largest and most horrific terrorist attack in all of the world’s history. As Americans, we should be ashamed. We have absolutely no moral superiority over anyone.

The reason why this has occupied my mind is because I personally know of someone who has made these very rationalizations (I first discussed this in a much earlier post: Morality: Christians vs. Jesus). This person considers themselves to be a good Christian and tries to live a good Christian life. Still, this person is able to blindly accept this propagandistic rationalization. This person’s national pride is greater than their personal sense of morality. If someone can rationalize such a horrendous act of terrorism, there is absolutely nothing that such a person couldn’t rationalize. That is scary. This person is completely normal by society’s standards. In fact, this person would be considered a respectable community leader. I understand that people of other nationalities just as easily rationalize the war crimes their own governments have commited. That is what is sad. This ability to rationalize anything is normal for humans. This is the state of humanity. There is nothing humans won’t do to other humans, nothing that humans can’t rationalize.

I’ve heard many people say that Japan deserved it because they attacked us first. Sure. And the serial killer says the whores deserved being killed for being whores. In terms of an eye for an eye, we all deserve horrible punishment. But, as a wise man once said, an eye for an eye leads to everyone being blind. Forgiveness and understanding is a better option. I can promise you that Americans better hope that America never gets what it deserves. The US govt has committed genocide, supported dictators, and of course obliterated whole cities. If America ever gets what it deserves, the entire US will be wiped from the face of the earth.

Democrat Corruption? Liberal Scandals?

I’m an unrepentant liberal with strong interest in liberal views and interests. I do, however, go out of my way to try to see the world from other views as well. I check out the views of anarchists, libertarians, Tea Party protesters, rightwing bloggers, intelligent conservative news (such as Wall Street Journal), etc. I even stay moderately informed of what comes from Fox News reporters and pundits.

Still, I’m biased and I don’t hide my bias. Despite my liberal rants and complaints, I do believe that truth matters more than ideology. I consider my liberalism as more of an attitude than a specific position on political issues. I want to be fair and I try to be fair… but am I being fair?

I’ve recently noted many scandals involving Republicans and conservatives in general. Just this past week there has been some doozies. In order to be fair, I was trying to think of what recent major scandals have involved Democrats and liberals in general. Over the past year, there has been endless criticisms of supposed associates (past and present) with people deemed by rightwing pundits as socialists, communists, terrorists or whatever. These allegations have had some real world impact on the careers of certain people, but they’re not exactly scandals on the level of it being revealed that Bush covered up the fact that many Gitmo detainees were known to be innocent.

The two biggest alleged liberal scandals involved ACORN and the Climategate e-mails. However, both of those incidents were investigated and officials determined that no illegal or immoral activities happened with either. The real scandal about ACORN turned out to be the guy who made it all up by editing and splicing video. His moral character was made evident when he was caught doing some other illegal activities that sent him to jail for a time (the judge released him but required him to live with his parents).

So, where are the liberal scandals? Ignoring the empty allegations of a socialist conspiracy, where are the concretely proven failures of liberal and Democrat leaders? Am I missing something? Or have Republicans become more corrupt than Democrats?

Religiosity, Morality, Society, Dysfunction

I was reading this article by the religious scholar D.M. Murdock.

http://www.examiner.com/x-17009-Freethought-Examiner~y2009m9d11-Does-religion-cause-immorality

She was writing about Gregory S. Paul.  He is a respected paleontologist, but Murdock was writing about his analysis of data correlating religiosity and societal dysfunction.  Here are two papers he wrote.

http://www.epjournal.net/filestore/EP07398441_c.pdf

http://www.ffrf.org/timely/Religion&Society.pdf

He considered multiple factors (from the first link):

Religiosity – “absolute belief in a supernatural creator deity (a superior measure of religious devotion than general belief in God because the latter includes partial doubters), Bible literalism (a proxy for the conservatism of mass faith), frequent attendance at religious services and frequency of prayer that measure religious activity, belief in an afterlife, agnostics and atheists, and acceptance of human descent from animals which is also a measure of creationist opinion”
 
Societal dysfunction – “homicide, incarceration, juvenile mortality, lifespan, adolescent and all age gonorrhea and syphilis infections, adolescent abortion, adolescent births, youth and all age suicide, fertility, marriage, marriage duration, divorce, life satisfaction, alcohol consumption, corruption, income, income disparity, poverty, employment, work hours and resource exploitation base”

There have been some critics of Paul’s analysis.  Even though his analysis emphasizes correlation over causation, the authors of the following article seem to focus their criticism on the causation angle.

http://moses.creighton.edu/JRS/2006/2006-1.html

The authors say there is no clear relationship between either religion or secularism and moral behavior.  This isn’t really much of a criticism as it still undermines the commonsense view that religion obviously supports morality, and so this criticism seems to support Paul’s general view or at least not be in direct conflict with it.

More interesting is the analysis of Gary F. Jensen who is also responding to Paul, but using a different criticsm. 

http://moses.creighton.edu/JRS/pdf/2006-7.pdf

Jensen concludes that it’s important which details one considers.  Speaking about religiosity alone is too general, and so doesn’t allow clear and accurate conclusions.  His research demonstrates that religious cultures that show dysfunction (e.g., United States) are those that emphasize negative religious convictions such as belief in the Devil and Hell.  Religious cultures that emphasize a good God or a positive/peaceful relationship with the divine don’t have these high levels of societal dysfunction.