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Dear Catholic.com visitor: Summer is here, and you may be thinking about a well-deserved vacation, family get-togethers, BBQs with neighborhood friends. More than likely, making a donation to Catholic Answers is not on your radar right now. But this is exactly the time we most need your help. The “summer slowdown” in donations is upon us, but the work of spreading the gospel and explaining and defending the Faith never takes a break. Your gift today will change lives and save souls for Christ this summer! The reward is eternal. Thank you and God bless.

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(Encore) Was Dropping the Atom Bomb Moral?

With “Oppenheimer” filling up the cinemas, and today being the anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima, we take a look back at an earlier episode we produced about the morality of dropping the atom bomb.

Can a Catholic assent to blowing up entire cities? What about when to do so will save perhaps millions of lives? Catholic Answers President Chris Check joins us as we consider again America’s use of Atomic weapons to end a long, bitter war with Japan.


Cy Kellett:

Why would a Catholic support nuking Hiroshima and Nagasaki? Chris Check is next.

Cy Kellett:

Hello, and welcome to Focus, the Catholic answers podcast for living, understanding and defending your Catholic faith. I’m Cy Kellett your host, and this week, as this episode is posted, we’re commemorating the anniversary of the dropping of nuclear weapons on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, that’s commemorated at the beginning of each August. And so we thought we’d take this opportunity to look at a little bit of video from Prager University, a very fine outfit on the internet that posts videos on various topics. In this one, a Catholic priest Father Wilson Miscamble, professor of history at Notre Dame University, explains why he feels that we should absolutely be supporting the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Let’s start by a quick listen to what Father had to say.

Father Wilson Miscamble:

President Harry S. Truman’s decision to use atomic weapons against the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki proved to be one of the most controversial decisions in American history. As the years have passed, the controversy has only intensified. More and more people, both in America and abroad, have condemned both President Truman and America for that decision, but this criticism is based on limited historical knowledge of both the situation Truman confronted and the basis for his decision.

Cy Kellett:

First of all, what we need to say is, Father, Miscamble is wrong in that. Not all of the opposition to what the United States did in dropping the bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki is rooted in history at all, or that is a misunderstanding of history. There’s another dimension to human life, an entire dimension, that Father refuses to engage with, and I have to say it’s somewhat disturbing to see a Catholic priest in the Roman collar representing himself as an authority at Prager University who refuses to confront the moral dimension, the moral side of human life.

Cy Kellett:

History can’t tell us what we should do. It can only tell us what was happening, and we can concede everything that Father says about the history. As a matter of fact, Father is a very good historian, and we do concede every bit of what he says about the history, but that doesn’t mean we have to agree with his conclusion. As a matter of fact, we don’t, and should not, agree with his conclusions about the conduct of the war in the dropping of those bombs. Here’s a little bit more of what father had to say.

Father Wilson Miscamble:

The atomic bombs forced Emperor Hirohito to understand clearly, and in a way, his military leaders refused to comprehend that the defense of the homeland was hopeless.

Cy Kellett:

Father is unquestionably right about that. The destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki terrorized the emperor into quitting the war, and that’s a good thing. Giving up the war was a good thing. So we don’t argue with the historical facts here. Does that mean just because there wasn’t a historical efficiency was achieved, that it’s okay to mass murder women and children?

Cy Kellett:

It’s very disturbing to see a Catholic priest arguing that, and that’s what we’re going to talk with our president, Chris Check, about. He’s a historian in his own right, and he is a former artillery officer for the United States Marine Corps. And here’s what he had to say about the ethical question, the moral question, the question that Father Miscamble does not deal with when it comes to the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Chris Check, President of Catholic Answers. Thank you for being here with us to talk about, perhaps, one of the most controversial things that comes up at this time every year.

Chris Check:

Yeah, get ready for the emails.

Cy Kellett:

August 6th, 1945, the United States dropped a nuclear bomb on Hiroshima, and then August 9th, dropped a nuclear bomb on Nagasaki, followed shortly thereafter by the surrender of Japan and the end of the Second World War. So that’s why this comes up every year at this time. We remember it. It doesn’t seem like there’s too many people still debating the morality of this thing except us Catholics. It seems like here in the US, Catholics are about 50-50 on this.

Chris Check:

I think among Evangelical Protestants, probably.

Cy Kellett:

Is there? Yeah. Okay.

Chris Check:

Whatever conservative means, Republicans or Evangelical Protestants. You’d probably find a majority supportive of the act. But yeah, my principal interest now is, or question, why are there still Catholics who try to defend a gravely immoral act? Am I giving it away too early? [crosstalk 00:04:57] Why are there Catholics trying to defend a gravely immoral act, in particular, because it doesn’t comport with 2,000 years of church teaching, the Natural Law scripture, and the statements of Popes, the Vatican Council in the wake of the event, and very fine theologians. I think of Fulton Sheen who called it, “Our national sin.”

Cy Kellett:

Did he really? I didn’t know that. God bless Fulton Sheen. Well, but we’re Americans first.

Chris Check:

[crosstalk 00:05:30]Venerable Fulton Sheen? Where is he?

Cy Kellett:

Who knows?

Chris Check:

[crosstalk 00:05:35] Well, we know his relics got brought back to Peoria. Right?

Cy Kellett:

Do we know that? [crosstalk 00:05:41] Sorry, I apologize for that.

Chris Check:

Yeah. Our national sin. Our national sin.

Cy Kellett:

Well, it’s funny, because I was talking to my mother and father who are in their 80s, and so they were children at the time of the bombing, just a few weeks ago. And I said, “What did people think when this happened?” And they both said, “Everybody knew this was horrible. Everybody knew.” That didn’t mean that everybody knew it was immoral, but everybody knew, “Oh, something horrible has happened.”

Chris Check:

I think it’s safe to say Truman knew it was a horrible thing.

Cy Kellett:

Oh, Good Lord, yes.

Chris Check:

And it’s in the correspondence when there’s the suggestion of dropping a third. He says, “No, no. The thought of another a hundred thousand lives is too horrible to contemplate.” So he knew what he was doing.

Cy Kellett:

Right, right, but recently at Prager University, Dennis Prager has this thing called Prager University, which does wonderful work in many, many areas. But you said, “Why are Catholics still debating this?” They got a Catholic priest from Notre Dame to explain to us why, really, there should be no controversy about this. If you understood the history of it, you would be completely supportive of what Harry Truman and the United States Army Air Corps did in dropping these bombs.

Chris Check:

Yes. Father Miscamble.

Cy Kellett:

Wilson Miscamble, I think. [crosstalk 00:07:03] Father Wilson Miscamble, a historian from Notre Dame University.

Chris Check:

Yeah. He actually wrote a book, and now I’m forgetting the full name of it. But nonetheless, the gist of his argument is his little four-minute video, distills what I think is the principal argument. And that is, it ended the war, and because it did, it was the right decision.

Chris Check:

In fact, George Weigel said this in First Things within the past couple of years. “It was the correct decision.”

Cy Kellett:

I wasn’t aware of that.

Chris Check:

That was the word that Weigel used. Now, does he mean morally correct? He doesn’t exactly say. He’s ambiguous.

Cy Kellett:

But this is not a thing to be ambiguous about it because you can solve a lot of problems by killing innocent people.

Chris Check:

Well, by the way, this is what the pro-abortion industry says. “We will spare that child a life of poverty and misery.”

Cy Kellett:

And the mother can go to college.

Chris Check:

Yes, by killing him.

Cy Kellett:

Right.

Chris Check:

Yeah.

Cy Kellett:

Yeah, so then the debate becomes, well, were these military targets, and here, a raw fact is helpful and, I think, clarifying. Almost everyone who died was a civilian. So the question of whether they were military targets must include the actual historical fact that almost everyone who died was a civilian.

Chris Check:

Yeah, the vast majority. And between the two cities, what is, about 130, 140,000, something like that?

Cy Kellett:

No one’s completely certain, but somewhere between about 100,000 and 140,000 over the first four months after the bombing died.

Chris Check:

Right. So if, in fact, we were intending to target factories, for example, that were supporting the military machine of Japan, if we could even call it that at that point in the war, right? No air power. Right? Then we would have dropped the bombs on the suburbs where all the factories were, but instead, the city centers were the Ground Zero, where the civilian population was the highest. And so then the question that defenders will raise is, “Well, in modern warfare, who is a civilian?”

Cy Kellett:

There is an answer to that question. [crosstalk 00:09:31] The Japanese, it was all military. They were all going to fight. There is actually a difference between a civilian and a military person. There is a definitive difference.

Chris Check:

Yeah. My favorite is that eight-year-old Japanese boys were sharpening the bamboo sticks.

Cy Kellett:

So you can kill eight-year-old Japanese boys?

Chris Check:

Precisely, and it’s horrifying, and I don’t mean to laugh about it, but it’s a laughable argument, because we can…now I recommend Elizabeth Anscombe, who was a philosopher at Oxford at the time. She had a fellowship, and Oxford was going to give, so this is after the war, they were going to give an honorary degree to Harry Truman, and she wrote an argument opposed to it. You can find it online. It’s called Mr. Truman’s Degree. I recommend it. One of the points, and she takes up this question at length. Who’s innocent, and who isn’t? And one of the things that she very cogently argues in there is, that simply because lines are difficult to draw, doesn’t mean that there are not obvious groups on either side of the line.

Cy Kellett:

Exactly. A point well made. Right. That’s exactly right.

Chris Check:

Absolutely. So to be sure, most of the people who died in the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and, by the way, in the fire bombings of Tokyo and Dresden, were innocent civilians. They were innocent civilians, and this was the intent of the dropping of the bombs. They were acts of terror. They were designed to incite terror.

Cy Kellett:

So that you would resign from the battlefield. The idea was to so terrorize the Japanese, that there was no question that you had to leave the battlefield.

Chris Check:

And in so many ways, Cy, and I don’t mean to get too far afield, because Father Miscamble can get us caught up in the argument of, was this strategically a good move? I don’t even like to use the word good here, because that suggests something moral. Was it effective?

Cy Kellett:

It was effective.

Chris Check:

He uses the word efficient, right?

Cy Kellett:

[crosstalk 00:11:52] Efficient or effective?

Chris Check:

But our concern is, was it a morally just act? And the Catholic Church has a very, very longstanding tradition of evaluating actions leading to, and in the course of, prosecuting war that date back as far as Saint Augustine, who actually uses pre-Christian thinkers like Cicero in developing the just war theory. And one of these principles is that non-combatants, innocent civilians, are not to be harmed, are not to be deliberately harmed. And this is stated in the catechism today.

Cy Kellett:

Right, and it really couldn’t be any clearer. It does seem to me…

Chris Check:

I agree with you.

Cy Kellett:

The teaching couldn’t be any clearer. You cannot deliberately attack innocence. You cannot do that in the womb. You cannot do that when they are elderly and inconvenient. You cannot do that when they are Japanese citizens going about their business, doing their marketing for the day. You cannot attack innocent civilians. You cannot.

Chris Check:

And in the world of modern warfare, of course, this takes on a whole new scale that magnifies the evil and makes it even more horrifying. So the catechism quotes Gaudiem et Spes. “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. 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 commit such crimes.” That is precisely what was done at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. [Crosstalk 00:13:54]

Cy Kellett:

And the Church say you can’t do that, and half of American Catholics say, “Well, in this case, you could,” because as Father Miscamble says, “Well, if you really understood the history, you’d understood how many lives this saved.”

Chris Check:

Yeah. So this does interest me, why American Catholics in as large numbers as you say, and I think it is probably about half. The last survey I saw, and this was from 2009, so maybe it’s changed, but let’s just say it’s about half. So I wonder why, and I think there’s a couple of reasons.

Cy Kellett:

Yes. Okay. Okay. So go ahead.

Chris Check:

[crosstalk 00:14:35] So one, I think, is just the whole question of distance.

Cy Kellett:

This fascinates me, because I read your article about this, and this is fascinating.

Chris Check:

So there’s actually a Catholic theorist, Lieutenant Colonel Dave Grossman. He’s really, I think I met him one time, a long time ago, and he’s actually developed a whole school, if you will, of what he calls Killology. And he wrote a book called On Killing, and the data that he collects, and the numbers are overwhelming, is that if you’re proximate to the act of killing, so for example, you’re going to ram your bayonet into the abdomen of your enemy, there’s going to be some reluctance on the part of the soldier, but he found no instances of reluctance. And there’s a ton of data, for example, of an artilleryman, or in the case of a fire bomber of Dresden. And to use the example we’re talking about today, Colonel Tibbets?

Cy Kellett:

Colonel Tibbets, yeah.

Chris Check:

Was the flyer of the Enola Gay. And this man said he slept well every night, felt no guilt for what he did, and in fact, at air shows after the war, reenacted the dropping of the atomic bomb. Can you imagine something so horribly vile continuing to stir up this jingoism post hoc affirmation of the event.

Cy Kellett:

Right. Right. Which is, I think…

Chris Check:

It’s ghastly.

Cy Kellett:

Here’s where we get to the nub of why we have to have these conversations is, that that backward looking defensiveness about what we did makes it more likely that we’ll do it again, and if it’s not us, somebody else will do it again, because we justified it so many times. So you have to have these conversations, and they have to be stark and brutal to get to the brutal facts.

Cy Kellett:

So this is what fascinates me about your argument about distance. Would Father Miscamble argue that if you could send Marines in and one by one shoot the women and children of Hiroshima until the emperor gave in, that you should do that, because it would save millions of lives? Or would he say, “No, that is horrific. You can’t have the Marines do that.” Because the proximity of putting the bullet in the brain of a child is much more viscerally convincing than just blowing up an entire city.

Chris Check:

Yeah, but the consequence is the same.

Cy Kellett:

It’s the same. You get the same result. [crosstalk 00:17:27] You terrorize the emperor by killing the children of Japan.

Chris Check:

Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Well, I would hope he would react badly to that.

Cy Kellett:

Or would he say, “Well, millions of lives were saved, and the Japanese were never going to surrender, and this was the only option, because it was going to be,” I forget, Okinawa all the way up and down or whatever the example he gave was. All the way up and down the islands. All of these things pad the fact that no, what you’re saying is, “Take 100,000 civilians, put a bullet in their head one by one.” Yeah. You would not say yes to that, but you’ll say yes to blowing them up from the sky.

Chris Check:

Right. Yes. And I don’t mean to distract from what you and I are really getting at here, which is an evaluation of the morality of the act. But I think even these charges now, that millions of lives were saved, that even the estimates of the War Department at the time, I think a land invasion, they guessed, maybe would have cost 50,000 American lives. Something like that. Now, I’m not in favor of that.

Cy Kellett:

That’s worth saving.

Chris Check:

Yep.

Cy Kellett:

50,000 American lives is worth saving.

Chris Check:

Yeah, but I’m just saying that justifications for the act tend to be exaggerated in the data. [crosstalk 00:18:45]

Cy Kellett:

Well, Eisenhower for example, didn’t think that.

Chris Check:

[crosstalk 00:18:48]Eisenhower, Halsey, Nimitz. All of these guys, soldiers, right?

Cy Kellett:

Who were there and were privy to the information.

Chris Check:

Serious military minds said, “This is not a weapon of military use to us.” But to your point, Cy, Americans are very good at justifying ourselves, and we have a history of this. And I think this is the second reason. A kind of Americanism, I think, is the second reason why American Catholics embrace or accept, at least in the large numbers they do, because it’s my country right or wrong. So the devil is at his best when he is using our strengths against us, and we have strong patriotic feelings in this country. We truly do. I don’t think other countries fly flags on Independence Day the way we do.

Cy Kellett:

Well, we have an awesome flag and an awesome country.

Chris Check:

Right. Yes. Okay. Very well. So, and then, listen, I’m very proud to live in America, to have served in the Marine Corps, but we’re very good at justifying our actions, and we have been for a long time. We think about the westward expansion, that whole idea of Manifest Destiny, for example, and the justifications, the frankly, divine, rhetoric that was used to say, “We represent the incarnation in the New World against the heathen, against the barbarian and we’re bringing it west.” And this is how guys like Herman Melville, for example, spoke during the westward expansion. So we have this shining city on a hill image that begins with the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Kennedy used it. Reagan used it, and we’re America. We’re number one. Greatest country ever. I recently heard a Catholic priest say that from the pulpit. Now, again, wealthiest, most powerful, but when I think about literature, I’m going to go with England, right? When I think about…

Cy Kellett:

Russia.

Chris Check:

Russia. Sure.

Cy Kellett:

No, you went with England.

Chris Check:

Okay. Look, I could be arguing to Russia. Right?

Cy Kellett:

Well, there is Shakespeare.

Chris Check:

When I think about painting…

Cy Kellett:

Ireland.

Chris Check:

I was going to say Italy. Architecture, France.

Cy Kellett:

Yeah.

Chris Check:

In any case, I know some people are going to accuse me of being Unamerican. Again. I wish to underscore I served in the Marine Corps. It’s not that, but we get caught up in an enthusiasm about ourselves, and it’s the devil taking our patriotic feelings and converting them into nationalism. And he turns them against us. So I think that’s the other reason. Well, America did it. So that can’t have been wrong, that we did it, because we’re America.

Cy Kellett:

And there is also a defensiveness about the Second World War generation. People need to know the Second World War generation was not of one mind about this. Many heroes, Medal of Honor winners of the second war said never would they have done this. So we don’t have to defend them by defending the actions of the people who did this. Even if we say we defend the people. Even if I say, “I don’t want to be angry at Harry Truman, I don’t ever want to have the responsibility that Harry Truman had at those moments. I don’t know what I would have done given that. That’s all fine.” But in retrospect, you have to be morally clear, or in the future, you will not be morally clear.

Chris Check:

Yes, and this is not a war that can be won.

Cy Kellett:

What do you mean?

Chris Check:

Well, I’m just saying that the presence of nuclear weapons now, or weapons of mass destruction, so we can throw in biological or chemical in there, are so prevalent that I believe that once that Pandora’s box gets reopened, how does one even talk about nuclear strategy? What does that mean? This is why I told you earlier this morning when we were talking. I think Stanley Kubrick really is the guy who’s gotten his imagination around the insanity with Dr. Strangelove. Yeah. That brilliant performance by Peter Sellers because it is so evil, and it’s the combination of evil and insane.

Cy Kellett:

Yeah. Right. Right. There’s a certain way in which our generation, I don’t know. We were raised in a time where nuclear war with the Soviet Union was a consideration. I think now people feel like, well, we’ve crossed the danger period, but I think that they’re exactly wrong about that. The danger period is in front of us, not behind us, and that people are going to use nuclear weapons again.

Chris Check:

Yeah. Yes. I think that you are right. I’m probably feeling a little complacent, and I should hear what you’re saying there a little bit better, but I will say that that Cold War period and mutually assured destruction and detente or whatever, I think that was a period during which a lot of American Catholics living in that time looked back on Hiroshima and Nagasaki and justified it, because now, look at this conflict we’re in with Russia.

Cy Kellett:

Right. Right. So you had to buck up [crosstalk 00:24:44].

Chris Check:

Its so horrible.

Cy Kellett:

But is also the case, I think it is actually reasonable to argue that the Russians, even when they were under the influence of the evil communists, they’re not a people who are suicidal. They’re not a people who are insane. And so the fact that it was Russians and Americans facing one another is different than what’s going to be the case in the future, where individual terrorist cells have these weapons or countries who are run by actual maniacs in a way that as evil as a person, like Khrushchev, for example, or Brezhnev is, there are different forms of evil, and some are quite insane, and they will fling a nuclear weapon at you.

Chris Check:

So with Russia and with the United States, of course, although we’re in the post-Christian era now, or even anti-Christian era, these are nonetheless countries both, or peoples both that trace their origins to Christianity. And that is not the case with some who may potentially have use of nuclear weapons.

Cy Kellett:

Right, and there’s some question about what Christian vestiges will be left 100 years from now. And so I do think we have to have these conversations, because to me, it seems we’re heading into a more dangerous time, not less, when you see people like the North Koreans, for example, having vast nuclear arsenals, and others are not far behind. It’s not the hardest technical and scientific problem in the world. It was solved by Americans in 1945. In 2045, a lot more people will have solved it. We better start dealing with this in a more rational way.

Chris Check:

Yeah, and I think Catholics need to take the lead, and we do that first by cleaning our own moral house, clarifying our own moral thinking, I should say.

Cy Kellett:

And at some points saying things like, “You cannot use these weapons morally,” except in the most unlikely of circumstances where an enemy is masked in a way that, yeah, you could fling a nuclear bomb at the Japanese fleet masked off the coast of Pearl Harbor, and I don’t think there would be a more problem with that. It’s extremely unlikely that that situation is going to occur, and that’s the terms under which these are going to be used.

Chris Check:

Yeah, the moral use of these kinds of weapons would be a much, much smaller warhead then what, in the main, populates the arsenal right now.

Cy Kellett:

And I think everybody also knows that even if the first use were some moral use, the second use would be, and the third use force would be. I do think it is to the credit of humanity that we haven’t yet used them again, and we’ve had them so long. But I don’t think that we take seriously the possibility that we could get rid of them. Put a little work in. Maybe it’s worth having conversations where these things become illegal.

Chris Check:

Just a couple of years ago, the Holy Father was explicit on this point. He says the possession of them is immoral.

Cy Kellett:

Well, certainly, if I possessed one, it would be immoral, and I wouldn’t want to argue with him, but none of that’s going to happen until we settle can you drop bombs on cities and wipe out cities in some circumstances and it’s okay? Until we get to no on that, I don’t know that we’re going to make progress.

Chris Check:

St. Paul gave us the answer in Romans a long time ago, right? “We cannot do evil so that good will come.” It’s explicit, and so much of the arguing that’s going on still among Catholics is this kind of consequentialism, and that is not Catholic moral teaching.

Cy Kellett:

It is not, and it’s amazing that you have this tendency to say, “Well, if you understood the historical moment, you wouldn’t be so judgy about this.”

Chris Check:

And the way the Catholic needs to respond is to say, “Well, if you understood the intrinsic, the nature of the act, what the act is, it’s intrinsic evil.” Cy, people make decisions based on consequences. It’s a good thing to do, right? You’re going to keep your car maintained so that you can get to and from work and be the host of Catholic Answers live. So that’s a good thing to do, but in the end, the ultimate reason we decide to act or not is, is it good? Is it morally good? And always, the deliberate taking of innocent life is morally evil.

Cy Kellett:

Always.

Chris Check:

Always.

Cy Kellett:

Yeah, and if we would just be clear about that. In a certain way, the pro-life movement has helped to solidify that in people’s minds.

Chris Check:

And yet, Cy, I think you will find people in the pro-life movement, Phyllis Schlafly, for example, founder of Eagle Forum, God rest her soul, who wrote in the New York Times that, “The atomic bomb was a gift to the United States by a wise God.”

Cy Kellett:

Well [inaudible 00:30:28]

Chris Check:

So yeah. You do wonder, because you get people, you get folks, quite rightly, going to the heart of the matter, saying, “It’s a child. You cannot take the life of an innocent child.” And yet in the question of, well, it’s an eight-year-old boy in Ground Zero Nagasaki, in the city center…

Cy Kellett:

Not so much. Yeah. Right, right. But one other thing that probably should be said too, I’m sure that there are moral uses for nuclear bombs that have nothing to do with warfare. I kind of to have some that shoot asteroids out of the sky if they’re coming at us or something like that.

Chris Check:

This sounds like a movie. Is this a movie with Bruce Willis? [crosstalk 00:31:15] Is this a movie with Bruce Willis?

Cy Kellett:

I think it’s several movies. It’s just one movie.

Chris Check:

Is Morgan Freeman the president in this movie?

Cy Kellett:

Well, maybe we can sometime have a national holiday in August. We don’t have a national holiday in August, and it could be National Peace Day or something when we have finally dealt with the fact that what we did at Hiroshima and Nagasaki was not a moral act. These were not moral acts. These were attacks on innocent civilians, and they should never be repeated. Yeah. Yeah.

Chris Check:

May God have mercy on us.

Cy Kellett:

Thank you, Chris.

Chris Check:

My pleasure, Cy.

Cy Kellett:

One thing Chris and I didn’t cover is the fact that many people will argue is, there were military targets at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. But when people say that, they don’t acknowledge that you can attack military targets, just not with nuclear bombs that will wipe out an entire city. The United States clearly had other means to attack military targets. They were doing it all up and down Japan. They could have dropped bombs on those military targets. No one is saying that they didn’t have the right to. You just didn’t need to use a weapon that wiped out an entire city to do it, and that’s clearly not why those weapons were used. They were used for an entirely different reason having to do with psychology, and that psychology is frankly called terrorism. And it’s not upon Catholics in the United States to agree with everything that our government has ever done. No, that’s not an obligation of citizenship.

Cy Kellett:

As Catholics, we need to stop being defensive about these things and just admit the moral truth. We don’t have to say we would have done better in the same situation. I’m not saying that I would have done better in the same situation. Maybe you would not have done better in the same situation. It’s just that, in retrospect, we certainly, especially because there is a future ahead of us that involves nuclear weapons, we’ve got to get right our moral evaluations and you can’t drop bombs on cities and wipe out entire populations. You cannot do that. And just because someone wears a Roman collar and goes on the internet and says you can, doesn’t mean that’s true.

Cy Kellett:

We’d love to hear from you. I know we’re going to hear from a lot of you. This is very controversial. I don’t think it should be. It’s a very easy one for a Catholic. If you think through the implications of killing innocent women and children, directly attacking innocent women and children, we’d love to hear from you at focusatcatholic.com. That’s our email address. focus@catholic.com I’m Cy Kellett your host. See you next time right here on Catholic Answers focus.

 

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