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Was the use of the atomic bomb on Japan in WW2 a crime agaist humanity?

 
 
oralloy
 
  0  
Reply Wed 19 Oct, 2011 07:04 pm
@prothero,
prothero wrote:
kennethamy wrote:
The question is whether there is an objective analysis of the term.Then, we can see what (if anything) the term applies to. One thing is clear, though, the killing of one child, however evil and bad it might be, would not be a "crime against humanity". The word is not that vague. After all, the term is a technical term, and was not in general use before it was invented in a particular context. So, I suppose that the legal meaning would be central. Otherwise, people will call anything they please, a "crime against humanity", and it will begin to lose its meaning, like "The Holocaust". A term that can mean anything quickly begins to mean nothing much. It is to prevent people from using the term just for their own purposes, that we have to pay attention to an objective analysis of the term.

You keep claiming what is not "a crime against humanity".
Do you have a definition to offer about what the criteria for "a crime against humanity"is?

I mean if vaporizing a few hunderd thousand people in a few seconds with a single weapon dropped from a single plane is not a "crime against humanity" what is?


A crime against humanity would be something like the mass targeting of civilians.

The A-bombs were trying to destroy military targets.

War crime, probably, but no crime against humanity.
0 Replies
 
oralloy
 
  -1  
Reply Wed 19 Oct, 2011 07:09 pm
@prothero,
prothero wrote:
Aedes wrote:
Not according to international law. Maybe according to basic human decency it is, but you'd better define your terms if you want us to answer this one. Remember, at Nuremberg they specifically had separate charges for "Crimes against peace" (like unjustified invasions, violation of treaties, attacking noncombatant states), "war crimes" (like killing prisoners of war, failing to protect civilians), and "crimes against humanity" (genocide, ethnic cleansing).


Charter of the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg
(b) WAR CRIMES: namely, violations of the laws or customs of war. Such violations shall include, but not be limited to, murder, ill-treatment or deportation to slave labor or for any other purpose of civilian population of or in occupied territory, murder or ill-treatment of prisoners of war or persons on the seas, killing of hostages, plunder of public or private property, wanton destruction of cities, towns or villages, or devastation not justified by military necessity;
(c)CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY: namely, murder, extermination, enslavement, deportation, and other inhumane acts committed against any civilian population, before or during the war; or persecutions on political, racial or religious grounds in execution of or in connection with any crime within the jurisdiction of the Tribunal, whether or not in violation of the domestic law of the country where perpetrated.

One could argue it was "an inhumane act committed against a civilian population."


Not really. The A-bombs were dropped on military targets. The civilian population was just in the way.



prothero wrote:
One could also argue it was "the wanton destruction of a city, town or village devastation not justified by "military necessity"

But overall it seems a little like the state departments careful avoidance of the term "genocide" for Rawanda, and the Bush teams careful avoidance of the term "torture" in discussing interrogation techniques. The legal technicalities miss the larger moral question.


The legal technicalities are what justifies the use of legal terms like "crime against humanity".
0 Replies
 
oralloy
 
  0  
Reply Wed 19 Oct, 2011 07:23 pm
@prothero,
prothero wrote:
Aedes wrote:
But then you run into the conundrum of arbitrariness. FAR more cities were destroyed by land warfare than air bombing during WWII, at least in the European theater of operations. And far more people were killed in air attacks using conventional weapons. 40,000 civilians in Stalingrad, 50,000 in London, hundreds of thousands in Dresden, Munich, Tokyo, Osaka, etc.


I hear you, but I still have to ask why we're talking about particulars without getting the general principle straight.

To me it would seem the general principle is
When the target becomes the civilian population and the goal is
To terrorize and demoralize the civilian population you have crossed the line.


The target of the A-bombs was not the civilian population.



prothero wrote:
The line was crossed by both sides in the war and on multiple occasions.


I doubt you can show any cases of either the US or the UK targeting civilians.

Maybe lone rogue war criminals did it, but it was not official policy.



prothero wrote:
The inadvertent deaths of civilians in attempting to strike at targets of legitimate military value like factories, rail lines, airports, command centers, is one thing but the deliberate carpet bombing of civilian population centers constitutes a "war crime" and a "crime against humanity".


When the civilian population is not the target, it is not a crime against humanity.
0 Replies
 
oralloy
 
  -1  
Reply Wed 19 Oct, 2011 07:28 pm
@prothero,
prothero wrote:
I think the deliberate destruction and targeting of civilian population centers versus the targeting of "military targets or military support facilities" is a rational criteria and saying that "civilians" are a target of military value" does not wash.

That is also primarily the criteria used in the "legal" definitions of war crimes and crimes against humanity.


Hiroshima was a huge military center filled with tens of thousands of Japanese soldiers.

Nagasaki was an industrial center containing huge weapons factories.

No one is saying the civilians had military value.
0 Replies
 
oralloy
 
  -1  
Reply Wed 19 Oct, 2011 10:02 pm
@Aedes,
Aedes wrote:
Hiroshima and Nagasaki had strategic military value -- that's not even questioned -- though by August 1945 the targets of greatest military strategic value had already been attacked, and to make the most dramatic demonstration of the bombs they did choose large urban targets rather than, say, a small military base. There is no evidence that they were targeted specifically to kill civilians, and they rejected targets like Kyoto that were of zero military value and extreme cultural importance.


I'm nitpicking in this post, rather than differing on matters of substance, but nitpicking can be important too.

Hiroshima was Japan's primary military port, held tens of thousands of Japanese soldiers, and held the military headquarters responsible for repelling any invasion in the southern half of Japan.

Nagasaki was an industrial center with almost its entire factory output devoted to supplying the Japanese military.

Hiroshima, at least, had to be among those targets with the greatest possible military value.

Kyoto was spared for its extreme cultural importance alone. It had factories devoted to weapons production too.



Aedes wrote:
More people died in one night in Dresden than died in Hiroshima. So I'm not sure the "ease" of Hiroshima's destruction is in comparison to such overwhelming difficulty destroying cities by conventional means.


Dresden 25,000
Nagasaki 75,000
Tokyo 100,000
Hiroshima 130,000



Aedes wrote:
But in retrospect we understand the radiation effects, the increasingly terrible magnitude of newer nuclear weapons, and the existential implications of nuclear armament, of which Hiroshima was the prelude.


We understood the radiation effects very well, before the A-bombs were even dropped.

People had been exposing themselves to horrendous levels of radiation via dime store X-ray machines throughout the 1910s and 1920s, and by the late 1920s the effects of this had become apparent. Hermann Joseph Muller presented a scientific paper in 1927 that detailed the dangers quite conclusively. The year after the A-bombs, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine for that 1927 paper.

Also, in the 1930s, Marie Curie died from radiation exposure. That was not an event that any of the A-bomb scientists were likely to have missed.
0 Replies
 
oralloy
 
  -1  
Reply Wed 19 Oct, 2011 10:06 pm
@Alan McDougall,
Alan McDougall wrote:
One of the justifications to drop the bomb was the Japs had committed horrendous war crimes on the USA and so they deserved what they got.

But the bombs were dropped on specially selected cities for the density of urban population for the most shock and horror effect (Hiroshima and Nagasaki)

They were not dropped on military or industrial targets and it is this fact that makes the whole event more horrifying


Wrong. Hiroshima was selected because it was a huge military center filled with tens of thousands of Japanese soldiers.

Nagasaki was selected because it was an industrial center that contained huge weapons factories.
0 Replies
 
OmSigDAVID
 
  2  
Reply Wed 19 Oct, 2011 11:04 pm
@Alan McDougall,
Quote:
Was the use of the atomic bomb on Japan in WW2 a crime agaist humanity?
No.





David
JLNobody
 
  2  
Reply Thu 20 Oct, 2011 04:39 pm
@OmSigDAVID,
Of course it was. So was Pearl Harbour.
OmSigDAVID
 
  0  
Reply Thu 20 Oct, 2011 05:23 pm
@JLNobody,
JLNobody wrote:
Of course it was. So was Pearl Harbour.
The FIRST attack justified the SECOND one.

The SECOND attack woud not have occurred, in the absence of the FIRST one.





David
oralloy
 
  0  
Reply Thu 20 Oct, 2011 05:51 pm
@JLNobody,
JLNobody wrote:
Of course it was.


Wrong. It would be impossible to reach the standard of a crime against humanity without the intentional targeting of civilians.

Hiroshima and Nagasaki were both military targets. No civilians were targeted.
JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Thu 20 Oct, 2011 05:56 pm
@oralloy,
Were not mostly civilians killed?
Are you arguing, then, that Pearl Harbour, was not a crime against humanity because it was a military target?
JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Thu 20 Oct, 2011 05:56 pm
@oralloy,
Were not mostly civilians killed?
Are you arguing, then, that Pearl Harbour, was not a crime against humanity because it was a military target?
JLNobody
 
  2  
Reply Thu 20 Oct, 2011 05:59 pm
@OmSigDAVID,
That's correct, but I hate to justify the killing of people. I think our definition of crime, especially when it occurs on a mass scale, is very broad.
OmSigDAVID
 
  0  
Reply Thu 20 Oct, 2011 06:01 pm
@JLNobody,
JLNobody wrote:

Were not mostly civilians killed?
Are you arguing, then, that Pearl Harbour,
was not a crime against humanity because it was a military target?
Pearl Harbor was an act of war.
I 'm not at all sure that it was a crime of any kind.

We got our vengeanceS for that,
for the Bataan Death March and for the hell ships.





David
OmSigDAVID
 
  1  
Reply Thu 20 Oct, 2011 06:04 pm
@JLNobody,
JLNobody wrote:
That's correct, but I hate to justify the killing of people.
I don 't join in that sentiment.



JLNobody wrote:
I think our definition of crime, especially when it occurs on a mass scale, is very broad.
Maybe u r sad qua killing Kadafe. I 'm not. I don 't care.

JLNobody
 
  2  
Reply Thu 20 Oct, 2011 06:11 pm
@OmSigDAVID,
It has always amazed me how so many people consider vengeance a pleasure and vindictiveness a virtue. Would Jesus agree? Am I wrong to assume you wear a crucifix?
borisIII
 
  1  
Reply Thu 20 Oct, 2011 06:20 pm
@Aedes,
I think it was just a catastrophe no country will ever use one again. If we hadn't seen what it will do there probably would have been one used since WWII.
0 Replies
 
oralloy
 
  0  
Reply Thu 20 Oct, 2011 07:37 pm
@JLNobody,
JLNobody wrote:
Were not mostly civilians killed?


Yes, but they were not the target. They were just in the way.



JLNobody wrote:
Are you arguing, then, that Pearl Harbour, was not a crime against humanity because it was a military target?


Correct. It was merely a war crime.
0 Replies
 
oralloy
 
  0  
Reply Thu 20 Oct, 2011 07:39 pm
@OmSigDAVID,
OmSigDAVID wrote:
JLNobody wrote:
Are you arguing, then, that Pearl Harbour,
was not a crime against humanity because it was a military target?


Pearl Harbor was an act of war.
I 'm not at all sure that it was a crime of any kind.


They attacked before war was declared. Perhaps that was an accident, but it was Japan's duty to ensure that we had received their war declaration before they attacked.
hawkeye10
 
  1  
Reply Thu 20 Oct, 2011 07:50 pm
@oralloy,
Quote:
They attacked before war was declared. Perhaps that was an accident, but it was Japan's duty to ensure that we had received their war declaration before they attacked.

Prisoner abuse, killing because they did not want to take prisoners, false marking of medical assets, carpet bombing civilians, rocket attacks on civilians..WW2 was filed with war crimes, attacking without declaration of war does not make the hit parade.
0 Replies
 
 

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