Ending a war is a good thing. Killing civilians a bad thing.
Deliberately targeting civilians is murder, and is never morally licit, even in pursuit of a good thing such as ending a war.
The tens of thousands of Japanese non-combatants we killed 68 years ago this week with two nuclear bombs were not “collateral damage” of military strikes. They were the intended targets.
We hoped that mass murder would bring the Japanese emperor to surrender. It worked, and American and Japanese soldiers’ lives were probably saved by it — which is why most people disagree with me on the ethics of the A-Bomb.
But what if we could have ended the war without the A-Bomb? John Denson at Mises.org argues that we could have:
Japanese leaders, both military and civilian, including the Emperor, were willing to surrender in May of 1945 if the Emperor could remain in place and not be subjected to a war crimes trial after the war. This fact became known to President Truman as early as May of 1945.
I’m no historian, and if anyone can refute the facts in this piece, please do — because the article seems to make the clear argument that the atomic bomb was inexcusable.