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Mark Shea: Haggling About the Price

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A young girl prays for atomic bomb victims at Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima, Japan, on 5 August 2009, the eve of the 64th anniversary of the world’s first atomic bombing. More than 70,000 people were killed in Hiroshima when the United States dropped the bomb near the end of World War II. Source: CNS

There is an old story about the guy who walks into the bar and sits down next to the beautiful woman. He turns to her and says, “How much would I have to pay you to sleep with me?”

She turns away in disgust. So he produces a briefcase and opens it. Inside is a million dollars in cash. She looks at it in astonishment and then turns to the man and says, “I’m sorry I was so rude a moment ago. Please keep talking.”

He replies by plucking a single hundred dollar bill from the stash and says, “Would you be willing to sleep with me for this?”

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She wrinkles her nose at him and says, “What kind of woman do you think I am?”

He says, “We know what kind of woman you are. Now we’re just haggling about the price.”

The blast at Nagasaki on 9 August 1945, which together with the Hiroshima blast on 6 August immediately killed an estimated 129,000 people.

Every 6 August, conservative American Catholics have their annual festival of Rationalizing Atomic Mass Murder for the Greater Good. They rehearse the different reasons why nuking Hiroshima and Nagasaki was really a Good Thing. Often the argument begins with “Peacenik liberals don’t know what war is like. You gotta do what you gotta do. Victory by any means necessary!”

This, of course, completely rejects the Church’s teaching on ius in bello, which says, among other things, that “The mere fact that war has regrettably broken out does not mean that everything becomes licit between the warring parties” (CCC 2312). In short, if you are the Good Guys in a Just War, but you decide to incinerate children in order to win, you stop being Good Guys and become war criminals.

Generally, the reply to this is that the Council Fathers at Vatican II who formulated this statement and who called the nuclear annihilation of cities a “crime against God and man, which merits firm and unequivocal condemnation” (GS 80, #3) were, not to put too fine a point on it, Ivory Tower moralists and poindexters who don’t know anything about what it means to be a Real Man in a Real War.

The Hiroshima Peace Memorial, originally the Hiroshima Prefectural Commercial Exhibition building, was almost directly below the blast of the atomic bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima on 6 August 1945, which killed 70,000 instantly and a further 70,000 as a result of the effects of radiation.

Perhaps. But the Supreme Allied Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Force in Europe, General Dwight D Eisenhower knew a thing or two about war. More even than chickenhawks Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and the rest of the men on FOX who never served. He wrote:

I voiced to him [Secretary of War Henry L Stimson] my grave misgivings, first on the basis of my belief that Japan was already defeated and that dropping the bomb was completely unnecessary, and secondly because I thought that our country should avoid shocking world opinion by the use of a weapon whose employment was, I thought, no longer mandatory as a measure to save American lives.

Harry Truman’s Chief of Staff, Adm. William Leahy, also fits the Real Man bill:

It is my opinion that the use of this barbarous weapon at Hiroshima and Nagasaki was of no material assistance in our war against Japan. The Japanese were already defeated and ready to surrender because of the effective sea blockade and the successful bombing with conventional weapons.

The lethal possibilities of atomic warfare in the future are frightening. My own feeling was that in being the first to use it, we had adopted an ethical standard common to the barbarians of the Dark Ages. I was not taught to make war in that fashion, and wars cannot be won by destroying women and children.

Likewise, non-chickenhawk Gen. Douglas MacArthur said that the bombing had no military necessity whatsoever.

“Well, it was just a different time with different sensibilities,” says the mass murder apologist. “Nobody thought much about it at the time. It wasn’t until later that delicate Vatican II sensibilities were brought to bear on the question. The Council is what really changed everything. And not necessarily for the better.”

A young man contemplates the devastation while standing in front of the ruins of Urakami Cathedral, Nagasaki. The bomb was dropped on an area that was a stronghold of Catholics who had kept the faith in Japan, often under conditions of extreme persecution, since the 17th century.

The whole “it was a different time with different sensibilities” argument for justifying the use of the Bomb founders on the fact that it was, you know, the same generation that dropped the bomb who also condemned it immediately in voices ranging from Herbert Hoover to Fulton Sheen to Elizabeth Anscombe to Pius XII to Bull Halsey to J R R Tolkien to John Paul II to Benedict XVI.

Burning civilian populations alive didn’t suddenly become immoral in 1965. It always was. It is the liars who call Vatican II a novelty who are, in fact, the modernists worshipping at the altar of relativism for the sake of their star-spangled god, Moloch.

And this is the incredible thing. The same people who, with monomaniac fervor, loudly (and rightly) shout that abortion is evil because you can never take innocent human life form the backbone of the Republican Rite Catholic crowd that passionately defends the abortion of every child in every womb (and every bed) in Hiroshima and Nagasaki (and, by implication any other population of civilians they sufficiently fear in order to save their own skins).

The same people who have been obsessing over a footnote in an obscure pastoral manual on how to provide care for the chaos of the postmodern family, and who have been pretending to care about Pope Francis supposedly “desecrating the Eucharist by giving it to the unworthy” are typically the ones who go to the mat defending the fact that the nuclear weapon dropped on Nagasaki used Urakami Cathedral—and therefore Jesus Christ fully present in the Eucharist—as the target.

Such people don’t actually oppose fornication with Moloch or desecration of the Eucharist. They are just haggling about the price.

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