REMINDER: Tomorrow! November 9, at 7 p.m. Eastern. Austrian economics star Richard Ebeling will be our sixth and final presenter in our online Austrian conference: “How Austrian Economics Impacted My Life.” Register here to receive your Zoom link. I hope to see you there!
In an effort to justify the Israeli government’s massive infliction of death and destruction on the people of Gaza, the New York Times reports that “Israeli officials privately invoked the 1945 U.S atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki” in conversations with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
How did Blinken respond to that point? The Times article doesn’t say, but my hunch is that he remained silent about it.
After all, what could he say? The Israeli officials have a point. In deciding to drop atomic bombs on the people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, U.S. officials were knowingly, intentionally, and deliberately targeting children, women, seniors, and other non-combatants with death. They figured that by killing those people, Japanese officials would have to agree to an unconditional surrender to avoid having more Japanese children, women, seniors, and other non-combatants killed by more atomic bombings.
And make no mistake about it: U.S. officials were more than willing to continue dropping atomic bombs on people all across Japan to secure the Japanese government’s unconditional surrender.
What would have happened if Japanese officials had decided not to surrender? There is no doubt about it: U.S. officials would have continued dropping nuclear bombs all across Japan until they killed everyone in the country.
Israeli officials claim that the thousands of women, children, seniors, and other non-combatants that Israeli bombs have killed in Gaza are simply what is termed “collateral damage.” That is, they say that the deaths are the necessary consequence of having to eradicate Hamas. They haven’t yet indicated whether there is an upward limit, if any, on the number of “collateral deaths” they are willing to incur in their effort to eradicate Hamas.
Nonetheless, U.S. officials have never been able to use a similar claim with respect to the U.S. atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. That is, they have never been able to claim that they were simply bombing military targets and that the massive death toll among Japanese children, women, seniors, and other non-combatants was simply a necessary consequence of such bombings.
Instead, the atomic bombings of the people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were intended to bring Japanese officials to their knees with the following message: Unconditionally surrender to us or we will continue killing more Japanese children, women, seniors, and other non-combatants until you do surrender or until everyone in Japan is dead.
With their atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki — and, for that matter, the firebombing of other Japanese cities, not to mention the firebombing of Dresden — U.S. officials were making it clear that when it comes to war waged by the U.S. government, there will be no exemption for civilians, including children, women, seniors, and other non-combatants. The war will be total against everyone, even if lip service is paid to the principle of not targeting non-combatants.
Interestingly, according to the Times article, Israeli officials also brought up the large number of civilians that U.S. troops killed in Iraq. The Israeli officials compared the “collateral damage” of those deaths to the “collateral damage” of the thousands of non-combatants who Israeli forces are killing in Gaza.
Actually though, the “collateral damage” principle doesn’t exonerate the United States from the massive death toll it wreaked in Iraq, both against Iraqi soldiers and Iraqi civilians. That’s because the U.S. government was the illegal invader and aggressor against Iraq. As such, U.S. troops had no legal or moral authority to kill anyone in Iraq, including both Iraqi soldiers and Iraqi non-combatants.
Of course, that was the principle set forth by the Nuremberg War Crimes Tribunal, which the U.S. government played a role in establishing and operating. The tribunal held that it’s a war crime when one nation-state attacks, invades, and occupies another nation-state. That’s what the U.S. government did to Iraq, which never attacked the United States or even threatened to do so. In the war between the U.S. and Iraq, Iraq was engaging in self-defense, while the United States was engaging in a war crime.
Will anything good come out of the massive violence, death, and destruction, both among Israelis and Palestinians? It’s hard to see how that could happen. But perhaps it can cause Americans to examine their own consciences in an effort to set our own nation on a better path — one that entails freedom, peace, prosperity, harmony, and the restoration of a limited-government republic to our land.