No disrespect for Vets & our Soldiers here
Up to this point, most people have taken my thoughts on the morality of dropping the atomic bomb on Japan in the spirit I intended them. However, it was probably inevitable that my intentions be misunderstood, as I believe Blithering Idiot has done in his, umm, scathing response to my initial post.
So, I want to make it crystal-clear that I hold our vets and soldiers in the highest esteem, and that I am extremely grateful to them for what they did and continue to do in defense of our nation. I have relatives who fought the Japanese and had to hide from the Nazis, and I greatly respect all of them for what they did and went through.
The purpose of beginning this discussion was to examine the moral arguments for and against dropping the bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. As both Mr. Sulik and John Betts have argued, my premise that those two cities had no military value was perhaps flawed. As I noted previously, if that's the case, then my case would have to be seriously revisited (although Disputations indicates that even this doesn't make the morality clear-cut).
Also, the "so what?" rhetorical question in my initial post should not be construed to mean that I could've cared less about the American loss of life that would have occurred in any invasion of Japan. Rather, it was directed at the argument that this justifies killing non-combatants. I thought that this was clear from the context, but perhaps it wasn't. So let me make my initial argument clear:
1. Deliberately killing non-combatants is never morally licit.
2. Therefore, if our intention in bombing Hiroshima & Nagasaki was to force the Japanese to surrender, then it was morally illicit, regardless of the circumstances. (Please recall my note that this refers to the objective moral character of the act, not to the culpability of those involved.)
That's all. Not idiotic. Maybe mistaken (which is why I italicized the "if"), but not idiotic. I can accept being proven wrong, as John's posts may well do. Contrary to Mr. Sulik's assertion, I'm not "wedded" to my views.
I hope this clears up any misunderstanding, and I look forward to the discussion continuing.