Monday, June 15, 2009

The Woman Who Stood Up to C. S. Lewis---And Harry Truman

Although Elizabeth Anscombe is best known in Lewis circles for her challenge to the early form of the argument from reason, she also is known as the woman who challenged Harry Truman's honorary degree because of his dropping of the atomic bombs. Read her remarks in the link below.

Were we right to drop those bombs?


J said...

“. . killing the innocent, even if you know as a matter of statistical certainty that the things you do involve it, is not necessarily murder. . . . On the other hand, unscrupulousness in considering the possibilities turns it into murder.""

Impressive, and I agree for most part. Those who have read a bit of the history realize that Harry may not have been the one calling the shots, however: probably Navy brass decision, ultimately. At any rate, there were other possibilities, like a demonstration to force a surrender, etc.

(I'm now nearly tempted to forgive Miss Anscombe for her translations of Wittgenstein).

ZZMike said...

[I've just now dropped in - following a link to "C.S.Lewis' Dangerous Idea.]

Whether the Bomb was a good idea or not is an argument that's been going on for about 50 years now. I don't think there's any doubt that that was what brought the Japanese to surrender.

I don't want to impose on our gracious host's hospitality, but it's certain that the Japanese would never have surrendered. Just look at the bloody battles they fought in the Pacific.

It was Truman's decision - he was, after all, Commander in Chief. He fired MacArthur, so he wasn't taking orders from anyone.

Demonstration wouldn't have worked. We had only 4 bombs to start with; we tested one in the desert. That was 25% of our arsenal gone. What's more, if we'd told them that on July N, we'd show them a really big bomb just off the coast of Kyushu, where do you think they would have sent their entire air force?

The Japanese were not close to surrender. They may have been close to a fight to the death. A land war in Japan would have resulted in horrific casualties on all sides.

Tom Corbett said...

And why would a land invasion even be necessary?

To enforce the idiotic policy of Unconditional Surrender...which was abandoned anyway when we let them keep the Emperor.

Did you know there was only ONE Japanese Battleship still operational in August of 1945...