Debating the Morality of Hiroshima

By George Friedman

Each year at this time — the anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima — the world pauses. The pause is less to mourn the dead than to debate a moral question: whether the bombing was justified and, by extension, whether the United States unnecessarily slaughtered tens of thousands of people on Aug. 6, 1945. The debate rarely focuses on a careful analysis of war and morality and is more frequently framed by existing views of the United States. The debate is rarely about Hiroshima or about World War II. It is a debate about the moral character of the United States. This is not an illegitimate subject, and Hiroshima might be a useful point with which to begin the debate. But that isn’t possible until after we consider the origins of Hiroshima, which can be found in the evolution of modern warfare.


“There is a tendency in our time to demand that someone do something about evil. There is a willful denial of the truth that anything that is done requires actions that are evil.”

A broader view is possible. The most important, the biggest value of our time is survival of humanity on a big scale. “We are a way for the Universe to know itself”. Carl Sagan.
We are the only (known to us) thinking beings in the part of the Universe accessible for our investigation. This is a great task, responsibility and possibility – a more noble and important task is not possible. From here the sense for our lives, from here we create morality and human value distribution. The most important value – the survival of humanity – is at the top. Others are lower.
There is no evil. There is only a necessity. Scientists determine the most important, and we have to implement them. We know, it will take time.
At a lesser scale we have a problem: our human nature – as it is discovered and known by biologists. It seems we are doomed to behavior in accordance with our inherited nature. This makes our lives ‘a bit’ tragic. But not completely – today we know ourselves and are not doomed, not forced to serve, to indulge to our heritage, today we can understand and manage our lives, to choose and direct our destiny. But it will not be simple. Some centuries, may be some thousands. May be we will destroy this humanity.
In any case, I see clearly our responsibility and possibility. Imants Vilks, editor.


About basicrulesoflife

Year 1935. Interests: Contemporary society problems, quality of life, happiness, understanding and changing ourselves - everything based on scientific evidence. Artificial Intelligence Foundation Latvia, Editor.
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