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It is politically expedient to label an enemy as guilty of terrorism, but for the label to have objective meaning, it must have a definition. A crude definition of terrorism, is that it is the act and strategy of fighting a war by explicitly targeting civilians, where the implicitly better moral alternative is directly engaging the enemy's military. Under this definition, does America have the moral high ground?
From 1947-1949, approximately 700,000 Arabs became refugees, leaving the land defined as Israel by the 1948 U.N. Palestine Partition Plan. The exact underlying reasons for why the Arabs left their land is a source of painful political and cultural dispute and serious historical debate.
A month after the September 11th attacks, the U.S. in conjunction with the U.K. invaded Afghanistan, toppling the Taliban regime that was sympathetic to Al-Qaeda. Kabul, the country's capital, has for decades at best provided only a weak form of central government, and the country quickly descended into anarchy. This prompted the U.N. to create the International Security Assistance Force to help establish peace and security in the region, but to date they have had very limited success.
In war, both sides will often assert that "God is on our side". An extreme case is a holy war - a war primarily justified by religion. This occurred with the Christian Crusades that started in the late 11th century, which were in retaliation of previous Muslim conquests. In contrast, secular humanists assert that only ethical principles such as liberty can be said to be "on our side", else objectivity is lost.
Despite the terrible loss of life in Iraq, surveys of Iraqi people do not support the claim that Iraqis are worse off since the U.S. invasion.
Shortly before the invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, the country's heroin production had seemingly fallen to historically low levels. At the time, the Taliban's official position was that drugs were considered immoral in Islam, and that the government's ban on drug cultivation was working. Shortly after the collapse of the Taliban, the former Head of Drug Control confessed that the Taliban were merely engaged in price hiking, and the ban was a ruse.
Israel's demolition policy is to bulldoze the family house of a Palestinian suicide bomber, as a deterrent. There is debate as to whether in fact the policy is a deterrent, and also as to whether it is ethically justifiable.
The ethnically distinct provinces of South Ossetia and Abkhazia lie between Georgia and Russia and want to be recognized as independent states from Georgia. In August 2008 war erupted between Russia and Georgia, with Russia siding with the provinces.
On August 6 and 9, 1945, the U.S. President Harry S. Truman ordered the dropping of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, upon which Japan surrendered, ending World War II. Over 200,000 people died, mostly civilians. It has remained the only time atomic bombs have ever been used in warfare.
Civilian casualties are inevitable in war, but is it an acceptable strategy to explicitly target civilians?
The primary reason the US Government stated for going to war with Iraq in 2003 was to rid the country of weapons of mass destruction (WMDs). This includes nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons. These weapons were never found, and many questions were raised regarding the failure of US intelligence.
Ron Paul
We went to Afghanistan to get [Bin Laden], and he hasn't been there. Now that he's killed, boy, it is a wonderful time for this country now to reassess it, get the troops out of Afghanistan and end that war that hasn't helped us and hasn't helped anybody in the Middle East.
Robin Hanson
Among all the policy arguments I accept, [skepticism about] war seems among the most solid. And among all the things policy can get wrong, war seems among the worst. So for me, war policy tends to trump other considerations. ... I voted against Bush in '04, and I'll vote against Obama in '12, because they both started wars without meeting the high standards I hold for justifiably starting a war.
Satoshi Kanazawa
Repeated carpet bombings of Tokyo in March 1945 did not faze them. The only thing that would convince the Japanese people, and, more importantly, their military leadership, of the utter American technological superiority and the complete futility of resistance were the atomic bombs, which they did not have. They would never have surrendered had we not dropped the bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. That would have necessitated [a far bloodier] ground invasion of mainland Japan...
Karl Compton
[asking a] well-informed Japanese Army officer in Yokohama, [what] would have been the next major move if the war had continued. "... We would have kept on fighting until all Japanese were killed, but we would not have been defeated," by which he meant that they would not have been disgraced by surrender. ... On the basis of these facts, I cannot believe that, without the atomic bomb, the surrender would have come without a great deal more of costly struggle and bloodshed.
Winston Churchill
There were those who considered that the atomic bomb should never have been used at all. I cannot associate myself with such ideas… I am surprised that very worthy people—but people who in most cases had no intention of proceeding to the Japanese front themselves—should adopt a position that rather than throw this bomb we should have sacrificed a million American and a quarter of a million British lives...
Donald Trump
I always heard that when we went into Iraq, we went in for the oil. I said, "Eh, that sounds smart." Except that we never did. So we went into Iraq for 1.5 trillion dollars. Thousands of lives and wounded. And here's what's going to happen. ... As soon as we leave Iraq, Iran is going to take over those huge oil fields. ... That wouldn't happen under my watch.
Kevin Rudd
Well, I wouldn't have Australian troops in Afghanistan now if I didn't believe there was a strategy which enabled us to prevail.
Kevin Rudd
...the national security establishment in Australia [is] very pessimistic about the long-term prognosis for Afghanistan. [editors note: this is the summary of what Kevin Rudd said to a group of US congressmen, in a US diplomatic cable leaked by WikiLeaks].
Michael Neumann
...big oil and big business have never been supporters of the war. Bush I, who was much closer to big oil than Bush II, never wanted to invade Iraq. ... Why then did the US go into Iraq? To my mind it was because the US had to show the world that it was powerful after the humiliation of 9-11, and especially after the equally great humiliation of failing to capture or kill Bin Laden and the Mullah Omar.

New Comments

0 Points       Capricious       25 Mar 2015     Is it acceptable to target (i.e. kill) civilians in war? Disagree
No effing way.

0 Points       Nashhinton       20 Apr 2013     Is God on our side in war? Disagree
God doesn't exist.

0 Points       MTC       23 Feb 2013     Should the United States invade Iraq? General Comment
Shouldn’t this be worded “Should the US have invaded Iraq in 2003?”. The question as worded is not the same.

0 Points       MTC       23 Feb 2013     Did the US Government play a part in the 9/11 attacks? Disagree
All evidence points to the fact that the 9/11 attacks were carried out by Islamist terrorists.

1 Point       Anonymous       13 Jul 2012     Is God on our side in war? General Comment
God doesn't interact in human affairs in that way. We were given free will for a reason.

1 Point       Rebekka       16 Jan 2012     Were the atomic bombs dropped on Japan justified? Disagree
To get straight to the point, I firmly disagree. Here, allow me to illustrate for you, a scene.

You are standing in the streets of Hiroshima, 1945. The world has just slipped out of war, but your home country is still fighting against the Americans. Now, you realise that Japan bombed Pearl Harbour, but it was only a phase of the war, correct? You don't feel too terribly upset for the people of Pearl Harbour. It was, after all, a military base. War is war is war. No long-lasting damage was done, the bombs that your country dropped on Pearl Harbour weren't even high power.

Looking up at the clear blue sky above, you see a few plans. Nothing too suspicious, nothing unusual. But upon further inspection, you notice the blue circle and white star symbolic of the nation that your country is at war against. Your eyes widen, you start to run. You've seen this in your nightmares; you know what is going to happen.

"Cover," you think, "I have to find cover..." But it's too late. Your world is thrown into chaos the moment you see the... thing being dropped from the sky. Obviously, the object is a bomb. You run faster and faster, trying to find some form of shelter from what you know is about to come.

It's no use.

The bomb hits the ground, and depending on your location, a number of things happen to you.

1. Within thirty feet of Ground Zero: you are instantly vaporized. You feel nothing, and neither the birds who happened to be flying over Japanese airspace. You (and they) are dead.
2. Within a mile of Ground Zero: you feel a searing pain erupt from your body. You are being burned alive, from the inside. If this is the case, you are lucky. Other people's molecular structures are completely rewritten, often leaving the bodies either disfigured or turned inside out. Either way, there is no hope for you. You are dead.
3. Within three miles of Ground Zero: you start to burn as well. However, you may not be doomed to die soon. No, your skin just turns coal black and shrivels up, your hair is gone. You are carted to a hospital, and you are denied the one thing that you really, truly desire: water. The doctors refuse to give you water, because giving you water will harm your now-brittle skin and organs. Eventually, you get water or you become too dehydrated. Either way, you are dead.
4. Within five miles of Ground Zero: your injuries heal, though you feel weak all the time. Pretty soon, you start to adapt mutations: growing nerves in your hair or fingernails. Your skin turns purple, your veins inflate, your muscles in your arms and legs start contracting on your bones and eventually break them. About a year or so later, you will die.

Did you know that the fallout from the A-Bomb causes leukaemia? Because you are twelve. You were born in 1943, and you are currently living in Fukuoka. Your neighbouring city, Nagasaki, was blown up ten years ago. The sky over the city still glows a hazy orange at night, though it's barely noticeable anymore. When your doctor tells your mother that you have leukaemia, she bursts into tears. You go to a hospital and start chemotherapy, but you know that you are going to die. Six months later, you do. Still twelve. Still innocent. Still young.

So, tell me. Were America's actions really justified? Can you honestly say that they were, now that you've "experienced" only a few of the horrors of the Atomic bombs? The A-Bomb was an untested weapon. Before America dropped it on Japan, he should have at least figured out what kind of power it packed.

Granted, this is coming from a German. A German who has lived in America for most of her memorable life, but a German nonetheless. An Axis Power. So don't believe me, if you don't want to. Go to Japan and see for yourself, in the various Hiroshima and Nagasaki museums.

1 Point       Anonymous       02 Dec 2011     Is God on our side in war? Neutral

0 Points       Jake Christensen       02 Nov 2011     Were the atomic bombs dropped on Japan justified? General Comment
that is true but i think they would have evacuated most of the citizens because they would have know about urban warfare where as the bombs they knew nothing about and could not evacuate the citizens so it killed more people

0 Points       Jake Christensen       01 Nov 2011     Is it legitimate for the US to label their enemies "terrorists"? General Comment
i agree with you and osama bin laden but we did attack japan and killed thousand with the atom bombs in ww2 and they were citizen too but America hand no remorse about it and we actually celebrated when we drop the bombs on japan plus remember that during that time not all Japanese Americans were spy's but we moved them to basically a mild concentration camp so i believe we should not be able to label others until all of American accepts we were terrorist in ww2 and possibly killed more civilians than any other country in the world

0 Points       Jake Christensen       01 Nov 2011     Were the atomic bombs dropped on Japan justified? Mostly Disagree
yea but the problem with that is that was it in Japanese or was it in English because English was most likely banned from japan in that time also was the source that you got that from was it reviewed by multiple parties or cultures to say it was true or did you make that up

1 Point       Jake Christensen       01 Nov 2011     Were the atomic bombs dropped on Japan justified? Mostly Disagree
i agree with the first paragraph but did we have to experience it to know we dont have to use it we may think that the bombs helped us but the Japanese only kill the military people and some civilians in pearl harbor but we kill military and CITIZEN 90,000–166,000 in Hiroshima and 60,000–80,000 killed in Nagasaki and they were men women children and BABIES plus there military was like china they filtered everything so the people didn't even know about pearl harbor or the other horrible thing their military did and we just bomb them all the citizen except the military don't know why we bomb them not just once but twice just everyone think about that

before you say that it was great to bomb the CITIZEN and mabye a few military and the problem is their are still places in those cities that are still closed off because of the radiation. also I see it a lot but some Americans cant swallow their pride and forgive because the Japanese have forgiven us plus if they didn't we would only have the xbox 360 because the ps2, 3 and psp is made by the Japanese also anime, Toyota, Suzuki and and Nintendo we would have none of that if they were like Americans and never forgive us for bombing them they knew nothing about until after ww2.

i am a seventeen year old and i say grow up and forgive people unless it something really bad and pearl harbor is nothing compared to the atom bombs so stop being selfish AMERICANS and swallow your pride and another thing is if we were going by our standards of classifying terrorist we would be just like Saddam and Asama bin Lapin killing the thousand of innocent CIVILIANS and i know what u will say why i capitalized CIVILIANS because i am making a point.

plus you guys all know this person and here is his quote

Osama Bin Laden Former Leader of Al Qaeda

The US today as a result of the arrogant atmosphere has set a double standard, calling whoever goes against its injustice a terrorist. It wants to occupy our countries, steal our resources, impose on us agents to rule us based not on what God has revealed and wants us to agree on all these. If we refuse to do so, it will say you are terrorists. ... The US does not consider it a terrorist act to throw atomic bombs [killing] women, children and elderly people [...] in Japan.

1 Point       Lydia       15 Oct 2011     Were the atomic bombs dropped on Japan justified? Disagree
the fact that the Americans dropped leaflets over the city does not make the dropping of the bomb just. the leaflets were in english and most of the people in Japan couldnt speak english let alone read it. hundreds of thousands of innocent people died for nothing, they died because the Americans were looking for a quick fix and didnt want to deal with the concequences.

New Editorial Comments

1 Point       iiisahomo       07 Jun 2011     Were the atomic bombs dropped on Japan justified? Editorial Comment
lmao. this just kinda made my day. (:

War Question Index

Were the atomic bombs dropped on Japan justified?
Can the military presence in Afghanistan help create democracy?
Should the United States invade Iraq?
Is oil a motivation for maintaining a military presence in Iraq?
Was oil a motivation for invading Iraq in 2003?
Did the US Government play a part in the 9/11 attacks?
Is it legitimate for the US to label their enemies "terrorists"?
Does Iraq possess weapons of mass destruction?
Did the Taliban ban drug cultivation because it was "un-Islamic"?
Is God on our side in war?
Is it acceptable to target (i.e. kill) civilians in war?
Can terrorism be dealt with without violence?
Is Israel's demolition policy effective as a deterrent?
Is Israel's demolition policy justifiable ethically?
Is Israel's demolition policy a good idea?
Are Iraqis better off since Saddam's regime was toppled?
Would invading Iraq result in a quagmire?
Was Israel primarily responsible for creating the Palestinian refugee problem?
Should Iraq be split into three largely autonomous regions?
Is Russia's invasion of Georgia justified?
Will genocide occur if the US pulls its combat troops out of Iraq?