Was Harry Truman a War Criminal? Jon Stewart Says Yes, Then No
Well....was Harry Truman a war criminal? In my view, it is not even a close call. He was. If just war theory means anything it is that the intentional mass slaughter of civilians can not be justified. Had Hitler dropped an atomic bomb on London in 1941, judges at a subsequent war crimes trial would have dismissed out of hand any defense (even if it was partially true) that one goal was to"shorten the war and save lives from an invasion." They would have called it mass murder, pure and simple.
As Mark Brady points out, the entire basis of Whittle's argument falls apart once we abandon the premise of unconditional surrender (as first proclaimed by FDR). Truman rebuffed all proposals to let the Japanese keep the emperor in exchange for a surrender. A side benefit, of course, of such a conditional surrender would have been to avoid a bloody American invasion. Ironically, once Truman had dropped the bomb, he shifted course and agreed to this condition anyway. One of the best discussions of this issue is Thomas Fleming's magisterial, The New Dealers War.
comments powered by Disqus
David T. Beito - 5/11/2009
This is worth pursuing. I'll look into it.
RL - 5/9/2009
David, this represents a golden opportunity. You or some other libertarian historian knowledgeable about Truman and the decision to drop the atomic bombs should try to get on the Daily Show for an interview. Then Stewart would be able to take the politically correct position, saving his ass, while still informing his audience that, "Yes, Virginia, the USA has elected war criminals to high office."
- The National Security Agency's own history of tracking of U.S. Citizens is flawed
- Before Trump vs. the NFL, there was Jackie Robinson vs. JFK
- Saudi Textbook Withdrawn Over Image of Yoda With King
- Israelis are celebrating the Kurds’ bid for independence
- Wall Street Journal study finds that rural youths who enlisted after 9/11 shouldered the greatest burden for the nation’s defense
- Jelani Cobb unloads on Trump’s double standard of patriotism in the New Yorker
- Lonnie Bunch is astonished the African-American History Museum has become a pilgrimage site so fast
- Nancy Isenberg says what Americans think is exceptional about them is that they erased class distinctions
- Niall Ferguson’s new book is a warning about the pernicious threat of networks
- Yale history department now emphasizing global history in undergraduate courses