Saturday, August 06, 2005

Saturday was Hiroshima day

We can stop for a moment to consider the indiscriminate death that we released on the Japanese in WWII and hope that it never happens again. But unlike many on the left I will not be making a promise of that.

> No right turn writes
Never Again. Never again should we permit our governments to wage war using such indiscriminate means

And quite reasonable that sounds. But when one looks at what that means it starts to offend ones sense of pragmatism.

There are many pragmatic situations one can see where this would be outright foolish.

Just for one example - imagine if a far right party wins in Russia (as is possible in the not too distant future since they have a strong representation in Russia). Russia then starts expanding its territory with the idea - let’s say - of wiping out their Jews and black people eventually attacking "your country". If you 'play nice" and refuse to use indiscriminate weapons - then their best strategy would be to surrender (or to die). Sure it is a hypothetical but if someone else using a weapon is a hypothetical not worth worrying about so is you using that same weapon so if you don’t fear others owning the weapon why fear yourself owning it.

the second argument is more relevant to the Hiroshima issue - assuming the other side never has atomic weapons think how much shorter will a war be when one side has such a large advantage (even if they don’t use it). For a simple example imagine if the US had developed nuclear weapons a bit earlier and had joined WWII earlier. Imagine how much shorter the war with the Germans would have been if they had been able to demonstrate nuclear power at the beginning of the war? WWII would probably have been very short tens of millions of lives would have been saved at the cost of a couple of hundred thousand.

Similarly many people see a daisy cutter bomb or something similar and see it as unfair on the poor people on the ground. But an unbalanced war is a fast and relatively low casualty war - the worst wars are stalemates like WWI or wars where the balance of power shifts wildly like in WWII. If one side is dominant and remains dominant like "the gulf war" far less people will die.

To use a boxing analogy - Sometimes putting the gloves on just means you have to hit your opponent a lot more times.


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