Monday, September 05, 2005

The Nuclear Bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki: Do They Meet Catholic Just War Standards of Morality? (Part III)

See Part One and Part Two.

The credentials and reliability of Ralph Raico, whom I cited in Part I, were questioned. I shall present his scholarly credentials (readers can make up their own minds):
Ralph Raico is professor of European history at the State University of New York
College at Buffalo. He received his Ph.D. degree from the University of Chicago,
Committee on Social Thought, where the head of his dissertation committee was
F.A. Hayek. Among Dr. Raico's articles and essays are: "Rethinking Churchill" in
The Costs of War, John V. Denson, ed.; "Austrian Economics and Classical
Liberalism," in Advances in Austrian Economics, vol. II; "The Theory of Economic
Development and the 'European Miracle,'" in The Collapse of Economic Planning,
Peter J. Boettke, ed.; "Classical Liberal Roots of the Marxist Doctrine of
Classes," in Requiem for Marx, Yuri N. Maltsev, ed.; and Classical Liberalism in
the Twentieth Century
. Dr. Raico has also contributed to The Review of Austrian
Economics
, the Zeitschrift fur Wirtschaftspolitik,the Cato Journal, and other

scholarly journals. He is the translator of Ludwig von Mises's Liberalism and of
essays by F.A. Hayek contained in Hayek's Collected Works. Dr. Raico was editor
of the New Individualist Review and senior editor of Inquiry. He has lectured
widely in Europe, the United States, and Canada, and is fellow in social thought
at the Cato Institute.
I'm not brash enough to think that my own bald opinion on such a momentous matter is enough to persuade or carry any weight with anyone. Therefore, I cite scholars and leading figures in the Church. There is nothing wrong in citing people who have more knowledge and expertise on a subject.

One can distinguish between:
1) Making a strong assertion about some Catholic teaching as a matter of one's
own opinion.

And:

2) Making out that this opinion is dogmatic Catholic teaching with regard to the particular under consideration and that no one can possibly disagree.
Karl Keating wrote:
The atomic bombings of Nagasaki and Hiroshima, like the fire bombings of
Dresden and other German cities, cannot be squared with Catholic moral
principles because the bombings deliberately targeted non-combatants.
I think this can easily be interpreted as an instance of #1 and not #2. Perhaps it could have been worded better (as is usually the case with almost all writing), but I don't think he was being "dogmatic". The same applies to the Catholic Answers Guide. To state one's opinion (even if strongly held) that a certain Catholic principle was violated in Instance X is not the same as asserting that one's opinion on the matter is itself magisterial and unable to be dissented against without being a lousy Catholic.

We are talking about bombs detonated over the center of cities with multiple thousands of people. To say that this was not a deliberate targeting of civilians as well as military materials is absurd. By this reasoning we could explode a bomb over Baghdad or some other Iraqi city if a significant number of terrorists resided within, and simply say that we were targeting the terrorists, and had no intention of killing anyone else.

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