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  1. #71
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul B View Post
    As I read everyone's posts, I am not sure what type of world view lens they are looking through.

    When we measure something, we measure against a standard. I may have missed it, but I haven't seen an agreed upon standard for morality to be measured. An unknown Diest god? The Christian God? The Muslim god? Various Hindu gods? Darwinian evolutionary thought? Zero god - the universe is a big accident? Something else?
    Indeed. The question arises "not what values should we should choose, but whether we need any values at all".
    The primary value is life and only in the presence of an alternative, death. Who's life ? Mine.

  2. #72
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    Perhaps a broader perspective is in order.

    Why fight at all?
    Why not negotiate?
    Why not just surrender?

    The flaw in looking at an individual military action in isolation is that violence nearly universally "looks wrong".

    The CONTEXT matters.

    What was happening to the countries that got conquered? One poster wisely pointed to a Polish city that got hammered.
    The carnage in China and the Soviet Union was staggering. 60M to 70M died in this war, most of them civilians.
    Keeping OUR CIVILIANS safe was the primary concern. Enemy civilians not as much.

    Germany never really consolidated and optimized the industrial capacity it had conquered.
    Could we afford to give them time to do that?

    Our leaders at the time answered the three questions above.
    Weighed the risks and went to war.

    The context being:
    - We were attacked
    - Losing looked like a real bad deal

    So risking your soldiers amounts to risking losing. Losing means your population will likely be treated like other folks recently conquered.
    Because your soldiers are all that is standing between armies that have been slaughtering civilians, and your women, children and elderly.
    So leadership has a responsibility to keep its military intact, and not risk them to benefit the enemy in any way.

    Why do you suppose Chuchill went to such extraordinary measures to get the British Army out of Dunkirk?
    Those men had extreme value in the defense of Britain. Churchill knew that his people needed these soldiers.

    What happens to your civilians when you lose?
    Ask the Chinese, Russians and Poles.

    You need to win.
    What are your options?
    What are the risks?

    LeMay was a Great American. He was and is hated.
    LeMay looked at the bombing campaigns in Europe, and saw that the Brits area bombed at night, and the Americans "precision bombed" during the day.
    Both approaches were flawed in his view, but the Brits were doing a better job with less resources and fewer losses.
    LeMay changed the mix to more heavily fire bombing. He also benefited from long range fighter escorts (P51 & P47 with drop tanks).
    LeMay's fire bombing raids were massively more destructive. Around VE day, LeMay was sent to the Pacific, and began fire bombing Japan.
    Fire bombing worked better there because of the building materials used.

    Rapidly much of Japan's workforce was "homeless". They became far less effective at supplying their military.

    LeMay was not told about the Atomic Bomb until it was about to happen. LeMay, ironically objected. Ironic because his Fire Bombing raid on Tokyo was the most destructive ever.
    LeMay thought there was no need to use the atomic weapons because with the newly available bombers stationed in Europe, the fire bombing campaign would have the capacity
    to destroy Japan. Within the Air Force, LeMay was never given the respect he deserved. He was hated for "giving up on" precision bombing, and flying the B29 at low level to save fuel and add payload.
    (both of these moves were brilliant)

    LeMay was practical and effective. He waged the war that needed to be waged. And was prepared to win even without atomic weapons.

    I speculate that LeMay considered the atomic bombs too valuable to waste on targets that could be destroyed more cost effectively.
    So, LeMay wanted to hold them back in case we needed them in a fight with the Soviet Union. While I concur, there was also value in
    demonstrating their power to the world... especially to the Soviet Union.

    Consider the nearly 7 decades of relative peace since this war. LeMay went on to command the Strategic Air Command (1948 to 1957).

    What was at stake when LeMay switched to fire bombing in Europe?
    Quite a lot.

    Counter factual for context:
    Let's say we put LeMay in charge of bombing a year earlier, and shorten the war by 6 months. (both theaters).
    How many of the 60M-70M deaths would have been prevented. The war was 6 years long, so an average 6 months is over 5M deaths.
    This ignores the late ramp up of death camps by the Germans, the the number would likely be much higher.
    Oh, and the atomic bombs would not have been dropped.

    The math also works in the other direction... what if we though LeMay was not a good idea, and the war lasted 6 months longer?
    Hint: We drop the atomic bombs on Germany in addition to 5M additional deaths minimum.

  3. #73
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nockian View Post
    Let me try again. Is it moral to let one American soldier die in order to save a million enemy civilians ?
    Yes.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nockian View Post
    What is moral IS necessary.
    I agree with what you say, but it is most definitely subjective. Morals are only made manifest through choice, and the choice is the individual's.

  4. #74
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    Quote Originally Posted by David A. Rowe View Post
    Yes.



    I agree with what you say, but it is most definitely subjective. Morals are only made manifest through choice, and the choice is the individual's.
    A threat to ones life is objective. The choice to defend that life is objective. It is you, or him. Its that simple. My example of one soldier for a million enemies is equally relevant to the sacrifice of your family, or yourself, for the purpose of saving a million enemy civilians who's country/regime threaten your peaceful existence. If you would sacrifice one soldier, then you must be prepared to sacrifice your family, or yourself to that ideal, if you want to remain morally congruent.

  5. #75
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nockian View Post
    A threat to ones life is objective. The choice to defend that life is objective. It is you, or him. Its that simple. My example of one soldier for a million enemies is equally relevant to the sacrifice of your family, or yourself, for the purpose of saving a million enemy civilians who's country/regime threaten your peaceful existence. If you would sacrifice one soldier, then you must be prepared to sacrifice your family, or yourself to that ideal, if you want to remain morally congruent.
    No. You don't have to sacrifice your family. Since the Vietnam War, the entire United States military has been composed of an all volunteer force - men and women who have pledged to protect and defend the Constitution from all enemies foreign and domestic. We all served of our own free will, and specifically to fight and win... but to give our lives if it was required. We did that so that our loved ones would be safe. As my senior drill instructor said, "USMC stands for U Signed the Mother-fucking Contract."

    It has been 18 years since operations in Afghanistan (officially) commenced, which means that everyone serving today has absolutely taken the oath of enlistment or commission during wartime. So, spare me the "threat to one's life" armchair war philosophy. Not one of the men on my arm or engraved on our unit memorial would have allowed for the targeting or slaughter of civilians - even if it cost them their lives.

  6. #76
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cheesepuff View Post
    LeMay was a Great American. He was and is hated. (and his analysis and metrics that followed)
    I knew about LeMay's focus on the wood and rice paper structures of Japanese buildings as a part of his strategy to reduce their will to continue to wage war by burning their cities, their producers, and their manufacturing capacity. I did not know about the other elements of this strategy like the low level flying to reduce fuel needs and replace that weight with more bombs.

    What I find an interesting compare and contrast is the ballyhoo that attended McNamara as Secretary of Defense during Vietnam. He was supposed to be the vaunted technocrat that would win the war as the smartest guy in the Pentagon given his attendance upon LeMay as one of his handmaidens. Yet he failed miserably. LeMay, OTOH, simply took the direct approach and wanted to bomb them back into the Stone Age and was reviled.

  7. #77
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    Quote Originally Posted by Comancheria View Post
    Well, yeah.

    But actually, you’re wasting your breath, Rip. What were just a hundred-thousand or so civilian casualties—with 43,000 dead in the blitz? What the allies should have done was to let the War drag on another year—allowing Hitler to scoop up what few of Europe’s Jews remained alive for his gas chambers and crematoria! As it was, he “only” accounted for six million. FDR and Churchill knew about the death camps—but recognized that the only way to bring the Holocaust to an end was to end the War.

    Or maybe we could have airdropped a few hundred university students behind enemy lines in both Germany and on Honshu—to demonstrate against the atrocities—and convince Axis leaders to mend their naughty ways!

    Whatta we want?
    Peace!
    When do we want it?
    NOW!

    That would have done the trick!
    IIRC, the original German plan was to bomb British airfields to prepare for an invasion, but some bombs were accidentally dropped on London, which led to a British raid on German cities, which led Hitler to flip out and bomb British cities.

    As far as stopping the Nazi genocide, that's not why Britain or the U.S. went to war, and they didn't give stopping it any priority.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cheesepuff View Post
    Some Context:

    Pearl Harbor was attacked without a declaration of war, Axis aggression across the planet was unchecked and world domination was likely. The Axis powers military were actively killing civilians at unprecidented rates.

    The only way to make the axis stop their massive slaughter of civilians, and world conquest, was the use of force.

    Force was used. They stopped when we stopped them.

    Japan killed 16M civilians in China alone. Probably another 4M across the rest of Asia, against a loss of 1M civilians in Japan.

    Odd to argue "victumhood" under the circumstances.
    "World domination" by the Axis was never likely - the Nazis were far inferior to their opponents in access to oil and in manufacturing capacity (see, for example: The Myth of the Nazi War Machine – Notes On Liberty ). And Nazi Germany was primarily stopped by the Soviet Union, which was a similarly murderous regime.

  8. #78
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    Quote Originally Posted by David A. Rowe View Post
    No. You don't have to sacrifice your family. Since the Vietnam War, the entire United States military has been composed of an all volunteer force - men and women who have pledged to protect and defend the Constitution from all enemies foreign and domestic. We all served of our own free will, and specifically to fight and win... but to give our lives if it was required. We did that so that our loved ones would be safe. As my senior drill instructor said, "USMC stands for U Signed the Mother-fucking Contract."

    It has been 18 years since operations in Afghanistan (officially) commenced, which means that everyone serving today has absolutely taken the oath of enlistment or commission during wartime. So, spare me the "threat to one's life" armchair war philosophy. Not one of the men on my arm or engraved on our unit memorial would have allowed for the targeting or slaughter of civilians - even if it cost them their lives.
    Then you aren't at war, you are carrying out peace keeping operations. Essentially policeman in hostile lands. It is, in my opinion, everything which is wrong with western foreign policy and representational of the failure of western culture. Until you offered that opinion I would not have understood the depth of it.

  9. #79
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nockian View Post
    Then you aren't at war, you are carrying out peace keeping operations. Essentially policeman in hostile lands. It is, in my opinion, everything which is wrong with western foreign policy and representational of the failure of western culture. Until you offered that opinion I would not have understood the depth of it.
    Again, you misunderstand my reference. Allow me to clarify. I am not advocating long-term occupation or rebuilding. Our Navy, alone, is more than sufficient for projecting force worldwide on any scale from small interdiction of pirates to conventional warfare with our geopolitical near-peers. No one else comes close. Whenever the next fledgling Reich, USSR or ISIS commits actions against us or our allies, we utterly annihilate our enemy to a man, and we leave all infrastructure and material that directly allowed for their ability to conduct combat operations in smoking ruin (Sherman and Pershing - Roosevelt's gunboats diplomacy realized absolutely). This should occur everytime, and should never stop short of complete annihilation - anything less would be immoral. Why?

    So that everyone who would consider visiting evils upon the free citizens of the United States and its allies is faced with the fact that they are guaranteed they will have to defeat us utterly or cease to exist, and that should drastically reduce (though, sadly, never eliminate) the necessity of warfare over diplomatic or philosophical disagreements.

    No better friend - no worse enemy.

  10. #80
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    You appear to have changed your mind. That's not what you said previously.

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