“Should we have dropped the bombs?”
I am fine exploring this without even seeking an answer. It is the struggle itself I find interesting. I posit that today yes or no doesn’t matter because the event cannot be taken back. The world must have learned from the event because such force was never used again. We came through the Cold War without similar atrocity, and barring rogue 3rd World maniacs, it isn’t often that we hear of actual nuclear threat. The world, for the most part, has grown up.
At the time, however, logic would have yielded a yes. The Japanese were not going to surrender. What other choice did we have? This is not an answer of morals, but of preservation.
Morals yield otherwise.
Still, how could we be sure? Into what other aspects of decision-making should we allow morals to extend? History shows that the leaders of the world have always had breaking points – they have all had a line drawn in the sand. At some point a leader must call upon personal conviction and a definable sense of inherent evil. Through this is determined when enough is enough. Without this ability enemies would always remain nothing more than a gray nuisance. By defining that line, those that cross it can be seen as “evil.” Imbued with purpose and need we can then fight for good in the form of a righteous God.
I am become Death…
No single act in recorded history has been so devastating. We did it twice in four days. Oppenheimer’s fear at the Trinity Test was confirmed: as a nation we had become indisputably the most powerful force known to man. More than simply a global super-power, we could now take lives in great numbers in a brilliant flash of light. We had attained a power paralleled only by scripture. The question Oppenheimer could have been asking himself was this:
What role does God have now?
The core concept in the role of God is that of definitive authority. There is no reasoning past the reasoning of God. It is why God is often the answer to questions that have no worldly explanation (and even those that do). If something else were to become that powerful – in this case, adopting the ability to destroy and create at will – then that divine responsibility would fall in the lap of he who shares the power. This entity would become a proxy to the concept of God, imbued with His powers, and burdened by tangibility.
Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear.– Acts 2:33
The Right Hand of God has long been understood to represent power and omnipotence. The Seer-of-All; the All Powerful. Without the acceptance of these qualities on some level, authority cannot exist. Whether the world felt this, or accepted it, the parallels were clear: the power of the atomic bomb was wrathful and divine. As a nation we were feared, respected, and authoritative. We had created in ourselves a god-like yet worldly presence. Smaller nations shuddered at our will to both suppress and execute the ability to cause harm. Things like restraint and might became apparent. If powers which were formerly reserved for God were now bestowed upon Man, then the question isn’t about God as a concept, or who is capable of wearing such skin, but rather this: Is Man made in the image of God, or is God made in the image of Man?
To be continued...