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Are nukes "worth it"?

Discussion in 'Serious' started by VipersGratitude, 4 Oct 2017.

  1. VipersGratitude

    VipersGratitude Well-Known Member

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    MOD EDIT: Split off from the "What happens in Vegas" thread


    Put it this way, I once got in to an argument with a bunch of Americans regarding the morality of using the A-bomb during WWII. I was met with a chorus of "It saved lives!", as they were taught in school.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: 5 Oct 2017
  2. Guest-23315

    Guest-23315 Guest

    I did think that was theoretically the case, as Japan would never have surrendered, and if the US launched a full scale invasion, every last Japanese Man would have fought to the death, leading to mass casualites on both sides.

    I know its a slightly morose way of saying it, but I can see the twisted logic behind it.
     
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  3. VipersGratitude

    VipersGratitude Well-Known Member

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    I see the "logic" behind it too, however there is a stark difference between the lives of soldiers and disenfranchised and helpless women, children and pensioners. I finally got that point across by showing them pieces from "The Art of Hiroshima" exhibition.
     
  4. Risky

    Risky Well-Known Member

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    I imagine an invasion would have resulted in plenty of dead women and children as well.

    It was a terrible situation and not an easy decision from them to make. Would any nation have chosen to throw it's you men into the meant grinder of an invasion rather that cause enemy civilian casulaties? This after several years of the worst war man had seen.
     
  5. VipersGratitude

    VipersGratitude Well-Known Member

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    Reality Check: You're undermining an argument against the use of nuclear weapons on the only planet we have.
     
  6. Risky

    Risky Well-Known Member

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    I'm looking back at history and considering whether the right decision was made by the people who had to make it, and the consequences of making a different decision. There is no point criticising a historical decision without exploring the counterfactual.
     
  7. Anfield

    Anfield Well-Known Member

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    They would have needed to kill way more soldiers than civilians to have the same impact.
    In other words, the life of civilian is worth more than that of a soldier in the perception of the public because the soldier chose to put himself in harms way.
    So from a pure numbers stand point it is correct that it saved lives.
    The ethical implications of killing civilians instead of soldiers to increase public pressure on a government to change course are where it quickly gets very murky.
     
  8. VipersGratitude

    VipersGratitude Well-Known Member

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    So, in some cases, using nukes is the best option?
     
  9. MLyons

    MLyons Half dev, Half doge. Staff Administrator Super Moderator Moderator

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    I'm struggling to come up with a scenario. Maybe one or two if I'm really stretching.
     
  10. VipersGratitude

    VipersGratitude Well-Known Member

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    As I see it, it's your standard trolley problem for which there is no definitive moral answer....except when one option is the use of nuclear f**king weapons.
     
  11. Corky42

    Corky42 What did walle eat for breakfast?

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    When faced with a similar war as that of the pacific then I'd regretfully say yes, i maybe mistaken but IIRC Japan were already using, and i use that term loosely, women, children, and other civilians as culturally the defense of the empire was the duty of every man, women, and child, and that duty was instilled in them from birth, they'd willing give their lives in defense of the Emperor.

    It was only the Emperor who put a halt to the war as the military wanted to carry on because the Americans were asking for an unconditional surrender and they thought that would mean the removal of the Emperor among other things that went against their code of honor.

    NK would probably be the closest modern day equivalent as arguably every civilian would take up arms to defend the Kim family so you could be faced with a long protracted war with massive causalities on both sides, although even in that situation dropping a nuke probably wouldn't lead to surrender because Kim probably doesn't care much for his people and the shock factor of a nuke is no longer a thing (with Japan it was very much a OMFG sort of thing).
     
  12. VipersGratitude

    VipersGratitude Well-Known Member

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    And the pesky half-life problem which will effect that area, and all life in it, for 24,000 years?
     
  13. Valo

    Valo Active Member

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    Since we're exploring the counterfactual - why all of the counterfactual exploration assumes that the Japanese were some sort of stubborn maniacs that would fight until the entire nation got killed off? That's where the 'it would have cost more lives' claim becomes murky - it denies the Japanese any modicum of common sense. The way I see it, they would have eventually surrendered, because they are also able to reason rationally and would not want to risk more casualties. Code of honour or not, common sense still applies.

    There is no justification for use of nuclear weapons
     
  14. Corky42

    Corky42 What did walle eat for breakfast?

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    Not sure where you got the 24,000 years from, depending on yield and type of detonation the acute effects subside fairly quickly (1-5 years), granted the long term radiation last longer and can cause health problems but those are no where close to 24,000 years.
     
  15. VipersGratitude

    VipersGratitude Well-Known Member

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    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plutonium-239

    The radiation isn't eliminated, it's merely dissipated and distributed over a wider area.

    The solution should never be - Let's use the bomb to fix our transient problems and let the following 1,000 generations deal with the literal fallout
     
  16. Corky42

    Corky42 What did walle eat for breakfast?

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    That's the half-life of the concentrated sold fuel, there's very little of that left when the bomb goes boom and what there is get's distribute over a very large area in very small amount, the Nagasaki bomb used 239Pu and now has no more background radiation than any other city in the world.
     
  17. Anfield

    Anfield Well-Known Member

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    Sure they would have surrendered at some point, but how many would have died until then? If we average out the wildly fluctuating casualty numbers of the nukes to 200k, that is significantly less than in a full scale war.
    That doesn't mean nukes are a good thing, just that it likely resulted in fewer casualties than the even worse option.
     
  18. liratheal

    liratheal Sharing is Caring

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    I can't believe there's an active discussion about the merits, or lack there of, of using nuclear weapons.

    I suspect anyone who'd survived through something like that might have an opinion along the lines of 'nah, that **** sucked, we should never do that again'.

    As for the argument that it 'stops things getting worse/ended WWII', that's only true until someone invents a bigger stick.

    It wasn't all that long ago we were killing each other with muskets and swords, I sincerely doubt it'll be too long before something worse than a nuclear weapon comes along.
     
  19. walle

    walle Well-Known Member

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    Using nukes was a war crime because civilians were indiscriminately targeted. Just as the bombings of Dresden was a war crime for the very same reason. However, if you are on the winning side you are in a position to ignore your own war crimes, besides, who is going to hold you accountable in the first place? In fact, you could say the only war crime is losing.

    In the context of...

    If you lose a war you will be prosecuted for the war crimes you have committed, real or imagined, by those who won the war. Germany would have prosecuted England the United States and Russia for war crimes had they won the war, but they lost so war crimes committed against them are therefore either ignored or morally justified when brought up. Had the Germans won they would have resorted to doing the same thing on their end, morally justified their own war crimes when those would have been brought up by the losing side.

    That's the reality of it.

    Edit.
    There's always a threat out there to be worried about isn't it, and if there is no threat the establishment will be quick to create one or the perception of one. Either it's the Iranians. Or it's the Russians preparing a Zerg rush on the Eastern front. Or it's aliens about to attack us. Or it's the economy. Or it's a killer asteroid from other space. Or it's the environment. Or it's the Elvis of Asia displaying short man syndrome flexing being all strident like, fixing to launch a nuke any minute now. Rinse and repeat.

    This way they can keep the plebs on a constant emotional and psychological roller coaster with all it's highs and lows, most people can't seem to get enough of it either, all the drama they crave more, they're ****ing junkies at this point needing that fix.
     
    Last edited: 4 Oct 2017
  20. VipersGratitude

    VipersGratitude Well-Known Member

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    It was an airburst...it didn't have an opportunity to irradiate heavy material which would fall back to earth; Ground bursts are much more deadly in terms of fallout, because they do. Again what determines it is the speed of dissipation...but each nuclear blast does increase the mean global radioactivity levels. You're just widening the area over which it's spread, and that area is limited.

    [​IMG]

    While "might makes right" is the base default it has no place in ethical discussions.
     

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