Immoral Relativity

Two incidents in the last week, utterly unrelated, but with a common theme.

First up, the 65th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima. The United States, looking to end the war with Japan without a very costly, very bloody invasion of the mainland, dropped an atomic bomb on the city of Hiroshima, killing tens of thousands and devastating the city.

Next, a group of medical volunteers in Afghanistan are stopped and massacred by the Taliban.

Other than vague geographic relation (both in Asia) and the deaths of innocents, what do they have in common?

First up, a comment from “Dave” at the Belmont Club, in response to Richard Fernandez’ discussion of the Hiroshima bombing:

Those killed at Hiroshima, and later Nagasaki, were killed in spite of their being non-combatants.

Most of those killed in Manila and the vast majority of the slain in Nanjing were killed because they were non-combatants. Wherever the Japanese went, the slaughter started after resistance ceased.

When the Americans carried the day, the killing stopped as soon as the victory was won.

We.ve(sic) nothing to apologize for.

Second, a long-standing observation of mine: in the West, a “martyr” is one who dies for his beliefs. In the Islamic world, a “martyr” is one who kills himself or herself to kill their enemies.

There are those who like to conflate the concepts behind these distinctions. One of the most common tactics is to look at the total number of civilian deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan and lay the blame at the feet of the US. To do so, one has to presume that all reported “civilians” killed are actually civilians (and not combatants who wear civilian clothes and blend in among civilians) and to ignore that our side tries to minimize civilian casualties, while our foes make a point of targeting and killing civilians.

It must be a point of glee for them that the more they kill, the more they know that the left will excuse their slaughters and lay the blame for them at the feet of their enemies.

I realize it’s a bit unpopular right now, but I genuinely believe in American exceptionalism. I believe that it is amazing that, for all our power, when we wage war, we do, as Colin Powell once said:

So our record of living our values and letting our values be an inspiration to others I think is clear. And I don’t think I have anything to be ashamed of or apologize for with respect to what America has done for the world.

We have gone forth from our shores repeatedly over the last hundred years and we’ve done this as recently as the last year in Afghanistan and put wonderful young men and women at risk, many of whom have lost their lives, and we have asked for nothing except enough ground to bury them in, and otherwise we have returned home to seek our own, you know, to seek our own lives in peace, to live our own lives in peace.

And even that sentiment is obsolete. For the last half century or so, we’ve not even asked for a graveyard, instead preferring to bring our fallen home for honored burial.

We are different from those we fight. We are better. And those that would deny that basic, fundamental truth are themselves doing a great wrong.

Ahamdinejad: September 11 attacks exaggerated
Thank God For Harry Truman