Jacob Hornberger: Why aren’t Hiroshima and Nagaski war crimes?

Jacob Hornberger was a candidate for the 2000 Libertarian Party presidential nomination. He finished in third place with 13.67% of the vote, behind Don Gorman and the winner, Harry Browne. The following is from the Future of Freedom Foundation website, of which Hornberger is the president and founder of, and was published on May 12th, 2016:

I don’t get it. On the one hand, we’re told that the intentional targeting of civilians in wartime is a war crime. On the other hand, we’re told that the intentional targeting of Hiroshima and Nagasaki with nuclear bombs was not a war crime.

Which is it?

The issue is back in the news with President Obama’s decision to visit Hiroshima. The question that is being debated is whether he should apologize for President Truman’s decision to order U.S. troops to drop nuclear bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki during World War II.

If the targeting of civilians in wartime is okay, then clearly the decision to nuke the people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki was not a war crime.

But if that’s the case, then why was U.S. Army Lt. William Calley prosecuted during the Vietnam War? He’s the officer who intentionally killed several defenseless women and children in a Vietnamese village. The military prosecuted and convicted him of a war crime. Why? If it’s not a war crime to intentionally kill women and children in wartime, then why was Calley prosecuted and convicted of war crimes?

Read the rest of the article here. 


One response to “Jacob Hornberger: Why aren’t Hiroshima and Nagaski war crimes?

  1. …in [July] 1945… Secretary of War Stimson, visiting my headquarters in Germany, informed me that our government was preparing to drop an atomic bomb on Japan. I was one of those who felt that there were a number of cogent reasons to question the wisdom of such an act. …the Secretary, upon giving me the news of the successful bomb test in New Mexico, and of the plan for using it, asked for my reaction, apparently expecting a vigorous assent.

    “During his recitation of the relevant facts, I had been conscious of a feeling of depression and so I voiced to him my grave misgivings, first on the basis of my belief that Japan was already defeated and that dropping the bomb was completely unnecessary, and secondly because I thought that our country should avoid shocking world opinion by the use of a weapon whose employment was, I thought, no longer mandatory as a measure to save American lives. It was my belief that Japan was, at that very moment, seeking some way to surrender with a minimum loss of ‘face’. The Secretary was deeply perturbed by my attitude…”

    – Dwight Eisenhower, Mandate For Change, pg. 380
    _____ _____ _____ _____ _____ _____

    “It is my opinion that the use of this barbarous weapon at Hiroshima and Nagasaki was of no material assistance in our war against Japan. The Japanese were already defeated and ready to surrender because of the effective sea blockade and the successful bombing with conventional weapons.

    “The lethal possibilities of atomic warfare in the future are frightening. My own feeling was that in being the first to use it, we had adopted an ethical standard common to the barbarians of the Dark Ages. I was not taught to make war in that fashion, and wars cannot be won by destroying women and children.”

    Admiral William Leahy, (I Was There, pg. 441).
    (Chief of Staff to Presidents Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman)
    ______ _____ _____ ______ _____ ______

    MacArthur biographer William Manchester has described MacArthur’s reaction to the issuance by the Allies of the Potsdam Proclamation to Japan: “…the Potsdam declaration in July, demand[ed] that Japan surrender unconditionally or face ‘prompt and utter destruction.’ MacArthur was appalled. He knew that the Japanese would never renounce their emperor, and that without him an orderly transition to peace would be impossible anyhow, because his people would never submit to Allied occupation unless he ordered it. Ironically, when the surrender did come, it was conditional, and the condition was a continuation of the imperial reign. Had the General’s advice been followed, the resort to atomic weapons at Hiroshima and Nagasaki might have been unnecessary.”

    William Manchester, American Caesar: Douglas MacArthur 1880-1964, pg. 512.


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