The US Was Justified in Bombing Hiroshima and Nagasaki
Debate Rounds (4)
Resolution: "The United States was Justified in Dropping Atomic Bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki." Pro has BoP since they are making the claim. Pro starts arguing in R1, Pro waives R4. No new arguments in the last round (R3 for Pro and R4 for Con). So R1, Pro argues that it was justified; R2 I show why these reasons are false. Pro wins if he proves it was justified, I win if I show that these are not valid justification, thus not justified; thus, win.
Overview-Pro posts their response in a google doc. This is fine, as long as it doesn’t go past 10k characters. This is because when I created the debate, I set the character limit at 10k. That means that all argumentation must be at max 10k long, according to the debate rules. If you go to the doc and highlight their text, 10k ends at the end of the Utilitarianism contention. I urge the judges to disregard all content past the utilitarianism contention since it violates the rules of the debate.
Firstly, Pro’s entire case lies on the fact that the Japanese committed atrocities, and thus the US was justified in dropping the bombs. The entire content of the first three contentions was proving the atrocities committed by the Japanese, yet there is not much reasoning on how this justifies dropping the bombs.
I concede that Japan committed atrocities. As a result, I will attack the link Pro makes to justifying the dropping of bombs in order to the negate the argument. Pro brings up his punishment justification in the utilitarian contention, which I will negate later; here I will focus on the justifications Pro brings up in his first three contentions. In Pro’s first contention, they just argue that the Pearl Harbor attack was unwarranted, and then in the last sentence that this, “results in a justified bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.” There is no reasoning here though, thus we can throw out this entire contention as a bare assertion.
Pro’s second contention is that Japan would have done horrible things if they win the war, thus they must be stopped. Pro’s third contention is much the same; but that the Japanese were already doing horrible things, and thus the, “atomic bomb was needed to put an end to a war filled with death, destruction, and crimes against humanity.” This brings about a justification: that the bombs would be necessary in stopping the Japanese and ending the war. Yet, the bombs were not necessary in stopping Japan at all since Japan was already defeated. Henry H. Arnold (Commanding General of the Army Air Force) writes in 1949,
“It always appeared to us, atomic bomb or no atomic bomb, the Japanese were already on the verge of collapse.” qtd. in 
Japan was already conquered militarily as soon as June 1945 (two months before the bombing). The Imperial Navy was completely wiped out , the air force was all but destroyed , the economic system was on the verge of collapse , the few factories and workshops that had not yet been destroyed were unable to produce goods from lack of adequate raw materials . By July, one-fourth of all houses were destroyed  and the transportation system was on the verge of collapse .
Admiral William D. Leahy (Chairman of the Wartime Joint Chiefs of Staff) writes,
“It is my opinion that the use of the 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…” qtd. in 
Dwight D. Eisenhower (Supreme Commander of Allied Forces in Europe) writes in White House Years,
“[When I was informed about the plan to drop A-bombs] I was one of those who felt that there were a number of cogent reasons to question the wisdom of such an act...first on the basis of my belief that Japan was already defeated and that dropping the bomb was completely unnecessary, and...no longer mandatory as a measure to save American lives.” qtd. in 
Because Japan was already conquered militarily, the bombs did not help whatsoever in stopping the Japanese.
The bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki also did not bring peace to the war any sooner because Japan had sought peace much before the bombings. As Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimit (Commander in Chief of the U.S. Pacific Fleet) writes,
“The Japanese had, in fact, already sued for peace before the atomic age was announced to the world with the destruction of Hiroshima...” 
American secret service had broken the Japanese secret codes early in the war , and thus knew from decoded messages that the Japanese were seeking to end the war. Historian Gar Alperovitz writes in his 1965 study Atomic Diplomacy: Hiroshima and Potsdam,
“Although Japanese peace feelers had been sent out as early as September 1944 (and [China's] Chiang Kai-shek had been approached regarding surrender possibilities in December 1944), the real effort to end the war began in the spring of 1945. This effort stressed the role of the Soviet Union …
In mid-April  the [US] Joint Intelligence Committee reported that Japanese leaders were looking for a way to modify the surrender terms to end the war. The State Department was convinced the Emperor was actively seeking a way to stop the fighting.” 
Furthermore, Admiral William D. Leahy leaked information of a diplomatic memorandum to Walter Trohan of the Chicago Tribune; who wasn’t able to publish it until 7 months after the war due to war censorship. But when it was finally released, it revealed that Japan had made five separate attempts to negotiate peace with the United States. The messages were relayed to General Douglas MacArthur (Chief of Staff of the United States Army), who relayed them to Roosevelt. The finally published article, Japs Asked Peace In Jan. Envoys On Way -- Tokyo, reads,
“Two days before the late President Roosevelt left the last week in January for the Yalta conference with Prime Minister Churchill and Marshal Stalin he received a Japanese offer identical with the terms subsequently concluded by his successor, Harry S. Truman.
The Jap offer, based on five separate overtures, was relayed to the White House by Gen. MacArthur in a 40-page communication. The American commander, who had just returned triumphantly to Bataan, urged negotiations on the basis of the Jap overtures.
The offer, as relayed by MacArthur, contemplated abject surrender of everything but the person of the Emperor. The suggestion was advanced from the Japanese quarters making the offer that the Emperor become a puppet in the hands of American forces.
Two of the five Jap overtures were made through American channels and three through British channels. All came from responsible Japanese, acting for Emperor Hirohito…Just before the Japanese surrender the Russian foreign commissar disclosed that the Japs had made peace overtures through Moscow asking that the Soviets mediate the war. These overtures were made in the middle of June through the Russian foreign office and also through a personal letter from Hirohito to Stalin Both overtures were reported to the United States and Britain.” 
Historian Harry Elmer Barnes writes,
“The authenticity of the Trohan article was never challenged by the White House or the State Department, and for very good reason. After General MacArthur returned from Korea in 1951, his neighbor in the Waldorf Towers, former President Herbert Hoover, took the Trohan article to General MacArthur and the latter confirmed its accuracy in every detail and without qualification.” 
Thus, we can conclude that bombing Hiroshima and Nagasaki had no assistance whatsoever in stopping the Japanese. Pro’s second contention and third contention impacts are negated.
I would also like to address Pro’s harnessing of utilitarianism. Pro uses utilitarianism as their warrant in order to support their claim that bombing Hiroshima and Nagasaki was justified. Yet they’re warrant is false, thus their argument is false. Pro states that utilitarianism is the principle in which: the more your crime, the more your punishment. To get to my first point; this simply isn’t what utilitarianism is. Ethical utilitarianism is based on the well-being of sentient beings. Any action that prevents more suffering than it creates is a morally right action, and any action that creates more suffering than it prevents is a morally wrong action. I urge Pro to read John Stuart Mill’s Utilitarianism or if you don’t have time the Encyclopedia Britannica . As we can see, Pro’s concept is harnessed falsely, and thus cannot support his argument. Ergo, Pro’s argument is unwarranted and can be thrown out. But by using actual utilitarianism, the amount of suffering that dropping A-bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki created, is only justified if it prevents more suffering. Pro has not given any suffering that was prevented by dropping A-bombs, thus it was not a moral action. Thus not just. Thus not justified.
Yet, furthermore, even if we accept Pro’s twisted reasoning, it still doesn’t support his view since the bomb punished people not responsible for the crime. Pro argues that the more your crime, the more your punishment. Thus, by Pro’s reasoning, those who committed the crime should be punished. But, when applied to the case of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the punishment was not enforced towards the criminal, it was enforced towards innocent citizens that did no crime but be born in Japan; something they had no control over.
Even moreover, this does not justify the United State’s actions, and thus doesn’t affirm the resolution. In order to explain why, it's important to know what “justice” is. Using Google, it is “just” behavior or treatment. Yet, what is “just”? Using Google again, we find that “just” is doing what is morally right. Pro argues that killing a quarter of a million Japanese is justified because they did atrocities to other people. Yet, let's put that in a hypothetical. A man atrociously rapes your innocent wife. As a result, you atrociously rape the other man’s innocent wife. According to Pro’s reasoning raping the other man’s innocent wife is justified because the other couple did atrocities to another person. Yet, think back to the incident. You still sexually assaulted the wife, that is still a wrong thing to do, regardless of other circumstances. As long as that hypothetical is morally wrong to you, Pro’s reasoning is false.
Sources in comments
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Vote Placed by tejretics 6 months ago
|Who won the debate:||-|
Reasons for voting decision: Pro's whole case hinges on the way Pro views "justice," which essentially is a retributive framework. There's no proper justification for this except the criminal justice system currently follows such a means of awarding justice. Con accepts the link that the Japanese were responsible for atrocities, but doesn't accept the retributive justice links. First, Con refutes the notion that this argument linked to the bombing at all because people who were not culpable for the Japanese atrocities were the ones primarily punished, which is immoral under Pro's own framework. Second, Con argues that there's no solid reason to accept retributive justice as a framework, outside of what is currently accepted by society -- which fails to offer explanation for what ought to exist. Con also demonstrates that Pro essentially misrepresents utilitarian standards, but under impact calculus, Con shows that innocent lives were lost for no reason here, and the war would have ended anyway. Thus, I vote Con.
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