Ironically, pacifism begins with accepting the narrative of the genocidal war criminals who ran Japan during WW2.
Pope Francis traveled to Hiroshima and Nagasaki on Sunday to demand that world powers renounce their nuclear arsenals, declaring the use and possession of atomic bombs an “immoral” crime and a dangerous waste.
As opposed to what? Plain old bombs? Napalm? Firebombing cities? Bullets?
When Americans firebombed Japanese cities was that okay? It’s just nukes that are spooky and scary?
Japan had its own nuclear program. (Two technically.) As did the Nazis. When the Communists succeeded in getting their own hands on nukes, the result nearly wrecked the planet.
“The use of atomic energy for purposes of war is immoral,” the pope declared during a nighttime prayer at Hiroshima’s peace memorial. He added off-the-cuff, “As is the possession of atomic weapons.”
You can’t have deterrence against nuclear weapons without nuclear weapons.
And the atom bomb was the alternative to the projected death of 1 million American soldiers, not to mention the ongoing mass murder of Asian populations by Imperial Japan, and the mass death of Japanese people it would have taken to end the war.
Were those more moral outcomes?
The atom bomb saved millions of lives, America, Japanese, and countless others. No one except the Europeans and the Japanese whine about it.
Up until Francis’ 2017 condemnation, the Catholic Church had held that nuclear deterrence could be morally acceptable in the interim as long as it was used toward mutual, verifiable nuclear disarmament. The Holy See, however, has seen that the deterrence doctrine has essentially resulted in a nuclear status quo, with arms control treaties collapsing.
Are China and Russia going to give up their nuclear arsenals? Will Iran?
There are hard questions to ask about war and weapons of war. But they require admitting the nature and motivations of the enemy. Without that, it becomes an exercise in empty sanctimony.