If an uninhibited rational society sits down to discuss the use, possession, and development of nuclear weapons, I think that the conclusions it reaches are inevitable:
The use of nuclear weapons on men and women is unspeakably atrocious, and there is no moral consideration that could possibly justify such a grave offense.
If that conclusion is reached, then there is no helping the arrival at a second conclusion: the possession of nuclear arms is in all cases immoral, for there is not a moral way to justify the possession of a useful object which may never legitimately be used.
In reality, this is an extremely progressive idea: and it does have a mandate. The USA, and all civilizations and civilized nations should immediately and safely decommission their nuclear arsenals forever.
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I realize that this statement condemns or seems to condemn our predecessors. My proximate intention is not to judge or condemn those who have gone before us, but rather to look at the facts abstractly and objectively, and make a conclusion from them directly. I have gone through them again and again, and every time the above conclusion holds.
Having talked with several WWII veterans, I understand and can legitimately discount the argument about the nuclear option being necessary to force Japan to unconditionally surrender. The real question is: “Why was it so necessary to have Japan unconditionally surrender?” It was not necessary. It was morally reprehensible.
Prior to any further discussion or exchanges on this topic A Song for Nagasaki is required reading.