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Were the crew of the Enola Gay war criminals?

Discussion in 'Historical Debates' started by sandandfoam, Nov 18, 2011.

  1. sandandfoam

    sandandfoam Veteran Member

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    I was watching a documentary about Hiroshima last night. I found it very disturbing and it left me wondering - were the crew of the Enola Gay war criminals?

    I think they were.
     
  2. Sunstone

    Sunstone De Diablo Del Fora
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    I forget which American general characterized the bombing of Japan -- not just the atomic bombing, but all of it -- as a war crime. Do you remember who it was, by any chance?
     
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  3. sandandfoam

    sandandfoam Veteran Member

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    Sorry, no. I'd be interested to hear though.
     
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  4. Sunstone

    Sunstone De Diablo Del Fora
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    The general was commenting on the illegality of targeting civilians -- which is what the American bombing campaign was doing.
     
  5. Sunstone

    Sunstone De Diablo Del Fora
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    Oh, and for the record, I think that general was right. America committed war crimes in targeting civilians. Of course, that includes Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
     
  6. not nom

    not nom Well-Known Member

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    [youtube]xVY3efkk6fo[/youtube]
    Hiroshima Enola Gay - YouTube

    Enola Gay
    You should have stayed at home yesterday
    Ah-ha words can't describe
    The feeling and the way you lied

    These games you play
    They're going to end in more than tears some day
    Ah-ha Enola Gay
    It shouldn't ever have to end this way

    It's eight fifteen
    And that's the time that it's always been
    We got your message on the radio
    Conditions normal and you're coming home

    Enola Gay
    Is mother proud of little boy today
    Ah-ha this kiss you give
    It's never going to fade away
     
    #6 not nom, Nov 18, 2011
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2011
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  7. Willamena

    Willamena Just be there, doing that
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    No. They were soldiers.
     
  8. sandandfoam

    sandandfoam Veteran Member

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    So were the SS. Is 'We were ordered to' a valid excuse in your view?
     
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  9. Willamena

    Willamena Just be there, doing that
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    It's not an "excuse" at all. The following of orders, by definition, is not required to be excused.

    The crew of the Enola Gay were bombadeers, and they believed in what they were doing: ending the war.
     
  10. sandandfoam

    sandandfoam Veteran Member

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    I disagree. That excuse didn't work for Nazi and Japenese war criminals why should it hold for American ones?


    Is your argument that the end justified any means?
     
  11. Nowhere Man

    Nowhere Man Bompu Zen Man.

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    In my opinion it directly falls on the the leadership, and not the troops as the ones responsible. Commanders first gave those orders. Even if such kinds of orders were disobeyed and protested Im quite sure they will alternately find someone else who would carry the orders out.

    All have a role obviously, but its the leaders who really should answer for crimes as I see it.
     
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  12. Revoltingest

    Revoltingest Ignorant Atheist Capitalist Engineer Libertarian
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    War crimes are a subjective judgement of the winner.

    Some factors
    Military objective - Atomic bombs hastened the end of the war, possibly reducing the total loss of life.
    Comparison of tactics - Even more Japanese civilians died in firestorms from conventional bombing.
    Horror factor - Nuclear warfare was new at that time, & not viewed as we would today.
    Necessity - Torturing civilians (as Japanese systematically did) isn't useful to win. Killing citizens of Hiroshima & Nagasaki was useful to break their will to fight to the last man.
    Righteous warrior - We won. Germans & Japs were evil. Therefore, they committed the crimes.

    By these criteria:
    - The firebombing of Dresden strikes me as more of a war crime than nuking Japan.
    - Nuclear conflict between Iran & Israel will result in only Muslims being tried for war crimes.

    All war involves war crimes on both sides. Usually, one is just worse than the other.
     
    #12 Revoltingest, Nov 18, 2011
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2011
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  13. Willamena

    Willamena Just be there, doing that
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    This isn't something I'm arguing. You brought it up.

    No. Just an alternate description of what went down.

    The crew of the Enola Gay is not to blame for the event. I am. This is how I saw it, when I learned of this horrible historic event at a tender age: I could view the event in kind with the victims, with all the horror and pain of death; or I could view the event in kind with the crew, with all the horror and awe of death. It was an act of humanity against humanity. They are humanity, and I am humanity. This is what I do.
     
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  14. sandandfoam

    sandandfoam Veteran Member

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    Do you have the same view of other events where people are killed e.g. Srebrenica?
     
  15. Revoltingest

    Revoltingest Ignorant Atheist Capitalist Engineer Libertarian
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    It seems too black & white to say that something was or wasn't a war crime.
    Evaluation of relative merits & evil of available alternatives would illuminate our judgement of acts of war.
    Tis easy for a foreigner from a later era to harshly judge combatants in a desperate fight for their country's survival.
    Perhaps that enables superior objectivity....or holier-than-thou armchair quarterbacking.

    So.....
    Should we have continued killing them in comparable numbers by conventional means?
    Or should we have stopped the killing, & retreated?
     
    #15 Revoltingest, Nov 18, 2011
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2011
  16. Willamena

    Willamena Just be there, doing that
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    I will continue to do it, until something fundamental in me changes.
     
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  17. not nom

    not nom Well-Known Member

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    "No man is an Island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the Continent, a part of the main; if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friends or of thine own were; any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in Mankind; And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; It tolls for thee."

    -- John Donne
     
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  18. not nom

    not nom Well-Known Member

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    the fallacy here is equating soldiers with civilians. it's not just a numbers game.

    in other words, "yes".
     
  19. Revoltingest

    Revoltingest Ignorant Atheist Capitalist Engineer Libertarian
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    No fallacy. I don't equate them at all.
    My point is that the likely alternatives would involve killing both in great numbers.
    My question is about which method should have been used.
     
    #19 Revoltingest, Nov 18, 2011
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2011
  20. Apex

    Apex Somewhere Around Nothing

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    You also need to take into account that in one method, not only would enormously large amounts of Japanese been killed, but American soldiers as well. This was the dilemma the commanders faced, use nukes and possibly end the war with no more American casualties, or continue a conventional war and lose many more American lives.
     
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