Support for nuclear weapons

This appears to be a redo of a similar thread. Few people reading this were around when the first, and only use, of atomic bombs occurred in 1945. Few people care to know much about nuclear weapons. There is no accurate count of who has what, but the US and other Intelligence agencies have a complete or 99% complete picture. It doesn’t matter how small a country is or that it has only a few nuclear weapons. To use a fancy term, “nuclear proliferation” has been watched for decades by those who are doing their best to keep us safe. How India and Pakistan developed nuclear weapons is not my main area of concern. But nuclear weapons are hard to make and involve components the average person has no access to.

I lived through the ICBM period of the Cold War, which is mostly over but the threat is still there. It is OK to have them. An enemy might want to use them against the US. And the enemy generally knows that any use will result in a catastrophic response from the US, so that restrains them. Sure, scenarios exist where suicide bombers might give it a try but again, supplies of radioactive materials are closely monitored. Even on the global Black Market, buying a nuke is not on the list. And if it ever were, quick action would be taken to make sure a potential seller never gets to sell one and a potential buyer never gets one.


If it wasn’t for nuclear weapons, the cold war very well could have turned into an actual war where many thousands of people would have died.


And with nuclear weapons we could have a war where many millions may die, very quickly.


In todays world, absolutely, yes.

Also, I wouldn’t say it’s ALWAYS wrong to support there usage.

The A-bombs dropped in Nagasaki and Hiroshima took hundreds of thousands of lives — yet they likely saved millions.

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I live in the UK. Would it affect the morality of supporting my country having nuclear weapons if I lived in a different country? If I was from India, Pakistan, or North Korea (perhaps even Israel) would it be morally acceptable for me to support my country having nuclear weapons?

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Here is a continuing thread here on CAF discussing nuclear weapons:

The details provided in that continuing thread are very comprehensive.

Before proceeding with a new thread, I suggest reading through this on-going thread.


The statistic of “how many times over the world could be destroyed if all fired at once” is enough for logical people to know that nuclear weapons are not a final solution. Ownership by the United States is divided into several tiers of red tape while “Hollywood” makes it seem as if the President makes a call, a key is entered or airplane deployed then impact is inevitable. It is like tv shows that feature police never disposing of narcotics, all for ratings. While truth can exist in what is seen, the American people are usually lobbying for things outside of the scope of launching a nuclear attack on an enemy. In the UN, we see that economic attacks seem more the “go-to” method of causing foreign instability.

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The idea back in the Cold Ward was something called MAD which stands for mutually assured destruction. At one time the world’s combined arsenal was way up in the thousands, now it is in the low thousands. The world would have been much safer without them, but now we are stuck with them more or less. We have had several close calls with them.

There are some that believe that the US should get rid of it’s arsenal, that somehow we would be safer. This is very controversial even here. Many believe if we were to do this, it might actually encourage an attack, possibly from a power like North Korea. The “trust” levels around the world are such that some would not believe us if we actually did get rid of them.

So for now, we are stuck with them. Most countries including the US of course are working on missile defense systems. The US, Russia and Israel all have working defense systems, but no one is sure how well these would work in an actual war. Most nuclear powers have pledged that they would not launch a first strike. Most people feel the chief danger now, outside of an accidental launch, would come from a terrorist group.

All of this was done without our knowledge, and is just a fact of life. I would not support total disarmament by the US without proof that we could reasonably protect ourselves without them, and maintain a very clear and meaningful deterrent. I doubt that will happen anytime soon.

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MAD was a creation of Secretary of Defense Robert Strange McNamara who worked for Presidents Kennedy and Johnson. [His middle name really is “Strange”.]

Prior to adoption of MAD, which scaled down our nuclear arsenal, the policy of President Eisenhower was nuclear superiority.

McNamara wanted to save money. So he reduced the strength of the United States nuclear arsenal.

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Regardless of how many may have been saved by the Atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, hundreds of innocent people were knowingly killed by this. In terms of Catholic teaching on morality, this can hardly be justified. We cannot morally commit evil to avert the occurrence of a greater evil.

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I’d argue that changes in wartime.

It was a necessary evil and had to be done.

Shooting a terrorist in the head so that he can’t go and blow up a bus full of people is a necessary evil carried in wartime.

The same thing, on a larger scale, applies to the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

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Well, how many other innocent people were killed by other weapons?

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North Korea probably definitely shouldn’t have nukes.


Brendan -

As a Catholic American, in retrospect, I do not think the US was justified in dropping the bomb on Hiroshima & Nagasaki (esp the 2nd nuke).

Some argued that Japan would have fraught to the end and that a ground war would have been necessary to end the war before the nuke. Therefore, the dropping the first nuke saved lives by convincing them to surrender.

Furthermore, in hindsight, the 2nd nuke was not necessary, as Japan was about to surrender. So the dropping of the 2nd nuke was more to make sure the Japanese and frankly the rest of the world knew that the US had more than one can could create more than one bomb.

President Truman was not involved with the planning of the Nuke, as it was top secret and he was not president at the time. Therefore, it’s possible, that he didn’t truly understand the destructive power those two nukes had (esp the radiation).

But what’s done is done.

I don’t support the us of nuclear weapons, but I don’t advocate for the destruction of them by countries that have them. Without nuclear weapons, the United States or another allied nation may have been already destroyed by them.

The knowledge that the United States would launch nukes and destroy any nation that attacked us is enough to ensure no one uses nukes against us or our allies.

So it’s not immoral for a nation to have nukes, but it surely is immoral for them to attack with them.

Even worse is the reason for both bombs was not to just defeat the the Japanese, but to do it before Russia entered into the battle and make a land grab by dividing the spoils like they did in Europe, and knowing Russia was the next threat, to show them the awesome arsenal we had.

I believe that it is immoral to use nuclear weapons and it is immoral to have them. I think it is a mortal sin to go around mutilating and murdering thousands of innocent women and children civilians who have nothing to do with waging war.

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very true…

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The real question is: Who decided to make them and deploy them? Certainly not the average citizen in the UK. The UK is a US ally and we would come to your aid if the threat of nuclear attack occurred, but neither you or I will have a say. Only the most senior military officials and select others would make the decision to use them.

By the way, I recently read about the UK testing its first atomic bomb in Australia, which was the equivalent of our US test sites. The first bomb was just a tad more powerful than expected.

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Targetting an individual terrorist is one thing, you are specifically targetting a perpetrator whose intent is to harm, but knowingly targetting hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians is something else.

I don’t believe that the Church teaches that innocent civilians can be knowingly and deliberately targetted just because the country is at war. I believe that the Church has taught specifically that this is wrong.

A LOT of ink has been spilled over the atomic bombings in Japan.

I’m a US Military Veteran myself, my dad is a combat Veteran, my grandfather was an Army Veteran of WWII who fought in the Pacific, and my wifes grandfather was a Navy WWII Veteran who fought in the Pacific.

Had the US not dropped Fat Man and Little Boy, there’s a good chance neither my wife or I would exist, as most likely our grandfathers would have both been killed in the Japanese invasion.

I have a clear bias towards leaning in the direction of seeing the bombings of Japan as justified.

In this specific instance, I think a Catholic can in good conscience lean either way.

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