In his latest On the Square column, Joe Carter wonders when it is ever moral to target civilians in wartime:
As I walked along the streets of Hiroshima I tried to imagine the city on fire. Fifty-six years earlier the atomic bomb “Little Boy” had set the area aflame, killing nearly a third of the population within twenty-four hours. According to the local prefectural health department estimates, of the people who perished on the day of the explosion, 60 percent died from flash or flame burns. Most of the dead were “noncombatants”—innocent men, women, and children.
Like many Americans I had always believed that dropping the atomic bombs on Japan had been a necessary evil, the only way to end the bloody, protracted war. Now, looking into the faces of smiling children strolling down the bustling sidewalks, I wasn’t so sure.
Also today, George Weigel considers whether Thomas Merton, had lived beyond his untimely death, might have become one of the first Catholic neoconservatives:
One reason is that he was too smart to swallow the juvenile political leftism into which Catholic progressives fell from the late Sixties through the Seventies. Merton had known the real thing—that is, real communists—in his Columbia undergraduate days, and I suspect he would not have been much impressed with the Woodstock-generation imitation. Merton’s rivalry with Daniel Berrigan might have been another factor pushing him toward a critique of progressive Catholicism: as Berrigan, the Church’s other poet-activist, moved farther and farther left, Merton might have recoiled in a different direction. Then there was Merton’s interest in religion in Asia: had he lived to see the vast persecution wrought by communists on Catholics and Buddhists alike in Vietnam, Tibet, and China, the cause of religious freedom might have been for him, as it was for Richard John Neuhaus, a pathway out of “The Movement.”