IRS Agrees to Atheist Group’s Demands to Monitor Sermons

Written by 

thenewamerican.com

The Internal Revenue Service continues to extend its already vast overreach, this time by agreeing to monitor church sermons as part of an agreement the government made on July 17 with the aggressively atheistic Freedom From Religion Foundation.

Freedom Outpost reported, “The Internal Revenue Service settled a lawsuit brought by the Freedom from Religion Foundation. The 2012 lawsuit was settled after the IRS agreed to monitor what is said in houses of worship, something that is a clear violation of the First Amendment, since no law can be written by Congress to this effect.”

The Freedom From Religion Foundation, based in Wisconsin, brought the suit against the IRS, asserting that the group had been ignoring complaints that churches were violating their tax-exempt statuses. According to the group’s suit, churches promote political issues, legislation, and candidates from the pulpit.

FFRF asserted, “Pulpit Freedom Sunday … has become an annual occasion for churches to violate the law with impunity. The IRS, meanwhile, admittedly was not enforcing the restrictions against churches.”

FFRF claims that the churches are acting in violation of the 1954 Johnson Amendment, which states that non-profits cannot endorse candidates.

A 2009 court ruling determined that the IRS must staff someone to monitor church politicking, but the Freedom From Religion Foundation claims that the IRS has not been adhering to the ruling.

Erik Stanley, senior legal counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom and head of the Pulpit Initiative, told LifeSiteNews that “the IRS has no business censoring what a pastor preaches from the pulpit.” Stanley states that his organization is currently “attempting to bring the era of IRS censorship and intimidation to an end by challenging the Johnson Amendment, which imposes unconstitutional restrictions on clergy speech.”

He contends that churches should not have to choose between tax-exempt status and freedom of speech. “No one would suggest a pastor give up his church’s tax-exempt status if he wants to keep his constitutional protection against illegal search and seizure or cruel and unusual punishment,” he said.

Stanley insists that not only would it be unfair for churches to have to choose between one or the other, but that “churches are automatically tax exempt out of recognition that the surest way to destroy the free exercise of religion is to begin taxing it.” “Churches are constitutionally entitled to a tax exemption and that exemption cannot be conditioned on the surrender of constitutional rights.”

In celebration of its victory with the IRS, the Freedom From Religion Foundation issued a press release wherein it outlined its win:

The IRS has now resolved the signature authority issue necessary to initiate church examinations. The IRS also has adopted procedures for reviewing, evaluating and determining whether to initiate church investigations. While the IRS retains “prosecutorial” discretion with regard to any individual case, the IRS no longer has a blanket policy or practice of non-enforcement of political activity restrictions as to churches.

The press release also acknowledges, however, that the judge in the case could not order immediate action since a moratorium has been placed on the investigations by the IRS of tax exempt groups after the 2013 scandal in which the IRS was found to have been targeting Christian and conservative groups.

The scandal involves the Tax Exempt and Government Entities Division of the IRS openly targeting Tea Party and other conservative groups that applied for tax-exempt 501c4 “social welfare” organization status between 2010 and 2012. Those groups faced additional audits and scrutiny by the agency. The audits cost the organizations tens of thousands of dollars and many hundreds employee hours, and ultimately delayed the groups from receiving tax-exempt status.

But FFRF contends that it may still bring a lawsuit against the IRS again if necessary after the moratorium is lifted:

As a result, FFRF has reached a point where no further immediate changes realistically can be accomplished through continued litigation. The dismissal of the pending action, however, is expected to be without prejudice, which means that further legal action by FFRF to enforce anti-electioneering provisions is not precluded in the future if necessary.

Regardless of this, the FFRF views the settlement as a win overall. “This is a victory, and we’re pleased with this development in which the IRS has proved to our satisfaction that it now has in place a protocol to enforce its own anti-electioneering provisions,” said FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor in a press release. “Of course, we have the complication of a moratorium currently in place on any IRS investigations of any tax-exempt entities, church or otherwise, due to the congressional probe of the IRS,” she added. “FFRF could refile the suit if anti-electioneering provisions are not enforced in the future against rogue political churches.”

This is just one of many items on the FFRF anti-Christian agenda. In 2012, the group targeted the presence of a cross at a World War I memorial at a fire department in Rhode Island, though the cross had been there for nearly 100 years.

Earlier this year, the FFRF demanded that Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker remove a Christian reference from his Twitter and Facebook accounts. The group’s president, Annie Laurie Gaylor, had sent a letter to the governor insisting that it is “improper for a state employee, much less for the chief executive officer of the state, to use the machinery of the state of Wisconsin to promote personal religious views.”

The FFRF had also targeted prayer offerings at the city council meetings of Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, as well as at the city council meetings in Pueblo and Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Unfortunately for the FFRF, a May Supreme Court ruling has determined that prayer at these meetings is permissible. In Town of Greece v. Galloway, the court determined that prayer offered by members of the clergy at town board meetings does not violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.

The case pertained to prayer at town board meetings in Greece, New York, and was forwarded by a pair of non-Christians who complained that all the town of Greece government meetings between 1999 and 2007 were opened with specifically Christian invocations.

“The prayer opportunity in this case must be evaluated against the backdrop of historical practice,” the majority wrote in its opinion. “As a practice that has long endured, legislative prayer has become part of our heritage and tradition, part of our expressive idiom, similar to the Pledge of Allegiance, inaugural prayer, or the recitation of ‘God save the United States and this honorable Court’ at the opening of this Court’s sessions.”

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The real path to Pulpit Freedom

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DHS Agents Raid NC Home to Seize Land Rover For Violation of EPA Regulations

by Paul Joseph Watson

infowars.com

In another example of how the Department of Homeland Security has expanded far outside the purview of its original function, six vehicles full of DHS agents were required to seize a Land Rover from a couple in Statesville, N.C. due to the fact that the vehicle allegedly violates EPA emission standards.

http://www.wbtv.com/clip/10390438/feds-seize-mans-land-rover

As part of its mission to “protect the Homeland,” the DHS has been busy seizing imported vehicles that don’t comply with safety and CO2 regulations.

Jennifer and Bill Brinkley were satisfied that their $60,000 dollar purchase of a Land Rover Defender on eBay complied with regulations because it fell into the exemption category of a vehicle 25 years or older.

However, when DHS agents turned up at the property, they compared the car’s Vehicle Identification Number to a list and immediately seized the Land Rover. The couple were not given “a chance to debate the issue.”

WBTV’s Steve Ohnesorge said DHS agents conducted “almost like a raid to get the car.”

“it’s just unnerving the way they did it,” said Bill Brinkley.

The feds have given the Brinkley’s 35 days to appeal the seizure but refuse to tell them where the vehicle is located. The DHS has also failed to respond to media requests about the incident.

The Department of Homeland Security, created in the aftermath of 9/11, was tasked with the role of protecting America from terrorists, man-made accidents and natural disasters. However, the DHS has been turned into a national police force with a remit that extends from seizing websites for copyright infringement to confiscating fake NFL merchandise.

As the Rutherford Institute’s John Whitehead explained in a widely circulated article last month, the DHS is becoming America’s domestic standing army.

“The menace of a national police force, aka a standing army, vested with so much power cannot be overstated, nor can its danger be ignored,” wrote Whitehead, before listing numerous examples of how the DHS is instrumental in pushing America’s decline into a militarized police state.

One such example occurred earlier this month in Greenville, North Carolina, when teams of armed DHS agents showed up outside a courthouse building. There was no threat to the building – the purpose of the agents’ presence was to “let people know they’re in the area,” while encouraging residents to snitch on their neighbors via the ‘See Something, Say Something’ program.

In another incident, the DHS conducted a military-style invasion of a small town in Illinois complete with armored vehicles, a Black Hawk helicopter and a phalanx of heavy duty equipment and weaponry. It subsequently emerged that the reason behind the show of force – which spooked locals – was to apprehend one man for downloading indecent images on his computer.

Given this history, the Brinkleys should probably count themselves lucky that they didn’t have guns pointed at their head during the seizure of the Land Rover, which the DHS apparently sees as a bigger threat to America than the nation’s porous borders and the fact that the TSA, a subdivision of the DHS, allows illegal aliens to board planes without identification.

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ORIGINAL SOURCE WBTV.COM

Outrageous coverup of 1995 OKC bombing continues

Jon Rappoport

activistpost.com

Utah attorney Jesse Trentadue claims his brother, Kenneth, was killed during interrogation, in federal custody 19 years ago, because Kenneth resembled the “other suspect” in the OKC Bombing case, John Doe #2.

The FBI claims Kenneth, with “41 wounds and bruises (according to AP),” committed suicide.

Attorney Trentadue states there was another man with Tim McVeigh at the scene of the Bombing on April 19, 1995—and it wasn’t his brother.

The FBI claims McVeigh was alone.

To settle this issue, in 2009, as AP reported, the FBI finally gave Trentadue some security tapes from buildings near the Murrah Federal Building. Magically, the tapes were all blank just before and after the Murrah Building was blown up at 9:02AM on 4/15/95.

Now, Trentadue has filed a FOIA suit against the FBI. He wants more tapes. A trial begins Monday.

The FBI claims it can’t find more tapes.

Everybody connected to the OKC bombing case knows there is another reason the FBI is tap dancing and lying:

Actual video footage of the Murrah Building falling would show the fabled truck bomb didn’t cause the damage to the Building and didn’t kill 168 people inside.

Video footage would show a straight-down demolition-type collapse. Meaning: charges placed on the columns did the true damage.

In 1995, while investigating the Bombing, I interviewed 4 explosives experts, and they concurred that the force of an ANFO truck bomb would have dissipated rapidly in the open air and failed to create so much destruction.

More importantly and specifically, the profile of the damage (which columns remained, and which fell) excluded the possibility that a bomb in a truck was the weapon.

Some columns closer to the famed Ryder truck stayed up; other columns farther away went down.

Shortly after the Bombing in 1995, I spoke to a reporter at the Daily Oklahoman. She said she’d interviewed a man who’d seen the Murrah Building collapse. He told her it went straight down, demolition-style.

I managed to reach this witness. He said he didn’t really see the Building go down.

I got back to the reporter. She was furious. She told me she had his statement in her notes. “I’m not making this up,” she said.

I also interviewed Hoppy Heidelberg, a grand juror in the OKC Bombing case. He told me he’d tried to persuade the prosecutor to call bomb experts as witnesses, but he was flatly turned down.

In 1995, anti-federal-government sentiment was rapidly spreading across America. Then, in the wake of the Bombing, President Bill Clinton gave a landmark speech. He basically told Americans they should come home to the government, the destruction of a federal building and the killing of 168 people was a heinous act that proved the real attitude of these “anti-government” groups. But security would be restored.

The speech was heralded as a “return to order and confidence.” Major media coverage of popular opposition to federal power receded.

From 1995 on, Americans who asserted federal power had expanded far beyond Constitutional boundaries have been labeled as potential terrorists.

9/11 took that accusation to a whole new level:

“The central government is always right. Those who say it’s fundamentally wrong are dangerous and/or mentally ill.”

The author of three explosive collections, THE MATRIX REVEALED, EXIT FROM THE MATRIX, and POWER OUTSIDE THE MATRIX, Jon was a candidate for a US Congressional seat in the 29th District of California. He maintains a consulting practice for private clients, the purpose of which is the expansion of personal creative power. Nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, he has worked as an investigative reporter for 30 years, writing articles on politics, medicine, and health for CBS Healthwatch, LA Weekly, Spin Magazine, Stern, and other newspapers and magazines in the US and Europe. Jon has delivered lectures and seminars on global politics, health, logic, and creative power to audiences around the world. You can sign up for his free emails at www.nomorefakenews.com

Feds Often Create Terror Threats, Study Finds

 thenewamerican.com

The U.S. government often manufactures and creates the alleged “terrorism threats” it purports to be fighting, in some cases even prodding mentally challenged dupes into bogus “plots” that authorities concocted in the first place, according to a newly released report highlighting the troubling practices. Perhaps the most outrageous finding: Almost every high-profile domestic terror case across America since the September 11 attacks featured the “direct involvement” of government agents or informants. In some cases, virtually the entire “terrorism” plot — from start to finish — was actually led and financed by government operatives.

Also alarming, the investigation found, are routine violations of constitutionally protected rights such as due process and fair treatment amid the never-ending and increasingly domestic-oriented terror war. From the use of “secret evidence” and anonymous juries to schemes that border on “entrapment,” the report suggests that U.S. terror policies are officially out of control. The authors of the report said the controversial tactics may even be putting national security at risk by diverting law enforcement and other resources from real threats.

The 214-page report, dubbed “Illusion of Justice: Human Rights Abuses in US Terrorism Prosecutions,” focused specifically on more than two dozen federal terror cases. As part of the probe, the non-profit Human Rights Watch and Columbia Law School’s Human Rights Institute examined all elements of the 27 cases, from initiation of the federal investigations to eventual sentencing and even the conditions of confinement after conviction. Their findings, unveiled last week, paint a troubling picture of the U.S. “terror” apparatus, its human-rights implications, and the direction in which it is all going.

The human rights-focused investigators found numerous concerns in all aspects of the process, including what they called “overly aggressive” sting operations and “unnecessarily restrictive” conditions in prison. Many of the examples highlighted in the report are truly shocking — even to the judges presiding over the cases. For example, in the “Newburgh Four” case, the judge slammed the government’s tactics, saying it “came up with the crime, provided the means, and removed all relevant obstacles.” Authorities made a terrorist out of a man “whose buffoonery is positively Shakespearean in scope,” the judge added in his stinging rebuke.

Since the September 11, 2001, attacks on U.S. soil, there have been some 500 terrorism-related cases in federal courts. “This is a number that sounds really big, and it makes it sound like Americans are being kept safe from terrorism attacks,” explained Andrea Prasow, deputy Washington director for Human Rights Watch. “But we found that in a lot of these cases, people were prosecuted who never would have committed a terrorist attack in the first place, if it weren’t for the involvement of the FBI.”

The New American has also documented more than a few similar cases in recent years. Among the myriad examples: Duping mentally ill Muslims into agreeing to help with fake government-orchestrated terror plots, providing fake “bombs” and convincing a group of young anarchists to plant them on a bridge, and countless more. In press releases announcing arrests and prosecutions, authorities regularly boast about the fact that the “terrorists” it arrests were actually prodded and led into the scheme by government agents and informants. Sometimes the dupes are even offered taxpayer money.

The latest report offers more evidence that the problem has become widespread. “Americans have been told that their government is keeping them safe by preventing and prosecuting terrorism inside the U.S.,” continued Prasow, who also served as one of the authors of the new report. “But take a closer look and you realize that many of these people would never have committed a crime if not for law enforcement encouraging, pressuring, and sometimes paying them to commit terrorist acts.”

Of the terror-related cases prosecuted since 9/11, the plurality of convictions came from so-called “material support” charges, the report found. Those normally stem from offering any sort of assistance, which can even include advice, to a proscribed organization or individual. Among the more outrageous examples highlighted in the human-rights investigation and subsequent news reports was a man initially accused of providing “military gear” to al-Qaeda. It turned out to be waterproof socks in his luggage.

Especially vulnerable, according to the human-rights report, are Muslims in the United States. The report suggests that the authorities have been burning bridges with the Islamic community in their zeal to uncover or invent terror plots; even employing troubling tactics such as paying mentally ill dupes to engage in fake terrorism schemes concocted by government officials from the start. Despite prohibitions on outright entrapment, the human-rights investigators also found that the legal burden of proving it means U.S. courts are often going along with the dubious tactics.

“The U.S. government should stop treating American Muslims as terrorists-in-waiting,” Prasow continued in a statement about the findings. “The bar on entrapment in U.S. law is so high that it’s almost impossible for a terrorism suspect to prove. Add that to law enforcement preying on the particularly vulnerable, such as those with mental or intellectual disabilities, and the very poor, and you have a recipe for rampant human rights abuses.”

As The New American magazine has documented, Muslims are not the only ones in the crosshairs. In fact, in recent years, the federal government has become increasingly brazen in labeling everyday Americans — veterans, conservatives, libertarians, pro-life activists, and more — as potential terror threats merely for their political views. Under the Obama administration, those trends have accelerated quickly, with numerous departments already exposed for officially painting a target on the backs of tens of millions of innocent Americans. Today, top U.S. officials openly admit to murdering “suspected militants” who have never been charged with a crime.

“Far from protecting Americans, including American Muslims, from the threat of terrorism, the policies documented in this report have diverted law enforcement from pursuing real threats,” Prasow added. “It is possible to protect people’s rights and also prosecute terrorists, which increases the chances of catching genuine criminals.” Other experts, including constitutional scholars, have documented similar problems with terror-war tactics.

The federal government, on the other hand, defended U.S. policies in response to the accusations in the report. “The Department of Justice has been a steadfast ally of our nation’s civil rights groups for decades,” DOJ spokesman Marc Raimondi was quoted as saying by the Washington Post. “The report itself acknowledges that the legal process used in the cases it highlighted is not only lawful but is also specifically approved by federal judges…. We do not and cannot target individuals solely for engaging in activities protected by the First Amendment, which includes free speech and religion.”

Assistant Director Michael Kortan with the FBI Office of Public Affairs claimed the Bureau’s use of informants and undercover agents was legal, important to keeping America “safe,” and already subject to what he called “rigorous oversight.” He also denied suggestions in the new report that the federal government was deploying infiltrators into communities without any evidence of wrongdoing. “The FBI does not target individuals or groups on the basis of race, ethnicity or religion and engages in outreach with diverse communities to combat all criminal activity, including terrorism,” Kortan said.

Among other recommendations, Human Rights Watch said the use of “informants” by the FBI should be restricted and subject to “robust” oversight. Prosecutors should also stop charging people with “material support to terrorism” based on activities “protected under freedom of expression principles,” it added. Finally, in response to troubling findings surrounding prison conditions, the report recommended ensuring “humane” conditions, including an end to subjecting prisoners to prolonged periods of solitary confinement.

Alex Newman is a correspondent for The New American, covering economics, education, politics, and more. He can be reached at anewman@thenewamerican.com. Follow him on Twitter @ALEXNEWMAN_JOU.

Related articles:

FBI Celebrates Duping Another Mentally Ill Man Into Fake Terror Plot

FBI Celebrates Foiling Its Own Terror Plot, Again

FBI Dupes May Day Anarchists into Bogus Terror Plot

“We Kill People Based on Metadata,” Admits Former CIA/NSA Boss

The FBI Imagines Crimes and Then Arrests the Criminals

Manufacturing Monsters to Mash

“Drug Lords” Targeted in Fast & Furious Worked for FBI

Obama’s Terrorist Ties and Radical Roots

Justice Department Trained Police to Link Political Activism With Terror

UN, Obama Fighting Alongside Al-Qaeda in Libya

Al-Qaeda & the West Back Syrian Rebels Against Assad

Bin Laden & Al-Qaeda: U.S. Govt. Creations

Rethinking Hiroshima and Nagasaki

Hiroshima and Nagasaki

by Ralph Raico

[originally released in 2001]

lewrockwell.com

This excerpt from Ralph Raico’s “Harry S. Truman: Advancing the Revolution” in John V. Denson, ed., Reassessing the Presidency: The Rise of the Executive State and the Decline of Freedom (Auburn, Alabama: Ludwig von Mises Institute, 2001), is reprinted with permission. (The notes are numbered as they are because this is an excerpt. Read the whole article.)

The most spectacular episode of Truman’s presidency will never be forgotten, but will be forever linked to his name: the atomic bombings of Hiroshima on August 6, 1945, and of Nagasaki three days later. Probably around two hundred thousand persons were killed in the attacks and through radiation poisoning; the vast majority were civilians, including several thousand Korean workers. Twelve U.S. Navy fliers incarcerated in a Hiroshima jail were also among the dead.87

Great controversy has always surrounded the bombings. One thing Truman insisted on from the start: The decision to use the bombs, and the responsibility it entailed, was his. Over the years, he gave different, and contradictory, grounds for his decision. Sometimes he implied that he had acted simply out of revenge. To a clergyman who criticized him, Truman responded, testily:

Nobody is more disturbed over the use of Atomic bombs than I am but I was greatly disturbed over the unwarranted attack by the Japanese on Pearl Harbor and their murder of our prisoners of war. The only language they seem to understand is the one we have been using to bombard them.88

Such reasoning will not impress anyone who fails to see how the brutality of the Japanese military could justify deadly retaliation against innocent men, women, and children. Truman doubtless was aware of this, so from time to time he advanced other pretexts. On August 9, 1945, he stated: “The world will note that the first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, a military base. That was because we wished in this first attack to avoid, insofar as possible, the killing of civilians.”89

This, however, is absurd. Pearl Harbor was a military base. Hiroshima was a city, inhabited by some three hundred thousand people, which contained military elements. In any case, since the harbor was mined and the U.S. Navy and Air Force were in control of the waters around Japan, whatever troops were stationed in Hiroshima had been effectively neutralized.

On other occasions, Truman claimed that Hiroshima was bombed because it was an industrial center. But, as noted in the U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey, “all major factories in Hiroshima were on the periphery of the city – and escaped serious damage.”90 The target was the center of the city. That Truman realized the kind of victims the bombs consumed is evident from his comment to his cabinet on August 10, explaining his reluctance to drop a third bomb: “The thought of wiping out another 100,000 people was too horrible,” he said; he didn’t like the idea of killing “all those kids.”91 Wiping out another one hundred thousand people . . . all those kids.

Moreover, the notion that Hiroshima was a major military or industrial center is implausible on the face of it. The city had remained untouched through years of devastating air attacks on the Japanese home islands, and never figured in Bomber Command’s list of the 33 primary targets.92

Thus, the rationale for the atomic bombings has come to rest on a single colossal fabrication, which has gained surprising currency: that they were necessary in order to save a half-million or more American lives. These, supposedly, are the lives that would have been lost in the planned invasion of Kyushu in December, then in the all-out invasion of Honshu the next year, if that was needed. But the worst-case scenario for a full-scale invasion of the Japanese home islands was forty-six thousand American lives lost.93 The ridiculously inflated figure of a half-million for the potential death toll – nearly twice the total of U.S. dead in all theaters in the Second World War – is now routinely repeated in high-school and college textbooks and bandied about by ignorant commentators. Unsurprisingly, the prize for sheer fatuousness on this score goes to President George H.W. Bush, who claimed in 1991 that dropping the bomb “spared millions of American lives.”94

Still, Truman’s multiple deceptions and self-deceptions are understandable, considering the horror he unleashed. It is equally understandable that the U.S. occupation authorities censored reports from the shattered cities and did not permit films and photographs of the thousands of corpses and the frightfully mutilated survivors to reach the public.95 Otherwise, Americans – and the rest of the world – might have drawn disturbing comparisons to scenes then coming to light from the Nazi concentration camps.

The bombings were condemned as barbaric and unnecessary by high American military officers, including Eisenhower and MacArthur.96 The view of Admiral William D. Leahy, Truman’s own chief of staff, was typical:

the use of this barbarous weapon at Hiroshima and Nagasaki was of no material assistance in our war against Japan. . . . My own feeling was that in being the first to use it, we had adopted an ethical standard common to the barbarians of the Dark Ages. I was not taught to make wars in that fashion, and wars cannot be won by destroying women and children.97

The political elite implicated in the atomic bombings feared a backlash that would aid and abet the rebirth of horrid prewar “isolationism.” Apologias were rushed into print, lest public disgust at the sickening war crime result in erosion of enthusiasm for the globalist project.98 No need to worry. A sea-change had taken place in the attitudes of the American people. Then and ever after, all surveys have shown that the great majority supported Truman, believing that the bombs were required to end the war and save hundreds of thousands of American lives, or more likely, not really caring one way or the other.

Those who may still be troubled by such a grisly exercise in cost-benefit analysis – innocent Japanese lives balanced against the lives of Allied servicemen – might reflect on the judgment of the Catholic philosopher G.E.M. Anscombe, who insisted on the supremacy of moral rules.99 When, in June 1956, Truman was awarded an honorary degree by her university, Oxford, Anscombe protested.100 Truman was a war criminal, she contended, for what is the difference between the U.S. government massacring civilians from the air, as at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the Nazis wiping out the inhabitants of some Czech or Polish village?

Anscombe’s point is worth following up. Suppose that, when we invaded Germany in early 1945, our leaders had believed that executing all the inhabitants of Aachen, or Trier, or some other Rhineland city would finally break the will of the Germans and lead them to surrender. In this way, the war might have ended quickly, saving the lives of many Allied soldiers. Would that then have justified shooting tens of thousands of German civilians, including women and children? Yet how is that different from the atomic bombings?

By early summer 1945, the Japanese fully realized that they were beaten. Why did they nonetheless fight on? As Anscombe wrote: “It was the insistence on unconditional surrender that was the root of all evil.”101

That mad formula was coined by Roosevelt at the Casablanca conference, and, with Churchill’s enthusiastic concurrence, it became the Allied shibboleth. After prolonging the war in Europe, it did its work in the Pacific. At the Potsdam conference, in July 1945, Truman issued a proclamation to the Japanese, threatening them with the “utter devastation” of their homeland unless they surrendered unconditionally. Among the Allied terms, to which “there are no alternatives,” was that there be “eliminated for all time the authority and influence of those who have deceived and misled the people of Japan into embarking on world conquest [sic].” “Stern justice,” the proclamation warned, “would be meted out to all war criminals.”102

To the Japanese, this meant that the emperor – regarded by them to be divine, the direct descendent of the goddess of the sun – would certainly be dethroned and probably put on trial as a war criminal and hanged, perhaps in front of his palace.103 It was not, in fact, the U.S. intention to dethrone or punish the emperor. But this implicit modification of unconditional surrender was never communicated to the Japanese. In the end, after Nagasaki, Washington acceded to the Japanese desire to keep the dynasty and even to retain Hirohito as emperor.

For months before, Truman had been pressed to clarify the U.S. position by many high officials within the administration, and outside of it, as well. In May 1945, at the president’s request, Herbert Hoover prepared a memorandum stressing the urgent need to end the war as soon as possible. The Japanese should be informed that we would in no way interfere with the emperor or their chosen form of government. He even raised the possibility that, as part of the terms, Japan might be allowed to hold on to Formosa (Taiwan) and Korea. After meeting with Truman, Hoover dined with Taft and other Republican leaders, and outlined his proposals.104

Establishment writers on World War II often like to deal in lurid speculations. For instance: if the United States had not entered the war, then Hitler would have “conquered the world” (a sad undervaluation of the Red Army, it would appear; moreover, wasn’t it Japan that was trying to “conquer the world”?) and killed untold millions. Now, applying conjectural history in this case: assume that the Pacific war had ended in the way wars customarily do – through negotiation of the terms of surrender. And assume the worst – that the Japanese had adamantly insisted on preserving part of their empire, say, Korea and Formosa, even Manchuria. In that event, it is quite possible that Japan would have been in a position to prevent the Communists from coming to power in China. And that could have meant that the thirty or forty million deaths now attributed to the Maoist regime would not have occurred.

But even remaining within the limits of feasible diplomacy in 1945, it is clear that Truman in no way exhausted the possibilities of ending the war without recourse to the atomic bomb. The Japanese were not informed that they would be the victims of by far the most lethal weapon ever invented (one with “more than two thousand times the blast power of the British ‘Grand Slam,’ which is the largest bomb ever yet used in the history of warfare,” as Truman boasted in his announcement of the Hiroshima attack). Nor were they told that the Soviet Union was set to declare war on Japan, an event that shocked some in Tokyo more than the bombings.105 Pleas by some of the scientists involved in the project to demonstrate the power of the bomb in some uninhabited or evacuated area were rebuffed. All that mattered was to formally preserve the unconditional surrender formula and save the servicemen’s lives that might have been lost in the effort to enforce it. Yet, as Major General J.F.C. Fuller, one of the century’s great military historians, wrote in connection with the atomic bombings:

Though to save life is laudable, it in no way justifies the employment of means which run counter to every precept of humanity and the customs of war. Should it do so, then, on the pretext of shortening a war and of saving lives, every imaginable atrocity can be justified.106

Isn’t this obviously true? And isn’t this the reason that rational and humane men, over generations, developed rules of warfare in the first place?

While the mass media parroted the government line in praising the atomic incinerations, prominent conservatives denounced them as unspeakable war crimes. Felix Morley, constitutional scholar and one of the founders of Human Events, drew attention to the horror of Hiroshima, including the “thousands of children trapped in the thirty-three schools that were destroyed.” He called on his compatriots to atone for what had been done in their name, and proposed that groups of Americans be sent to Hiroshima, as Germans were sent to witness what had been done in the Nazi camps. The Paulist priest, Father James Gillis, editor of The Catholic World and another stalwart of the Old Right, castigated the bombings as “the most powerful blow ever delivered against Christian civilization and the moral law.” David Lawrence, conservative owner of U.S. News and World Report, continued to denounce them for years.107 The distinguished conservative philosopher Richard Weaver was revolted by

the spectacle of young boys fresh out of Kansas and Texas turning nonmilitary Dresden into a holocaust . . . pulverizing ancient shrines like Monte Cassino and Nuremberg, and bringing atomic annihilation to Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Weaver considered such atrocities as deeply “inimical to the foundations on which civilization is built.”108

Today, self-styled conservatives slander as “anti-American” anyone who is in the least troubled by Truman’s massacre of so many tens of thousands of Japanese innocents from the air. This shows as well as anything the difference between today’s “conservatives” and those who once deserved the name.

Leo Szilard was the world-renowned physicist who drafted the original letter to Roosevelt that Einstein signed, instigating the Manhattan Project. In 1960, shortly before his death, Szilard stated another obvious truth:

If the Germans had dropped atomic bombs on cities instead of us, we would have defined the dropping of atomic bombs on cities as a war crime, and we would have sentenced the Germans who were guilty of this crime to death at Nuremberg and hanged them.109

The destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki was a war crime worse than any that Japanese generals were executed for in Tokyo and Manila. If Harry Truman was not a war criminal, then no one ever was.

Notes

  1. On the atomic bombings, see Gar Alperovitz, The Decision to Use the Atomic Bomb and the Architecture of an American Myth (New York: Knopf, 1995); and idem, “Was Harry Truman a Revisionist on Hiroshima?” Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations Newsletter 29, no. 2 (June 1998); also Martin J. Sherwin, A World Destroyed: The Atomic Bomb and the Grand Alliance (New York: Vintage, 1977); and Dennis D. Wainstock, The Decision to Drop the Atomic Bomb (Westport, Conn.: Praeger, 1996).
  2. Alperovitz, Decision, p. 563. Truman added: “When you deal with a beast you have to treat him as a beast. It is most regrettable but nevertheless true.” For similar statements by Truman, see ibid., p. 564. Alperovitz’s monumental work is the end-product of four decades of study of the atomic bombings and is indispensable for comprehending the often complex argumentation on the issue.
  3. Ibid., p. 521.
  4. Ibid., p. 523.
  5. Barton J. Bernstein, “Understanding the Atomic Bomb and the Japanese Surrender: Missed Opportunities, Little-Known Near Disasters, and Modern Memory,” Diplomatic History 19, no. 2 (Spring 1995): 257. General Carl Spaatz, commander of U.S. strategic bombing operations in the Pacific, was so shaken by the destruction at Hiroshima that he telephoned his superiors in Washington, proposing that the next bomb be dropped on a less populated area, so that it “would not be as devastating to the city and the people.” His suggestion was rejected. Ronald Schaffer, Wings of Judgment: American Bombing in World War II (New York: Oxford University Press, 1985), pp. 147–48.
  6. This is true also of Nagasaki.
  7. See Barton J. Bernstein, “A Post-War Myth: 500,000 U.S. Lives Saved,” Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists 42, no. 6 (June–July 1986): 38–40; and idem, “Wrong Numbers,” The Independent Monthly (July 1995): 41–44.
  8. J. Samuel Walker, “History, Collective Memory, and the Decision to Use the Bomb,” Diplomatic History 19, no. 2 (Spring 1995): 320, 323–25. Walker details the frantic evasions of Truman’s biographer, David McCullough, when confronted with the unambiguous record.
  9. Paul Boyer, “Exotic Resonances: Hiroshima in American Memory,” Diplomatic History 19, no. 2 (Spring 1995): 299. On the fate of the bombings’ victims and the public’s restricted knowledge of them, see John W. Dower, “The Bombed: Hiroshimas and Nagasakis in Japanese Memory,” in ibid., pp. 275–95.
  10. Alperovitz, Decision, pp. 320–65. On MacArthur and Eisenhower, see ibid., pp. 352 and 355–56.
  11. William D. Leahy, I Was There (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1950), p. 441. Leahy compared the use of the atomic bomb to the treatment of civilians by Genghis Khan, and termed it “not worthy of Christian man.” Ibid., p. 442. Curiously, Truman himself supplied the foreword to Leahy’s book. In a private letter written just before he left the White House, Truman referred to the use of the atomic bomb as “murder,” stating that the bomb “is far worse than gas and biological warfare because it affects the civilian population and murders them wholesale.” Barton J. Bernstein, “Origins of the U.S. Biological Warfare Program,” Preventing a Biological Arms Race, Susan Wright, ed. (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1990), p. 9.
  12. Barton J. Bernstein, “Seizing the Contested Terrain of Early Nuclear History: Stimson, Conant, and Their Allies Explain the Decision to Use the Bomb,” Diplomatic History 17, no. 1 (Winter 1993): 35–72.
  13. One writer in no way troubled by the sacrifice of innocent Japanese to save Allied servicemen – indeed, just to save him – is Paul Fussell; see his Thank God for the Atom Bomb and Other Essays (New York: Summit, 1988). The reason for Fussell’s little Te Deum is, as he states, that he was among those scheduled to take part in the invasion of Japan, and might very well have been killed. It is a mystery why Fussell takes out his easily understandable terror, rather unchivalrously, on Japanese women and children instead of on the men in Washington who conscripted him to fight in the Pacific in the first place.
  14. G.E.M. Anscombe, “Mr. Truman’s Degree,” in idem, Collected Philosophical Papers, vol. 3, Ethics, Religion and Politics (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1981), pp. 62–71.
  15. Anscombe, “Mr. Truman’s Degree,” p. 62.
  16. Hans Adolf Jacobsen and Arthur S. Smith, Jr., eds., World War II: Policy and Strategy. Selected Documents with Commentary (Santa Barbara, Calif.: ABC-Clio, 1979), pp. 345–46.
  17. For some Japanese leaders, another reason for keeping the emperor was as a bulwark against a possible postwar communist takeover. See also Sherwin, A World Destroyed, p. 236: “the [Potsdam] proclamation offered the military die-hards in the Japanese government more ammunition to continue the war than it offered their opponents to end it.”
  18. Alperovitz, Decision, pp. 44–45.
  19. Cf. Bernstein, “Understanding the Atomic Bomb,” p. 254: “it does seem very likely, though certainly not definite, that a synergistic combination of guaranteeing the emperor, awaiting Soviet entry, and continuing the siege strategy would have ended the war in time to avoid the November invasion.” Bernstein, an excellent and scrupulously objective scholar, nonetheless disagrees with Alperovitz and the revisionist school on several key points.
  20. J.F.C. Fuller, The Second World War, 1939–45: A Strategical and Tactical History (London: Eyre and Spottiswoode, 1948), p. 392. Fuller, who was similarly scathing on the terror-bombing of the German cities, characterized the attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki as “a type of war that would have disgraced Tamerlane.” Cf. Barton J. Bernstein, who concludes, in “Understanding the Atomic Bomb,” p. 235:

In 1945, American leaders were not seeking to avoid the use of the A-bomb. Its use did not create ethical or political problems for them. Thus, they easily rejected or never considered most of the so-called alternatives to the bomb.

  1. Felix Morley, “The Return to Nothingness,” Human Events (August 29, 1945) reprinted in Hiroshima’s Shadow, Kai Bird and Lawrence Lifschultz, eds. (Stony Creek, Conn.: Pamphleteer’s Press, 1998), pp. 272–74; James Martin Gillis, “Nothing But Nihilism,” The Catholic World, September 1945, reprinted in ibid., pp. 278–80; Alperovitz, Decision, pp. 438–40.
  2. Richard M. Weaver, “A Dialectic on Total War,” in idem, Visions of Order: The Cultural Crisis of Our Time (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1964), pp. 98–99.
  3. Wainstock, Decision, p. 122.
Reprinted from Mises.org.

Ralph Raico [send him mail] is Professor Emeritus in European history at Buffalo State College is a senior fellow of the Mises Institute. He is a specialist on the history of liberty, the liberal tradition in Europe, and the relationship between war and the rise of the state. He is the author of The Place of Religion in the Liberal Philosophy of Constant, Tocqueville, and Lord Acton. His latest book is Great Wars and Great Leaders: A Libertarian Rebuttal. You can study the history of civilization under his guidance here: MP3-CD and Audio Tape.