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Old 11-16-2019, 08:30 AM
 
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It's well known that Japan's Unit 731 committed horrific acts and horrible things, yet at the end of WWII America let them off without any punishment since they gave us their information they collected due to their atrocities and war crimes, wasn't that all kinds of wrong?
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Old 11-16-2019, 11:07 PM
 
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Yes, but history is filled with this. The Chinese themselves committed atrocities too. Like the Dzungar Genocide. It was a true genocide par excellence. Holocaust, and New World Colonialism not as complete as what the Chinese had done.
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Old 11-17-2019, 01:16 PM
 
Location: Here
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Azureth View Post
It's well known that Japan's Unit 731 committed horrific acts and horrible things, yet at the end of WWII America let them off without any punishment since they gave us their information they collected due to their atrocities and war crimes, wasn't that all kinds of wrong?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Azureth View Post
It's well known that Japan's Unit 731 committed horrific acts and horrible things, yet at the end of WWII America let them off without any punishment since they gave us their information they collected due to their atrocities and war crimes, wasn't that all kinds of wrong?
All sorts of Allied actions during World War II were 'all kinds of wrong'.

No, this isn't one of those false-equivalency we-were-just-as-bad-as-they-were rants. I think that it is abundantly clear that the United States and the other Western Allies held the moral superiority in the war.

That said, warfare involves all sorts of moral compromise. We normally hold that the notion of government compulsion is dangerous, yet during warfare we tolerate high levels of it, from conscription to lawful orders to undertake assignments that comprise high risks of death or serious injury. We accept that non-combatants on the enemy side will (not 'may'; will) be killed, and that will include some non-combatants who are morally and active opposed to the actions of the enemies (and thus are effectively on our side).

Allying with the Stalinist USSR was 'all kinds of wrong'.
To that end, the way the United States and the UK worked against the publication of evidence that the Soviets were behind the Katyn Massacre was 'all kinds of wrong'.
The use of terror bombing - the mass slaughter of non-combatants in order to break the enemy's will - was 'all kinds of wrong'.
The absolving of criminal responsibility those German scientists who were useful postwar was 'all kinds of wrong'.

Yet in each of these instances, and myriad others, a utilitarian approach - ie, the idea that certain sacrifices, even when those being sacrificed were unwilling innocents, would ultimately result in a net saving of lives - was adopted. In peaceful times, we would recoil at the thought that we might be seized and killed, that our organs could save the lives of multiple people in need of life-saving transplants. Yet during war, this same sort of logic takes hold.

Is it morally wrong? Yes. But is it understandable and, perhaps, even morally necessary? It may be just that.

People don't like this answer because they prefer the good-guys-versus-bad-guys fairy tale of history. They want simple answers and are afraid of moral ambiguity. But the real world simply is not a place of tidy fairy tales and easy answers.

One final note:
On the specific subject of Unit 731, I would offer that the rewards gleaned by letting these criminals go was of dubious utility, and this changes the calculation. However, that is balanced to some degree by the fact that in the late 1940s, it was not understood that information regarding biological and chemical weaponry wouldn't end up being practically useful.
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Old 11-17-2019, 02:26 PM
 
Location: Parts Unknown, Northern California
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Once you have crossed the line where the decision has been made for a nation to enforce its will with arms, all that follows is a matter of degrees. The nation has decided that it is morally acceptable to inflict death and property destruction upon another until such time as that other nation surrenders, agrees to demands, or sues for peace. Behavior we would never tolerate within our society at home, we now tell our soldiers is acceptable when inflicted upon our opponent.

It is...We shall make you endure cruelties until such time as we get our way. That is spreading a terribly wide umbrella and the definition of necessity becomes fluid, reactive to whatever circumstances have arisen. This is why the same person may be viewed as a freedom fighter by some, and as a terrorist by others.

Where the moral lines get drawn in such an atmosphere brings to mind Winston Churchill's response when asked for his reaction to the Nuremberg verdicts. He said that the lesson was "We must make sure we win the next one."
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Old 11-17-2019, 02:28 PM
 
Location: San Diego CA
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Post war national defense issues sometimes trumps retribution for war crimes. Some people go to the gallows others are exonerated apparently because their specialized skills transcends murder and genocide. Both the United States and the Soviet Union used German rocket scientists some of whom were Nazis and helped build V1's and V2's that killed thousands of civilians. There's no real morality in war or global politics.
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Old 11-18-2019, 11:19 AM
 
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Was this the Unit responsible for Nanking?
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Old 11-18-2019, 11:39 AM
 
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Originally Posted by SWFL_Native View Post
Was this the Unit responsible for Nanking?
I don't believe so; the Nanking Massacre was done by regular Japanese Army troops, as far as I know.
I won't pretend to be an expert on the subject, so others may have more info.
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Old 11-18-2019, 12:39 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SWFL_Native View Post
Was this the Unit responsible for Nanking?
No. That was the Imperial Japanese Army at large. Unit 731 was a human experimentation unit.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unit_731

Chinese, Russians, Koreans, and Mongols were the victims of Unit 731 -- not American servicemen -- so it was a lot less important to us. Also, with the politics of the time, Japan went from being an enemy to an ally, and Russia went from being an ally to an enemy. The US spent very little effort in tracking down war criminals that persecuted US troops due to the shifting politics of the time.

Hell, the US space program was jump started by nazi scientists and engineers. Again, we had to acquire technology quicker than the Russians did.

Last edited by joe from dayton; 11-18-2019 at 12:53 PM..
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Old 11-20-2019, 11:34 AM
 
959 posts, read 593,291 times
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Originally Posted by NJ Brazen_3133 View Post
Yes, but history is filled with this. The Chinese themselves committed atrocities too. Like the Dzungar Genocide. It was a true genocide par excellence. Holocaust, and New World Colonialism not as complete as what the Chinese had done.
Not sure why there has been so much attention on this recently, as shown by the number of youtube videos with the same talking points, but stuff like this happened on the steppe all the time, even before recorded history. In any case, the events aren't that different from what happened to indigenous populations in the Americas, Australia, Siberia and elsewhere. Most of the deaths were attributed to disease, a large fraction escaped or were unaccounted for, while the majority of those that were massacred were men of fighting age where in steppe societies could all be enemy combatants.

I read Perdue's book too and it was clear even from there that the Oirats were an aggressive branch of Mongols with imperial aspirations who were resented by many of their steppe neighbors, so Manchus do have legitimate national security concerns in their dealing with them.
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Old Yesterday, 07:09 PM
 
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One of the dirty little secrets in medical research is the trove of research data accumulated by the Nazis during the Holocaust as they committed their unspeakable horrors. Data about the human body in conditions that no ethical researcher could possibly gather.



Some say we should not use that research. But where else would we get it? And how many lives has it been employed to save since 1945?
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