On August 9th, 1945, two-thirds of Japan’s Catholics were annihilated. Nagasaki’s historic importance as the center of Japanese Christianity and openness to the West, one would think, would have spared it from being targeted by a Western Christian nation. Leaving aside the question of the unquestionable immorality of targeting a civilian center of population with a weapon of mass destruction, surely the leadership of an even nominally Christian and Western country would have realized that a city with Nagasaki’s legacy would have served as a bridge for future trade and cultural ties, and thus would have protected it from destruction at all costs. This was not the case.
On that day that will live in infamy, at 11:02 AM, history’s second atomic war crime slaughtered more Japanese Christians than had been martyred in four centuries of brutal persecution. Fat Man exploded over St. Mary’s (Urakami) Cathedral, the largest church at the time in the Far East, where the faithful were gathered to pray. In that House of God, and in the surrounding neighborhoods, extended families of Kakure Kirishitan, hidden Christians, who had kept the Faith in secret for generations over the centuries, were obliterated from the earth forever, their seed wiped out in an instant.
Even if the destruction of Hiroshima had been understandable and it never will be; even without the peace overtures of the previous months, the deliberate targeting of civilians is never justifiable under Christian just war principles the destruction of Nagasaki was unfathomable. Father James Gillis, editor of The Catholic World and stalwart of the Old Right, labeled the bombings of these two cities “the most powerful blow ever delivered against Christian civilization and the moral law.”
This “most powerful blow ever delivered against Christian civilization and the moral law” was an example of what today’s neocons call “creative destruction.” (Interesting that Michael Ledeen should have appropriated and perverted a positive term originally used by Austrian economist Joseph Schumpeter, but that is a topic for a different essay.) The fate of Japan’s Catholics, one of Christianity’s younger communities, was of absolutely no consequence to the war planners in 1945. The war planners six decades later have shown an equal disregard for some of Christianity’s oldest communities in Iraq.
Over half of Iraq’s Chaldeans and Assyrians, ancient Catholic and Orthodox communities, some of whom speak the same language spoken by Christ, have fled the country in the wake of chaos generated by the “creative destruction” unleashed by Mr. Bush’s illegal invasion of 2003. The vast majority have found refuge in that “Axis of Evil” member Syria, itself high on the list for neocon “creative destruction.” These Christians had not found the need to flee during the rgime of Saddam Hussein, nor during the fourteen centuries of what neocons like to call “Islamo-Fascism.” Is it any wonder that Christians in Syria were praying for a Hezbollah victory against American proxy Israel or is it America that is Israel’s proxy? in its war on Lebanon last year?
Like the Japanese Catholics of Nagasaki, the Iraqi Chaldeans and Assyrians would have been a natural bridge for trade and cultural ties for the Christian nations of the West. Instead, our so-called leaders have again shown themselves to be apostates, and meted out “creative destruction” upon our brothers. How can we expect our so-called government to deal humanely with other nations of the world when it treats its supposed co-religionists as nothing more than inconsequential Japs and A-rabs?
November 2, 2007