On the passing of Paul Tibbets

Then the LORD said: “The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great, and their sin so grave, that I must go down and see whether or not their actions fully correspond to the cry against them that comes to me. I mean to find out.”

While the two men walked on farther toward Sodom, the LORD remained standing before Abraham. Then Abraham drew nearer to him and said: “Will you sweep away the innocent with the guilty? Suppose there were fifty innocent people in the city; would you wipe out the place, rather than spare it for the sake of the fifty innocent people within it? Far be it from you to do such a thing, to make the innocent die with the guilty, so that the innocent and the guilty would be treated alike! Should not the judge of all the world act with justice?”

The LORD replied, “If I find fifty innocent people in the city of Sodom, I will spare the whole place for their sake.”

Abraham spoke up again: “See how I am presuming to speak to my Lord, though I am but dust and ashes! What if there are five less than fifty innocent people? Will you destroy the whole city because of those five?”

“I will not destroy it,” he answered, “if I find forty-five there.”

But Abraham persisted, saying, “What if only forty are found there?”

He replied, “I will forebear doing it for the sake of the forty.”

Then he said, “Let not my Lord grow impatient if I go on. What if only thirty are found there?”

He replied, “I will forebear doing it if I can find but thirty there.”

Still he went on, “Since I have thus dared to speak to my Lord, what if there are no more than twenty?”

“I will not destroy it,” he answered, “for the sake of the twenty.”

But he still persisted: “Please, let not my Lord grow angry if I speak up this last time. What if there are at least ten there?”

“For the sake of those ten,” he replied, “I will not destroy it.”

The LORD departed as soon as he had finished speaking with Abraham, and Abraham returned home. (Genesis 18:20-33)

Paul Tibbets, the pilot of the Enola Gay, died recently. He maintained throughout his life that he did not regret his sortie over Hiroshima, and I understand his opinion. The war was a desperate time, and the government estimated that given the Japanese army’s desperate fighting over distant islands and its citizens’ relatively enthusiastic support for the war effort, a million people would have died if conventional fighting continued. Nevertheless, I pray that such a thing will never happen again.

Postscript: Hitler may be fresh in our historical memory, but World War II concluded over sixty years ago. If you’d like to hear some eyewitness accounts of it, you’d best go find them now.

Explore posts in the same categories: Japan, Politics

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: