A recent survey conducted by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) revealed a chilling discovery: a majority of Americans are apparently agreeable to preemptively nuking other nations, knowing that millions of civilians would die. The theoretical nation used in the survey was Iran. And the MIT survey found that 60% of the American people would be willing to preemptively nuke Iran, knowing that 2 million civilians would be killed. (How paradoxical that I am reporting on this unnerving news on the day that we remember when Japan preemptively attacked our naval installations at Pearl Harbor in 1941.)
This new survey is a reversal of decades of public opinion regarding the use of atomic or nuclear weapons following Harry Truman’s decision to drop atom bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan, in 1945, which resulted in the deaths of some 120,000 Japanese people—most of whom were civilians. Plus, those were immediate deaths; they do not count the thousands who died slow, agonizing deaths from radiation poisoning.
From 1945 to the early 2000s, virtually every survey confirmed that the American people saw the atomic bombings on Japan as morally wrong and did not want to see a repeat of the bombings. It seemed that the American citizenry had a renewed understanding and reverence for “Just War” principles that valued the innocent lives of foreigners following the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings. From the early 2000s to the present day, however, the American people seem to have lost their reverence for “Just War” and their respect for innocent lives in other countries.
It is not surprising to me that of the respondents who favored nuking and killing 2 million Iranians, most were Republicans (approximately 70%). I have said for years that conservatives and, especially, Christians (who comprise a large percentage of the Republican Party) have become rabid warmongers. I was not wrong.