Air Force Nuclear Training Misrepresented. Again.

The coincident timing of the recent US Air Force ICBM training “scandal” with the upcoming anniversaries of the nuclear bombing of Japan has lent additional wind to the sails of this manufactured controversy.

Rev. Tyler Wigg-Stevenson, writing at the Washington Post column “On Faith,” demonstrates how the “Air Force nuclear training” addressed over the past week has been woefully (or willfully) misconstrued.

Wigg-Stevenson says 

The Air Force presentation cited in the report claims that the Christian “Just War” tradition morally authorizes the use of nuclear weapons.

Actually, the course materials don’t say any such thing.  Wigg-Stevenson then launches into an interesting discussion on Just War theory predicated on this false pretense.

Nor is there any way to know if the course attempted to “justify” the use of nuclear weapons in World War II, as the Reverend thought it did:

To justify Hiroshima with the assertion that Germany or Japan would have acted similarly is to betray the Just War tradition entirely.

Again, the slides show no such “justification.”

Where are people getting these ideas that are nowhere in the course material?  First, of course, they’re being led to believe them by inaccurate representations of what the Air Force was trying to do.  Second, they’re looking at only the static slides of a briefing.

Pop quiz:  What was the speaker’s objective with this slide?

What makes anyone think that trying to figure out what the Air Force was “justifying” or “morally defending” on any other slide is any easier than trying to figure out precisely what the speaker was using these graphics for?  Absent a bullet that says “This justifies…” or “This is a moral defense…” these public pontificators have no idea.  Thus, we’re left with only conjecture — which is hardly useful for action — or curiously vague and anonymous reports, which are conveniently aligned with only the critic’s objectives.  (Few seem to have noticed the opposing first-hand point of view.)

Wigg-Stevenson closes with an interesting paragraph:

The Air Force shouldn’t shy away from holding nuclear warfare up to Christian moral standards. But we should ask what the consequences would be if we actually told the truth about them.

The Reverend’s other writings, while not entirely explicit, seem to oppose entirely the use of nuclear weapons, and the existence of them generally.

By the way, the Caprice was “Car of the Year” multiple times and had a decades-long lifespan — that ended rather abruptly when SUVs began to replace the “family car.”