01 November 2007

Paul W. Tibbets

Brigadier General Paul Tibbets, USAF (ret.), has died at the age of 92. He is best known for being the pilot of the airplane that dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan on August 6, 1945, killing 140,000 people.

It's the kind of thing one goes to Hell for.

But then, if he had refused to drop the bomb, and had somehow prevented the bomb from ever being dropped, many hundreds of thousands of Japanese civilians would have died resisting the coming US invasion of Japan. Japanese cultural sites and treasures would have been destroyed all over the island nation. And of course, several hundred thousand American and allied troops would have died during the invasion as well.

In other words, stopping the bombing would also have been the kind of thing one goes to Hell for.

On the other hand, if General Tibbets (then a Colonel) had merely walked away from the mission, and let someone else take it, he would have been cravenly trying to save the purity of his own soul, while accomplishing nothing, and letting someone else face God's judgment.

That, too, is the kind of thing one goes to Hell for. At least according to Dante, who placed such selfish fools in its first circle.

Every one of Tibbets' choices with regard to the mission threw him on God's mercy. For him, God's Forgiveness was not an option, but an absolute necessity.

Perhaps you feel that your situation is different, that no choice you have ever made or will ever make will place you in a position of needing Forgiveness. That you will always have a choice between good and evil, and that you will always choose the good. May you be so lucky. May you be so blessed. You will be among the saints.

May God have mercy on you, Paul Tibbets. The same mercy I pray God shows to me when I am called to account for my life.

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