David Harsanyi

The need to bomb Hiroshima and Nagasaki has been debated for decades. When President Bill Clinton backed the NATO bombing of Serbia -- at least 500 civilians were killed by NATO, according to Human Rights Watch -- he claimed that the bombing was necessary to "deter an even bloodier offensive against innocent civilians."

If that argument sounds familiar, it is because it is utilized all the time. Did the bombing of Serbia, Japan or Iraq save lives in the long run? Did the waterboarding of prisons save Americans from terror acts? I just wish a proponent would say, "We can't know for sure."

At this point, I can hear Jack Nicholson in "A Few Good Men" encapsulating the opinion of many: "I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very freedom I provide and then questions the manner in which I provide it. I would rather you just said 'thank you' and went on your way."

We shouldn't be on our way. In fact, history gives us a template to evaluate the complexities and morality of war.

And there are few absolutes.


David Harsanyi

David Harsanyi is a senior editor at The Federalist and the author of "The People Have Spoken (and They Are Wrong): The Case Against Democracy." Follow him on Twitter @davidharsanyi.