Revisiting Hiroshima in Iran

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Revisiting Hiroshima in Iran

Benjamin Valentino and Scott Sagan's piece "Revisiting Hiroshima in Iran" examines America's attitude regarding the use of nuclear weapons.

The Ethical Standard Established by Hiroshima

The Hiroshima disaster established an ethical standard among Americans that barred the deployment of nuclear weapons. The paper explores the reluctance and thoughtful spirits that lead Americans to oppose the idea of mass killings of noncombatant foreigners.

The Survey Experiment

The authors performed a survey using a theoretical framework to examine how Americans felt about using nuclear weapons if the country got into a conflict with Iran. The outcome of the survey experiment is unsettling. When the researchers asked a specific sample of the population questions about nuclear war, 56 percent approved the use of the dreaded weapons against a civilian population. Most believe such an act would save the lives of 20,000 American soldiers. From the observation, many Americans are with President Trump on the idea of raining fire and fury. The polls are not associated with Trump effect since the survey occurred two years ago. Another poll by Pew indicates that 76 percent of American held an unfavorable opinion of Iran.

The Credibility of Survey Experiments

The credibility of any survey experiments depends on the methodology of conducting a study. In this case, the researchers did not use telephone polling or random sampling. They instead used a relatively new and more accurate technique that was managed by the polling firm YouGov. The design of the study was meant to determine the response regarding the potential first use of nuclear weapon against countries Americans regard negatively.

The Respondents' Options

The researchers gave the respondents mock articles that simulated an escalating conflict between Iran and America. In writing, Iran had violated the 2015 nuclear accord. It had also attacked a U.S aircraft that was carrying about 2,403. America retaliates with an airstrike that destroys Iran's nuclear facility (Sagan & Benjamin, 42). When Iran refuses to surrender, U.S deploys ground troops that lead to 10,000 casualties. In answering the survey questions, the respondents only have two options available to American leaders: Drop a nuclear bomb on Iran or Fight on and capture Tehran (Sagan & Benjamin, 42). The majority chose the first option, meaning American opinion on using nuclear weapons or killing civilians has relatively remained the same since the 1945 Japan Bombings.

The Inescapable Conclusion

The conclusion of this study is inescapable. A significant portion of the American population does not care to consider the past experiences. Despite the fact that some surveys indicate that Americans are sickened by the fact that the country dropped weapons of mass destruction in Japan, Valentino and Sagan have shown that the situation is entirely different. The study has received backings from various security scholars and experts.

The Shortcoming of Existing Polls

The main shortcoming of the existing polls is that the surveys did not ask the study population to choose between US troops and foreign civilians when nuclear weapons come to play. This research shows that America is ready to do anything to save its people, which is typical for any society, giving its people the first priority.

America's Responsibility

As the most powerful nation, America has a responsibility to be more mindful of the ethical limits to its ability. In a situation of nuclear crisis, the world expects America to be the liberator and not the perpetrator. America should lead a worldwide campaign against the use of atomic weapons.

Works Cited

Sagan, Scott D., and Benjamin A. Valentino. "Revisiting Hiroshima in Iran: What Americans Really Think about Using Nuclear Weapons and Killing Noncombatants." International Security (2017).

April 19, 2023

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