Tigers aren't sentient beings and they derive their nutrition from food. I'd say it's equal, the demons automatically torture, and the angels send them knowing full well that it happens to everybody the demons get. Only difference is the angels pretend their hands are clean, and that's just dishonest.
So, accepting that "allowing X to be tortured" is just as great a crime as "actively torturing X," we have a few problems. One is the one that crops up in real life- if you are an American, your nation has participated in quite a few cases of torture over the past few years. You haven't stopped it. Does this make you as bad as the people clamping electrodes to Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib?
Or: you're not
an American citizen, but you probably haven't lobbied your government to attack the US to force them to stop torturing captives. You probably haven't even lobbied them to carry out minor steps like sending diplomatic notes or declaring an embargo. Are you
as bad as the people clamping electrodes to Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib?
Because the second position is related to that of the angels (not Yahweh personally, but the species as a whole). They were citizens of a nation other than the one committing the torture, and the most they could conceivably have done was lobby their government (Yahweh, a being not known for tolerance of those who make suggestions to him) to take steps to end the torture. They did not do so. Is that a mortal offense?
Finally, even IF this is a mortal offense, IF "failing to convince your autocratic ruler to act to stop torture in another country" is just as bad as "being one of the torturers in that other counry..." How is being dishonest
even noticeable on that scale?
I mean, we're talking about human misery on a scale roughly five to six orders of magnitude greater than the Holocaust here. How is lying about how much you're willing to do to reduce the suffering (not if
you're going to do anything, how much
) even remotely comparable to being one of the people involved in making the suffering happen?
Lying about torture isn't worse than torturing people. Handing someone over to be tortured when they were trusting you not to do that and you had the full power to protect them *is* worse than torturing. If someone puts throw a baby into a tiger pit, do you go after the person or the tiger?
I know you made a point about how not all the angels were behind that decision, but if we can want to kill baldricks for supporting Satan's rule and not stopping it from happening, then we can do the same for angels. At the very least, they're equally responsible.
Demons don't automatically torture people the way tigers might automatically eat babies thrown to them. So your basic argument is flawed- people not taken into Heaven were not automatically
tortured by some kind of nonsentient machine; they were tortured only by the free will of other entities who were responsible for their actions and who could stop any time they pleased.
On top of that, the angels were not direct willing participants
in Satan's atrocities. They weren't even on the same side- they were at least nominally civilians or soldiers of a nation opposed to Satan's actions. This nation did not do enough
to prevent Satan's atrocities, nor did they do as much as they implicitly said they would. But they did more than nothing: they took 10% of the human race in and put them into conditions that, while far worse than life today, are also far better than being raped by demons or spending a thousand years soaking in burning pitch.
Now, with the change in the status quo
following the Message, things change. Yahweh's condemns of all humans to Hell, and invites demonic armies into Earth. Yahweh can now be viewed as an ally of Satan against us, and can thus reasonably be seen as having to go- a view that is further supported by his decision to wage war on us even after Satan's forces were defeated.
But even so, the great war crime of the Salvation War, the one major issue at stake beyond self-defense for humanity, is the prolonged torture in Hell- torture prolonged over tens of trillions
of man-years. And while Yahweh personally bears a very great degree of responsibility for that (his capricious "I love me" attitude condemned many billions who would otherwise have been saved from that)... the angelic race as a whole did not bear such responsibility, not as the demons did.
Responsibility for something on the scale of the torture in Hell is the only
thing that could possibly justify an act of vengeful genocide. If we're not doing it to the demons, we shouldn't be doing it to the angels.
So when do we stop hitting them? When Yahweh is dead and the survivors surrender? When their last organized and trained field army is gone? When no surviving angel is physically capable of lifting a sword against us?
I think that would be decided on a case by case basis, and with the decisions not uniform across all formations and units. As an example, look at the Battle for Berlin. Some Germans were surrendering. The surrender of some individuals was accepted. The surrender of others was rejected. Meanwhile, the Russians were still trying to conquer the City. That is one scenario of how a war can peter out to nothing. On Iwo Jima, it wasn't over until essentially the last Japanese defender became a crispy critter. OTOH, Italy surrendered as an entity and pretty much came over to our side.
The parallels are far from perfect, but they indicate the complexity of deciding when it's over.
But we have to go in with some notion of what the surrender condition is.
For example, we accepted the full
surrender of each of the WWII Axis powers when the government surrendered. The Italian government sacked Mussolini and surrendered before the Italian peninsula proper was more than scratched, and got off lightly. The Japanese government surrendered after intense fighting across the Pacific and heavy bombardment of the Home Islands, but before they were invaded. The German government (Hitler's successors in the days after the fall of Berlin) didn't formally surrender until practically the entire country was physically occupied.
The most likely specific
foreseeable outcome, as I see it, is what happens if Michael wins his upcoming fight with Yahweh. Michael immediately comes marching at us with a white flag waving in one hand and Yahweh's head on a pike in the other. That's closely equivalent to what happened to Italy: a rapid coup and regime change after the defeat of their field forces outside
their core territory (in Italy's case the peninsula, in Heaven's case the Eternal City).
Other outcomes (various versions of "Michael loses") are more problematic, because there are a lot of potential outcomes. The war ends a lot faster if Yahweh decides to take the field himself, gets killed, and the Heavenly forces crumble a la Desert Storm. It ends with a lot more megatonnage if he remains in the Heavenly City for house to house fighting.
One interesting outcome is the possibility of a decapitation strike. It is unlikely that the Host will continue to fight effectively if Yahweh is killed, and even the other senior archangels are likely to surrender in that case. Or I'd think so.