From “Growing in the character of a disciple”: Chapter 11 – The complications that arise when we tell the truth, and a look at some exceptional situations where we could lie
Ever since God established the separate nations of the earth, at the time of the Tower of Babel, nations have gone to war with each other. Sometimes they have been justified in doing so, at least the non-aggressor, which is defending itself. In warfare soldiers kill each other. Since the twentieth century, they also kill civilians. You will have your own view of this, but mine is that warfare can be justified in certain circumstances. That means that the killing of men can be justified, where it is essential in pursuit of a legitimate war.
If that is so, then it follows that one is entitled to use deception as a weapon of war, i.e. to trick and mislead the enemy so that its performance is impaired. Such deception may save the lives of your own men. It may also cost the lives of the enemy’s men. But, it would be justified, in my view, provided that the war itself is justified.
So, to reduce it to a phrase we could say that “If you’re morally entitled to kill a man, then you may be entitled to lie to him”. Thus we have another exception where we may be entitled to tell a lie. An example of this would be where the Allies sought to trick Hitler into believing that the invasion of France would come at Calais. In fact it came at Normandy. That process of deception saved many lives.
Hitler insisted on keeping a number of German Panzer divisions tied down at Calais, even after the Normandy invasion had begun, because he was so convinced by our elaborate deceptions. These involved fake tanks, aircraft and other military equipment being stockpiled near Dover and fake radio messages being broadcast by fake divisions which did not even exist. It was all done so that the Germans would think that the real invasion would come at Calais.