Saturday, August 28, 2010

The Evil of Strategic Bombing

"Strategic bombing—aimed at civilian targets more than military ones—is a form of justified massacre," writes the Wall Street Journal's Robert Messenger in a review of a new book on the subject — Contemplating Death From Above. Some stats:
    The U.S. and Britain dropped 1.6 million tons of bombs on Germany, causing civilian casualties of more than one million and rendering as many as 7.5 million people homeless. The seven-month B-29 firebombing campaign against Japan organized by Curtis LeMay is estimated to have killed a half-million people and to have left five million more homeless. It was so successful that the Air Force had trouble finding suitable targets for the atomic bombings at the end of the war. The Japanese, it should be noted, had used strategic bombing as early as 1938 in China, and Germany launched its own vast air assault on England in 1940.
The Nazis and Imperial Japanese did it first, so it's okay, right? That argument never worked with my mother, why should it work with God?

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3 Comments:

Blogger The Sanity Inspector said...

We've got the whole rest of history to second-guess. In those days, it was self-evident that the enemy had to be hit as hard as possible with everything at hand. There was no 100% good way to fight The Good War.

But yes, war looses a savage spirit among everyone. Winston Churchill made that observation in his inimitable way, shortly after the First World War:

“Germany having let hell loose kept well in the van of terror; but she was followed step by step by the desperate and ultimately avenging nations she had assailed. Every outrage against humanity or international law was repaid by reprisals often on a greater scale and longer duration. No truce or parley mitigated the strife of the armies. The wounded died between the lines; the dead moldered into the soil. Merchant ships and neutral ships and hospital ships were sunk on the seas and all on board left to their fate, or killed as they swam. Every effort was made to starve whole nations into submission without regard to age or sex. Cities and monuments were smashed by artillery. Bombs from the air were cast down indiscriminately. Poison gas in many forms stifled or seared the soldiers. Liquid fire was projected upon their bodies. Men fell from the air in flames, or were smothered, often slowly, in the dark recesses of the sea. The fighting strength of armies was limited only by the manhood of their countries. Europe and large parts of Asia and Africa became one vast battlefield on which after years of struggle not armies but nations broke and ran. When it was all over, Torture and Cannibalism were the only two expedients that the civilized, scientific, Christian states had been able to deny themselves: and these were of doubtful utility.”

6:00 AM  
Anonymous Steven P. Cornett said...

Re: Sanity,

When it was all over, Torture and Cannibalism were the only two expedients that the civilized, scientific, Christian states had been able to deny themselves: and these were of doubtful utility.”


With the War on Terror, we're down to cannibalism.

And I wouldn't put it past somebody to try it if they thought it would terrorize Muslims into submission.

10:30 AM  
Blogger Zach said...

re: cannibalism -- with the push for Embryonic Stem Cell products, we've pretty much given up on that taboo, too.

God have mercy.

1:33 AM  

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Omnes Sancti et Sanctæ Coreæ, orate pro nobis.