The Corner

Six Points About Strategic Bombing

I know this discussion’s sort of over, but I thought this was good even if I might dissent here or there. From a reader:

About Strategic bombing:

1. Ramesh should reference Michael Walzer’s arguments about strategic

bombing.

2. Darb’s conclusion is probably right; people will do what they feel they

need to do, under circumstances and in light of opinion. In WW1, e.g., using

poison gas in combat was good, in WW2, it was bad.

3. Mass bombings of civilians was not considered absolutely immoral in WW2. It has been considered absolutely immoral at least since the Vietnam war (which was the real context for Vonnegut’s Dresden book.)

4. In light of 3, arguments in favor of bombing civilians (Steyn, et al) are just as bootless as abstractions about “right” or “wrong” bombings. Generally, people don’t like it — having seen the effects in WW2 — and if people don’t want it, it won’t happen.

5. As terrible as the WTC “bombing” was, and I was on the NJ Turnpike when

it happened, it was something that many peoples in Europe and Asia

experienced often in the ’30’s and ’40’s and something America had never

experienced. A moment’s thought convinces me that most Americans would be

even more reluctant to engage in the mass killing of civilians now, than before.

6. It’s a waste of time to justify WW2 bombings today. Nobody backs killing

civilians now, so no one wants to hear celebrations about past bombings that

killed many civilians. Find something else to celebrate, like, for example, the break in the weather.

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