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Was the American Bombing Campaign in World War II a War Crime?
American Heritage Magazine ^ | April 6, 2006 | Fredric Smoler

Posted on 05/20/2006 8:33:39 PM PDT by tbird5

Deliberately targeting civilians is widely considered terrorism nowadays, but during World War II both the Britain’s Bomber Command and the United States Army Air Force deliberately targeted civilians.

The British philosopher A. C. Grayling, in his new book Among the Dead Cities: The History and Moral Legacy of the WWII Bombing of Civilians in Germany and Japan (Walker, $25.95), points out that the two air forces combined killed perhaps 600,000 German civilians and another 200,000 Japanese. He makes the case that at least by our current standards we were terrorists, and it logically follows that the attacks were war crimes. In an age of political terror, when it is urgent to come up with a persuasive distinction between legitimate and illegitimate violence, it is hard to overstate the importance of the questions Grayling raises.

(Excerpt) Read more at americanheritage.com ...


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Culture/Society; Extended News; Foreign Affairs; Government
KEYWORDS: academia; bataandeathmarch; bombingserbcivilians; japaneseatrocities; japanesemanchura; londonblitz; nowewon; raf; rapeofnanking; terrorbombing; tonsonserbia; usaaf; v1buzzbomb; wwii
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To: tbird5

Since we won, no. If we would have lost, it would have been a war crime, sure.


251 posted on 05/21/2006 4:47:08 AM PDT by Flightdeck (Longhorns+January=Rose Bowl Repeat)
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To: tbird5

In the eyes of revisionist pacifist the whole war was a crime.

Pacifism is a cancer that eats away the national guts.


252 posted on 05/21/2006 4:47:33 AM PDT by bert (K.E. N.P. Slay Pinch)
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To: FreedomCalls
Was Sherman's "March to the Sea" a war crime?

Depends on who you ask. I was down south visiting a few friends last summer and I mentioned Sherman. I was told "Hey, you watch your language over there!"

253 posted on 05/21/2006 4:49:37 AM PDT by nonliberal (Graduate: Curtis E. LeMay School of International Relations)
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To: BJungNan

Should we ever see a war like WWII agin, we will be bombing civilian targets. When it comes to survival, "nice" will not be a concern.

Exactly right on point. The problem with these revisionists is that they are viewing history while willingly disregarding the fact that they are completely secure. To them, it seems as if our victory in the war was a foregone conclusion from the outset. They either don't, or refuse, to see that this most certainly was not the case, and that there was a very real possibility of the facist Axis powers winning.

You nailed it when you say that being nice is not a concern when survival is at stake. WWII was a conflict that would determine if the forces of freedom, or the forces of tyranny and oppression, would control the world. And the outcome was never certain. Perhaps if the revisionists were capable of understanding this they would not be complaining about the way it all turned out.

254 posted on 05/21/2006 4:50:11 AM PDT by frankiep (Visualize Whirled Peas)
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To: tbird5

Don't we owe reparations to someone?..../s


255 posted on 05/21/2006 4:52:01 AM PDT by azhenfud (He who always is looking up seldom finds others' lost change.)
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To: frankiep

"Oh geez.

Bad things happen in war.......because it's war. People die."

Sure, but you can't excuse everything done during war with that quick statement. We wouldn't excuse what Hitler did (or the Japanese in China). FYI, I believe dropping the nukes was the right thing to do.


256 posted on 05/21/2006 4:54:41 AM PDT by Flightdeck (Longhorns+January=Rose Bowl Repeat)
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To: tbird5

Times, as well as standard of conduct change.


257 posted on 05/21/2006 4:56:42 AM PDT by roaddog727 (eludium PU36 explosive space modulator)
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To: tbird5
Me? I don't mind killing our enemies, our enemies parents, our enemies children or our enemies third cousins.

Only losers are war criminals.

258 posted on 05/21/2006 4:57:29 AM PDT by metesky ("Brethren, leave us go amongst them." Rev. Capt. Samuel Johnston Clayton - Ward Bond- The Searchers)
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To: Flightdeck

I see your point. Allow me to rephrase that. In war, especially a total war like WWII, innocent people are going to die no matter how careful you try to be. And in a total war you must be willing to do things that most decent people would find questionable if you want to win. The problem I have is with people trying to equate the wholesale genocidal actions of the Nazis, with actions that were meant to stop them. There is a good reason why they say war is hell.


259 posted on 05/21/2006 5:00:28 AM PDT by frankiep (Visualize Whirled Peas)
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To: roaddog727

Times, as well as standard of conduct change.

I believe that we may like to think that, but I'm afraid it just is not true. I guarantee you that if we were in a fight like WWII right now, that the so called standards we have today would be thrown out the window if it meant ensuring our nation's survival.

Remember, the very survival of the free world was in serious jeopardy.

260 posted on 05/21/2006 5:04:33 AM PDT by frankiep (Visualize Whirled Peas)
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To: Caveman Lawyer
I'm sure that the USAAF vets who completed these missions rest more peacefully in their graves knowing that they have Grayling's "partial pass."

Yeah, my late Uncle, who flew the Ploesti raids (highly decorated waist gunner on a B-17) would chew this guys arm off.

This guy is alive and writing freely because better men than him saved his momma's a$$.

261 posted on 05/21/2006 5:08:47 AM PDT by metesky ("Brethren, leave us go amongst them." Rev. Capt. Samuel Johnston Clayton - Ward Bond- The Searchers)
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To: driftless; frankiep
Just look around you today and compare the United States as we know it to the U.S. and Germany of the 1930s. The U.S. today has far more in common with Germany of that era (in many different ways, not just "bad" ones) than with the U.S. of that era. Our culture, science, and approach to governing is based on a nihilistic, utilitarian outlook that most Americans in the 1930s would never have thought this country is capable of.

And as far as the Soviet Union is concerned . . . Just look at our media, government, and academia these days. I have a hard time believing that Americans in the 1930s would have tolerated so many overt, unapologetic communists holding positions of authority in these institutions.

262 posted on 05/21/2006 5:12:46 AM PDT by Alberta's Child (Can money pay for all the days I lived awake but half asleep?)
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To: Michael81Dus
They simply didn´t know better.

Sure, just like the upstanding German citizens, in nearby towns, working for the Nazis running the concentration camps and their cyanide showers and ovens! They were given "tours" of those facilities after they were liberated and professed total ignorance!

"We didn't know"..., "We were only following orders"..., etc. SELF DELUSIONS!

They knew but did nothing to resist the depravity of the Nazi regime!

War is hell but is not pointless! The enslavement, persecution and terror campaigns against groups is also not pointless (but only to those who carry out those activities)!

263 posted on 05/21/2006 5:14:36 AM PDT by ExSES (the "bottom-line")
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To: Alberta's Child

Are you back? Let me know when you see the US force Jews to wear stars on their clothes, force them into ghettos, kill them by the millions in concentration camps, torture and murder political prisoners, starve entire nations to bring them under our grip, kill people trying to leave the country, perform "medical experiments" on unwilling prisoners, outlaw any form of religious worship in favor of worship of a dictator, invade our neighbors and kill innocent civilians just because we can, etc.

Until then, spare me you crap about how the US resembles the Nazis and Soviets. Save it for your Western Civ 101 class.

By the way, our Interstate system was inspired by the German Autobahn the Hitler helped to create. I guess in your twisted book that makes us similar to the Nazis also.


264 posted on 05/21/2006 5:32:56 AM PDT by frankiep (Visualize Whirled Peas)
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To: Yehuda
"...Be sure and wear a helmet and a catchers mask..."

And visualize that you are a catcher for the New York Yankees, and a big, angry Red Sox player with a grudge is barreling down the third base line towards home as you block the plate waiting for the throw home...:)

265 posted on 05/21/2006 6:11:58 AM PDT by rlmorel ("Innocence seldom utters outraged shrieks. Guilt does." Whittaker Chambers)
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To: Alberta's Child
"...I have a hard time believing that Americans in the 1930s would have tolerated so many overt, unapologetic communists holding positions of authority in these institutions...."

Please. I really have tried to be polite and give you a pass when you have shown that you don't have a good grasp of history, but do not make statements like this.

The US Government was riddled with Soviet agents, and it was "tolerated". See my tagline, read "Witness" by Whittaker Chambers, read the transcripts of the McCarthy hearings (Don't read about them in any Piece of Crap history books they give to kids in school, because they are all wrong on this issue, amongst other things) and read up on the Venona Project, which put the cap on stupid dumbass notions like "The Goldbergs were innocent" and "Alger Hiss was not a spy for the Soviet Union".

For God's sake, our OWN Vice President, Henry Wallace was a Soviet admirer and apologist.

266 posted on 05/21/2006 6:22:45 AM PDT by rlmorel ("Innocence seldom utters outraged shrieks. Guilt does." Whittaker Chambers)
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To: ExSES

Read #243.

I think that 90% of Germans never thought of the idea that that the deported Jews could be killed. The average German surely knew that the Jews weren´t well treated, but massmurder? Don´t forget, what happened then never happened before!

I was born 1981, and neither my ancestors were Nazis nor am I a defender of Nazism. No KZ guard can excuse his actions by saying "I was just following orders." But that does apply to some Wehrmacht soldiers - not everybody was given a choice.

You never lived under oppression. You can´t say how it is like not being allowed to say anything against the regime.
Yet you say that the civilians deserved to be carpet-bombed.

I don´t blame anybody for not revolting against the Nazis and I praise those who did, while I accuse those who supported the Nazis and their crimes.


267 posted on 05/21/2006 6:49:29 AM PDT by Michael81Dus
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To: Alberta's Child
The major plant in Cologne that had been owned by the Ford Motor Company (actually Ford Werke, the German subsidiary of the company), for example, had gone unscathed through so many Allied bombing raids during the war that it became a place of refuge for the city's residents whenever the air raid sirens sounded.

Not buying it. There was no way bombing was that precise an art in those days. In Cologne, the same could be said of the cathedral. All its windows were blown out, but the building survived pretty much intact. It was NOT because of any intent on the part of the Allied bombers. Their accuracy was notoriously poor in the days when Cologne was being bombed.

And if Ford Werke was producing war machines for the Germans, there is no doubt it was on the hit list. Whether it was hit or not is largely a matter of luck, not conspiracy.

268 posted on 05/21/2006 7:09:21 AM PDT by IronJack
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To: Michael81Dus
Warsaw, Rotterdam, Coventry, London. Your ancestors reaped what they sowed. Spare us the pseudo victimized rationalizations. It was war. If you don't like what happens, don't start them.
269 posted on 05/21/2006 7:15:37 AM PDT by MNJohnnie (Conservative, The simple fact about DC is this . "There is more work to do"...)
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To: tbird5

No.

Next question.


270 posted on 05/21/2006 7:17:26 AM PDT by Skooz (Chastity prays for me, piety sings...Modesty hides my thighs in her wings...)
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To: tbird5
Utter nonsense by super silly moral relativists. You do not logically get to impose your personal moral standards to history. You must judge history by the morality of the time. Utter nonsense factually. Read "The Bomber War" for a serious study of the issue. This is just another Leftist trying to justify his gutless Surrender Monkey Ideology by rewriting History to fit his personal opinions.
271 posted on 05/21/2006 7:19:15 AM PDT by MNJohnnie (Conservative, The simple fact about DC is this . "There is more work to do"...)
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To: DB

"Can there really be civilians in all out war?"

Nope. People want war to be a police action where soldiers arrest each other instead of kill them. Declarations of war don't say "against the army of the other country."


272 posted on 05/21/2006 7:21:14 AM PDT by CodeToad
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To: Enterprise

As Malone would say, "they pull a knife, you pull a gun. He sends one of yours to the hospital, you send one of his to the morgue." Simple.


273 posted on 05/21/2006 7:25:07 AM PDT by SAMS (Nobody loves a soldier until the enemy is at the gate; Army Wife & Marine Mom)
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To: Axhandle

" I would like to give this moron a rifle and drop him into the middle of some F-ed up city in Iraq and tell him walk to the nearest US Base 5 miles away - and don't shoot anyone unless they're wearing a military uniform. "


#121 - Nice. Liberals think war is predictable.


274 posted on 05/21/2006 7:25:50 AM PDT by CodeToad
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To: Madison Moose
"I disagree with your labeling the attack on Pearl Harbor a terrorist attack. While it was a sneak attack, it was on a legitimate military target."

Would you say, then, that the attack on the USS Cole was not a "terrorist" attack because it was on a legitimate military target?

275 posted on 05/21/2006 7:49:16 AM PDT by nightdriver
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To: IronJack
It's worth noting that the Ford plant in Cologne was on the outskirts of the city (it may have even been on the opposite side of the Rhine River from the center of the city). Allied bombing raids focused primarily on the historic city center, so it's not all that surprising that the center of the city was flattened while the plant remained largely unscathed.

Ironically, this also would have made the plant much easier to target without leveling the entire city, too.

The first Ford vehicle in the "post-war" rolled off the assembly line at Ford-Werke literally hours after the U.S. and Germany formally ended the war. Something about that whole arrangement stunk to high heaven.

276 posted on 05/21/2006 8:20:24 AM PDT by Alberta's Child (Can money pay for all the days I lived awake but half asleep?)
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To: NY Attitude
A key question to ask: were the civilians aiding ther war machine by working in factories and other industries in support of the war effort? If so, they are part of the wartime logistics infrastructure.

Just like to point out here that Osama, Ward Churchill and other moonbats use the same argument. During WWII, I think it was essential but these days are different.

277 posted on 05/21/2006 8:21:31 AM PDT by Malsua
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To: metmom

I agree with you. However, I find it interesting that today the tragic past events of Western Civilization are used to attack that very civilization.


278 posted on 05/21/2006 8:24:27 AM PDT by AEMILIUS PAULUS (It is a shame that when these people give a riot)
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To: Michael81Dus
"Do you think that everybody has the duty to risk his life under oppression to prevent your dictator from doing something wrong?"

Wouldn't you be risking your life anyway if your dictator did something stupid and invited mass destruction to your country? By whose sword would you rather die and what would be the more noble death?

[ . . . snip . . . ]

"I don´t blame Germans for not standing up against Hitler."

Hitler was only the stand-in, the one who executed the majority will of the German people, though some Germans attempted to assassinate Hitler but failed. Would the Germans rally around another crazy person who attempted to do what Hitler tried to do? I doubt it. Civilizations evolve if they don't forget history. Were the Germans captivated by the rantings of an aggressive crazy man? Apparently so. They empowered him to continue because they didn't stop him. They didn't stop him because they wanted what he wanted. They made their choice to live as aggressors and paid the price.

But today the world is faced with a more deadly enemy of mankind. There is no way to fight against the rule of a dead person who leads from the grave.

[ . . . snip . . . ]

"Do you think that every Iranian who doesn´t stand up against Ahmadi-F-him is guilty?"

No, if they are actively working to de-throne the nut before the country explodes. If you are actively working to de-throne the nut when the country explodes, you die a nobel death and with honor. The same goes for the minority of Germans who were working against Hitler.

Things happen because of the majority will and mind-set. Bad things or good things.

My suggestion for those who don't want to share in someone else's instant karma is to not be present when it comes down.

279 posted on 05/21/2006 8:28:17 AM PDT by Eastbound
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To: frankiep
This country kills off more than 4,000 of our own unborn children every day. The death toll since 1973 is somewhere on the order of 40 million or so. The fact that these people were killed in medical facilities and dumped in the trash instead of being loaded into boxcars and sent off to concentration camps doesn't make this any less of a crime against humanity than what the Nazis did.

Do a little research on Margaret Sanger, then come back and tell me about the moral superiority of the U.S. The fact that this b!tch is still revered as a feminist icon here in the U.S. tells me all I need to know.

I also found it fascinating to learn that that Hoechst AG, the German parent company of Roussel-Uclaf (the "RU" in RU-486) traces its corporate roots to IG Farben, a company that is best remembered as the manufacturer of Zyklon-B in Nazi Germany.

Some things never change, do they?

280 posted on 05/21/2006 8:29:30 AM PDT by Alberta's Child (Can money pay for all the days I lived awake but half asleep?)
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To: tbird5

It's my understanding that the British had a policy of retaliation for the German bombing of British cities.
Initially, we attempted to bomb only strategic targets:
military and logistical. But bombing was not very accurate
in those days.


281 posted on 05/21/2006 8:30:33 AM PDT by upcountryhorseman (An old fashioned conservative)
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To: Malsua

Your point is well taken. However, what do you do with the civilians that who aid and abet the insurgents when our soldiers are trying to clear out villages in Iraq and know where and when attacks are going to happen including the placement of IEDs? If they the civilians refuse to leave a combat zone, provide housing, food, and whatever; or stay quiet about the traps that our troops are walking into, they become an arm of the insurgents war effort.


282 posted on 05/21/2006 8:38:48 AM PDT by NY Attitude (You are responsible for your safety until the arrival of Law Enforcement Officers!)
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To: COEXERJ145

he forgot the "Bush is Hitler" part. no left wing nutjob diatribe is complete without that.


283 posted on 05/21/2006 9:05:02 AM PDT by Rakkasan1 (Illegal immigrants are just undocumented friends you haven't met yet!)
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To: Alberta's Child

" across the Pacific Ocean with any degree of accuracy at all?"

They had no intention of being accurrate, merely spewing terror and starting massive fires in forsts.

It would have worked, but a freak storm blew most of the balloons off course.

BTW, the balloons and the anthrax/plauge/cholera attack they had ready for the West Coast are completely seperate tactics.

And let us not forget what the Japanese did in Bataan.


284 posted on 05/21/2006 9:42:33 AM PDT by MeanWestTexan (Many at FR would respond to Christ "Darn right, I'll cast the first stone!")
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To: Alberta's Child

"The question was raised here in the context of a Japanese plan to bomb San Francisco."

Again, the baloons and the germ bombs were distinct and seperate plans.

See the picture of the combo sub/air-craft carrier japan had developed.


285 posted on 05/21/2006 9:45:40 AM PDT by MeanWestTexan (Many at FR would respond to Christ "Darn right, I'll cast the first stone!")
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To: Alberta's Child

"It's funny you should mention that. I've often said that if my great-grandfather came back today and spent 48 hours getting familiar with what the United States has become, he'd swear that the Nazis had actually won World War II."

Since neither my parents, nor I, have been put in ovens here in the United States, I can pretty well say either you misrepresent your great-grandfather or he was an idiot, God rest his soul.

In America, fools like you are freely allowed to spout their venom. You just think we have to listen to your babble, or it is censorship.


286 posted on 05/21/2006 9:50:06 AM PDT by MeanWestTexan (Many at FR would respond to Christ "Darn right, I'll cast the first stone!")
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To: Madison Moose

No, I think the truth is they just didn't have quiet enough time to pull it off.

They tested the germs on US POWs to make sure they killed "the dog people" as well as they killed Chinese.

The "we were afraid" nonsense is just pablem for liberal idiots so the Japanese can take the moral high ground.

The reason we remained fairly silent is we scooped up the Japanese scientists and continued their research for Cold War purposes.


287 posted on 05/21/2006 9:54:22 AM PDT by MeanWestTexan (Many at FR would respond to Christ "Darn right, I'll cast the first stone!")
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To: txroadkill

"I have read ever book I can get my hands on about WWII in both the ETO and the Pacific...I don't believe that any US fighter pilots ever even saw main land Japan unless they were POW's."

You need to read more books.


288 posted on 05/21/2006 9:54:32 AM PDT by Lancer_N3502A
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To: txroadkill

Russia is even better for WWII stuff.


289 posted on 05/21/2006 10:02:07 AM PDT by MeanWestTexan (Many at FR would respond to Christ "Darn right, I'll cast the first stone!")
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To: Michael81Dus

The German "I didn't know" line is pure ostrich-with-head-in-sand B.S.

They knew Hitler's opinions re: Jews --- in Mien Kampf that everybody read. In it, he pretty well sets out the Final Solution.

Every one knew the Jews get badged and rounded up. Heck it was on posters and and in newspapers.

And open cattle cars filled with people going to factories that produced little but smoke was a clue.

They knew.


290 posted on 05/21/2006 10:10:39 AM PDT by MeanWestTexan (Many at FR would respond to Christ "Darn right, I'll cast the first stone!")
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To: metmom

While I agree with you,who was it who said:"The Past Is Prologue"?


291 posted on 05/21/2006 10:19:25 AM PDT by bandleader
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To: Prophet in the wilderness

Whata CONCEPT!Shelby Steele contends that we have forgotten how(or are too hamstrung with guilt)to bring the full force of our might needed to win a war in a decisive way!!I must say that I agree with him!!!


292 posted on 05/21/2006 10:22:14 AM PDT by bandleader
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To: clintonh8r

Actually,Berlin was bombed by The RAF(Bomber Command)shortly after The Luftwaffe bombed London(within days).Churchill instructed Air Vice Marshall Arthur Harris to strike Berlin in retaliation.Actually(from what I've read)Hitler never meant to undertake a bombing campaign against The City of London.He was more interested in the destruction of The RAF so that he could invade Britain(Operation Sea Lion)with control of the air.Some German bombers went off course and were caught over London by searchlights.In order to lighten their aircraft(and escape the triple AAA),they jettisoned their bombs.Thus began the whole thing which escalated from there!!!


293 posted on 05/21/2006 10:35:22 AM PDT by bandleader
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To: zarf

Has Bill Clinton apologized for this yet?It would appear that he ONLY apologizes for things he HASN'T done!


294 posted on 05/21/2006 10:37:24 AM PDT by bandleader
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To: Smokin' Joe

That's RIGHT!And(by the way)Military Forces are SUPPOSED to Kill People and Break Things!!Bill Clinton(for all his genius?)could NEVER grasp this concept!!!


295 posted on 05/21/2006 10:40:08 AM PDT by bandleader
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To: Prophet in the wilderness

Hitler had a long-range(Manhattan)bomber constructed called The Condor.This plane's purpose was to bomb Manhattan.It was to be a one-way trip because of fuel restrictions,but I think they were working on some way to re-fuel the plane in the air so it could return to it's base in Brest.The Condor never was used for it's original purpose.


296 posted on 05/21/2006 10:44:07 AM PDT by bandleader
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To: zaggs

That's called"collateral damage".While I agree that the bombing of Dresden was a"crime",I cannot go so far as to call Tokyo,Hiroshima,or Nagasaki "crimes".While the Japanese had to be brought to their knees,the Germans were already there!Dresden was overcrowded with refugees fleeing the Soviet onslaught and(axcepting the battle for Berlin which involved ONLY The Red Army fighting SS fanatics)the Germans were DONE!!!!!The utter destruction of that beautiful,ancient city(Dresden)was TOTALLY unnecessary and GRATUITOUS!!!!!!"Bomber Harris"was shunned following the war!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


297 posted on 05/21/2006 10:50:50 AM PDT by bandleader
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To: bandleader

Thanks, I didn't know that!


298 posted on 05/21/2006 11:30:43 AM PDT by clintonh8r
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To: tbird5
Deliberately targeting civilians is widely considered terrorism

Only by people who don't think "terrorism" has a unique meaning. Not everything terrifying is terrorism. Specifically, terrorism is committed by a nongovernmental group for a political purpose. So the Dresden or Tokyo bombings were definitely NOT and never will be "terrorism". Neither was the holocaust, or the killing fields, or the Cultural Revolution, or the forced starvation of the Ukraine.

However, some people then and now consider the WWII nonindustrial civilian bombings to be highly immoral and noncontributable if not counterproductive toward victory. Afterall, why would Hitler care if his civilians are being killed en masse? He was busily doing the same thing--and to greater effect.

The only reason it worked in Japan is that the Emporer had a limit to how many dead Japanese he could stomach. His military government, however, had no limit and would have kept fighting if they had had their way.

299 posted on 05/21/2006 11:46:58 AM PDT by beavus (Hussein's war. Bush's response.)
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To: MeanWestTexan
Could you point me to some books/websites/articles/etc. that discuss the planned attack?

I know they tested extensively in China and on POWs, but the only thing I can remember about a bio attack on the US was that it was vetoed.
300 posted on 05/21/2006 11:52:02 AM PDT by Madison Moose
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