Wednesday, 18 July 2012

The Bomber Always Gets Through!

THERE was a slogan, or perhaps it was a truism, going around during the Second World War that 'The Bomber Always Gets Through!'   I think it came from Baldwin originally.  Then, Miss Vera Brittan wrote a pamphlet, 'Seed of Chaos', which was an attack on 'obliteration' bombing.  She was not playing the pacifist card, but was arguing that in order to win the war we should stick to legal methods of war and abandon civilian bombing, which would blacken the reputation of the British in the eyes of humanity in the years to come. 

It is impossible to view bombing, or owt else about war, as anything other than repugnant.  I've always been suspicious of them who want to 'legalise' or 'humanise' war.  In a way this makes war more acceptable to the general public by creating a fancy catch-phrase.  But though killing civilians by bombing in wartime may be bad, it is not necessarily worse than killing them by ground warfare, though it is assumed that air bombing does more of this than street fighting. 

It is not clear why it is worse to kill civilians than soldiers?  The killing of children should be avoided, but not necessarily civilians as  a whole.  Why?  Because among the civilians in cities will be a disproportionately large section of the middle-aged.  Is it better to sink a submarine with say 50 young men or bomb a textile mill full of young women workers?    In this age of Feminism and the New Woman, why should the young lads be the first to die?  For this reason, if no other, we ought to be welcoming the fact that the U.S. Marine Corps is about to let women take the Infantry Officer Course, a punishing test that prepares lieutenants to lead infantry platoons into combat in the marines.

Today, Syrian state TV confirmed the death of Assef Shawkat, Assad's brother-in-law and the deputy head of the armed forces, and his closest security adviser, as well as Daud Rajha, the minister of defence and the regime's most senior Christian figure. Several others, including the interior minister, Mohammed Shaar, were wounded.  Now while some folk will object to the suggestion that civilians, particularly women, ought to suffer in wartime alongside young men, I doubt that many will object to the idea that political leaders should die at the hands of the bomber alongside the young lads they send out in battle to die.  Thus, the death today of some of this ruling clique in Syria ought to be welcomed.

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