Saturday, May 20, 2006

On Strategic Bombing in WWII 

A new book is out that argues the strategic bombing campaigns conducted by the Allies against Germany and Japan in WWII were just as morally reprehensible as the terrorist attacks of 9/11, in fact that the efforts in WWII were terrorist attacks themselves.

This piece rebuts those fallacious arguments very well. Here's an excerpt, although I recommend reading the whole thing:
But the difficulty of defending this position does not mean that we should defend its opposite, which is that the claims of civilians are absolute and universal to the point that 1942’s RAF pilots were the moral equivalent of today’s Al Qaeda, or for that matter of the German pilots who terror-bombed Warsaw and Belgrade. Here we must consider the morality of intentions. Defeating the Axis at the lowest practicable human cost was an admirable intention. Seeking a racist world empire was not. A good end cannot justify any means, but a supremely good and urgent end may at least partially justify bad means.
It seems to me that the argument that Allied efforts in WWII were morally reprehensible is founded in a belief that war is never just, or a belief quite close to that. Simply put: war can in fact be just, noble, and good. To think otherwise is to lay the groundwork for tyranny. Just ask Neville Chamberlain.

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