Bombing Civilian Populations

Both evil *and* stupid.

As is often the case, the Faustian bargain of doing evil that good may come of it takes your soul and gives you *nothing* in return. The devil is, after all, a liar. Just because he promises you gold, guns and girls in return for your soul doesn’t mean he’s gonna deliver and leave you to waste away like Citizen Kane in your palace reading Ecclesiastes and pondering the meaninglessness of life while you sip mimosas by the pool.

Very often, because it’s more elegant in hell’s reckoning of things, you wind up with nothing at all. Hell’s idea of a practical joke.

In our case, we won the war–and have spent the time since then internalizing and implementing more efficient many of Hitler’s most cherished beliefs. The Belgians are now doing the job of killing their children that it used to require a Gestapo and SS to do. What a centralized police state used to have to do with guns, gas, and forced internment, the civilian populations of the Allies now freely do to themselves and pay somebody handsomely for the the service.

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  • Not sure what this has to do with Allied bombing of German population centers in WWII (the folks who did it are for the most part dead and the folks pushing child euthanasia weren’t yet alive), but OK. I’ll take your word for it that the Culture of Death is rooted in a secret addiction to the thrill acquired by bombing downtown Dresden, and not an atheistic, materialistic view of humanity that has its roots in an intellectual tradition far older than WWII and that keeps sprouting up under the various guises of Margaret Sanger, Adolf Hitler, and Peter Singer.

    Unless of course you’re saying that Belgian children now are being punished by God for the sins of American airmen 70 years ago. I suppose THAT could be what you’re thrusting at here too.

  • Since we were implementing many of Hitler’s cherished beliefs *before* WW II I think you’ve got a bit of a problem with your logic construction. This is a logical technique complaint and not a defense of bombing civilian populations.

    If euthanizing the inconvenient is being emerging as an epiphenomenon of something, blaming it on something else doesn’t help in reducing evil. It actually stands in the way as people who care about reason and logic are going to reflexively oppose you and end up in a spot they didn’t intend to be in. I’m reasonably sure that you didn’t intend to be that sort of temptation but it is what you accomplished.

  • Dave G.

    I agree with TM and Mike. Not that bombing civilians is a good thing. But the idea that the allies bombed cities, therefore it follows that their modern descendants are wanting to euthanize children seems to be a stretch.

  • quasimodo

    I see this as … Today we are tempted to think WWII was fought to defeat supreme evil, but we used evil to fight evil and we still continue down evil’s path … the fruits of the Fall, obviously. So, evil was not defeated, it just continues on in a different body, so to speak. Humanity is not learning it is still in need of redemption and a redeemer.

  • LSUStatman

    I have studied a lot of military history, focusing on 20th Century Airpower, as part of my Air Force career. And from that, I can only come to one conclusion:

    Bombing people tends to piss them off.

    Sure, there are the advocates of “Total War” out there, and even still some in agreement with Douhet, who first spoke about bombing civilian centers to break the will of a nation. However, when the bombs hit, the resulting psychological attitude is one of resistance, not surrender, unless it is obvious that resistance is futile.

    Hitler tried to get an easy surrender by bombing Coventry. It didn’t happen. The Allies tried to get an easy surrender by bombing Dresden. We had to take Berlin the hard way anyway. We tried to get the Japanese to surrender by fire-bombing Tokyo. It only strengthened their resolve. In fact, even after the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the military wanted to resist Hirohito’s decision to surrender and some attempted a coup.

    Bombing is a tool, but it cannot do what it cannot do. And what it does really poorly, is to make people surrender.

    • Dave G.

      You’re right about the bombings not making people just give up. Often quite the contrary. On the other hand, a few things you wrote. The bombing of Dresden, while not justified, was not done ‘to get an easy surrender.’ It was far more complex than that. Likewise, we didn’t really take Berlin, unless you count the Soviets in that as part of the ‘we’. They did the heavy lifting there. True, we know now that there was more resistance to surrendering and support for fighting in Japan than previously thought. And even with Hirohito’s decision, there was some push back. But then this is a blog comment, so I get if things were said in a sort of sweeping way. It isn’t as if I’ve never done it before.

  • Andy, Bad Person

    In our case, we won the war–and have spent the time since then
    internalizing and implementing more efficient many of Hitler’s most
    cherished beliefs.

    Can we call this Dark Subsidiarity?

  • ivan_the_mad

    “For the wages of sin is death …”