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 Post subject: Re: Military stuff ... past and present.
PostPosted: Wed Feb 14, 2018 3:00 am 
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It was a different world, the experts had theories that mass bombings would break civilian morale, the theories were wrong in Germany's and Japan's case in fact it seemed to stiffen their resolve.

So now we're left with a situation that's hard to justify when viewed with modern ROE.

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 Post subject: Re: Military stuff ... past and present.
PostPosted: Wed Feb 14, 2018 4:37 am 
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I'm reminded of that old quote by Napoleon . . . to paraphrase it into modern parlance: if you don't want to get your shit fucked up real bad in a war, then don't act like a diplomatic asshat/start a war.

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 Post subject: Re: Military stuff ... past and present.
PostPosted: Wed Feb 14, 2018 4:40 am 
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Anthropoid wrote:
If one were to engage in a balanced and civil discussion of the relative strategic merits of the Dresden raid or of mass strategic firebombing in general, then I would certainly entertain such a discussion as being interesting and worthwhile. But armchair moralizing and trolling are pointless.


Good point, Anthro. Could not +rep, but send me your adress I'll send you a Swedish beer. (Sharia law has outlawed them yet...)


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 Post subject: Re: Military stuff ... past and present.
PostPosted: Wed Feb 14, 2018 5:23 am 
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I've just re-read 65% of the wiki article on the Dresden raid and as far as I can tell, most of the hubbub is a result of (a) Nazi propaganda immediately after the attacks; (b) Western journalists and intellectuals opining at the time about things they didn't know jack shit; (c) the continued attempts to political movements ("far right" types, whatever that means) throughout the 20th century to turn the attack into a fulcrum and leverage opinion in their favor.

The key issue: there has been a consensus in virtually all non-propagandized (meaning "not lying") sources that something like 20,000 to 25,000 people were killed. The Nazis forced their press to report that "200,000 were killed" and also to resort to headlines such as "massacre of refugees" and "Dresden was a city of culture not of war" etc.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bombing_o ... rld_War_II

It was a legit target, it had impeding effects on the German war effort, and nothing about the way the attack was carried out was unusual within the context of Total War. The Nazis were the first to use strategic bombing of industrial and urban targets (Warsaw, Rotterdam, London, etc.) in the European war, but they were not the last.

Imagine how much WORSE the whole shit swirl might have turned out for EVERYONE had the allies followed ROE such as those which are currently used in the wars we fight against primarily Islamic entities. Just imagine for a moment that a large fraction of the German military and Nazi leadership had been free to take off their uniforms and melt into the population the way the Baa'thists were able to do in Iraq in 2003. Now imagine the insurgency those fuckers could have wrought against both Western and Commie occupiers alike.

It may be that modern ROE lead to fewer absolute casualties but it also seems to lead to fewer absolute victories. Germany, and probably most of Europe might be well-and-truly fucked right up to this day had the conclusion of WWII not be as final and absolute as it was.

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 Post subject: Re: Military stuff ... past and present.
PostPosted: Wed Feb 14, 2018 11:13 am 
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Quote:
So now we're left with a situation that's hard to justify when viewed with modern ROE.


I do not think it is at all hard to justify, and IMO modern ROE will be found to only matter in these petty ante little skirmishes in third world nations.

All of the combatants in WW2 tried out Douhet's theory that a nation could be brought to surrender not only by economic attack but by the onset of massive civilian casualties. Germany (as usual... they pulled the same shit in World War 1) initiated terror bombing in the raids on Coventry, and kept at it into March 1945 by the continued deployment of V1s and V2s despite the fact that said weapons had zero military application... typically missing their nominal "military targets" by 20 km.

At the time of the Dresden Raid, Nazi Germany was still fighting. The Dresden Raid was comprised of two parts. British firebombing at night, and American "precision" bombing using conventional HE by day. The British component was supposed to inflict such terror and demoralization as to cause the Germans (who were still fighting) to rethink their position on the futility of continuing the fight to no legitimate military purpose. So you could say that the Germans were engaged in a sustained "immoral" (in the modern sense of killing with no military purpose) warfare both on the ground (in combat), in occupied areas (civilian exterminations) and by air (fire bombing and V weapons) from 1939 through early May 1945.

The British raid was therefore justified as a kind of hail mary pass to stop the Germans from continuing their immoral war. Now, it did not work but it MIGHT have. It worked when the US dropped two nuclear bombs on Japan, forcing Japanese leaders to not only confront but admit the hopelessness of continuing their fight, immorally (in the looking back sense) long after any legitimate military purpose had ceased to exist.

The second reason was retribution. Germans in warfare made killing civilians a "without which nothing" casual and indeed celebrated facet of military practice starting in 1914. Many (but probably not Sneero or Wiffle) have heard of the "rape of Belgium" ... atrocities that the Germans celebrated as a way of intimidating other powers. Germany was not held accountable for their practices in WW1 having never been actually occupied and having their civilians lined up against walls and shot, nor in WW2 never having had their prisoners herded into camps and gassed as they did to others. The Germans NEEDED to learn a lesson that shit that goes around comes around. Indeed, RETALIATION is a MORAL GOOD when it is properly directed against the initial perpetrators of horror.

Does the world stand by such morality now, today? Only when the USA is engaged. China murders civilians wholesale. Gunning down Vietnamese protestors knee deep in water on a Vietnamese coral reef is nothing to China. Have we heard a peep from modern "moral warfare" advocates, or from our local Finnish nazi fanbois (Wiffle and Sneero)? Of course not. When francophone Hutu attempted to kill all the anglophone Tutsi, with French support, did the "moral warfare" types step up and be heard? Not so much.

If a major war were to occur again, I doubt that any European or Asian major power will hesitate to slaughter enemy civilians wholesale. The whole "rules of engagement" thing will become an academic conversation, rather than a military one.

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 Post subject: Re: Military stuff ... past and present.
PostPosted: Wed Feb 14, 2018 2:52 pm 
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There are a few things on which Midol and I agree . . .

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 Post subject: Re: Military stuff ... past and present.
PostPosted: Wed Feb 14, 2018 3:40 pm 
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I don't see any reason to celebrate the Dresden bombings. While there might have been imperative military reasons to level Dresden, I find it an overstretch to be so joyous about killing thousands of civilians without substantial damage to the war capacity of the enemy. Germany did not surrender b/c of Dresden like Japan surrendered after Hiroshima.

Though it was the Brits and Bomber Harris who did the most damage, the Yanks tried to hit some real targets.

War is hell, and don't see any reason to celebrate or glorify the thing.

I was more than 40 years committed to die for my country, in one occasion as a company commander to defend Helsinki-Vantaa airport. A place for dead heroes. Luckily there was no war.

So it goes.

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 Post subject: Re: Military stuff ... past and present.
PostPosted: Wed Feb 14, 2018 6:08 pm 
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Nazi Germany was obviously the bad guys of WWII but I'm not a great fan of dead civilians - and dead civilians is really how Dresden is remembered regardless of the actual circumstances, which I imagine was not lost in the "Happy Dresday" troll-post.

I figure Stalin's gang were also bad guys - but I won't gloat about the Soviet civilian deaths during the seige of Leningrad (Sharia law has not yet been implemented here so I'm free to have that opinion).


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 Post subject: Re: Military stuff ... past and present.
PostPosted: Wed Feb 14, 2018 6:15 pm 
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nero wrote:
I don't see any reason to celebrate the Dresden bombings. While there might have been imperative military reasons to level Dresden, I find it an overstretch to be so joyous about killing thousands of civilians without substantial damage to the war capacity of the enemy. Germany did not surrender b/c of Dresden like Japan surrendered after Hiroshima.

Though it was the Brits and Bomber Harris who did the most damage, the Yanks tried to hit some real targets.

War is hell, and don't see any reason to celebrate or glorify the thing.

I was more than 40 years committed to die for my country, in one occasion as a company commander to defend Helsinki-Vantaa airport. A place for dead heroes. Luckily there was no war.

So it goes.


I agree with you about "not celebrating it." But I also don't feel it needs to be morally impugned. It happened. It appeared to be expedient by the people who made it happen. It was horrific and I think most of those responsible for it (and most allied decision-makers responsible for strategic bombing) acknowledged it; but they would maintain it was a necessary horror, the lesser of two horrors.

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 Post subject: Re: Military stuff ... past and present.
PostPosted: Wed Feb 14, 2018 9:32 pm 
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IMO it's worthy of celebration because one of the targets burned out was Chemische Fabrik Goye ... a company that manufactured poison gas. Plenty of military targets were destroyed in the raid. Definitely an event worth noting and a morally outstanding achievement.

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