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View Diary: The myth of "precision bombing" (115 comments)

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  •  I don't see a math error here. It's simply (4+ / 0-)

    much safer for the bombing power to use Predator drones rather than manned aircraft, and the safety factor is a matter of 90 times greater than the bombing of Germany, which to me simply implies that the Predator bombing campaign can and will be allowed to go on almost indefinitely.

    You have exactly 10 seconds to change that look of disgusting pity into one of enormous respect!

    by Cartoon Peril on Thu Oct 13, 2011 at 04:54:14 PM PDT

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    •  I'm so glad you're not Secretary of State (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Seeds

      How would you have gone after Bin Laden?  Or would you have even tried?

      "In a nation ruled by swine, all pigs are upwardly mobile." Hunter S. Thompson

      by Keith930 on Thu Oct 13, 2011 at 04:59:19 PM PDT

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      •  Thot that was a Special Forces team, not drones. (8+ / 0-)

        S.A.W. 2011 STOP ALL WARS "The Global War on Terror is a fabrication to justify imperialism."

        by BigAlinWashSt on Thu Oct 13, 2011 at 05:13:31 PM PDT

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      •  There's no math that justifies (6+ / 0-)

        the cost of getting bin Laden. Well over a hundred thousand innocents killed and maimed since 2001.

        Yay! We got bin Laden!

        They always demand the biggest carrot and then offer to rent us the stick. Occupy!

        by chuckvw on Thu Oct 13, 2011 at 11:07:09 PM PDT

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        •  oh boy (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          happymisanthropy

          this discussion finally arrived at its intended end point. our enemies can do whatever they want, and we are always wrong if we hit back.

          •  What a wild, illogical leap. (7+ / 0-)

            Do you think foreign lives have less value than American lives?

            Can you understand that the hundreds of thousands of civilians killed in Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11?

            It is a calling...to do things about injustice.... It helps to have a goal. I've always tried to have one.--Ted Kennedy, True Compass

            by Timaeus on Fri Oct 14, 2011 at 07:42:48 AM PDT

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            •  the post I responded to said (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Cartoon Peril, happymisanthropy

              "there is no math that justifies the cost of getting bin laden"

              now, if you want to attribute iraq and everything associated with it to getting bin laden, go right ahead. i didn't buy that at the time and certainly don't now.

              but bin laden and his organization were certainly worth a focused and determined effort to "get" them and deny them the time, space and security they needed to mount attacks against us. yeah indeed.

              •  I'm viewing the GWOT in it's totality (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                BigAlinWashSt, Marie, Cartoon Peril

                which you are apparently unwilling or unable to do... Ten years, hundreds of thousands of innocent dead, and  billions of dollars squandered.

                Yeah, in the end they did something right. They killed a guy who couldn't leave his hideout to buy an ice cream cone, a guy (and the other planners of 9/11) who could have been got years ago if that were our real reason for going to war.

                If the math works for you, more power to you.

                They always demand the biggest carrot and then offer to rent us the stick. Occupy!

                by chuckvw on Fri Oct 14, 2011 at 10:29:26 AM PDT

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                •  and I am viewing (0+ / 0-)

                  Iraq for what it was, a foreign policy disaster cooked up by people who wanted it for reasons that had nothing to do with terrorism, and deviously sold to the american people by exploiting their fears of terrorism. it wasn't connected to the fight againts Al Qaeda and the people who sold it as such knew it while they deliberately mislead the american people about that connection.

                  but for the actual fight against real terrorists like Al Qaeda, I think we are completely justified in organizing a focused effort aimed at denying them the space, security, time and resources they need to plot attacks like 9/11. that never had to mean invading Iraq. it did mean  a focus effort aimed at the people that make that organization go. judging by bin Laden own diares, found in a raid you think not worth the trouble, the effort was finally directed it a way that is achieving that to some degree.

      •  I think you missed the point. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Cartoon Peril, Nowhere Man

        They got bin Laden with a special forces unit. On the ground, in harm's way, but also able to distinguish between OBL and, say, his wives. As opposed to "precision bombing," where OUR people are relatively safe, but we incinerate babes in arms.

        Personally, I'm against the wars, including Libya, but I'm 100% behind the operation that got bin Laden.

        Some men aren't looking for anything logical. They can't be bought, bullied, reasoned or negotiated with. Some men just want to watch the world burn.

        by Simian on Thu Oct 13, 2011 at 11:18:38 PM PDT

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    •  Hmm, must be my brain that's fuzzy. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      chuckvw

      Reading too fast will do that to a person.

      "[R]ather high-minded, if not a bit self-referential"--The Washington Post.

      by Geekesque on Thu Oct 13, 2011 at 04:59:24 PM PDT

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    •  The proponents of airpower have been dreaming... (6+ / 0-)

      since the days of the inception of bombing that one day wars would be won without ever having to commit ground forces. Of course every time the accuracy of weapons improves, somebody dusts off that old dream, but it is never realized.

      The disciples of John A Warden III in the Air Force certainly thought that the time was ideal in the Gulf War that proper pressure could be applied to the centers of gravity in Iraq because of the regime's heavily centralized and paranoid power structure. Although they tried at first to get a plan that focused exclusively in that direction, a compromise plan was eventually adopted that included some pressure on centers of gravity and "shaping the battlefield." The strike on the Al-Firdos bunker pretty much ended that wet dream when Bush Sr.  order a halt to bombing targets within Baghdad after that.

      The real issue is that acquiring accurate and actionable intelligence is still dodgy and will always be to some degree as long as the quote "targets" don't cooperate by using communication devices that can be easily triangulated. That's why they never did get Saddam Hussein from the air and why bin Laden was such a pain the ass to find. Saddam was rumored to have a fleet of Winnebagos that he drove around in and used the houses of private citizens for meetings with his senior staff. Meanwhile, the Air Force was bombing all the bunkers in Baghdad in the hope that they would get him or cut off from his command and control network.

      Then there is the issue of bombing as a force multiplier. How do you think we get all those lopsided combat reports where we lose two or three guys and the other guys lose 80? Certainly, not small arms fire. Anything that looks remotely threatening can be blown up much more cheaply in our lives than if we had to clear it with infantry. It's a nice way to bring our boys home safe, but it sucks with winning the hearts and minds.(I don't I'd be happy to return to my neighborhood to find my house destroyed either.) Also, it's drug in a way, and America has become addicted to it. It makes wars much cheaper than they used be which is not a good thing.

    •  I think (0+ / 0-)

      the problem is that you start by discussing the myth of precision bombing as if you were going to debunk it, but are forced (due to limited modern data?) to conclude about  the cost advantage (human and monetary) that modern methods provide (excellent point btw). Wouldn't you need to compare modern data equivalent in scope to that of WW2 to establish that modern bombing doesn't result in significantly fewer civilian death?

    •  It's not that the numbers came out wrong (3+ / 0-)

      it's that it's unclear whether the numbers are entirely relevant.

      Maybe it's the geek in me, but the question of relevance came up as soon as I read the statistics you cited. It's a pity, because the diary otherwise makes excellent points that would do just fine without those statistics.

      I don't claim to be an expert on WWII history, and I'm not sure the truth has really been told about some of the decisions that were made by the Allies (such as the firebombing of Dresden.) That said, I'm pretty sure that most of the bombing in Germany had the goal, not of killing civilians, but of destroying Germany's quite advanced industrial capabilities. As I understand it, it was that loss of munitions, transportation, and other facilities that ultimately defeated Germany -- they could have withstood the losses in civilians and soldiers, but they couldn't fight a war without weaponry.

      As I said, I may be wrong on the history. But unless someone can show that killing civilians was a primary goal of the Allied bombing campaign -- not just in Dresden, but throughout the Axis -- I'm not sure why your numbers showing cost per civilian death are relevant.

      Let us all have the strength to see the humanity in our enemies, and the courage to let them see the humanity in ourselves.

      by Nowhere Man on Fri Oct 14, 2011 at 04:45:10 AM PDT

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      •  Lingo in WW2 was "dehouse", as if they could (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Roadbed Guy

        burn down people's dwellings and not kill people.  There doesn't seem to be any doubt that a major, and real, if unexpressed, purpose, of the bombing of Germany was to kill as many civilians as possible.

        I did not use the bombing of Japan as an example, but there I think the justification for the bombings was extremely flimsy, and the killing was made easier by racism, as well as the different conditions and equipment used.

        You have exactly 10 seconds to change that look of disgusting pity into one of enormous respect!

        by Cartoon Peril on Fri Oct 14, 2011 at 05:50:23 AM PDT

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        •  Yes, the fire bombing of Hamburg, Dresden (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Cartoon Peril

          and Tokyo was expressly done to kill civilians, and to kill them in massive numbers.

          Perhaps if you re-did your numbers just based on that type of raid, WW2 would come out to be a good deal more efficient than you painted in your diary.

          •  Not possible, as a huge raid didn't happen (0+ / 0-)

            in isolation.  There was always a need to overcome defenses, conduct reconnaisance, run feints etc.  The fact that Dresden could be destroyed at relatively low cost to the attackers was a function of the prior two+ years of attacks with a much more costly rate of losses.

            You have exactly 10 seconds to change that look of disgusting pity into one of enormous respect!

            by Cartoon Peril on Fri Oct 14, 2011 at 03:11:55 PM PDT

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            •  Not exactly, there were two sets of (0+ / 0-)

              raids undertaken in WW2 for distinctly different purposes - one to kill/terrorize the general population and the other to take out legitimate military targets.

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