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View Diary: Requiem for a Nightmare (269 comments)

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  •  McNamara was Viet Nam (4+ / 0-)

    Just to be picky - McNamara ran the US bombing campaign over Viet Nam.

    World War II and many subsequent bombing campaigns were designed using the Trenchard Theory of Strategic Bombing.  Trenchard's "bombing them into submission" theory has been proven ineffective over and over as a means of defeating an enemy - it is highly effective in making the public think something effective is being done

    Aided by the new navigation device Gee, Bomber Command "browned" (the RAF euphemism for burning a town) Lfibeck on 28 March 1942 and a month later gave the same treatment to another medieval town, Rostock. The bombers tried out what became the standard pattern for attacking a city: flares were dropped to mark the target, then 4,000 pound high-explosive "cookies" were used to blast open doors and windows, accompanied by incendiaries to create huge fires. Characteristically, whatever industry was located in Lübeck and Rostock was back at near full production within days, since factories were located on the outskirts of cities, or in the suburbs, far from the town centers, which were the aiming points of Bomber Command raids.

    The author reminds his readers of the great public relations impact of many Bomber Command operations, such as the thousand-plane raids Harris launched, starting with the attack on Cologne on 30 May 1942. There was no military reason why over 1,000 RAF bombers had to be sent, but it did capture the imagination of the British public. As Hastings remarks, "the Prime Minister, with his great sense of theatre, was won over immediately. Only the Admiralty, in the midst of the Battle of the Atlantic, were exasperated by such gimmicky enterprises as they struggled to fight their convoys through."
    (Source: Charles Lutton, Institute of Historical Review, Death From On High. )

    Ineffective military tactics employed because they made the leaders look effective - shades of the Bush League.  I'll also note the plan to bomb Iran's nuclear facilities (likely scheduled as an October Surprise for the mid-term elections) is classic Trenchard bombing theory.

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