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  #101  
Old November 17th, 2015, 10:00 PM
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I can't help but find the irony in the Bomber quote since strategic bombing in WWII was a massive waste of resources with limited tangible effects. (Never mind the moral issues associated with it, efficacy is what I care about and it doesn't have much). Put another way, if everyone is serious about doing something about it-it won't be done from the air. Only the messy work of going in on the ground can do that and I don't see people lining up outside the recruiting offices to join the Marine Corps or the Army.
The line about strategic bombing being ineffective is not only partially wrong and universally misinterpreted, but inapplicable to area bombing which is what Sir Arthur Harris was talking about. For example, by the end of the war, there was basically nothing left in Japan worth bombing. Note we have not had any problems with the Japanese in seventy years.
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  #102  
Old November 17th, 2015, 10:05 PM
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Bomber Harris made a mistake with Dresden.
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  #103  
Old November 17th, 2015, 10:19 PM
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I disagree. You must destroy the people and their culture to win a war. If Harris were around, Mecca would be a parking lot.
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  #104  
Old November 17th, 2015, 10:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by evilfij View Post
The line about strategic bombing being ineffective is not only partially wrong and universally misinterpreted, but inapplicable to area bombing which is what Sir Arthur Harris was talking about. For example, by the end of the war, there was basically nothing left in Japan worth bombing. Note we have not had any problems with the Japanese in seventy years.
There was nothing left in Japan worth bombing and yet they fought on until we hit them with the atomic bombs because they weren't going to capitulate. That (actual) strategic bombing was done mostly to avoid the estimated 1M casualties we'd take invading; the occupation of Japan afterward (and us helping them re-write a constitution) is why we haven't had issues since then-i.e. boots on the ground. Moreover the best way to destroy Japan's warfighting capacity wasn't through bombing, it was using submarines to put everything that could float on the bottom.

Germany would never surrender because we bombed them to that point, it took people going there to destroy their will to fight (Britain should have known this after the blitz, did they expect a different reaction to bombing than their own?)

Bombing Mecca is a great idea given that there are 1.57B Muslims in the world, i.e. ~23% of the population. I assume we're prepared to slaughter all of them too. Except we aren't, b/c we don't actually invest full scale into what is being done.

Simply put you can't kill your way out of this problem, and anyone who thinks we can do it with airpower is living in fantasy land.
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  #105  
Old November 17th, 2015, 11:26 PM
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Originally Posted by evilfij View Post
I disagree. You must destroy the people and their culture to win a war. If Harris were around, Mecca would be a parking lot.
The bombing of Dresden was irrelevant to the outcome of the war. A similar fate was in store for Kyoto had it not been for Secretary of War Stimson who understood the cultural significant of its few thousand temples, palaces, pavilions, and gardens. Hiroshima was next in line and its selection did win the war while preserving the Japanese culture.
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  #106  
Old November 18th, 2015, 02:17 AM
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This is an interesting thought:

"To forgive the terrorists is up to God, but to send them to Him is up to me."

V. Putin
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  #107  
Old November 18th, 2015, 02:58 AM
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Quote:
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Bomber Harris made a mistake with Dresden.
It was in retaliation for Hitler bombing London and other English cities. One of the saving events was Hitler ceasing to bomb RAF fields and moving to the cities. That enabled the RAF etc to recover and step up the fight. Boy has this thread drifted

I do wonder if ISIS is Nostradamus' third antichrist leading to world war three
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  #108  
Old November 18th, 2015, 02:59 AM
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This is an interesting thought: "To forgive the terrorists is up to God, but to send them to Him is up to me." V. Putin
Kind of like an old mercenary saying; "Kill them all, let God sort them out."
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  #109  
Old November 18th, 2015, 07:09 AM
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Just to be silly, you guys do realize that dropping the nukes on japan was a bombing run, right?

But in all seriousness, bombing and boots on the ground are both tools. I wouldn't work on my rover without a hammer and a blowtorch handy. If one doesn't work, the other usually will. Even then, it's not easy! I would think that "occupation" as a term is impossible without boots on the ground, though.
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  #110  
Old November 18th, 2015, 08:06 AM
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Japan surrendered because the Soviets joined the war and invaded Manchuria, not because of the atomic bombs. The evidence is fairly clear on that point. And I agree that the blockade was critical to the war which actually supports Sir Arthur Harris's point. When dealing with a fanatical enemy, you must attack the people and culture.
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  #111  
Old November 18th, 2015, 08:09 AM
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Bombing them back to the stone age won't really accomplish anything. If we want to "fix" this problem we need to get the middle eastern countries to change their way of thought and start actively condemning these attacks and that way of life. This more of a war of beliefs and cultures than it is between to militaries that can be fixed through conventional means. So until the middle eastern countries start pulling their weight In this war everyone should get used to more civilian casualties. But I don’t see them changing their ways until they run out of oil, and become vastly more dependent on the rest of the world, and will have a uphill struggle trying to rebuild the bridges they burnt.

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  #112  
Old November 18th, 2015, 09:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by evilfij View Post
Japan surrendered because the Soviets joined the war and invaded Manchuria, not because of the atomic bombs. The evidence is fairly clear on that point. And I agree that the blockade was critical to the war which actually supports Sir Arthur Harris's point. When dealing with a fanatical enemy, you must attack the people and culture.
I think the idea that Japan surrendered b/c the Soviets joined the war is a bit overplayed; the surrendered b/c they were going to loose, they surrendered when they did-and how they did-because the Soviets were now joining the fray and that undermined any chance of an other than unconditional surrender. The war in the Pacific-unlike the one in Europe-was won predominantly by the U.S. (I'd argue that the one in Europe was won due to the Soviets vice the Allies, i.e. the Eastern Front was far more important than D-Day..and strategic bombing).

Moreover if the Japanese did surrender due to military and political calculus that further undermines the argument that strategic bombing works.

Some more nuance to it: its not that bombing can't be somewhat useful, it's just a cost/benefit relationship. How many resources get consumed by the air force to conduct strategic bombing (budget, loss of life, etc) vs the return on investment? Its akin today to the fantasy we have about special operations High Value Targeting being effective, it may be in some small measure but is it as effective as it is expensive?

That speaks towards Ed's point about tools in the tool kit; no argument there really-just the commentary that a singular tool like air power is overstated in its utility time and time again (especially by Americans) and we throw a lot of money at it...but however effective it has never won a war and won't come close to winning this one.

All that said, its good to have a substantive discussion about all this.
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  #113  
Old November 18th, 2015, 12:54 PM
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It's amazing to me that the folly of "planning for the last war" is a well worn criticism of the defense establishment and national strategy but many well-informed people are quick to trot out examples from previous wars to suggest strategies for today. Every conflict is different, but today's are much more limited (nothing close to complete mobilization) and politically complex. We've already taken sides in the ridiculous Sunni/Shiite conflict many years and administrations ago, we've cast our lot with Israel and many of their indefensible policies, we're allies with a Turkey who is slipping badly towards authoritarianism, and numerous other factors that make decisive action impossible and leave policy makers and generals looking the least worst option. There is no easy way out here. We're dealing with a longitudinal conflict which will only disappear with the successful economic and social restructuring of the region. You can break that structure with airpower, but the reassembly is haphazard at best.
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  #114  
Old November 18th, 2015, 01:26 PM
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The point is you need to kill them all. Men, women, children. Destroy the ability to make war. Destroy the culture that caused the war. Bomb every mosque, every school, every hospital, every city. Blockade and embargo them and let them starve to death and die of disease. Until that happens we will continue to have to fight. Every war post-WWII has been lost because we fail to fight on the terms necessary to win because we are worried about collateral damage. Sir Arthur Harris's point was that collateral damage wasn't collateral at all. It was the purpose.
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  #115  
Old November 18th, 2015, 02:27 PM
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But we didn't destroy any of the cultures. We defeated the regimes and changed the conditions through massive investments in long term occupations, reconstruction assistance, and taking care of their national security needs for 60+ years. We've failed to achieve our objectives is number of wars because we've been unwilling to back the application of military power with the correct political and fiscal resources. Again, we pursue limited war too freely, and limited wars with over ambitious objectives are recipes for failure.
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  #116  
Old November 18th, 2015, 02:31 PM
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  #117  
Old November 19th, 2015, 10:04 AM
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This is new/interesting to me. My first thought is it appears suicide bombers are not that god fearing and faithful after all.

The tiny pill fueling Syria’s war and turning fighters into superhuman soldiers
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  #118  
Old November 19th, 2015, 10:08 AM
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This is new/interesting to me. My first thought is it appears suicide bombers are not that god fearing and faithful after all.

The tiny pill fueling Syria‚€™s war and turning fighters into superhuman soldiers
Opium Wars III?
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  #119  
Old November 19th, 2015, 10:49 AM
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The drug aspect wouldn't shock me; we found ample evidence of use of amphetamines and such inside Fallujah and somewhat in Ramadi too.
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  #120  
Old November 19th, 2015, 11:22 AM
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ISIL and al qaeda can go F*ck themselves...
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