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Wednesday, December 27, 2006

The Dresden option

I mentioned a couple of times during the war this summer, and at least once since, that ultimately I believe that the only way to resolve our issues with the 'Palestinians' - and with Hezbullah for that matter - is to adopt the kind of 'scorched earth' approach used by the allies in Dresden, Germany to bring the European theater to a close in World War II:
How have other countries responded to similar challenges in the past? During World War II, in the Atlantic theater, the axis powers wished to subjugate all of civilization to the 'superior Aryan race'. The war's end came about because allied carpet-bombing of cities like Dresden caused disproportionate civilian casualties and convinced ordinary Germans that they had no chance of winning the war. That left their leadership the choice of conceding or facing a coup. In the Pacific theater, the Japanese wished to establish dominance over the entire Pacific rim. The US administration correctly calculated that a ground invasion of Japan would cost the lives of thousands of US servicemen. So it responded disproportionately: it dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Those bombs cost thousands of Japanese lives, but they saved thousands of other lives. On the whole, the disproportionate response was appropriate. (The last time I wrote this, someone pointed out in the comment section that the Union did the same thing to the Confederacy in the United States Civil War - the Union army brought the war home to the Southern plantation owners who were financing it. The burning of Atlanta - and the accompanying civilian casualties - helped bring about the end of the war).
Now, another blogger has come out and said that he believes that Dresden is the way to go.

Hat Tip: Gershon in the Flatbush section of Brooklyn, New York

Even when Israel agrees to a cease-fire, rockets and mortars continue to fall on our cities and daily attempts to smuggle suicide belts and bombs into Israel continue unabated.

Therefore, I can't understand why we don't simply abandon this blundering and adopt the Dresden option for stopping the carnage.

In the later years of WWII, the Allies and Germany had set about systematically attacking each other's cities in attempt to bring about a surrender that wasn't forth-coming on the battlefield. In many cases there were legitimate military/strategic targets in amongst the civilians who where being incinerated. But Dresden... with its relative paucity of strategic targets... represented the antithesis of the industrial German war machine. It was what modern military planners would call a 'soft target'.

Several of Japan's 'soft targets' were also burned to the ground. Forget Hiroshima and Nagasaki for the moment... as the deliberate firebombing of Tokyo was equally gruesome, albeit not quite so technologically sophisticated to carry out.

The results of these attacks against civilian population centers is indisputable. Even if one wanted to argue that the leaders were fanatical enough to fight to the last civilian standing... the home-front support for the war literally evaporated in the face of such devastation. The London blitz severely damaged some of that city's infrastructure. The bombing of Dresden erased that beautiful city from the map. Guess who surrendered?

Look at the way Israel's resolve has weakened in the face of much less concentrated attacks against its civilians! At any given point easily half of the Israeli population is ready to throw up its collective hands and say "enough... give them whatever they ask for... just make the bombs and rockets stop!" So please don't try to tell me that attacking civilians doesn't work.


I know... I know. I can hear you out there saying that it isn't fair... the Kassams are a primitive, home-made rocket and the IDF has sophisticated smart bombs and missiles with pinpoint accuracy in its arsenal.

To this I say tough sh*t. Tell that to the parents of the two boys who were wounded in the most recent kassam attack. Tell it to the large families where parents have to make the unthinkable nightly choice of which children to put to bed in the family's small reinforced rocket-proof room.

Better yet, don't tell anyone anything. Get up from your latte in Ramat Gan and go live for a few weeks in Sderot. Not willing to risk it? Then shut your mouth and shut your windows... because the smell of burning flesh may carry quite a ways if the wind turns northerly.

When rockets were falling on cosmopolitan Haifa you guys were all for the the war effort. But when a development town like Sderot comes under daily attack all you can suggest is 'restraint'? Puleeze! Maybe Sderot needs a few more art galleries and sidewalk bistros before it will qualify for your outrage.

As always, I am open to anyone's suggestions... but please don't tell me that doing nothing is still a viable option. As foreign policy, 'restraint' only works when both sides in a conflict are willing to practice it.

Read the whole thing.


At 7:36 AM, Blogger Justin Smith said...

Unfortunately there seem to be a few who just don't agree. Take a look at this post over at the InternetWasteland. Some of these folks are so deluded that they believe the use of the atomic bomb on Japan was inexcusable and one of the most evil things done in history.

When dealing with a deranged enemy the only hope for our survival and, frankly, for their survival is an overwhelming display of force.

At 10:08 AM, Blogger Michael said...

Amen, Carl.
Personally, I wouldn't mind seeing the carpet bombing of Gaza City after the next rocket attack- just make it unrepentant, and tell the palys that they can stop the shooting at any time they choose.

We're already accused of massacres; why not give them one?


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