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Was Allied bombing of Germany Jan - April 1945 a war crime?

 
 
hilldweller
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 Feb, 2003 11:09 am
Bombing of Dresden
Sad War crime or not, what was deliberately done to Dresden was an atrocity to mankind. The annihilation of 135,000 people, architecture, and in effect the culture of a place that was rich in it's potential offerings to the hope of civilization cannot be explained as necessary in any context. The "Venice of the North" was a place world renown for international trade and culture, so in a sense we commited this act of "retribution" on more than just the German people. Ask the people who were there when it happened, such as Kurt Vonnegut who was a captured POW from the Battle of the Bulge, and please find a way to explain the necessity of exacting such punishment. If we despise and loathe our German brethren for exacting cruelty on the Jews, then we were no better than they if we could not stop the madness of war and set the example for forgiveness, to embrace, to heal....yet the hatred continues today in Palestine.
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steissd
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 Feb, 2003 11:46 am
Of course, there was a strategic necessity to undermine moral of the German nation in order to force the Third Reich to surrender, but IMHO, the tactics of carpet bombings was a serious exaggeration. The Third Reich was doomed, and it was possible to achieve a victory without killing large numbers of civilians.
But since Germany practiced the same things in course of the Battle of Britain, it is impossible to accuse British and American leadership unilaterally.
In fact, actions that conform the war crimes definition were committed by all the sides of the conflict: both by the Axis countries and the Allies.
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Steve 41oo
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 Feb, 2003 11:55 am
Hi Hilldweller, and welcome to a2k.

If you ever posted on Abuzz, its a bit like that, but with fewer idiots.

Agree with the general point of your post. I've not heard any defence at all for bombing Dresden. It seems we were just getting so good at destroying cities towards the end of the war that it was only the end of the war that made us stop.

In effect the war was over by the time of the Dresden raid. That raid was a crime in my opinion, although the guilty ones are the political masters and not the fliers.
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steissd
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 Feb, 2003 12:01 pm
Of course, low-rank soldiers of the British and U.S. Air Force are not responsible for decisions made in the Downing Street and in the White House.
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Steve 41oo
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 Feb, 2003 12:25 pm
I agree, but the excuse of "only obeying orders" was not accepted from those we accused of war crimes at Nuremberg.
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steissd
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 Feb, 2003 12:35 pm
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Steve 41oo
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 Feb, 2003 03:46 pm
steissd wrote:

Israeli military laws permit the soldiers to refuse orders if these are openly illegal (for example, if the soldier is ordered to shoot at the unarmed civilians).


So how do you account for all the children shot dead in the occupied territories?
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steissd
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 Feb, 2003 03:48 pm
None of them was shot deliberately. They got caught in the crossfire.
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blacksmithn
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 Feb, 2003 04:10 pm
Yeah, they were just collateral damage.

Kind of like Iraqi civilians.
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steissd
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 Feb, 2003 04:11 pm
Blacksmithn, I cannot understand your irony. Do you really think that any soldier deliberately aims at kids?
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timberlandko
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 Feb, 2003 04:13 pm
Howdy, hilldweller, and welcome to A2K. I'm just curious here ... have you read the previous posts in this thread?

I agree the destruction of essentially civil targets resulted in atrocity. However, I lay blame for that atrocity on the Military Rulers of the devastated nations. The city-leveling strategic bombing of WWII has been shown by history to have had mixed results. It was none the less the best available answer to a difficult question, and despite the enormous expense in both men and materiel required, The Allies assembled air armadas to gut the industrial and economic infrastructure of The Axis Powers. Given the technology and military capability and doctrine of the time, it was a prudent, if not solitary, option to the end of most quickly concluding the war at the lowest possible overall cost of Allied lives. Had an Axis Power accepted Allied demand for Unconditional Surrender and ceased all hostile activity at any time, Allied offensive action against that power would have ceased immediately, thus sparing the population and infrastructure of that Power further damage. The Military Rulers of The Axis Powers, by continuing to wage what was an obviously lost war, bear full responsibilty for what happened. The option was spelled out quite clearly; the choice was between Unconditional Surrender and Assured Destruction.

The choice was made by those who had the choice to make. The Allies had no choice.



timber
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timberlandko
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 Feb, 2003 04:26 pm
Blacksmithin', I sorta hafta join with Steissd here, soldiers do not as a rule direct fire toward non-combatants. War is war, and atrocities and tragedies are not to be unexpected. However, it is uncommon enough for trained, disciplined, competently lead soldiers to indiscriminately target civilians as to be particularly notable. Much more common is the practice of irregular forces to use terrorist tactics, which include conducting offensive action from behind civilian shields, essentially taking the hapless civilians hostage and placing them in harm's way. The contempt of such irregular forces is often equal for its own civilians and its enemy's; a propaganda opportunity may be as valuable as a successful bus bombing, and does not cost trained or experienced operatives.

Those really are "The Bad Guys".



timber
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steissd
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 Feb, 2003 04:35 pm
By the way, there was a lot of noise in the world media regarding death of the 12-years-old Palestinian kid Muhammad a-Dura in 2000. Israelis performed autopsy of the kid's body, and it was revealed that he was shot by 7.62 mm bullet fired from the Kalashnikov assault rifle (the modern Kalashnikov uses 5.45 mm munition, but the so-called Palestinian police was armed with the old model of the rifle). Since IDF soldiers use 5.56mm M16As and "Galils", it is obvious that the boy was erroneously shot by his own compatriots (they aimed the IDF soldiers, but the kid was in the middle...). After this finding was publicized, Muhammad a-Dura was "successfully" forgotten by the newsmakers.
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blacksmithn
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 Feb, 2003 04:35 pm
If you kill my child and then say "Sorry, it was a terrible thing. She was just caught in the crossfire," do you think that makes any difference to her that you hadn't coldbloodedly blown out her brains? The fact is, by firing the bullet in her direction, you created the situation whereby her lifeless body lies in the dust.

By the same token, if a bomb dropped from 30,000 ft. obliterates an Iraqi family, do you suppose it makes any difference to the survivors that we come as "liberators not conquerors?" Yet again, we set the situation in motion by deciding that the bombs needed to be dropped.

Deliberately shot or not, dead is dead and maimed is maimed. The intent behind the bullet or bomb is rather immaterial.
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steissd
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 Feb, 2003 04:41 pm
Blacksmithn, we were discussing the Israeli law that permits the soldier not to fulfil obviously illegal orders, like shooting the unarmed civilians. The law refers to deliberate actions, and it does not cover collateral damage. If the Palestinian terrorists were concerned about casualties among their own compatriots, they would not deploy their strongholds and explosives laboratories in the middle of the densely populated areas. They created the situation that endangers the other Palestinians themselves; or they seriously expect to remain unpunished just by means of hiding behind the civilians' backs?
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Steve 41oo
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 Feb, 2003 04:47 pm
from arabic news

Some 340 Palestinian children shot by Israel during the Intifada
Palestine-Israel, Politics, 10/7/2002

Two non-governmental organizations for defense of the rights of the Palestinians announced on Friday that the number of Palestinian children victims of the Israeli aggressions since the eruption of the Palestinian Intifada reached 340, most of them shot by the Israeli forces during times of "calm" outside the context of confrontations and demonstrations.

All of them shot accidentally in crossfire?
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blacksmithn
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 Feb, 2003 05:00 pm
Again, by the same token as my previous post, does "who started it" really make a difference to the dead of either side? Or to the living, for that matter.

Never mind. I already know the answer to both questions. The dead are beyond caring and the living on both sides, in the manner of humanity since time immemorial, are busy trying to fix blame on everyone but themselves.

And so it goes.
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steissd
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 Feb, 2003 05:08 pm
They were. Some of them even died without any Israeli intervention: they perished when the explosives laboratory deployed in their house accidentally exploded. If you are looking for occasions of the deliberate killing of children, then read this:
Terror Attack In Kibbutz Metzer.
Or this:
Terror Attack On The Tel Aviv Disco : majority of the attendants of this disco club were the high school students, and this was known to the terrorist.
Or, maybe this may change your opinion on who are the kids' murderers[/size][/color].
Quote:
Last March, a sniper fired from Abu Sneineh into the Jewish neighbourhood in central Hevron, killing ten-month-old Shalhevet Pass in front of her young parents.

The source link is IF THE COMBAT BOOTS FITS. Or, you think that the sniper does not know whom does he shoot at?
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Booman
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 Feb, 2003 05:14 pm
I'm a Boo -come- lately to this thread, but I will submit my two cents worth. If I may, I will apply my personal rule of thumb, to the situation. If someone attacks me, my objective is to come out on top, by any means neccessary. However when my victory is assured, I don't want to administer any extra punishment on my fallen enemy... As a rule, I am against deliberately killing civilians, if possible. I voted no because it is my understanding, from a quick study, that the bombing was done to cripple, by destroying industrial targets. This seems to me to be strategically viable. If I'm misinformed, please correct me. I thought differently about Japan, as it seemed to be overkill.
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Steve 41oo
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 Feb, 2003 06:00 pm
Steissd, if you are working for the IDF propaganda dept. you're not doing a very good job. The art of propaganda is knowing when to concede a point even if its difficult, to maintain credibility when you really need it. A flat statement that all the Palestinian children who were shot were caught in crossfire fools no one. Now I will allow you to come back at me again then we either talk on the thread or continue this elsewhere.
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