If this were the U.S. and not Russia? Margaret Steinfels


A rundown in the NYTimes (Feb. 9) is focused on those leaving Allepo and surrounds. The bombing of Russia and Assad are said to be the cause of this exodus and the pile-up at the border with Turkey. It is focused on the humanitarian crisis as might be expected with a story that draws on several reporters in different locales and written by the Time's Beirut reporter, Anne Bernard. Photos with the story show women and children in a Turkish hospital and the pile-up at the border, showing men, many of them young. Who are they? Why are they leaving? Where are they going?

The tendency at SST is toward a positive view of the R+6 strategy; I share that. And yet, reading this story, I had to ask myself, first, how much of it was accurate, and second, the following:

  1. whether if this were the U.S. military, would there be what looks like indiscriminate bombing?
  2. would the interviewees in the story be so eager to have had the U.S. fight their war rather than the Russians?
  3. are there U.S. political and military strategists relieved to have the R+6 doing what the U.S. can not or would not? 
  4. how okay is it to have someone else do the dirty work?

As a bonus I include a link to a column in the same issue by Roger Cohen that has this: "Aleppo may prove to be the Sarajevo of Syria. It is already the Munich."

And just for fun: David Brooks is already missing Obama!

Margaret Steinfels


Margaret – I have employed my editorial prerogative to add the photo.  It is of Dresden, Germany in 1945.  We and the British did that.  Was that not "indiscriminate?"  We did similar things all over Germany and in France as well at Caen.  We killed 100,000 Japanese people (mostly civilians) in one night.  We killed a great many Iraqis in the "shock and awe" air campaign in 2003.  Air power is a blunt weapon and it is especially blunt when directed at populations as a whole in the hope of winning by intimidation as we and our Western allies have often done.

What is "indiscriminate?"  Russian air in Syria seems to me to be directed at military objectives whether these are close air support of troops in contact or in shaping a battlefield to support campaign planning purposes.  Such air attacks are not illegal under international law.  We would do the same thing and are doing the same things right now.  pl

 PL: Thank you for the photo. As I was thinking about this, Dresden and Coventry crossed my mind. I didn't think what may be going on in Syria is anything like those. I raised the question of "what looks like indiscriminate bombing" because the story interviews people who think that's what's happening. You think not. I was looking for an assessment. Thanks for that, and for the photo (the angel atop Dresden Cathedral?). MS.

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145 Responses to If this were the U.S. and not Russia? Margaret Steinfels

  1. LeaNder says:

    Thanks, Margret. Appreciated.

  2. Poul says:

    The US is already causing plenty of refugees. The Kurds have taken a page from the Afghan play book on tribal conflicts, and calls in air strikes on their Arab neighbours to get them to leave the future Kurdistan under the pretends of bombing IS.

  3. robt willmann says:

    The New York Times article by Anne Barnard referenced in the post above about Syrians trying to leave Syria is linked to in a couple of notes by a person who is not a fan of Ms. Barnard’s reporting–
    As’ad AbuKhalil grew up in Beirut and went to school at the American University of Beirut and at Georgetown University in the U.S. He has done a little work for U.S. television networks, but very little, because his pointed opinions are not what are broadcast here. He has been teaching at the California State University at Stanislaus. It was on his website where I first saw the photograph of John Heinz Kerry and his wife having dinner with Bashar al-Asad and his wife at a restaurant in Syria that I linked to here quite a while ago. Here is another website with that (perhaps now famous) photograph which apparently was taken when Kerry was in the U.S. Senate and on the “foreign relations” committee–
    I wonder if that once nice restaurant still exists, or has had much business the last few years.

  4. Chris Rogers says:

    In the UK our official media, namely the MSM gives the impression that bombs dropped by UK military aircraft in Syria only cause damage to buildings and infrastructure, as such these are good bombs. However, it would seem the same Russian bombs kill indiscriminately, particularly the so-called freedom fighters and their families. Funny is it not.
    Still this is the narrative they peddle as they render assistance to forces opposed to Assad, many of which are in no way ‘moderate’. And that’s before we get to the UK Prime Minister’s claim, one David Cameron, that the moderate forces number some 70,000 – a pretext used by the UK government to push through its Syrian bombing campaign via our Parliament.
    Suffice to say, war, any war is brutal, civilians die as do combatants. And yet our nation refuses to sign a new UN-sponsored Charter to avoid bombing schools in war zones.
    Have friends living in the old district of Cologne in Germany, they inform me that during the allied bombing campaign of that city many were able to survive by hiding in deep cellars merchants built into their homes, these being deeper than your average cellar. However, if these buildings received a direct hit, those taking shelter were killed – most of whom I hasten to add were civilians and not NAZIS’s. Indeed my friends recently deceased father was initially conscripted by the Army and manned AA guns, that was until he was moved to the Eastern Front in late 1944 – he was one of the lucky ones and survived capture.
    In a nutshell, war is brutal, people die, children die, hence its best to avoid War if possible, however we should never deny the sheer brutality of war whether its carried out by the Russians or the USA.

  5. SmoothieX12 says:

    What is “indiscriminate?”
    “Main Stream” mass media do not operate with clearly defined categories. Were they clearly defined (as it is done in leading military academies and staffs) there would be much less space for manipulation and planting all kinds of simulacra. Newspeak is already here and is already now. In the end, a proverbial “housewife” (or “househusband”) are not interested in the “operational tempos” or tactics of company in the assault. Nor are they interested in the policies’ details in which the devil hides.

  6. Jack says:

    IMO, the Borg is attempting to spin the “humanitarian disaster” story to gin up momentum for R2P hysteria. Their hope is that they can prevent an outright victory by R+6 on the battlefield. I seriously doubt Putin is gonna fall into that trap. He’s seen this movie before.

  7. Babak Makkinejad says:

    They were all NAZIs.

  8. Ulenspiegel says:

    “Thanks for that, and for the photo (the angel atop Dresden Cathedral?).”
    The photograph is labled “view from the tower of the town-hall”

  9. Jackrabbit says:

    Oh the horror! But one should not forget how this horror came about: US-Saudi-Israeli support for extremists as a weapon as described by Sy Hersh in 2007 in “The Redirection”:
    “To undermine Iran, which is predominantly Shiite, the Bush Administration has decided, in effect, to reconfigure its priorities in the Middle East…. bolstering of Sunni extremist groups that espouse a militant vision of Islam and are hostile to America and sympathetic to Al Qaeda….
    Nasr compared the current situation to the period in which Al Qaeda first emerged. In the nineteen-eighties and the early nineties, the Saudi government offered to subsidize the covert American C.I.A. proxy war against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan. Hundreds of young Saudis were sent into the border areas of Pakistan, where they set up religious schools, training bases, and recruiting facilities….
    This time, the U.S. government consultant told me, Bandar and other Saudis have assured the White House that “they will keep a very close eye on the religious fundamentalists. Their message to us was ‘We’ve created this movement, and we can control it.’ It’s not that we don’t want the Salafis to throw bombs; it’s who they throw them at—Hezbollah, Moqtada al-Sadr, Iran, and at the Syrians, if they continue to work with Hezbollah and Iran.”” ”

  10. All,
    On the question of Anglo-American bombing of civilians, I would recommend, to anyone seriously interested, the interview with the American scholar Professor Tami Biddle on the WW2HISTORY.COM site.
    (See http://ww2history.com/experts/Tami_Biddle/Professor_Tami_Biddle .)
    Also, there is a fascinating piece by the physicist Freeman Dyson, who was one of the scientists in ‘Operations Research’ in Bomber Command who thought ‘Bomber Harris’ did not know what he was doing.
    Such people had both pragmatic and moral objections to ‘Douhetist’ strategies – which is one reason one found a number of them emerging later as sceptics about nuclear ‘deterrence’.
    That said, in his recollections, Dyson provides a fascinating vignette about how many people in Britain felt at the time:
    ‘I remember arguing about the morality of city bombing with the wife of a senior air force officer, after we heard the results of the Dresden attack. She was a well-educated and intelligent woman who worked part-time for the ORS [Operational Research Section – DH.] I asked her whether she really believed that it was right to kill German women and babies in large numbers at that late stage of the War. She answered, ”Oh yes. It is good to kill the babies especially. I am not thinking of this war but of the next one, 20 years from now. The next time the Germans start a war and we have to fight them, those babies will be the soldiers.” After fighting Germans for ten years, four in the first war and six in the second, we had become almost as bloody-minded as Sir Arthur.’
    (The recollections of Dyson, which I would strongly recommend to anyone interested in a range of issues, of which the intractable ethical dilemmas posed by wars is only one, are at
    https://www.technologyreview.com/s/406789/a-failure-of-intelligence/ .)
    A good few years ago now, there was an argument here, relating to statues in the Strand. At a key location, there had been, for some considerable time, a statue of Lord Dowding. It was this elderly Wykehamist – which means, product of a very rarefied ‘public school’, as we say in England – who turned Fighter Command into a force capable of preventing the Germans winning the ‘Battle of Britain’, and with it, the war.
    So he can justly claim to be one of the more significant of our ‘great commanders’.
    Some of us would have far preferred to have seen Dowding’s statue joined by that of Air Chief Marshall Keith Park, the former New Zealand ‘lance-bombardier’ who was his key subordinate, and managed the conflict over south-east England on a day-to-day basis.
    And I would far prefer not to see Harris’s statue, as I walk along the Strand. It reminds me of things I would rather forget.
    That said, there are two things I cannot stand. One is those who simply denounce Harris, and Churchill, and Lindemann, as though they had no other motive but a desire to kill people: there was an element of that, but one needs to be careful about comforting histories, be they from supporters or critics of strategic bombing.
    The other is when people in this country, and the United States, produce ‘crocodile tears’ over the absolute evil supposedly displayed in the ‘barrel-bombing’ of civilians by Assad, or the casualties incurred in Russian strikes in support of Syrian government forces.
    I have not had time adequately to look at the excuses offered by ‘Borgist’ spokesmen for U.S. Government agencies for their failure to strike at the oil convoys from which the ‘Islamic State’ has got so much of its revenue.
    However, I learn from the ‘Military.com’ website that, at a Pentagon briefing, Navy Captain Jeff Davis explained that:
    ‘the warplanes dropped leaflets warning of the convoy attack before the strike commenced to allow truck drivers who may not have been allied with ISIS to escape.’
    (See http://www.military.com/daily-news/2015/11/16/us-a10-attack-planes-hit-isis-oil-convoy-crimp-terror-funding.html .)
    Words fail me. The combination of strategic imbecility and posturing moral pretension is almost beyond belief.
    Do not think this is British condescension. Our people are quite as bad.

  11. Chris Chuba says:

    I am actually interested in knowing how many civilians have actually died in the Syrian civil war and who has done the killing. I don’t think that it would necessarily change my mind but it’s just that one should not be oblivious to the human cost of these things. Unfortunately, I simply do not trust the people who do the reporting for the reasons that you stated.
    I wish I had book marked it but someone had posted an analysis of the first and second Russian / Chechnyan wars and analyzed and graded the performance of the Russian army at the tactical level. I hope to see something at that level eventually posted on the R+6 campaign.
    To bring this closer on topic. I don’t know if we will ever get accurate numbers but if one sees the actual tactics used then that would be the best way to gauge the appropriateness of the air power used. My gut tells me that the Russians have been going after specific targets on the ground in direct support of the SAA and not used indiscriminate bombing. They don’t have enough aircraft and munitions to waste on that. If true then they are doing what is appropriate. They would be going into a gray area if they used saturation bombing of general locations, like cities. I do NOT have any reason to suspect that the Russians have done this. I don’t know this for certain because I am not there.

  12. Walrus says:

    Margaret, “Indiscriminate bombing” is BS! The reason? Russia only has some Thirty aircraft in Syria. The Russians simply do not have the military or logistical capacity to “Indiscriminately” do anything in Syria!
    “Indiscriminate bombing” as a term of art refers to Carpet bombing by high flying aircraft of the sort that was done by Allied thousand bomber raids in WWII and perhaps B52 squadrons in Vietnam to completely destroy a particular area.
    If by “indiscriminate” we mean targeting buildings which have civilian as well as military value then that is simply the horror of war.
    The SU 24 carries about 8 tons of bombs on Eight points (one per 1 ton bomb)
    The SU 25 is a purely close air support aircraft that carries about 4 tons.
    Neither of these is a “blunt instrument” carpet bombing tool.
    Furthermore, as a tactic I fail to understand why any airforce would do anything “indiscriminately” when friendly troops are in close proximity.
    I would add that you are not alone in falling for this indiscriminate/barrel bombing line that is constantly being pedalled by Washington.

  13. Tom says:

    Thanks for that thoughtful post. My position is that democracy is a great thing to have once you get it. But to keep it there must be certain prerequisits. A minimum material level and a population that will voluntarily play by certain rules. If you introduce democracy without the population being ready you receive something much worse than what was there before: anarchy and chaos. This is being the very worst. People will prefer a Hitler or a Stalin or a Pinochet to total chaos. That is the reality in this world. That is why those do – gooders who helped open the gates of hell in Syria 5 years ago and still inist on overthrowing Assad are such a pest. The best thing that can happen to Syria now would be a decisive win by R+6. There will be a terrible reckoning no doubt. There will be massacres of the vanquished but then there will be peace and rebuilding can start. Happened in 1945 in Europe. Tito killed Ustasha and Tshetniks by the tens- if not by the hundreds of thousands. Stalin id the same and Germany was starved, humiliated and utterly rpaed into submission. But the majority agreed that it had to happen. That is why I ultimately believe those bombs falling now seve a good purpose.

  14. Valissa says:

    No Babak, they were not.
    My dad was a member the Danish Underground/resistance during Germany’s occupation in WWII (as were other members of his extended family in the greater Aarhus area). Generally he worked under the guidance of a British major and primarily transported “hidden items” in his plastering equipment, but because my dad was good with languages and spoke Danish, English and German he was sometimes assigned to liaise with members of the German underground (who did not like the Nazi dominance in Germany). He did not speak of it often but I know he worked with such Germans on a few occasions. Who do you think helped smuggle Jews out of Germany?
    There is supposedly a statue of one of my great uncles in Israel somewhere, because of his help getting Jews out of Germany.

  15. tjfxh says:

    Are the Russian dumb bombs really dumb. The Saker says not.
    “The Americans came up with an elegant solution: the JDAM. The Joint Direct Attack Munition kit was a way to convert ‘dumb’ (non-guided) bombs into ‘smart’ (guided) bombs by attaching a special kit to them. You can read more about this in this Wikipedia article. This made it possible to use old bombs, but this was still not cheap, roughly 25’000 dollars a kit (according to Wikipedia).
    “The Russians came up with a much better solution.
    “Instead of mounting a kit on an old bomb and lose the kit every time, the Russians mounted a JDAM-like kit, but on the airplane.
    “Introducing the SVP-24:…”

  16. raksh wah says:

    russians are on the brink of defeating our jihadii enemies . are we going to pull defeat out of the jaws of victory by intervening for the jihadis?

  17. ken locke says:

    A comment on the newspeak term ‘collateral damage’. Who knows whose paid to create such terms but they can be very cleverly constructed. The very first priority is to completely sever any link between the eye or the ear and one’s visceral body. Any words or images or sound that brings us into contact with the real horror and pain suffered by real human beings are scrupulously avoided, for they are felt in our gut. The connection is immediate. And all experiences felt viscerally are full dimensional. For example, Picasso’s Guernica is solely visual but one ‘hears’ the scream of terror. Or hearing a moan of utter grief brings forth all our senses including the immediate wrenching of our gut and the welling of tears in our eyes. So if one’s job is covering over the absolute horror of bombing neighborhoods or a drone hit on a family home, by all means do not present any pictures or sounds of the actual human carnage. Secondly, choose descriptive words that are stripped of any associative link to images or sounds that would evoke a visceral body response. ‘Collateral damage’ is a superb example of this. The term brings up a bureaucratic bloodless description on, say, an insurance form describing a vehicular accident with collateral damage to a fence. Everything is contained within the cerebrum, one’s bodily identification with the human devastation is never triggered.

  18. Jack says:

    BTW, the humanitarian disaster in Syria occurred when we along with Erdogan, Saud, Qatar and the Likudniks under the guise of a color revolution initiated regime change. Jihadists from all across the world were recruited, armed and funded to invade and topple the Assad government. This resulted in a good part of Syria looking like the picture Col. Lang has posted of Dresden.

  19. Babak Makkinejad says:

    I was referring to Germans not Danes.
    It had been my understanding that Allies would have to build a wall around Germany if they had wanted to imprison all NAZIs.
    Until well into the 1960, in West Germany, the Judges were those appointed under the NAZI regime – as far as I know.

  20. Babak Makkinejad says:

    In 1965, at a guess, 750,000 souls were murdered in Indonesia by the military and their civilian accomplices.
    There is absolute silence in Indonesia on this topic. There is no admission of responsibility much less guilt, let alone paying blood money and proffering an apology.
    Nor there is any effort by anyone in Indonesia to redress and rectify that outrage.
    And if one, as a foreigner, brings up one comes face-to-face with the proverbial “Inscrutable Oriental”.
    The Asian Value called “Harmony” is incompatible with the Western Value “Truth” – in my opinion.
    The pattern of Western Diocletian states is incredibly hard to repeat outside of its historical boundaries.

  21. Valissa says:

    Yes, I read your comment. Apparently you did not read my response closely enough. I said that my Dad worked with the German underground (or whatever the German’s called it) who were NOT Nazi’s, on occasion. He explained very clearly to me that there were at least some Germans who did agree with or support with the whole Nazi thing.
    I am not disputing that many or most Germans went along with Nazism to some degree or another. As did some people in the occupied countries.

  22. Ishmael Zechariah says:

    Paul Robinson, in his blog “IRRUSSIANALITY”, under the “Crackpot Theories” rubric included a direct quote from Karl von Clausewitz of Prussia: ‘Kind-hearted people might of course think there was some ingenious way to disarm or defeat an enemy without too much bloodshed, and might imagine this is the true goal of the art of war. Pleasant as it sounds, it is a fallacy that must be exposed: war is such a dangerous business that the mistakes which come from kindness are the very worst.’
    Indiscriminate bombing, indeed! Most probably judged by a “democracy lover” from a warm home with most creature comforts. They are responsible for the deaths of millions, exile of many more millions, a completely wrecked region- wrecked in men, material and ecology and these folk still keep on talking. A pox on all their houses.
    Ishmael Zechariah

  23. Babak Makkinejad says:

    My apologies; I missed it.

  24. SmoothieX12 says:

    Russia only has some Thirty aircraft in Syria.
    I believe the number is closer to 70, especially with recent addition of 4 SU-35C and some Mi-35s on the way or, possibly, already there. I could be off, of course, in numbers. Russian Air Force also uses extensively Precision Guided Munitions in Syria, especially by SU-34s.

  25. johnf says:

    To add to the Dresden photo here is one of the remains of Coventry Cathedral. The day after it was destroyed Churchill came. The man to his right is the extraordinary Provost Howard, who was in the cathedral as it started to collapsed, escaped, and the next day, in the ruins, using two roof timbers and medeival nails, constructed a cross on the wall with the words “Father Forgive” beneath it. Sunday Mass was celebrated before it on an altar of rubble.
    The same day Provost Howard made a commitment not to revenge, but to forgiveness and reconciliation with those responsible.
    Using a national radio broadcast from the cathedral ruins on Christmas Day 1940 he declared that when the war was over he would work with those who had been enemies “to build a kinder, more Christ-child-like world.”
    The Cathedral was rebuilt by the visionary modernist architect Basil Spence. Today Coventry Cathedral is at the centre of world-wide peace initiatives and works for reconciliation between people.

  26. Barish says:

    “Until well into the 1960, in West Germany, the Judges were those appointed under the NAZI regime – as far as I know.”
    You raise one important point here: most members of the party, from functionaries down to simple members, weren’t prosecuted and sentenced or anything, not at all. Instead, they were integrated into society and were free to pursue professions they had during the party’s reign. This includes businessmen, politicians, security and, later, military personnel, in the latter case needed to establish the successor armed forces to those of the Nazi-era, the Bundeswehr…
    The western allies knew full well they needed these people first to rebuild the country, only second to firmly position it against the Warsaw Treaty* countries.
    One should keep that in mind when looking at the abysmal failure by the Coalition to transfer Iraq away from Saddam’s Baathist government – without integrating Baath party personnel into the process, but rather showing them the door. We know how well that turned out in the end…
    *Important to note that “pact” was a negative spin put on the treaty’s official name, Treaty of Friendship, Co-operation, and Mutual Assistance. Same goes for the “Hitler-Stalin Pact” which is sometimes evoked, which was in fact called Non-Aggression Treaty.

  27. jr786 says:

    Great response, Col. I think it was George Kennan who wrote that the ‘enemy’ must always be demonized completely, which we have successively done with Taliban, al Queda and Isis and will continue to do ad infinitum as long as we keep running out of ordnance. Didn’t Secdef just say that we needed to buy more of them?
    How you run out of ‘discriminating’ ordnance without winning? Me, I never stopped hating Great Britain since I read about the prison ships in New York harbor. One person’s Dresden and Hamburg is another one’s ‘righteous’ war. Motes turn into 8 feet planks and everyone goes blind together.

  28. gemini33 says:

    Very similar op-ed in WaPo has me fuming. One of the authors is the same guy (former head of Liberal party in Canada) who Roger Cohen cites at the end of his article. The other author is a former editor at The New Republic.
    This is R2P on steroids, at its very worst. In this WaPo article, the premise is humanitarian but there are plenty of hints throughout that it’s really not about humanitarianism at all.
    They literally say take the risk of war with Russia. Take the risk of nuclear war. It’s insane and it’s being treated as righteous intellectual argument. A “cri de couer” one gagworthy guy on social media says.
    “Enough is enough — U.S. abdication on Syria must come to an end”

  29. Thirdeye says:

    On top of everything else, the area bombing campaign was ineffective. German war production peaked in the Summer of 1944, two years after the first thousand bomber raid on Cologne. After the first year of the campaign, the suspicion was growing that it was an ineffective waste, but Harris wouldn’t budge and he was untouchable because he had Churchill’s ear. War rage had trumped war logic ever since the London blitz.
    It was only in the last months of the war that strategic bombing made much difference to Germany’s war production. There were some incidental benefits, such as the fortuitous destruction of the Me-262 tooling during the disastrous Regensburg raid of 1943, which knocked production off schedule, drawing German air power away from the eastern front to defend the homeland, and eventually the defeat of the Luftwaffe over Germany in 1944.

  30. Jackrabbit says:

    This is, of course, all backdrop to the NATO 2-day meeting starting tomorrow.

  31. Thirdeye says:

    That article illustrated spectacularly Col. Lang’s description of the MSM’s coverage of the Aleppo situation.

  32. SmoothieX12 says:

    Gabriel Charmes’, an enormously popular French journalist of the second half of XIX century, who convinced Admiral Theofilo Aube to bet on torpedo as weapon system and torpedo boats, within what came to be known as Jeune Ecole’ (Young School). Needless to say, Charmes utter incompetence on any tactical, operational and technological issues resulted in the doctrinal catastrophe and impeded the development of French Navy for decades to come. Each time some good ol’ boy with Ivy League “degree” in journalism, history or law begins to preach serious military sermons, the way they were convinced in Harvard or Princeton to be the only correct view, the only thing I want to do is to throw Ignatieff’s or somebody else’ ass to spent couple of weeks on some FOB in some shithole in Afghanistan or drop them directly into the ISIS location and then observe (not without satisfaction) what is going to happen to them. Whatever one may say about James Schlesinger, but his idea of periodically taking Congress out to proving grounds and then detonating (far away) moderate yield nuclear device for members of both Houses to hear the sound and feel the heat is a very sound plan.

  33. YT says:

    Yes, the effects of such destabilizing “McCarthyite witch-hunts” is still being felt…

  34. Babak Makkinejad says:

    In regards to wrecked ecology: it could get ugly if harms comes to dams in Iraq and in Syria.

  35. annamaria says:

    That is the US/NATO/kingdoms’ tap dancing is all about. The end of bloodshed is intolerable for the regime changers.

  36. FB Ali says:

    Yes, unfortunately, Michael Ignatieff was once leader of the Liberal Party of Canada (and had the dubious distinction of running it completely into the ground). But he is Canadian only formally; he has spent most of his working life in the US, where he is a noted neocon.
    I am ashamed to have him calling himself, technically, a Canadian.

  37. FB Ali says:

    “…if this were the U.S. military, would there be what looks like indiscriminate bombing?”
    Give me a break! This is such laughable nonsense as to preclude any reply or comment.

  38. Amir says:

    The “scientific” point of view of the administration under cover of JHSPH in 2015: http://hub.jhu.edu/2015/09/23/syrian-refugee-crisis-symposium
    A more balanced version on British Medical Journal: http://www.bmj.com/content/bmj/suppl/2015/09/29/bmj.h4736.DC1/guhd028432.ww2_default.pdf
    Caveat, I am not an epidemiologist, public health expert nor have I visited the affected locations.

  39. Chris Rogers says:

    It’s a gross insult to state that between 1933-1945 that the majority of German’s were NAZIS or members of the NAZIS Party. Indeed, in the last democratic elections in the tail-end of the Weimar Republic the NAZIS percentage of the popular vote was in decline and never in an election did the NAZIS Party gain a majority of the vote. Indeed the first groups to suffer under NAZIS rule were trades unionists and leftwing political activists, many of whom landed up in concentration camps for their opposition to Hitler. The historical record demonstrates clearly, even at the height of Hitler’s popularity that a significant minority were opposed to NAZISM and justifiably so as it transpires and many of these opponents were killed in Allied bombing raids given the primary German targets were the industrial heartlands, which predominantly voted for left of centre political groupings prior to the NAZIS dismemberment of democracy and any and all opposition to its rule.

  40. BB says:

    Great timing on this article, because a very interesting news story came out today:
    Russian air strikes in Syria ‘good thing’: Del Ponte
    Geneva (AFP) – Former war crimes prosecutor Carla Del Ponte, who is currently probing rights abuses in Syria, on Monday backed Russia’s air strikes on “terrorist groups” in the war-torn country.
    “Overall, I think the Russian intervention is a good thing, because finally someone is attacking these terrorist groups,” Del Ponte told Swiss public broadcaster RTS, listing the Islamic State group and Al-Nusra among the groups targeted.
    But Del Ponte, a member of the UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria, quickly added that the Russians apparently “are not distinguishing enough between the terrorists and others, and that is not as good.”
    Her comments came amid international bickering over the Russian air strikes and what role they played in undermining last week’s peace talks to end the country’s five-year war.
    Moscow launched a bombing campaign in Syria last year at the request of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, saying it was targeting the Islamic State group and other jihadist organisations.

  41. kao_hsien_chih says:

    There were reports that strategic bombers being flown from Russian territories had joined in some sorties at least. I don’t know how much they contributed to the Russian effort. But, yes, the Russian resources committed to the Syria expedition, as far as I know, are quite modest and nothing approaching “indiscriminate bombing.”
    At least they are using real bombs and not improvised “barrel bombs.” That takes that canard out of Western commentators’ potty mouths.

  42. Ulenspiegel says:

    However, the more relevant question for me is: In 1942, when the Bomber Command realised that their attacks were not working very well could they still change the industrial production? Could the USA?
    Some of the quite basic decisions on industrial production and large trainings programs were made in 1940 and without clear alternatives I assume that the decison to stay on course made sense.
    In retrospective, the strategic bombing was very likely a waste in Europe, considering the huge share of GDP it ate and the high number of dead air men.

  43. Fred says:

    Good ole David Brooks. Seems the establishment is being rather fast with the hyperbole and furious about the inconvenient truth.

  44. Trey N says:

    How true about the early 1930s street battles between the communists and the Brown Shirts of the Nazi SA (Sturm Abteilung) under Ernst Rohm.
    And most people think of the East Front as strictly a battle between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. In reality Germany was leading a “Great European Anticommunist Crusade” against the Soviet Union. In addition to the Wehrmacht, in Russia in 1942 there were 2 Romanian armies, 1 Hungarian and 1 Italian army, the Finnish army, the Spanish “Blue” division at Leningrad, and several Slovak units. The SS fielded a plethora of such units: the French “Charlemagne” division, the Scandinavian “Nord” division, and the Flemish “Dirlewanger” brigade, among others. Many anticommunist Soviet peoples joined the crusade as the campaign progressed, most notably the Cossacks and some Caucasian moslems. Beside the “Vlasov Army” of former Russian soldiers, tens of thousands of such men served as individual volunteers in Wehrmacht divisions as “HiWis” (hilfswillige = ‘willing helpers’).
    After Germany lost the war, of course, the vast majority of European people wanted to forget and erase the fact of their collaboration with the Nazi crusade. In Austria the British handed over tens of thousands of Cossacks to the vengeful Soviets, who immediately murdered them. The Hiwis were dealt with just as harshly by them. The French remained loyal to the end; the Charlemagne division was annihilated defending Berlin in the last days of the war.
    All in all, the situation was a helluva lot more complex than the simplistic crap that passes as standard history in most of the West today.

  45. johnf says:

    He hung around in Britain a lot. Then his speciality was presenting arts and “intellectual” discussion programmes.
    He is one of those miraculous persons who arise without trace. Suddenly he is there.

  46. MRW says:

    The JDL (yes, it’s been allowed to operate in Canada after being banned here as a terrorist group in the late 80s/early90s), powerful political Jews in the shadows in Ottawa, with TPTB whose short hairs they could wrench with donor promises, chose Ignatieff literally overnight to become the leader of the Liberal Party. Plucked him out of Harvard, gave him a riding in TO (think?) to run in with the promise of a win. . . .all within four weeks of an election IIRC. [They did the same thing with Chrystia Freeland, although she wasn’t plucked from the US for national leadership. She is Ukrainian, and they wanted a sympathetic voice in Canadian Parliament to direct US/Victoria Nuland’s Ukrainian policy against Russia.]

  47. YT says:

    To think I’ve actually read some of their articles…
    Very misleading to [impressionable] youths: worse than pornography.

  48. Thirdeye,
    ‘It was only in the last months of the war that strategic bombing made much difference to Germany’s war production.’
    Actually, research in recent years has shown that this is simply wrong. Its conclusions are summarised in interviews with Tami Biddle to which I linked. She is Professor of National Security at the U.S. Army War College.
    What is actually an enormously complicated picture was obscured, first, by the grotesquely exaggerated hopes, and then claims, of the proponents of strategic bombing, and then by the reaction against these.
    However, as Biddle brings out, in a key response which summarises much recent work, at a crucial time in 1943 Bomber Command – making far fewer attacks than in the subsequent two years – was devastatingly effective:
    An extract:
    ‘Speer was gearing up for a great industrial expansion and a real push to drive his war economy up to another level and Harris and Bomber Command came in and waged a very concentrated attack on the Ruhr cities and pretty much upended Speer’s plan for that expansion at a pretty critical moment in time. This is 1943 and a lot is hanging in the balance just at that moment. The Battle of Kursk is going to take place in July so a lot of that stuff that Speer would have taken advantage of in the spring would have been on the Eastern Front had Bomber Command not attacked the Ruhr at that moment in time.’
    (See http://ww2history.com/experts/Tami_Biddle/The_effectiveness_of_the_bombing .)
    Another point she stresses is the decisive air superiority which American and British forces enjoyed at the time of the invasion of France and subsequently.
    In the film ‘The Longest Day’, there is a scene where, when the German commanders finally grasp that the invasion of Normandy is not a ruse, but for real, a Luftwaffe commandant is ordered to attack the invading force. Having exploded down the ‘phone that he hasn’t got any men and planes, he and one other go off to strafe the beaches.
    How both the invasion and what followed might have played out, had the Allies not had decisive air superiority – and the Wehrmacht not been bled white on the Eastern Front – I shudder to think. Intelligent people in this country were quite well aware of how formidable German armies were.

  49. The federal Civil Defense program under Public Law 920 of the 81st Congress ended with repeal by Public Law 107-337 in November 1994. No President has yet assumed responsibility for protection of citizens and residents of the USA since that repeal. But the threats have vastly increased to the civilian population in the USA since that repeal IMO including strategic nuclear threats.
    A new COMMITTEE FOR THE PRESENT DANGER led to the election of Ronald Reagan. A new Committee for the Present Danger was reestablished in the early 90s yet neither effort has made it into the history books or MSM IMO.
    Should all candidates for President tell the public that the cupboard is bare with respect to citizen protection?

  50. Wiki extract:
    The Committee on the Present Danger (CPD) is an American foreign policy interest group. Its current stated single goal is “to stiffen American resolve to confront the challenge presented by terrorism and the ideologies that drive it” through “education and advocacy”. Throughout its three iterations—in the 1950s, the 1970s, and the 2000s (decade), it influenced the Presidential administrations of Dwight D. Eisenhower, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, and George W. Bush, and was still active as of 2008.
    CORRECTION: The Federal Civil Defense Act of 1950 as amended was repealed in 1994 by Public Law 103-337!

  51. Chris Rogers says:

    C Chuba,
    I too, like you, would like to get hold of a decent breakdown of the number of victims of the Syrian war but have yet to see a detailed analysis – trusted that is – that we can link to or quote from.
    That said, the following link covers deaths attributable to the USA since the War on Terror was announced and covers three countries in the Middle East and they estimate that deaths attributable to US policy could be as high as 2 million and quantify it with out guessing at more than a million. Here’s the link, which I hope does not breach and site policy:http://www.psr.org/assets/pdfs/body-count.pdf

  52. Fred says:

    “…I would far prefer not to see Harris’s statue, as I walk along the Strand. It reminds me of things I would rather forget.”
    Some folks are very busy here in the US eradicating such cultural heritage, not because they want to forget, but because they want to ensure that others only remember what will be left for them by the (cultural) victors.

  53. LeaNder says:

    David, I read a self-published memory not long ago, the context were the evacuation of schools in Pforzheim after the air-raids.
    This is the context:
    The guy was 12 at the time, they kept moving to different places and it lasted several month. Little Southern towns, and a more rural setting, hotels up in the mountains. I was surprised how long the journey lasted. Even before the French decided to not as initially planned sent them to de-Nazification in France.
    Strictly my main interest was, I have to admit, that my later head master in school surfaced. I hadn’t read it so far, since it was obvious he played a minor role as teacher and at one point disappeared, he didn’t really find out where exactly. But his assumption may be correct. As Google book suggested there was not much else about him. But what he calls “the Odyssey” took place in the larger Southern context where my parents grew up. …
    On their way they met parts of the Indian Legion.
    Long introduction:
    He did a bit of research concerning air raids, and that context reminded me a lot of some of your links, not only here but earlier too. He searched for details on bombing raids he encountered. Never mind the obvious Nazi propaganda the boys were quite obviously forced into, including troops visits, not only him, but others too seem to have been quite fascinated to watch the “enemy’s airplanes”, and occasionally disobeyed orders to be able to watch them. …
    As your first link suggests: Always nights, French and British, or British planes with a special sign to mark them as part of the French forces.
    From the top of my head, he claims he found the idea of precision bombing already was used in documents at that time. But I would need to check the sources he used.*
    I avoid deviating into the barrel bombs versus precision bombing.
    If I have not paid too much attention on this specific context. Maybe since I was missing Flakhelfer. The Nazis recruited initially heavily amongst schoolboys, but maybe this group was too you young. … But if he watched he could have watched those attempts too.
    The Nazis may have partly run out of recruits, my father was drafted with 16 in 1944. In any case the targets that surface are stations, train tracks on bridges, supply transports. One house hit could have been a slightly misguided bomb. He calls it in the chapter “Blindgänger”. All others seem to have reached the intended targets.
    * To not descend into the murky context of “precision guided high tech US weapons” versus bad Russian “barrel bombing”. That has been addressed already here.

  54. SmoothieX12 says:

    How both the invasion and what followed might have played out, had the Allies not had decisive air superiority – and the Wehrmacht not been bled white on the Eastern Front – I shudder to think. Intelligent people in this country were quite well aware of how formidable German armies were.
    By 1944, Wehrmacht was a pale shadow of itself circa 1941. I believe in his “D-Day” late Stephen Ambrose makes a very strange observation that presence of Kalmyks or other non-German soldiers on the Western Front was somehow indication of Wehrmacht’s strength. Reality is, it was opposite and an indication of reserves’ starvation. This is not in any way to diminish heroism and resolve, and enormous difficulty which Western Allies faced during the largest amphibious operation in history, but that was a reality. Heroism and sacrifice of Western Allies are already in pantheon of both military art and heroism, but Wehrmacht, while still powerful, was nowhere near its combat potential of Summer 1941. The quality of Luftwaffe was also very low then.
    Western Allies’ Strategic and Operational considerations (and discussions) are best described in what, in my mind, is and will remain the best American book on the Western Front, David Eisenhower’s masterpiece “Eisenhower At War, 1943-1945”. The question which needs serious pondering, in my mind, is the issue of Sledgehammer and Roundup, not of strategic bombing or air superiority. The manner in which the victory on the Western Front was won, gave a lot of credence to proponents of “pure” air power and an enduring myth, among some in business, about air power alone winning the war. Two main arguments used? D-Day and Yugoslavia 1999. This discussion as relevant today as it was in 1944 or in 1999. That is my purely personal (and possibly wrong) take on this issue.

  55. YT says:

    Yes, most civilians have little knack & interest for military operations or the quintessential tactics involved.
    I recall watching a clip from some film in which graphite bombs were “indiscriminatingly” utilized by nato on your Serb cousins back in ’99.
    Heaven only knows how many innocents on life support in hospitals…
    JohnF spoke [earlier] of “reconciliation” in “a kinder, more Christ-child-like world.”
    Nay, not possible, methinks.
    I agree with you that these “good ol’ boys” from ‘ivy league institutions’ – with no firsthand experience of war – sycophants that preach “ideals” of ‘bloodless wars,’ ‘surgical strikes’ or write of ‘collateral damage’ ought to be put at the receiving end of their own ‘sermons.’

  56. Babak Makkinejad says:

    You are wrong but entitled.

  57. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Yes, Yogyakarta is the historical/ cultural heart of Java, not Jakarta or Bandung. Yogya is to Jakarta what Salamanca is to Madrid, or what Oxford is to London, or perhaps Esfahan to Sari, if you see what I mean.
    A friend travelling in Indonesia told me that he saw few people reading books, and not that many reading newspapers, but nowadays you cannot always tell because a lot of people have smartphones and other devices and could be reading the news on line.
    He also told me that he went to a few shows showcasing traditional Javanese or Balinese culture (ballet, puppets…) but they were mostly for tourists. It would not be true to say they’ve lost all of that, though. Traditional Javanese dancing is practiced in the royal palace in Yogya, and not only for tourists (see my photos).
    On UNESCO: he is 100% right. How they choose and pick cities is a farce. I think Liverpool was City of Culture a few years ago in the UK. Liverpool is many things, but a beacon of progressive culture and innovation, it is not. (Yes, they had the Beatles. Etc.)
    On freedom of expression: he is also totally right and it is a very tightly controlled pseudo-democracy. A bit like Iran, my friend!
    On the events of 1965: some people say there were 2 to 3 million victims. More conservative estimates are far lower: about 500,000. I heard this from a French researcher recently. I would imagine between 500,000 dead and 1.5 millions. A lot. The point the French historian was making (he has studied it) was that the slaughter was not only or mainly perpetrated by the Army, which was behind the wave of repression (it was pro-Western and nationalistic, and anti-Communist). There was a groundswell of opposition to the Communists. Thugs joined in, in places such as N Sumatra (see this extraordinary movie if you are interested, where the butchers boast about it openly:
    but in many parts of the country, religious parties (Islamic in Java and Hindu in Bali) took to the streets to hunt down the Communists and anyone suspected of supporting them. Apparently, the prime motivation was indeed religious, i.e. that they were atheists, which was (and would still be today) anathema to 99% of Indonesians. Indonesians are very religious and devout. It is a conservative country. So, the slaughter was largely sub-contracted by the Army to the local populace, and that’s why it went ‘too far’.
    Allegedly, the CIA and Britain only expected the leaders of the CP to be arrested. The Army intended to have them executed. But the hoi polloi ended up chopping to pieces entire families of ‘suspects’, including people who probably were not even Communists. It got out of hand. The CIA, in secret reports recently released, started worrying that what was supposed to be a welcome purge at the top was turning into a genocide. A lot of CIA and other resident Americans were quite alarmed, but the genie was out of the bottle. The Army let it happen but in some cases cracked down to restore order, more particularly when the mob would target Chinese communities for the sake of it.
    And another point: the Communists did not intend to seize power per se, but their influence was growing within the State. Apparently, some sort of State Council was being put in place to ‘assist’ Sukarno and it would have been dominated by pro-Communist and Communist elements. Through this Council, they could have controlled policy. Given the Communists’ record in Eastern Europe, it is obvious their longer-term aim was to seize total control. The risk would have been that you’d end up having a Khmer Rouge-type of situation afterwards, which I think would have been likely given Malay culture (see your article on Bandung for inspiration).
    So, instead of a Communist take-over in slow motion, there was a pro-Western purge that turned into a genocidal massacre over a period of a few months. Take your pick. The rest is history.
    I am not saying the massacre was justified but it must be seen in context (are you paying attention here LeaNder?): it was the Cold War and the Indonesian military took action pre-emptively. Is Indonesia better off or worse off today than it would have been? If you compare to Vietnam, what’s the difference?

  58. YT says:

    Mr. Habakkuk,
    RE: “posturing moral pretension”
    We in the Orient have a name for that.
    「出師有名」:Make trouble under a certain pretext.

  59. Kassandra says:

    Exactly. The Hitler party was loosing heavily several elections during 1932, and the Nazi party possibly would have become irrelevant in 1933/34 if not Hindenburg had appointed Hitler as Chancellor in 1933 just in time to save him and his party. This happened due to the pressure of the industry and the conservative establishment (Conservative Revolution), and the only major social group overwhelmingly supporting the Nazis had been school teachers. When the occupation of the areas of the German speaking areas in the only real democratic state of Europe at that time – Czechoslovakia – took place in 1938 (most other European states had been fascistoid dictatorships as well), Hitler was saved a second time by Chamberlain in Munich. Germany was in trouble eonomically, and a war for plundering ressources was desperately needed. A significant group of German generals tried to convince the British to issue a stark statement supporting Czechoslovakia against Hitler to deter him, because they where sure that Hitler’s policy would result in a large war with desastrous consequences for Germany. UK rebuffed these requests and supported Hitler’s bluff – Czechoslovakia was well armed, and the German Wehrmacht was still in a quite fledging stage, not at all capable of dealing with a serious military resistance by the Czechoslovakian army. By backstabbing Czechoslovakia, Downing Street not only handed over a cheap and pretty unlikely victory to Hitler, but gave the German Wehrmacht the large military stocks of the Czech army – enough hardware and ammunition for doubling the German military capacity with the occupation of 1938, used then on Poland. As today, the real target was Russia, and for that purpose, Hitler was a good tool. Churchill even wanted to finalize this strategy in 1945/46 by not disarming the Wehrmacht in the British zone and pushing for the “Operation Unthinkable”.

  60. Will says:

    The Goering quote always bears repeating. Lustration is a crock, it destroys the social fabric. It is enough to replace the leaders to get a change in direction, provided they have the authority and power to implement a turnaround.
    ” We got around to the subject of war again and I said that, contrary to his attitude, I did not think that the common people are very thankful for leaders who bring them war and destruction.
    “Why, of course, the people don’t want war,” Goering shrugged. “Why would some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best that he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece. Naturally, the common people don’t want war; neither in Russia nor in England nor in America, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or a fascist dictatorship or a Parliament or a Communist dictatorship.”
    “There is one difference,” I pointed out. “In a democracy the people have some say in the matter through their elected representatives, and in the United States only Congress can declare wars.”
    “Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country.” ”

  61. SmoothieX12 says:

    And most people think of the East Front as strictly a battle between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. In reality Germany was leading a “Great European Anticommunist Crusade”
    Well, it surely evolved into the genocide against dirty Slavs, Jews etc. There is a reason that war is known as the Great Patriotic War, the first one (without Great) was in 1812.

  62. LeaNder says:

    Babak, could you leave your larger culture lines theories, both West and East, to explain to me how someone can be both a supporter of Ahmadinejad, and writing the above.
    He didn’t mean to deny Nazi atrocities, but somewhat concentrated on something like a larger/deeper history behind the Haavara agreement?
    Or we are all humans after all?

  63. LeaNder says:

    sorry, Margaret.
    I hate people that misspell names. But I like Steinfels, only I didn’t want to address you with your family name.
    Will you forgive me.
    The context no doubt is interesting.

  64. Fred says:

    Brennan didn’t seem to happy to be called out by one of the Senators either.

  65. BB says:

    I think post deals with just war theory (moral law). Apropos of this subject, a true man of peace, Pope Francis, came out with this recently:
    Pope Francis Sees Putin as ‘Only Man’ to Defend Christians Around the World
    In an attempt to defend Christians in the Middle East and other parts of the world where they’re being persecuted, Pope Francis wants to ask Russian President Vladimir Putin for help.
    According to Pope Francis, Putin is “the only one with whom the Catholic Church can unite to defend Christians in the East.”

  66. YT,
    Unfortunately, it’s yet worse than you suggest.
    People who ‘make trouble under a certain pretext’ may still have a capacity accurately to assess the likely consequences of their doing so.
    Of course, prediction is an imperfect art, in any circumstances.
    However, I have enough of an old-fashioned British imperialist in me to take certain things for granted. If you want to assess the likely consequences of different courses of action in the Middle East, you look for people who know the languages and have relevant experience/academic study.
    If you are dealing with war, or matters with a significant military dimensions, you consult thinking military men.
    For reasons going back far into the history of the Cold War, American policy came to be made by superannuated graduate students. Accordingly, time and again, their idiotic ideas have generated unexpected consequences, and produced fresh imbecilic ideas. And so they lurch from catastrophe to catastrophe.
    A real puzzle is why the British élite came to embrace ‘neoconservatism’ – something which I for one find deeply culturally alien: all one’s old enemies coming together, one might say.
    The answer, I fear, reflects no credit on us.

  67. YT says:

    Yours Truly here risking accusations of ‘heresy’ & ‘racism,’: but the first president of Indonesia was too ‘pre-occupied’ with his myriad mistresses (one of ’em infamous “Dewi” – the ‘goddess,’ some Nip geisha or pub hostess – who eventually became the First Lady, later to have her own album of semi-nude photos which Col. Lang may ‘check out’ in absentia of his Mrs.)
    It seems a common ‘trait’ amongst the many cretins & scoundrels of this godforsaken region to be obsessesed with carnal pleasures & forsake all else, incl. all-important Governance of hoi polloi.
    Some have told me that mao & Zhou personally advised him that he had to keep a watchful eye on his generals, but…
    RE: seen in context
    Some tell me the ‘domino theory’ was “over-rated”: fear-mongering at its very best (à la H.L. Mencken).
    Yes, I’ve also been ‘advised’ how ‘easy’ it is for us armchair strategists & history pundits to judge the actions & crimes of our ‘predecessors,’ – what with hindsight of present-day. i.e.「後事諸葛」。
    You argue that this Indochinese region is far better to-day after the interventions of Pax Americana?, I still think it hard to convince the next-of-kin of those innumerable casualties of war & coup d’état…

  68. Fred,
    The determination of the self-appointed ‘heirs of Lincoln’ to try to complete their victory fills me with dread.
    It is part and parcel of the ‘soft totalitarian’ mentality which appears to have become dominant in contemporary ‘liberalism’. This, I fear, is liable to end very badly, on both sides of the Atlantic.
    As regards power balances in the United States, I simply do not know enough about these to be clear as to whether those who pursue this line can, as it were ‘get away with it’.

  69. Dubhaltach says:

    Ms. Steinfels:
    “whether if this were the U.S. military, would there be what looks like indiscriminate bombing?”
    I invite you to reflect on the bombardment of Fallujah by American artillery before asking such questions.

  70. Trey N says:

    “By backstabbing Czechoslovakia…used then on Poland.”
    The irony here is that it wasn’t just Downing Street that backstabbed the Czechs. Instead of standing with the Czechs and forming a common front against Hitler, the Poles took the bait that he offered and nipped their little piece of territory off the carcass when the Germans invaded. Of course, Karma being the cold bitch that she is, the jackals were dismembered in turn the very next year….

  71. SmoothieX12,
    A whole range of different matters here.
    It is a major problem with strategic argument in the post-war West that it has continued to be dominated by interpretations of the ‘Thirties which turn out on inspection to be wrong.
    Of critical importance is the image of a weak and vacillating Britain failing to rearm.
    Unfortunately, I have not had time to do more than dip into David Edgerton’s 2012 study ‘Britain’s War Machine’, but reviews make its arguments clear.
    See, for example http://logosjournal.com/2012/spring-summer_jacobsen/ .
    My one quarrel with this review is that the reviewer writes:
    ‘Until the Nazi-Soviet Pact the common wisdom among elites, especially of the Right, was to appease and rearm, in hope of driving Hitler against Stalin in the meantime.’
    This mirrors a common Russian suspicion, both then and now. In my view, it is right about some sections of opinion, completely wrong about Chamberlain. One simply cannot explain Chamberlain’s gyrations – in particular, the disastrous unilateral guarantee to Poland – without grasping that he had taken for granted that Hitler’s fundamental ambition was to bring ethnic Germans into a Greater German ‘Reich’.
    As regards British rearmament, one has to grasp that ‘liberal militarism’ was in many ways very brutal. It took as a premise that Britain could not expect to compete with land powers whose circumstances led them to emphasise large land armies.
    Accordingly, it relied naturally first on sea power – used, among other things, to starve the adversary out – and then, as a natural development, on strategic air power, to be used to bomb them into submission. In both, technological superiority was critical – as also in the attempt to acquire intelligence superiority.
    A consequence of the failure of Chamberlain and those who thought like him to understand Hitler was, paradoxically, that they failed to grasp, when his occupation of the rump of Czechoslovakia in March 1939 demonstrated that they had radically misread him, the vital importance of attempting to secure an alliance with the Soviet Union.
    Among other things, this was of critical importance to the strategy of blockade.
    They were saved from the potential consequences of their error, because Hitler disregarded the advice of the – extremely competent – Russianists in the ‘Wilhemstrasse’ who, in essence, held Trotsky’s view of Stalin. They thought he had ‘betrayed the Revolution’, and with judicious encouragement, could be persuaded to betray it some more.
    Cutting a long story short, a further irony is that the faith in air power was revived by the advent of atomic weapons.
    It has become an article of faith in the West that nuclear ‘deterrence’ stabilised the Cold War confrontation.
    There is, I think, every reason to believe that this may have been the reverse of the truth.
    In a world without nuclear weapons, any military conflict between the Soviet Union would necessarily have been a long drawn-out war of attrition.
    As a traditional land power, the Soviets found it much easier to maintain large ground forces than the United States. However, in the event of all-out war, they would have needed to exploit this to eliminate the bridgeheads on which the vastly superior American military-industrial potential could be deployed against them in Eurasia, once it had been remobilised.
    And they would have needed to do this, in the face of the – demonstrated – Anglo-American capability to land and supply large amphibious forces, and the fact that, by the end of the war, ‘precision bombing’ was becoming a reality.
    Is it a risk Stalin would have taken? For what – to impose communist governments in Western Europe?
    Unpleasant unreliable people, all too similar to the kind of Old Bolshevik intellectuals he had had shot or sent to labour camps? The kind of people who looked down on him, and, given half a chance, might have resurrected Lenin’s ‘Testament’, or the ‘Riutin Declaration’, and accused him of an ‘Asiatic Deviation’?
    I do not offhand have the figure of the percentage of the leadership of the German Communist Party who took refuge in Moscow whom Stalin ended up having shot, but it was quite high.

  72. SmoothieX12 says:

    It is well known law, that “patriotism” growth in direct proportion with the distance from the combat zone. The further away one from it–the more “patriotic” he or she is. Enough to take a look at neocon cabal in D.C. For them word kinetic means only movement, and most likely in a luxury foreign-made cars towards expensive beltway eateries. The fact that this may mean losing limbs, being burned or, simply, blown to pieces seems to be lost on them. I believe it was Phil Giraldi who said that the only danger they face is choking on foie gras.

  73. JerseyJeffersonian says:

    BB and all,
    The scheduled meeting on February 12 in Havana between Pope Francis and His Holiness Patriarch Kyrill, head of the Russian Orthodox Church, may have great meaning in this context. The first face to face meeting between the heads of the two branches of the church after a thousand years seems to potentially be a momentous occasion to me. Defense of the Christian faithful in their ancient homeland against the machinations of the Islamist headchoppers and the Zionist Trotskyite neocons, neither of which forces wish the Christians well (to put it mildly).
    Something to watch, good friends.

  74. Indeed, I did reflect on Fallujah and Belgrade and…Dresden, and let’s throw in Chechnya. But perhaps you missed the point. If the U.S. were doing this, and however measured it might be [not saying it would be measured], I am pretty sure many, including some here, would certainly find it “indiscriminate.”
    Some of the citizens of Aleppo, quoted in the article think what is happening is indiscriminate, and some of them blame the U.S. for their situation, that is, for not acting. In the meantime, we learn Russia doesn’t have that many planes, etc., available in Syria, therefore, what they’re doing is not indiscriminate! Or maybe it is! Do the number of planes dictate the quality of the bombing as to discriminate and indiscriminate?
    In the meantime, What an interesting set of directions the conversation has taken. The phrases we invent to describe and condemn/support our actions in war are part of war itself.
    Governments and citizens in wartime: does the calculus of responsibility change when that government is democratically elected and supported by the citizens [quote from Goring, worth further reflection; to which we could add Milosevic and the Serbs as well as the GW Bush Administration]
    In any case, thanks to all for so many useful ideas and insights.

  75. Babak Makkinejad says:

    To your last paragraph:
    I am posing a question and not really suggesting anything else.

  76. gemini33 says:

    I wonder if that comment by Del Ponte was the reason for this Daily Beast article. I read the DB article twice, wondering what the main point and frankly the purpose of it (given DB’s strong propaganda of late) and was not sure why it was published though it seemed like there probably was a good reason. Multiple sources (mostly anon) weighed in. Was the main purpose to explain why the US hasn’t killed more terrorists in Syria?
    Here’s the article:
    “America’s ISIS War Is Helping Al Qaeda”

  77. Thomas says:

    “Was the main purpose to explain why the US hasn’t killed more terrorists in Syria?”
    It looks like an article was due to the editor, so the author put pieces together to make the deadline. It does do a great job showing Borgian incoherency.

  78. Of course, I forgive you.
    Steinfels is my married name. Before that I was O’Brien. You may not know that the spelling of Steinfels has been mauled by the U.S. TV show, Seinfeld, so that spelling Steinfels requires a serious excursion into phonetics.

  79. SmoothieX12 says:

    Number of things:
    Of critical importance is the image of a weak and vacillating Britain failing to rearm. Unfortunately, I have not had time to do more than dip into David Edgerton’s 2012 study ‘Britain’s War Machine’, but reviews make its arguments clear.
    Correli Barnett’s seminal “The Collapse Of The British Power” must be on a “must read” list of anyone who has even mild interest in the diplomatic, economic and political history of WW II. The image of weakness of Britain was not really an image but the reality, which included Britain running of her gold reserves by the end of 1940s. Barnett uses an excellent term “purchasing price” when speaking about Soviet-German Pact. And that brings us to the second point:
    As a traditional land power, the Soviets found it much easier to maintain large ground forces than the United States. However, in the event of all-out war, they would have needed to exploit this to eliminate the bridgeheads on which the vastly superior American military-industrial potential could be deployed against them in Eurasia, once it had been remobilised.
    I don’t know what it means to find it “easier to maintain” in comparison to the US, which historically had and has a minimal necessity for ground forces, but mobilizational realities of Continental Warfare on the scale of the Eastern Front were such, that USSR, even without considering the important help of Lend-Lease, actually matched or was close to US production figures in main articles of the war, from tanks, which USSR produced, actually, slightly more than US, to being able to produce of about 70% of US production of actual fighters and ground attack planes. There are also serious operational considerations which should go into this. In the end, Red Air Force by the end of WW II was the largest operational-tactical air force in the world. But that is beyond the point, USSR wasn’t going to France’s beaches because it neither wanted nor needed once D-Day happened. What is most fascinating in these kind of discussions is the fact that people remain completely oblivious to the fact that even by 1942 USSR sustained such human and materiel losses, that, in memorandum by British Intelligence, it was pointed out that NO political settlement was possible between Germany and USSR. It was war of annihilation. So, people completely discount the fact that, even Stalin, had a purely humanitarian reason for calling for Second Front.
    As per the rest, Stalin, certainly, was a dictator and no humanitarian in “Western” sense, but it wasn’t him alone who shared suspicions on the actions of Western Allies. After all, it was General Stanley Embick’s (of George Marshall’s OPD), whose Casablanca Memorandum on “being led by primrose path” by British made some serious noise. After all, it was Lord Halifax in 1941, on ABC Conferences, who, on behalf of British Government was pushing US to commit not so much to the European theater as to guarding Empire’s possession. Accidentally, it was same Embick who, then for the first time, was pretty abrupt with British and final document of ABC conference stated that the main theater is Europe. If you follow attentively military-diplomatic dynamics within Big Three Alliance you will immediately notice how British Empire was pushing for anything but commitment to Europe, which resulted, on ARCADIA, in, first, Torch and, eventually, led to Second Washington Conference where all plans of facing Wehrmacht in Europe proper were abandoned. Ike left a notable entry in his diary about this calamity, Marshall too was outraged. This is a brief description of the situation. By 1943, however, it didn’t matter anyway.

  80. YT says:

    Indeed, demagogues are the worst: especially the flag-waving ones…

  81. Tel says:

    Russians don’t have a good reputation when it comes to treatment of prisoners, and neither does Assad. I imagine there might be some Sunni collaborators who see the writing on the wall here, They don’t want to fight a losing battle alongside Daesh, they know they will be worse off ending up in Assad’s hands, so there’s the option of doing a runner. Morale amongst Daesh would be dipping kind of low right now.
    Half of Daesh were mercs anyway, people Niccolò Machiavelli called “useless troops”. You can pay someone enough to do your killing for you, but you cannot pay them enough to die for you.
    That said, once the half-hearted have run away, it will leave a core of Daesh true believers, and those will probably fight to the death. Virgins-n-that.

  82. LeaNder says:

    “I do not offhand have the figure of the percentage of the leadership of the German Communist Party …”
    There is this shadowy history around the Hotel Lux. It caught my attention at one point in time. But as it is, it was around a former inhabitant, a social democrat Politician after 45, who may or may not have informed on others before he left Russia for Sweden:
    “After Wehner’s death, German news magazine Der Spiegel magazine documented accusations that he informed the NKVD on several party fellows like Hugo Eberlein, presumably to save his own life.[2] After being sent to neutral Sweden in 1941 in order to re-enter Germany, he was arrested at Stockholm and interned for espionage in 1942. If he deliberately went into custody has not been conclusively established, at least he was excluded from the Communist Party by politburo chief Wilhelm Pieck.”

  83. Valissa says:

    Thanks for the Goering quote. Reminds me of a lecture at a high school History class back in the early ’70s. We had a grad student from a nearby University teach for a semester. He was trying to explain the history of Vietnam prior to the US involvement there (to a bunch of largely uninterested 15-16 year olds). While I remember very little of that class, there was one bit that has stuck with me since then.
    If you look at the history of Vietnam ~1862-1954
    you can see there were many changes in government, politicas and political ideology over a rather short amount of time. This teacher focused on trying to explain to us how the farmers felt about all this political upheaval (probably since our school was in rural upstate NY, and had a large farming community). He said all the farmers wanted was to be left in peace to farm and raise their families, and that the great majority of these farmers were not much concerned with government activities far away from them and their village. Nor were they much interested in the related politics or political ideology either. Of course they would also try to avoid having whatever current government get angry at them either, so they might go along with things they otherwise would not have and behave against their fellows in ways they otherwise would not have. I know this is rather simplistic, but my mind was only 15 at the time… yet it has stuck with me since then.
    I have observed that just as these Vietnamese farmers he spoke about were generally not all that interested in political goings on far away, the same is true of human beings everywhere. That includes Americans today. Most people just want to live their lives and have little interest in politics, except maybe around election time or if they have personal or local concerns/issues that tie in to regional or national ones.
    That’s just human nature, however much some intellectuals or ideological or activist types wish that weren’t so and start to “blame” citizens for what their leaders do.

  84. Will says:

    This is in a way collateral to the discussion. Russians are accused of having dumb bombs in comparison to our precision weapons. But, maybe not?
    “The Americans came up with an elegant solution: the JDAM. The Joint Direct Attack Munition kit was a way to convert “dumb” (non-guided) bombs into “smart” (guided) bombs by attaching a special kit to them. You can read more about this in this Wikipedia article. This made it possible to use old bombs, but this was still not cheap, roughly 25’000 dollars a kit (according to Wikipedia).
    The Russians came up with a much better solution.
    Instead of mounting a kit on an old bomb and lose the kit every time, the Russians mounted a JDAM-like kit, but on the airplane.
    Introducing the SVP-24:”
    “In practical terms this means that every 30+ year old Russian “dumb” bomb can now be delivered by a 30+ year old Russian aircraft with the same precision as a brand new guided bomb delivered by a top of the line modern bomber.”

  85. Babak Makkinejad says:

    There is no puzzle; they have turned London into a money/finance machine under US protection; now why would they rock that boat since US would ignore any UK objections in any case.

  86. Medicine Man says:

    FB Ali: At least we have the consolation that the public saw right through Ignatieff.

  87. Thirdeye says:

    I hadn’t known that Poland had a role at Munich before. Apparently Hitler’s demand that issues between Czechoslovakia, Hungary, and Poland be incorporated into the Munich agreement was taken as a green light by Poland to annex territory in October and December of 1938, before Germany marched into Bohemia. Judging by Germany’s subsequent stance leading up to the first Vienna Award (territory to Hungary), I suspect that Hitler’s inclusion of the Polish demand was to strengthen his bargaining position with Poland’s allies France and Britain. Poland advocated for a partition of subcarpathian Ruthenia between Poland, Romania, and Hungary. Germany and Romania said no. Poland’s demands were no longer useful to Germany.

  88. MRW says:

    Then there was this, FB Ali, as history to their efforts:
    http://www.ezralevant.com/why_did_the_canadian_ jewish_co/

  89. Thirdeye says:

    There was area bombing and there was strategic bombing. The area bombing was about making German cities unlivable and destabilizing Germany politically. It was in the most literal sense a terror campaign. It was also politically popular because spectacular swaths of urban destruction gave a sense of vengeance. It’s hard to make a case that it was anything but a waste. You raised an interesting point about the difficulty of abandoning it. Massive night bombing was what the whole RAF bomber force was built around. The news that all those Lancasters had become white elephants because of a change in strategy might not have been well received.
    The strategic bombing targeted transportation, fuel, and industrial facilities with daytime attacks. The original idea was that armed bombers could fend off opposing fighters. That turned out to be wrong. When the Luftwaffe bolstered its homeland air defenses against daytime bombing in 1943, the losses of the bomber fleet became unsustainable. Air superiority had to be established before strategic bombing could resume on a scale that made it effective.
    Caught between the inefficiency of nighttime area bombing and the vulnerability of the daytime strategic bombers, the air campaign in 1943 was in a muddle.

  90. YT says:

    “A man who carries a cat by the tail learns something he can learn in no other way.”
    Samuel Langhorne Clemens
    Aye, sir.
    Cretins who have no firsthand experience with matter(s)-at-hand ought not to get involved.
    In particular, superannuated graduates – whose feet aren’t planted firmly on the ground & head in the clouds.
    Yes, Don Quixotes involved with Policy gives rise to one Catastrophe after another (i.e. “tilting at windmills”).
    [There was a reason why the ancient Chinks advised their liege lords not to interfere with the course of battles or the manner their generals waged them: waging war on paper – not good…]

  91. Thirdeye says:

    The Luftwaffe had a pretty effective riposte to the Ruhr campaign with upgraded aerial defense that made the campaign unsustainable – albeit at the price of drawing air power away from the eastern front. The result was that bomber losses became so severe that the campaign had to be called off and German war production ramped up anyway. Given that Speer’s industrial expansion was still in planning when the Ruhr aerial battle opened in June of 1943 and the Kursk battle was launched in July of 1943, it’s difficult to see how Speer’s planned industrial expansion would have been timely for the Kursk battle.
    The strategic bombing campaign in early 1944 did result in the defeat of the Luftwaffe. Whether or not it was the only way to defeat the Luftwaffe remains an open question.

  92. SmoothieX12,
    I stand corrected. Clearly the claims made by David Edgerton about relative British strength and confidence in the Thirties are decisively refuted by the fact that Britain was ‘running of her gold reserves by the end of 1940s.’ Stupid of me not to grasp this.
    As you obviously know, Correlli Barnett’s ”Collapse of British Power” was published in 1972 – upwards of half a century ago. Rather a lot of research has been done since this time.
    Actually, Edgerton’s work – from its early days – was in substantial measure a polemic against Barnett. A 1991 paper he wrote is entitled ‘The Prophet Militant and Industrial: The Peculiarities of Correlli Barnett.’
    (See https://workspace.imperial.ac.uk/historyofscience/public/files/edgerton_prophet_militant.pdf .)

  93. Thirdeye,
    You provide no links, so I have no means of checking out whether what you claim is or is not plausible.
    However, you began by responding to a comment in which I linked to interviews with a leading contemporary scholar of strategic bombing by simply restating the old conventional wisdom she was debunking.
    And Professor Biddle is certainly not someone who is predisposed to act as an apologist for the advocates of terror bombing. A quick Google search brought up a review of 2002 study of the subject is entitled ‘Rhetoric and Reality in Air Warfare: The Evolution of British and American Ideas about Strategic Bombing, 1914-45, which among other things, made clear that ‘Harris stands as a villain in Biddle’s work.’
    (See http://www.airpower.maxwell.af.mil/airchronicles/bookrev/bibble.html .)
    However, further quick Google searches brought out that both Biddle and David Edgerton, to whose work I also referred, were reflecting the conclusions of a massive study by the Cambridge (England) economic historian Adam Tooze, published under the title ‘The Wages of Destruction: The Making and Breaking of the Nazi Economy’ in 2006.
    This, it seems, mounts a full-frontal assault, supported by immensely detailed research, on a whole range of conventional wisdoms about the background to German side of the Second World War – just as Edgerton does in relation to the British.
    Among these are conventional wisdoms about the inefficacy of the bombing campaigns. From a review in the ‘Financial Times’:
    ‘Tooze also refreshes our understanding of the Anglo-American bombing campaign of 1942-45. The raids on the Ruhr region, he argues, dealt a mortal blow to Germany’s military-industrial complex. But the RAF’s futile attempts at repeating in Berlin the firestorm it had sparked in Hamburg in July 1943, instead of tightening the hold on the coal-and-steel choke-point of the Ruhr, was ”a tragic operational error” that may have put off victory for a year.’
    (See https://next.ft.com/content/b5ef2df2-22b3-11db-91c7-0000779e2340 .)
    The judgement that Harris’s belief that one could destroy an enemy’s will to wage war by terror-bombing led to a monumental amount of unnecessary human suffering, and actually prevented the maximally effective use of air power, still stands.
    But the argument that ‘it was only in the last months of the war that strategic bombing made much difference to Germany’s war production’, as you put it, looks to be flat out wrong.
    If you want to dispute the conclusions of Tooze, Biddle and Edgerton, supply references to work which takes into account recent research, I am most happy to follow them up, as far as time permits.

  94. Babak Makkinejad,
    That is part of the story, but only part.
    The British variety of ‘the Borg’ is in part the product of a bizarre coming together of the ‘Marxism Today’ crowd and the dregs of the Cambridge right – who were associated with a college called Peterhouse.
    On the intellectual evolution of these dregs, a piece by the ‘Henry Jackson Society’ published last June by the journalist Peter Oborne is to the point. Unfortunately, he is still too indulgent.
    (See http://www.middleeasteye.net/columns/cameron-neo-con-395124903 .)

  95. YT,
    Absolutely. I loved the Mark Twain quote – also William Polk’s vision of Obama as Sancho Panza.

  96. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Thank you for your comments, very informative.

  97. SmoothieX12 says:

    I stand corrected. Clearly the claims made by David Edgerton about relative British strength and confidence in the Thirties are decisively refuted by the fact that Britain was ‘running of her gold reserves by the end of 1940s.’ Stupid of me not to grasp this.
    “It is legitimate to judge an event by its outcome, for this is the soundest criterion”(c)
    Carl Von Clausewitz, “Vom Kriege”.
    Both Churchill’s daughter and, if my memory doesn’t fail me, Sir Winston’s dentist, Lord Moran, told about the bouts of jealousy Churchill’s had when dealing with FDR and Stalin, because he understood that his position was increasingly weak within this alliance. I wonder why? Didn’t he consult David Edgerton that there was no reasons to feel this way? I am being facetious, of course. As this blog not for once stated–the real outcome is forged on the battlefields. I am keenly aware of when Barnett’s masterpiece was published, there is also the reason that it remains a seminal work of history. And as any seminal work of history it is subjected to reviews and disagreements. But fact, and undeniable one, remains–GB came out of WWII bankrupt and removed to the periphery of the emerging bi-polar global politics. On the jacket (sadly, my copy misses it) of Wolf Hackmann’s Rommel’s War In Africa there is a remarkable admission by one of the leading Anglophone military historian (can not recall from the top of my head who) that “Rommel The Great was pretty much the figment of imagination of Churchill and Monty, who greatly talked up Rommel’s talents in order to emphasize own importance”. An excellent summary. While there is no diminishing of heroism and sacrifice of people of Great Britain, of its soldiers and sailors, it is an established fact, that the moment United States entered the fray, GB would inevitably fail the “test”.
    Both, during the war and after, British approach to strategy and operational issues was a subject of scathing critique by both US Army’s professionals and historians. From Stephen Ambrose to David Eisenhower, to even Barnett himself it was, indeed, as General Embick stated, “being led by the primrose path”.
    To deny these facts is to obfuscate the history of WW II. Barnett is spot on, corroborated by leading American historians, when concludes that GB, spreading its limited resources, essentially ensured its own demise to still very important but secondary power. I want to underscore yet again, all this in no way reflects badly on people of GB who deserve the highest of praises for their contribution, but the reasons GB ended where it ended are to be found inside Great Britain of time period, in her elites, in her imperial and military policies. In the end, Churchill The Great Strategist is a myth for the consumption of a general public, not people who have a clue.

  98. fgjhk says:

    Sorry sir, sadly that is not even a real photo of Dresden, but a badly concocted fake. The background is a drawing to boot, just a very poor paste-up job.
    Where I’m going – the Dresden story is contrived fantasy, totally blown out of proportion. There was bombing there, but nothing like all the fake photos, or rather drawings, would sell you.
    So “we” didn’t do it and even if we did, they had earned it many times over.

  99. YT says:

    Yes, he paled in comparison to his illustrious ancestor, John (the first Duke of Marlborough).

  100. johnf says:

    >The British variety of ‘the Borg’ is in part the product of a bizarre coming together of the ‘Marxism Today’ crowd and the dregs of the Cambridge right – who were associated with a college called Peterhouse.
    I, sir, went to Peterhouse, had Maurice Cowling as my tutor, and agree with every word you say.
    I quite enjoyed Egerton’s early piece “England and the Aeroplane” but by “Britain’s War Machine” he was flogging a dead horse.
    Why is it that everywhere there is cant and/or disgusting behaviour going on in contemporary England (or, to be more accurate, London), is it always being conducted on the Right by slippery ex-Petreans, and on the left by slippery ex-Trots?
    Peter Oborne is indeed an honourable and courageous patriot.
    And I am not, never have been and never will be an academic.

  101. SmoothieX12,
    First you tell me that the claims made by David Edgerton about relative British strength and confidence in the Thirties are refuted by the fact that Britain was running out of gold reserves at the end of Forties.
    Now you appear to be suggesting that they are refuted by the fact that Churchill, in the Forties, had to face up to an inevitable consequence of what had been a key strategic objective of his all along – to bring the United States into the war – and didn’t like it.
    What conceivable relevance does that have to anything that Edgerton has written?
    If I may be facetious in my turn, I begin to understand how the windmills must have felt, when they were being attacked by Don Quixote.

  102. LeaNder says:

    Hmm, hadn’t thought about that. In German it would be pretty similar to example 2 and 3. Depending on local variances. Southern would be closer to the second. Up North 3.

  103. turcopolier says:

    Ghana? Really/ I assume you may be an expat of some kind. No? I do not care if it is Dresden or not. I lived in Germany as a small boy in the immediate post-war period and the destruction was every bit as bad as this in many cities. I don’t really care if the victims of strategic bombing were Germans, Japanese, Ruritanians or whatever. The concept of bombing populations into submission is abominable. pl

  104. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Thank you for your comments.
    Much of Osborn’s essay seems true, but some of it is plainly wrong. True, the right-wing of the Tory party is in power. Were they that keen to intervene in Syria? I am not so sure. They know British public opinion and Parliament are not that keen on it because of Iraq and Afghanistan. They said they wanted to intervene but were perhaps secretly relieved when Parliament said ‘no’, initially: it gave Cameron an excuse to do nothing. There is an isolationist and insular undercurrent in the old Tory right that should not be underestimated: we are alright at home and damn all those foreigners!… Why should we get involved?
    To say nothing has changed is absurd (since Iraq, I mean). First of all, Tony Blair is totally discredited because of his lies on Iraq. That is also why Labor lost the general election last time round. That is also why there is not that much appetite for foreign intervention in the UK. Granted, the UK is now involved in Syria: the pressure of events made it inevitable, eventually (refugee crisis, Turkish factor, ISIS massacres, etc.).
    On the Left, the rise of J Corbyn and his pacifist stance is largely a consequence of the fact T Blair and the right-wing pro-American Blairites are discredited, and that is a consequence of the Iraq fiasco. To say Iraq has had no effect is thus misleading. Now, outside Labor, J Corbyn is not popular and stands no chance of being elected as PM, ever: but that’s another issue. He would not be head of Labor without the rejection of Blairite politics, itself linked to the Iraq war.
    And why is the Tory Right supported by British public opinion (English voters, really)? Because ultimately they are trusted on the economy and appear to have made less of a mess than what Labor did: Labor got blamed for the 2008 economic crisis and appeared particularly cowardly and mendacious when they stubbornly refused to admit that they were at least partly responsible for the financial debacle, which they were. That’s primarily why Labor did not get elected.
    I should think that the typical UK voter does not know exactly where Syria is and could not tell Syria from Jordan or even Pakistan. They don’t really know, and they don’t really care. Do they not care more about jobs, inflation, interest rates, etc.?
    It’s the UK ruling class and the media that feel that UK should play a role out there. If you left it to the UK Electorate , I reckon no one would want her to touch those issues with a barge-pole.
    My understanding has been that the English don’t understand Europe, let alone the Middle East, and, because they don’t understand, they don’t give a monkey’s: they’re not interested in understanding. They just want the whole thing to go away. A bit like the Irish Troubles back in the 1970s/1980s.

  105. SmoothieX12 says:

    OK, let’s start again. Below is your statement. Made, I remind you, in response to my post about the state of Wehrmacht at D-Day, which, in its turn was a response to your statement of air superiority, by mentioning the rise and fall of both Sledgehammer and, eventually, Roundup. Both were risky and both were buried by Churchill and his people, who, if you are not in the know, both on ARCADIA and 2nd Washington Conference, both in words of Ike and historians, behaved arrogantly and in condescending manner towards the Americans. Here is what you wrote.
    Of critical importance is the image of a weak and vacillating Britain failing to rearm. Unfortunately, I have not had time to do more than dip into David Edgerton’s 2012 study ‘Britain’s War Machine’, but reviews make its arguments clear.
    There was NO “image”, it was the real state of the affairs that proved GB totally inadequate and, indeed, weak for dealing with Nazi Germany (or Axis). Everyone knows the results, from fall of Singapore, to failures in North Africa, to, in the end, Dunkirk and even Dieppe. If we are to discuss here some revisionist fantasy that in 1930s GB felt itself so important and, actually, rearmed, it certainly didn’t pan out in purely strategic and operational senses, except for Battle of Britain. I am, frankly, not very interested in discussing the hubris and incompetence of British elites in 1930s. The image of junior French and British officers arriving to Moscow to a high-level meetings on Collective Security speaks volumes. Alexander Werth and same Barnett give it an appropriate (and the only proper) assessment.
    Now you appear to be suggesting that they are refuted by the fact that Churchill, in the Forties, had to face up to an inevitable consequence of what had been a key strategic objective of his all along – to bring the United States into the war – and didn’t like it.
    1. I am lost in this mental acrobatics, obviously we are talking about completely different things. But NO, the key strategic point of GB, even before US got involved was preservation of imperial possessions. See the volume of US Army in WW II on strategic discussions, namely ABC-1. Once US got involved, GB was pursuing exactly what Embick, Stimpson and others openly articulated. GB was in it not to fight Wehrmacht head on.
    2. Whatever Churchill thought in terms of “facing up to consequences” is absolutely irrelevant to the fact of Barnett giving very precise and correct definition of what happened (and why) with GB. In regards to Servantes and his masterpiece, I do not find it to be correct, but it is your conclusion, not mine. You brought this irrelevant issue of “A whole range of different matters here. It is a major problem with strategic argument in the post-war West that it has continued to be dominated by interpretations of the ‘Thirties which turn out on inspection to be wrong.”(c) to the discussion of the fact that even without “decisive” air superiority Allies would have done OK on D-Day. And if the image of “a weak and vacillating Britain failing to rearm” is of “critical importance” to you, then strategic and operational realities are of “critical importance” to me. In this case, I would rather be fighting wind mills.

  106. Ulenspiegel says:

    “There was area bombing and there was strategic bombing.”
    Area bombing is a subcategory of strategic bombing.
    It was considered by the RAF the only variant available after the high losses in 1940/41 during day time raids and the low precision of the night raids.
    The picture changed later with the availability of long range escort fighters which had a decent chance against the Messerschmidts.

  107. Ulenspiegel says:

    “Tooze also refreshes our understanding of the Anglo-American bombing campaign of 1942-45. The raids on the Ruhr region, he argues, dealt a mortal blow to Germany’s military-industrial complex.”
    No, there is no evidence that there was a mortal blow. To accept this opinion means ignoring research on this topic. Neither production was hit hard nor the morale of the population. The air campaign was, considering the losses and the huge share of resources the bomber command needed a failure.
    The best it achieves was an slower rate of production INCRERASE, but nothing substantial in 1943.
    The game braker was the extremly high attrition rate on the east front in combination with Italy, that led to an dramatic increase of the tank ratio (from 1:3 in 1943 to 1:10(!) in 1944) on the east fronts with the destruction of Heeresgruppe Mitte as result.

  108. Babak Makkinejad says:

    I met a German woman whom I trust who was in Dresden at the time.

  109. Babak Makkinejad,
    It was hell on earth, and was meant to be.
    But, as I have tried to explain to others on this thread, they might usefully read the interview with Tami Biddle.
    Her account of the background to Dresden is at
    http://ww2history.com/experts/Tami_Biddle/Dresden .

  110. Croesus says:

    Any relation to Peter Wehner?
    “Mr. Wehner served in the Reagan and George H.W. Bush Administrations prior to becoming deputy director of speech writing for President George W. Bush in 2001. In 2002, he was asked to head the Office of Strategic Initiatives, where he generated policy ideas, reached out to public intellectuals, published op-eds and essays, and provided counsel on a range of domestic and international issues.”

  111. Chris Rogers says:

    Then your understanding of history and reality must be zero, suffice to say the first to suffer under Hitler were the German’s, most notably Communists and other leftwing political activists, trades unionists and religious leaders in the Lutheran Church. Not all Germans were Hitler’s willing executioners and most who opposed his rule were killed by the regime or once real war commenced with Russia, sent to the bloody Russian Front to let the Russians kill them.

  112. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Dyson claimed that it was a fluke, the only time that they succeeded in creating “Hell on Earth”.

  113. Ulenspiegel,
    ‘To accept this opinion means ignoring research on this topic.’
    As it happens, I have just referred you to an 832-page study by Adam Tooze, an economic historian who, when he wrote it, was at Cambridge (UK) and is now a professor at Columbia.
    As I also noted, its conclusions were accepted by Professor Tami Biddle of the U.S. Army War College, although they seem to have contradicted her earlier account, as well as Professor David Edgerton.
    The latter was founding director of the Centre for the History of Science, Technology and Medicine at Imperial College, London – which, as you may know, is one of the leading scientific institutions in the U.K. And he is rather rare among British historians, in being a scientist by background. His first degree is in chemistry.
    It has always seemed to me a basic requirement, alike for academics and journalists, that if they want to contest an opinion, they should produce evidence, rather than assertion.
    If you tell me that to accept the opinions of Tooze, Biddle and Edgerton means ‘ignoring research on this topic’, I expect to see references to the research in question.
    As it happens, these are matters on which I both have no claim whatsoever to have looked in detail at the evidence, and frankly, at the present moment, do not have time to do so.
    But that inclines me to be even more intolerant of people who simply produce assertions about what ‘research’ shows, without making it as easy as possible for those whose are arguments are being contested to evaluate whether the contest has any rational basis.

  114. SmoothieX12,
    This particular windmill has better ways of wasting his time.
    As may be apparent, if you have followed recent threads, I have spent a great deal of time attempting to expose the frame-up of Andrei Lugovoi and the Russian authorities over the death of Alexander Litvinenko.
    I have taken time from this endeavour to try to have an exchange of views with you. It is a mistake I do not intend to repeat.

  115. johnf,
    I am fascinated to know that you had Cowling as a tutor.
    There is something which has always puzzled me. By reputation, he was supposed to be a scourge of liberalism.
    But the ‘Henry Jackson Society’ are messianic liberals.
    There is something here I cannot quite figure out, although I am still trying.

  116. SmoothieX12 says:

    Churchill was, definitely, not a stupid man, he also was a remarkable man in many important respects. GB has to feel proud that this man took his place at the helm of GB in the most difficult time for the nation, when GB, indeed, faced Hitler alone. For that, Sir Winston will forever be remembered with admiration by very many, yours truly included. But his persona as strategist was blown out of proportion, not least by himself, and not least through his highly self-serving memoirs. Granted, of course, that most of memoirs are usually serf-serving. So, he is not alone here, with the exception, of course, of the scale. But by Tehran Conference it was clear to both USSR and USA that cross-channel attack MUST be headed by American. Russians wanted George C. Marshall, undeniably one of the greatest military leaders of the XX century, the choice was made in favor of Ike, though. In the end, it was this issue of “contributions and costs” and the storm of American criticism towards their British colleagues on the account of European Theater is well documented. It is, of course, a very contentious point about probability of success of Sledgehammer (which was deemed very low) and Roundup, many historians reject the feasibility of at least Sledgehammer outright, but what they fail to mention is the spirit in which both Marshall and Ike developed Roundup. This can not be ignored nor forgotten. It was daring and it was truly Allied in the highest sense of this word.

  117. SmoothieX12 says:

    As may be apparent, if you have followed recent threads, I have spent a great deal of time attempting to expose the frame-up of Andrei Lugovoi and the Russian authorities over the death of Alexander Litvinenko.
    What this has anything to do with Corelli Barnett and strategic and operational realities of the Western Front?

  118. johnf says:

    I’d say that Cowling admired opportunists and dirty deeds done in the dark. He had quite a lot of time for anyone, including Labour politicians, who displayed such qualities. I remember him once walking around in a haze of love and admiration after Dick Crossman gave a talk at the college.
    Trots also admire ruthless opportunism and despise normal morality. Cowling was a sort of Trot of the right.
    As for the despicable HJS, it came really after Cowling’s time. I suspect that it was “liberal” mainly because in the nineties the great neo-conservative god in the sky was Tony Blair – liberal in his social policies, neo-con in his foreign policy, and neo-liberal in his economics. It has become quite trendy on the right to be socially liberal – gay marriage, identity politics. Just look at the Telegraph on line and its filled with as many “feminists” as The Guardian. It could be said that while the “Left” swallowed neo-liberalism and neo-conservatism, the “Right” swallowed social liberalism and together merged into the seamless Borg.

  119. Thirdeye says:

    Note that all of the “successes” listed under the USSBS occurred in 1944-45. Among the “failures” listed were aviation and armored vehicle production.
    The Ruhr air campaign that reached its climax in June 1943 curtailed the planned increase in steel production to an actual increase of 20% over 1943. However, the USSBS noted that steel availability was not limiting to the German war effort. Armored vehicle production was limited by the availability of molybdenum to make steel suitably resilient for armor. That was not an industrial capacity issue, it was a primary resource issue. Soviet testing of German tanks captured at Kursk revealed that the German producers were already skimping on the molybdenum content of their armor. That was an exploitable weakness that influenced Soviet doctrine.
    The oil campaign, which ultimately turned out to be critical in defeating the German war economy, was not given utmost priority until mid-1944. The early days of the campaign showed the accuracy of nighttime bombing inadequate to be effective.

  120. Thirdeye says:

    The viability of the Roundup plan for 1943 is discounted for a variety of reasons – a still vital Luftwaffe, condition of the Wehrmacht, limitations on transatlantic tonnage, and so forth. I’m not so sure of those arguments, and I suspect that there’s some post-facto justification for the Italian campaign involved. It’s not been widely acknowledged, but German ground forces in the north of France were stronger in 1944 than in 1943.

  121. YT says:

    Col. sir,
    The “concept” of starving enemy populations & depriving them of much needed medicines thru economic blockade/sanction prior to “indiscriminate” bombing is even worse.
    What do these lala-land planners hope to achieve?, that these despots would ‘give in’ upon seeing the miseries inflicted on their citoyen?, that they’d shed tears for ’em?
    We are talking about vicious despots & ruthless tyrants here, yes?
    I find these “concepts” of war (& planning) most abominable… & lacking in “result” (other than the needless & ceaseless suffering of millions).
    Just a couple days ago, I heard they’re gonna impose ‘nother round of sanctions on the norks…

  122. YT says:

    RE: “Without justice there’s only revenge, which seeds the ground for the next conflict.”
    Yes, most people have long, enduring memories with re. to wrongs/grievances inflicted upon them.
    Those poor cretins in the Middle East particularly so.
    I concur with you about the Panglossian beliefs & expectations of the occident west, they never fail to amaze me…
    I can’t recall whom it was (Walrus?, TTG?) posted ’bout the need for Assad to be Magnanimous even in victory.
    What was it Liddell Hart once wrote?,: “to look beyond the war to the subsequent peace.” [“in order to hold onto what you have to defend.”]
    Col. sir, apologies if this post appears twice. Technical glitch, perhaps?

  123. YT says:

    “Irish history is a thing for Irishmen to forget and for Englishmen to remember.”
    Brigadier-General John Hartman Morgan
    Mr. Habakkuk doesn’t count: he’s Welsh.

  124. Ulenspiegel says:

    I have read the German series “Das Dritte Reich und der Zweite Weltkrieg” that still sets the bar for the German military aspects.
    The authors do not find any dramatic impact on morale or production numbers. Quite contrary.
    Then you could check good sources on the the Kurk planning, which was not affceted by shrinking production number etc. neither I have found this argument in very serious on-line discussion between experts in this field.
    If you read other German sources, like compilation of Gestapo reports on the mood of the population in German cities, then we have the same observation as in UK earlier: people get used to air raids very fast.
    And the response of industry to air raids, too, became quite sophisticated, so the damage until 1943 was not significant.
    If you then read economic analysis of the issue by German authors, you do not get 800 pages but still very detailled insights, e.g. the air raids were often used as excuse to cover for failures in production management. 🙂
    Overall, I accept that air raids did slow down the increase of production in some fields, however, this did not affect military planning in 1943 and was very likely not the reason for the rapid detoriation of the situation on the east front in 1944.
    And the mayor issue is, when we come back to the issue of strategic bombing, that alternative strategies may have provided a much better result for the invested blood and gold.
    BTW: Tooze does not put the focus on the air raids but the general economic weakness of Germany in comparison to her enemies IIRC, i.e. he is talking about inherent strategic contradictions I do not dispute.

  125. Chris Chuba says:

    This was an interesting thread regarding the effectiveness of strategic bombing. I largely agree with Thirdeye. Just a couple of points.
    1. In 1943, weren’t are unescorted bomber missions largely unsuccessful? I even recall that we had to suspend them at the end of the year due to attrition. Some argue that it diverted the Luftwaffe from the eastern front but that would be only the fighters, not the tactical bombers. So I think some of the stats given are inflated. BTW I want to acknowledge the bravery of our bombing crews for doing this in 1943.
    2. In 1944 German industrial production increased. It was when we bombed their synthetic fuel plants that really crippled them, especially in aviation, they didn’t have enough to train their pilots adequately and limited their land movement. The big take away here is that it was the bombing of a specific, military target that was the key to success. The thing called ‘dress shop bombing’ was both unnecessary and ineffective.
    I heard a couple of references to the Battle of Kursk, when another open thread comes up I might start a discussion on that. That battle fascinates me.

  126. Ulenspiegel says:

    If you spend a few minutes with searching you would find some more of these photos with different distance between camera lens and figure and therefore slightly different background. It is obvious that the photographer took a series in order to increase the art aspect of the picture.
    I can not exclude that the posted photo was digitally modified (the contrast is much better than in other photos of the same series), however, to claim that this is a fake is more than stupid.
    There are many photos of Dresden available for which the source is well documented and they all show the same grade of destruction for Dresden.
    I have to asume that you are basically clueles how many cities looked at the end of WWII, otherwise you would not lable it as “totally blown out of proportion”. Actually, Dresden was not that bad because it was only attacked a few times. Try to get pictures of other cities, you could educate yourself a little bit.
    The only thing that was blow out of proportion was the number of victims. However, the minimum number times is still in the 25.000 range for the two days in 1945.

  127. SmoothieX12,
    ‘What this has anything to do with Corelli Barnett and strategic and operational realities of the Western Front?’
    I nowhere say it did. What I did say was that it had a good deal to do with the fact that this particular windmill has better ways of wasting his time than arguing with you.
    Actually – and not really for your benefit, but for that of any other members of this ‘committee of correspondence’ who are interested in these issues, and also in the history of Western strategies towards the Soviet Union during the Cold War and after – there are significant linkages between the Litvinenko mystery and earlier history.
    As I did not comment on these on the thread on Sir Robert Owen’s report, it may be worth doing so now, and providing some relevant links.
    If you look at my post on the report, and the discussions that followed, you will see that a figure who writes under the name ‘Viktor Suvorov’ – of whom you may perhaps be aware – had a role of some moment in the ‘information operations’ in which Litvinenko was involved.
    (See http://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2016/01/david-hakkuk-on-sir-robert-owens-inquiry.html .)
    In some quite extensive comments on a couple of threads last year, I dealt at some length on issues raised by the ‘Icebreaker’ study published by ‘Suvorov’ back in the Eighties.
    And perhaps ironically, on 2 November 2006 – the day after Litvinenko was supposedly poisoned – I went into the relevant issues in some detail, in response to a post on the ‘Washington Ex-Realist Blog’ then run by Nicholas Gvosdev which reported on a ‘National Interest’ roundtable entitled ‘Misappropriating Munich.’
    (See http://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2015/08/httpobservercom201508can-the-united-states-stop-a-war-with-russia.html ; http://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2015/08/lest-we-forget.html ; http://washingtonrealist.blogspot.co.uk/2006/11/misappropriating-munich.html .)
    The point that discussion brought out was the complex way in which readings of what happened at Munich, and the following months – and critically, the Nazi-Soviet Pact – echo on in complex ways.
    Essentially, ‘Suvorov’ – as also Robert C. Tucker, a far more substantial figure – have restated a version of an interpretation of Stalin’s policy common among the supporters of ‘appeasement’. So questions are raised as to whether that interpretation – which was I think held by MI6 at the time – is still influential in that organisation.
    It may also be of some interest that the ‘information operations’ in which Litvinenko, Scaramella, and ‘Suvorov’ collaborated drew on the – seriously misleading – reading of Soviet Cold War contingency planning for war given in the 2005 study ‘A Cardboard Castle’ edited by Vojtech Mastny and Malcolm Byrne. Both of these were then at the National Security Archive.
    (See https://www2.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB154/ .)
    For an – isolated – occasion when this dependence surfaces publicly, see a comment on the blog of Senator Paolo Guzzanti, who headed the so-called ‘Mitrokhin Commission’, from December 2007.
    (See http://www.paologuzzanti.it/?p=561 .)
    A critical point about the ‘Cardboard Castle’ study was that it represented an attempt to gloss over the extent to which the interpretations of Soviet contingency planning for war which grew out of the key NSC 68 paper of April 1950 turned out to be simply wrong. As these have been central to the shaping of ‘neoconservative’ views alike of the post-Soviet space and the Middle East, this is a matter of some moment.
    Fortunately, in 2009 the National Security Archive published the declassified 1995 study by produced by BDM Corporation for the Pentagon, whose authors, unlike Mastny and Byrne, had some grasp of military technicalities. This study made amply clear that the earlier study had simply misinterpreted critical evidence.
    (See http://nsarchive.gwu.edu/nukevault/ebb285/index.htm .)
    Despite this, however, it seems reasonably clear that ‘neoconservative’ interpretations of the Cold War, and specifically of the evolution of Soviet military strategy, continue to be predominant as in large sections of the British élite, as of the American.
    As so often, actual histories are much more complex than one looked. So, for instance, it is sometimes inadequately realised that NSC 68 was, among other things, a polemic against the ‘Douhetist’ enthusiasms then prevalent in Strategic Air Command.
    Its authors were impelled by both prudential, and moral, objections to, as it were, nuclear versions of the conceptions of Arthur Harris. And in some respects, its analysis of the implications of the coming of a bipolar nuclear world was extremely acute.
    It is however also material that Nitze, who masterminded it, had clearly never understood Kennan’s conception of Soviet policy – which was actually rooted in the view expressed by Tucker, who was a colleague of his first at the American Moscow Embassy and later at Princeton.
    Misconceptions about the past are liable to have a baleful influence on policies in the present. This is however, liable to be true on all sides. It is necessary to be able to change one’s mind in the light of new evidence, however painful the process may commonly be.

  128. SmoothieX12 says:

    It’s not been widely acknowledged, but German ground forces in the north of France were stronger in 1944 than in 1943.
    Most importantly, not until Glantz and House, and, in general, Office Of Slavic Military Studies, started to break into the main stream historiography, that Russian views, many of which do hold water, started to be circulated widely. In his famous “Why Soviet Union Thinks That It Can Fight And Win A Nuclear War” in 1977, even Richard Pipes makes a reference to Soviet High Command not being impressed with Strategic Bombing Campaign, he, of course adds immediately that it was by no means out of humanitarian reasoning. But at least he did acknowledge it. While Sledgehammer’s failure (or, rather, sabotage by British) could be explained both on purely operational merit and GB not willing to be the core of the invading force, the failure of Roundup strategic discussion in July of 1942, which, instead forced Torch on Allies, indeed, could have been, as Ike noted in his diary “the darkest day in history”. The most obnoxious argument in favor of abandoning Roundup, in my mind, became the reasoning of Casserine Pass “disaster”, which, supposedly, have shown that US Army needed more time to train. Each time I read this reasoning–I cringe.

  129. LeaNder says:

    “So, for instance, it is sometimes inadequately realised that NSC 68 was, among other things, a polemic against the ‘Douhetist’ enthusiasms then prevalent in Strategic Air Command.”
    I may have checked this before, but forget it by now:
    What this reminds me of that NATO expansionism and diverse travels and contacts in this context surfaced a long time before Ukraine swallowed up most of our attention.
    Thanks David, for the reminder. But this needs time, thus I have to save the link. I got an idea, how they may support your argument. That’s no doubt an interesting aspect. 😉
    Personally, never mind “the elites” arrogance at the time, I wouldn’t want to reduce the British interest to its colonial empire, not least since that leaves out a rather easy to understand revenge scenario post the German extortion tool: The Battle of Britain.

  130. LeaNder says:

    That looks like way to easy dot-connecting to me, Croesus. I am not aware of any kids. Or family that emigrated.
    If I choose a random search machine specifically for telephone numbers it brings up 59 different Peter Wehners. …
    I am aware of a Jewish couple from Cologne, both academics, whose last destination when they left was Moscow. Since it is an art project that only lists people that died they apparently had no chance to contact friends and relatives after the war. As academics they may have had a lesser chance to survive,then the son of a shoemaker.

  131. Thirdeye says:

    The 1943 bombing would have been successful if it was sustainable and if it as effectively targeted. The nighttime bombing was a low return enterprise for the resources dedicated to it. It could do some damage, but significant harm to Germany’s war production with area bombing required a sustained effort that was beyond the scale of the air power that was available in 1943. The daytime bombing was able to do some damage to production, but once Germany started opposing it with fighters the losses became unsustainable. The end result was that Messerschmitts kept coming out of Regensburg and ball bearings kept coming out of Schweinfurt with barely a hiccup. The daytime bombing was also not carried out on the scale that it was in 1944-45 and the later campaign was more effectively targeted. The Germans definitely missed their fighters on the eastern front.

  132. turcopolier says:

    When I was a new major I heard a USAF four star (ho– something was his name) say that the Normandy invasion was unnecessary, because the German would have surrendered because of strategic bombing without it. The Joint audience laughed. pl

  133. Ulenspiegel says:

    “In 1944 German industrial production increased. It was when we bombed their synthetic fuel plants that really crippled them, especially in aviation, they didn’t have enough to train their pilots adequately and limited their land movement. The big take away here is that it was the bombing of a specific, military target that was the key to success. ”
    The issue was not fuel. That is an argument that was made after the war. Internal investigations by Galland in 1944 pointed to different reasons for the declining quality of fighter German pilots: The number of front line fighters (planes) in training units was insufficient. When new German pilots in 1944 flew their first sorties they had only a few hours in the real fighters, their enemies 4-6 times more.
    (It was like having driving lessons in a VW Golf diesel car, then you sit in a Formula 1 car and you have to drive against guys who spent much more tim in this car, if you lose you are executed.)
    Until 1943 the front line fighter units could compensate for this issue, which had persisted in the German training units since 1939, by additional training, this was not longer possible in 1944.

  134. Chris Chuba says:

    “The most obnoxious argument in favor of abandoning Roundup, in my mind, became the reasoning of Casserine Pass “disaster”, which, supposedly, have shown that US Army needed more time to train. Each time I read this reasoning–I cringe.”
    Why does this make you cringe Smoothie? Think about it. The threat of invasion forced the Germans to dedicate at least 20% of their land forces for defense in the west, perhaps even up to 25%. If we landed in western Europe too early and got wiped out then the Germans would be able to immediately transfer a larger number of ground troops to the eastern front. Was it even important for us to land at Normandy or was that an irresponsible risk? A mere 8,000 good quality troops at Omaha were able to ties us down for a day and inflict casualties. If the Germans had better placement of their infantry maybe our invasion would have been a failure and the only way to permanently protect Western Europe would be to garrison it with at least 300,000+ good combat troops.
    In this one case, I actually think the Russians whine a bit too much. Yes, we didn’t land in Europe until June 1944 but the threat of invasion drew off both combat troops and Panzer divisions.
    The Casserine Pass revealed quite a few things, not so much troop training but about our organization and equipment. Our 1942 Bazooka was worthless and we realized just how badl our 75mm gun on the Sherman really was.

  135. SmoothieX12 says:

    The Casserine Pass revealed quite a few things, not so much troop training but about our organization and equipment. Our 1942 Bazooka was worthless and we realized just how badl our 75mm gun on the Sherman really was.
    Yet, Shermans manged to fight even at Kursk, after all, same Kursk was fought mostly by T-34s with 76-mm guns. Moreover, large resources were allocated to fight in Italy, which had very little real strategic meaning in the overall picture of the European struggle.
    In this one case, I actually think the Russians whine a bit too much. Yes, we didn’t land in Europe until June 1944 but the threat of invasion drew off both combat troops and Panzer divisions.
    Yes, it is known fact that Sicily (Husky) happened during Kursk battle and it played some role in Hitler abandoning Zitadelle, but, as Glantz and House state, still the battle “reached a crescendo” precisely in that time. So, if Russians “whined a bit too much”, the Tehran Conference somehow missed it. In fact, Tehran was largely precipitated by Kursk.

  136. Thirdeye says:

    Diepppe, Tobruk, or even El Alamein could have been the same fodder for the Roundup argument that Casserine Pass was. But for some reason they weren’t.

  137. Thirdeye says:

    The T-34’s 76-mm gun fired at a much higher velocity than the Sherman’s 75-mm gun. American tank doctrine at the time the Sherman was developed left engagement of enemy tanks to tank destroyers with a more powerful gun than on the Shermans.
    I suspect that there was some major buyer’s remorse over the Italian campaign by the time the Tehran Conference rolled around. Churchill had envisioned a drive through Italy and northern Yugoslavia into the rear of the Axis forces facing the Soviets, projecting British power into eastern Europe. Instead, the Anglo-American forces were stalled at the Gustav Line and the Rapido, and the Soviet Army was rolling through the Ukraine. With that situation, one major strategic objective of the Italian campaign – pre-empting expansion of Soviet influence in eastern Europe – was negated. Right up to the last days of the ETO, Churchill was looking for ways to overcome that situation. Ironically, the strategy designed to pre-empt Soviet influence left the Soviets in a stronger position than they would have been had the alternative strategy been successfully adopted in 1943.

  138. Chris Chuba says:

    Regarding Russian whining, I am referring to post war criticism of U.S. efforts. In general, I believe that the Russians have a good understanding of WW2 as compared to Americans. I cannot back this assertion up with facts, just by a lifetime of watching U.S. made documentaries and comparing them to the few Russian made ones I have seen. I also have read numerous message board commentaries by Americans vs. a handful of Russians.
    The Russian criticism seems to be that we sat on our hands and didn’t get into the fight until 1944 when the outcome of the war was pretty much determined. My point is that the threat of U.S. invasion was pinning down German troops in Western Europe as early as 1942 and certainly by 1943.
    At Kursk, I don’t think there were any up gunned 76mm Sherman’s as we only started making them in 1944 and we only produced a total of 10,000 of them. I don’t know how many Shermans had at Kursk but it must have been a very small number. At Kursk, they made due with what they had. The majority of their tanks were the first model T34 which by then was outclassed by the German armor being fielded in that battle. To make things worse, about 30% of their tanks were T70’s with the 45mm gun. The Sherman’s 76mm gun was actually very good and was comparable to the T34/85 which was a significant improvement on the original T34 but was not introduced until 1944. At Kursk the Russians had a huge concentration of artillery, field guns, land mines, and tactical bombers with new mini-PTAB bomblets and they needed all of it; heck of a battle. Personally, I think the landing at Sicily had very little to do with their victory.

  139. Chris Chuba says:

    Amir, thanks for the links.
    I don’t trust the first one because it has some of the ‘London Observatory’ catch phrases, barrel bombs and bakeries. This may sound terrible but if I hear ‘bakery’ bombing I just discount the story. I mean how is a guy in a helicopter or Jet going to be able to consistently be able to spot and hit a bakery.
    Now regarding your second link, much more interesting. I like how they break down the deaths by demographic category and seems a bit more plausible. If 77k civilians have died and 57k were men, I wonder how many of those men may have actually been armed rebels. I do wonder what the circumstances were regarding ‘executions’, especially since they claim that 127 children died in this manner as well as 14k men. I suppose that some of these deaths in opposition areas were perpetuated by non-govt entities like ISIS and other rebels.

  140. YT says:

    I thank you for your Foresight…

  141. When did the P-51 become fully operational in Western Europe in WWII?
    Am I correct that the Norden Bombsight in studies of effects of strategic bombing post WWII was concluded as largely inaccurate for a number of reasons?

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