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:
- whether if this were the U.S. military, would there be what looks like indiscriminate bombing?
- would the interviewees in the story be so eager to have had the U.S. fight their war rather than the Russians?
- are there U.S. political and military strategists relieved to have the R+6 doing what the U.S. can not or would not?
- 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 – 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.