One of the things I enjoy about being a Whiteguy is that Whiteguy leadership is so fucking brain dead that it makes me look like a total genius, even when I’m stoned out of my mind.
Case in point: Israel’s campaign against Hamas in Gaza. Their rationale for their extensive use of aerial bombing, and their doctrine of collective punishment of the Palestinians, is to so break their morale that they will rise up and drive Hamas out of Gaza.
Been there; done that; got the flak jacket!
I’m going to run some history by you, Big Guy, so try to stay awake.
In 1921, an obscure Italian army officer, Giulio Douhet, published a book, The Command of the Air. Whiteguy military commanders ate it up.
Douhet was a proponent of massive aerial bombing, not of an enemy’s military targets, but of its civilian population. He referred to this as “the morale effects of bombing”. His argument was that extensive aerial bombardments would break civilian morale and cause the enemy’s traumatized citizens to rise up against the leaders and either force them to surrender or to turn them out of office.
There was only one problem: it didn’t work.
Fast forward to World War II. Great Britain’s Air Marshal Arthur “Mad Bomber” Harris not only bought into Douhet’s doctrine, but set out to prove it. For four years RAF bombers flew nightly missions in which they torched German cities, but the German’s never rose up against their leaders.
Besides, as a New Yorker article pointed out many years ago, military and political leaders always have the deepest bunkers.
One of the great things about Whiteguy leaders is that the more bankrupt a theory is, the greater the tenacity with which they cling to it. (And don’t go throwing Hiroshima at me! The Japanese had offered to surrender before we nuked them.)
So it was that we tried to apply Douhet’s doctrine in Vietnam where we subjected Hanoi to constant aerial bombardment. What we discovered is that this doesn’t break a people’s will; it only pisses them off, royally.
So, whenever I open the paper and read of Israel’s aerial bombardment of Gaza, I feel like I’m a Wellington or a Napoleon, and I thank them for allowing me to feel like I know what I’m doing.
Friday, January 2, 2009
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