Saturday, August 06, 2005

Beating a live horse

Okay, I've carped about this before, but on the sixtieth anniversary of the atom bombing of Hiroshima, it seems appropriate to reiterate a point about "terrorism."

The IRA, the German Baader Meinhof group, the Weather Underground, Osama bin Laden--these were hardly the first to use the death of civilians as a military/political tool. In just the last century -- not to mention the use of plague and disease as a weapon in previous times -- both the Allies and the Axis powers were "terrorists," as that term's being used now. The Nazis employed rockets, the V-1 and V-2, that were specifically designed to kill and frighten civilian Londoners to affect Britain's resolve to fight. We bombed Dresden, Tokyo and other cities that had no strategic value, precisely to break the will of our enemies to resist, and then, of course, there's Hiroshima and Nagasaki, cities without any military defense and no military value. We did so without warning, without at least trying to deploy the bomb on an unpopulated target to persuade the Japanese to cease fighting. We killed more civilians in our bombing of defenseless cities in 1944-45 than bin Laden can imagine.

Terrorism sucks, no doubt. But let's not forget its history.

No comments: