Aerial bombing from World War I to Iraq


From London daily The Morning Star:

Terror from on high

(Sunday 01 October 2006)

Strategic Terror: The Politics and Ethics of Aerial Bombardment by Beau Grosscup
(Zed Books, £15.99)

GEOFF SIMONS navigates his way through this compact history of aerial bombardment from the 20th century to the present day.

THIS is an ambitious attempt to chart the politics of strategic bombing from the start of the 20th century to the present day.

Since the text is less than 200 pages, the wars are handled with perfunctory haste and related topics such as race, class, gender and language are not granted much space.

Grosscup gives us many useful items, but he is occasionally careless.

He begins by dealing with the 2003 invasion of Iraq, before looping back into history.

It is interesting to learn that the British Admiralty ordered its first large bomber just 11 years after the Wright brothers’ 1903 flight.

The plane had a top speed of 72 miles per hour and carried six bombs.

Grosscup quotes Basil Liddell Hart, the British strategist who urged the dropping of gas bombs on cities, but he fails to mention the famous quotation from Winston Churchill in connection with the bombing of Iraqis and Kurds in the 1920s.

I am strongly in favour of using poisoned gas against uncivilised tribes.”

It is useful to be reminded of the gross prejudice that has always permeated the propaganda of powerful states – talking of African “niggers,” Korean “gooks,” Japanese “yellow monkeys” etc – of the patriarchal misogyny of warmongers and of how Establishment strategists have always been keen to bomb population centres.

One of the main merits of the book is the clear documentation of how civilians, mostly working people, have always been targeted.

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2 thoughts on “Aerial bombing from World War I to Iraq

  1. Pingback: German anti war artist Käthe Kollwitz | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  2. Pingback: To Be AwareKäthe Kollwitz, German anti war artist

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