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Tags war crime charges , winston churchill , World War II history

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Old 16th April 2016, 10:43 AM   #361
Craig B
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Originally Posted by Corsair 115 View Post
And you STILL cannot argue rationally or with evidence. This is a skeptic's forum; evidence and reason are the key focus. When you bring either of these to your arguments I'll listen.
Thank you.
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Old 16th April 2016, 10:53 AM   #362
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Originally Posted by Craig B View Post
Thank you.

Your moral indignation does not in itself constitute a rational or evidence-based argument. Will evidence and a reasoned argument using it be forthcoming to support your position? Because that's the currency in use round here (at least, it's supposed to be).
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Old 18th April 2016, 02:27 AM   #363
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Originally Posted by bignickel View Post
Hans, just trying to nail down what you specifically consider as atrocities:
1. Bombing of munitions factories
2. Bombing of munitions factories which contain workers.
3. Bombing of munitions factories which contain citizens who work, the houses that house them, the farms that feed them, etc.
4. Bombing of any citizens, no matter what they do.
It's much more simple than that, and really, it's clear enough in the international conventions I've been citing all along. The short and skinny is that you should target the valid military targets and at least try to minimize the non-combatant casualties, in as much as feasible.

You are NOT required to refrain from bombing a valid military target just because you might cause collateral damage, or at least not if it's proportional to the value of the target. So if some folks were inside, or you hit a house across the road, well, tough luck for them.

But you are not allowed to intentionally target non-combatants, nor use a military target as an excuse to just do the "collateral" damage. If the "collateral" damage is far out of whack compared to the actual advantage of bombing the target, then you should rethink it basically.

I will refer you to Protocol I to the 1949 Geneva Convention, especially to articles 51 and 57, and to Protocol II which specifically prohibits acts and threats whose primary purpose is "to spread terror among the civilian population." Also to the fact that directly targeting the civilians can NOT be claimed to be collateral damage, according to the current conventions.
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Old 18th April 2016, 05:09 AM   #364
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
It's much more simple than that, and really, it's clear enough in the international conventions I've been citing all along. The short and skinny is that you should target the valid military targets and at least try to minimize the non-combatant casualties, in as much as feasible.
True. And with the technology available at the time, the bombing carried out in WWII generally conformed to this standard.

Quote:
You are NOT required to refrain from bombing a valid military target just because you might cause collateral damage, or at least not if it's proportional to the value of the target. So if some folks were inside, or you hit a house across the road, well, tough luck for them.
That level of precision was not available in WWII. Quite often we're looking at "Some folks were within 5 miles of the intended target, tough luck for them."

Quote:
But you are not allowed to intentionally target non-combatants, nor use a military target as an excuse to just do the "collateral" damage. If the "collateral" damage is far out of whack compared to the actual advantage of bombing the target, then you should rethink it basically.
Again, military tech was not precision at that time.

Quote:
I will refer you to Protocol I to the 1949 Geneva Convention, especially to articles 51 and 57, and to Protocol II which specifically prohibits acts and threats whose primary purpose is "to spread terror among the civilian population." Also to the fact that directly targeting the civilians can NOT be claimed to be collateral damage, according to the current conventions.
Laws that come into force 4 years after an event should not be used to determine if someone is a "warcriminal". The Post WWII trials did not try either Luftwaffe or Japanese Military commanders for the prosecution of high-level bombing for instance.

Philosophically looking at how a war was prosecuted and determining that, yes we would now consider this to be a war crime can be useful. However, when doing so you do need to look at the context of the time - could it have been done differently to achieve the same ends? Based one that question - I would say that no, the reduction of Germany's industrial capacity to a point where they could not supply the war machine necessary to prosecute the war effectively could not have been done differently.
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Old 18th April 2016, 05:25 AM   #365
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Well, you'd think that it would be clear by now -- what with my saying it on pretty much every page by now -- that no, I don't think that Harris and Curchill are war criminals. Precisely because, as you say, the 1949 Geneva Convention hadn't happened yet.

I merely consider them, you know, dicks.
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Old 18th April 2016, 10:50 AM   #366
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
Well, you'd think that it would be clear by now -- what with my saying it on pretty much every page by now -- that no, I don't think that Harris and Curchill are war criminals. Precisely because, as you say, the 1949 Geneva Convention hadn't happened yet.

I merely consider them, you know, dicks.
Was it a "dick move" or simply the best of bad options?
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Old 18th April 2016, 05:14 PM   #367
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Originally Posted by Border Reiver View Post
Laws that come into force 4 years after an event should not be used to determine if someone is a "warcriminal". The Post WWII trials did not try either Luftwaffe or Japanese Military commanders for the prosecution of high-level bombing for instance.

Interestingly,Dönitz was tried for war crimes, in part due to the way the Kriegsmarine prosecuted the submarine offensive. That in spite of U.S. commanders noting that the USN conducted unrestricted submarine warfare against the Japanese in the Pacific (and did so much more effectively—and often harshly—than the U-boats managed).


Originally Posted by Border Reiver View Post
However, when doing so you do need to look at the context of the time - could it have been done differently to achieve the same ends? Based one that question - I would say that no, the reduction of Germany's industrial capacity to a point where they could not supply the war machine necessary to prosecute the war effectively could not have been done differently.

It could have, but it would have required some commanders with keen insight to see what was and was not working, and react to that promptly. Oil and transportation could have been targetted earlier for example, and the electrical supply could have been put onto the target list. But that knowledge has the benefit of hindsight, and it would have required a rather visionary and forceful commander indeed to have pursued that at the time.
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Old 18th April 2016, 11:20 PM   #368
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Originally Posted by Border Reiver View Post
Was it a "dick move" or simply the best of bad options?
Can we compromise and call it the best of dick moves?
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Old 18th April 2016, 11:42 PM   #369
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
I will refer you to Protocol I to the 1949 Geneva Convention, especially to articles 51 and 57, and to Protocol II which specifically prohibits acts and threats whose primary purpose is "to spread terror among the civilian population." Also to the fact that directly targeting the civilians can NOT be claimed to be collateral damage, according to the current conventions.
For the sake of clarity - these Protocols were agreed in 1977, not 1949. They can be read as outlawing the use of nuclear weapons because of their indiscriminate nature. They do not only cover bombing/shelling but also acts by an occupying power.

Article 51
Quote:
Article 51 -- Protection of the civilian population

1. The civilian population and individual civilians shall enjoy general protection against dangers arising from military operations. To give effect to this protection, the following rules, which are additional to other applicable rules of international law, shall be observed in all circumstances.

2. The civilian population as such, as well as individual civilians, shall not be the object of attack. Acts or threats of violence the primary purpose of which is to spread terror among the civilian population are prohibited.

3. Civilians shall enjoy the protection afforded by this Section, unless and for such time as they take a direct part in hostilities.

4. Indiscriminate attacks are prohibited. Indiscriminate attacks are:

(a) those which are not directed at a specific military objective;

(b) those which employ a method or means of combat which cannot be directed at a specific military objective; or

(c) those which employ a method or means of combat the effects of which cannot be limited as required by this Protocol; and consequently, in each such case, are of a nature to strike military objectives and civilians or civilian objects without distinction.

5. Among others, the following types of attacks are to be considered as indiscriminate:

(a) an attack by bombardment by any methods or means which treats as a single military objective a number of clearly separated and distinct military objectives located in a city, town, village or other area containing a similar concentration of civilians or civilian objects; and

(b) an attack which may be expected to cause incidental loss of civilian life, injury to civilians, damage to civilian objects, or a combination thereof, which would be excessive in relation to the concrete and direct military advantage anticipated.

6. Attacks against the civilian population or civilians by way of reprisals are prohibited.

7. The presence or movements of the civilian population or individual civilians shall not be used to render certain points or areas immune from military operations, in particular in attempts to shield military objectives from attacks or to shield, favour or impede military operations. The Parties to the conflict shall not direct the movement of the civilian population or individual civilians in order to attempt to shield military objectives from attacks or to shield military operations.

8. Any violation of these prohibitions shall not release the Parties to the conflict from their legal obligations with respect to the civilian population and civilians, including the obligation to take the precautionary measures provided for in Article 57
Article 57

Quote:
Article 57 -- Precautions in attack

1. In the conduct of military operations, constant care shall be taken to spare the civilian population, civilians and civilian objects.

2. With respect to attacks, the following precautions shall be taken:

(a) those who plan or decide upon an attack shall:

(i) do everything feasible to verify that the objectives to be attacked are neither civilians nor civilian objects and are not subject to special protection but are military objectives within the meaning of paragraph 2 of Article 52 [ Link ] and that it is not prohibited by the provisions of this Protocol to attack them;

(ii) take all feasible precautions in the choice of means and methods of attack with a view to avoiding, and in any event to minimizing, incidental loss of civilian life, injury to civilians and damage to civilian objects;

(iii) refrain from deciding to launch any attack which may be expected to cause incidental loss of civilian life, injury to civilians, damage to civilian objects, or a combination thereof, which would be excessive in relation to the concrete and direct military advantage anticipated;

(b) an attack shall be cancelled or suspended if it becomes apparent that the objective is not a military one or is subject to special protection or that the attack may be expected to cause incidental loss of civilian life, injury to civilians, damage to civilian objects, or a combination thereof, which would be excessive in relation to the concrete and direct military advantage anticipated;

(c) effective advance warning shall be given of attacks which may affect the civilian population, unless circumstances do not permit.

3. When a choice is possible between several military objectives for obtaining a similar military advantage, the objective to be selected shall be that the attack on which may be expected to cause the least danger to civilian lives and to civilian objects.

4. In the conduct of military operations at sea or in the air, each Party to the conflict shall, in conformity with its rights and duties under the rules of international law applicable in armed conflict, take all reasonable precautions to avoid losses of civilian lives and damage to civilian objects.

5. No provision of this Article may be construed as authorizing any attacks against the civilian population, civilians or civilian objects.
With the right lawyer (and ignoring Bomber Harris' comments about the aim of the bombing) there is an arguable case that WW2 bombing would still be legal under these protocols.
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Old 19th April 2016, 12:47 AM   #370
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Originally Posted by angrysoba View Post
. Why did the Americans begin with precision daytime bombing?
They were afraid to fly in the dark? They had to justify spending the money they wasted on the Norden bombsight?
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Old 19th April 2016, 04:28 AM   #371
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Originally Posted by Aber View Post
For the sake of clarity - these Protocols were agreed in 1977, not 1949. They can be read as outlawing the use of nuclear weapons because of their indiscriminate nature. They do not only cover bombing/shelling but also acts by an occupying power.
I think I said somewhere on page 5 that the protocols are from 1977, but indeed, they are. The 1949 was merely supposed to specify which Geneva convention they're protocols to. Sorry if it misled anyone.

Originally Posted by Aber View Post
With the right lawyer (and ignoring Bomber Harris' comments about the aim of the bombing) there is an arguable case that WW2 bombing would still be legal under these protocols.
Well, I suppose that with a very good lawyer you can even get away with murder. OJ did, after all.

Still, I think said lawyer would have an uphill battle establishing reasonable doubt that maybe Harris had no bloody idea for several years straight that he's bombing civilian houses instead of factories, and with a bomb mix tuned for civilian houses rather than factories. Because, see 57.2.b., once it becomes apparent that you're doing something wrong, you're supposed to stop, not just keep doing it.

Mind you, I'm not saying it would be absolutely impossible for a lawyer to pull that stunt if he's REALLY good. Just that it wouldn't be easy.
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Old 19th April 2016, 05:55 AM   #372
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
Can we compromise and call it the best of dick moves? ; )
Probably not. In my opinion, discussing the Allied response to Nazi aggression in terms of dickery profoundly misrepresents the moral and ethical challenges they faced, and makes unwarranted a priori assumptions about their motivation and decision-making process.

Your insistence on it seems at best an insurmountable difference of opinion, and at worst a gesture of bad faith. Either way, for me there can be no compromise. Either you give it up, or you make a convincing argument for it, or you are simply wrong as far as I am concerned.
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Old 19th April 2016, 06:08 AM   #373
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Probably not. In my opinion, discussing the Allied response to Nazi aggression in terms of dickery profoundly misrepresents the moral and ethical challenges they faced, and makes unwarranted a priori assumptions about their motivation and decision-making process.

Your insistence on it seems at best an insurmountable difference of opinion, and at worst a gesture of bad faith. Either way, for me there can be no compromise. Either you give it up, or you make a convincing argument for it, or you are simply wrong as far as I am concerned.
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Old 19th April 2016, 06:32 AM   #374
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Originally Posted by Corsair 115 View Post
Who was it who worked in the armaments factories building the ships, tanks, artillery, rifles, bullets, bombs, torpedoes, submarines, and aircraft? The civilian. Who was it who worked in the steel mills producing the steel to make all those weapons? The civilian. Who was it who grew the food that fed the military? The civilian. Who was it who mined the coal which powered the railways and factories? The civilian. Who was it who ran the trains which moved the raw resources to the factories, and the end products from the factories to the military? The civilian. Who was it who worked in the chemical factories, electrical plants, oil refineries, electronics manufacturers, and the multitude of factories large and small which built the myriad of vital subcomponents without which military arms could not function? The civilian. From whose ranks were replacement soldiers, sailors, submariners, and airmen drawn? The civilian.

The civilian was absolutely indispensable to the war effort. No civilians, no economy; no economy, no military; no military, no war.
THIS is what the revisionists and apologists for the Axis almost always fail to take into account.
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Old 19th April 2016, 06:55 AM   #375
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Probably not. In my opinion, discussing the Allied response to Nazi aggression in terms of dickery profoundly misrepresents the moral and ethical challenges they faced, and makes unwarranted a priori assumptions about their motivation and decision-making process.

Your insistence on it seems at best an insurmountable difference of opinion, and at worst a gesture of bad faith. Either way, for me there can be no compromise. Either you give it up, or you make a convincing argument for it, or you are simply wrong as far as I am concerned.
I will draw your attention to protocol I, article 51.8. "Any violation of these prohibitions shall not release the Parties to the conflict from their legal obligations with respect to the civilian population and civilians, including the obligation to take the precautionary measures provided for in Article 57"

In other words, "he started it" is not considered an excuse. And frankly, it wasn't an excuse even in kindergarten, so I'm not sure why some people think it should be an excuse in international relations.

That said, nobody is forcing you to take part in the discussion, if you've run out of argument. Stomping out while proclaiming that the other party is wrong is, after all, a staple of internet discussions. But you don't get to put conditions. Sorry.
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Old 19th April 2016, 07:27 AM   #376
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Originally Posted by smartcooky View Post
THIS is what the revisionists and apologists for the Axis almost always fail to take into account.
No, it's what's just a non-argument, really. And it's not as much failing to take it into account, and more like it just not being more an argument worth addressing than Comfort's banana-shape argument for god.

Thing is, something working or even being efficient or expedient is NOT what determines whether it is legal or moral.

After all, raping a bunch of women would probably be THE most efficient way to spread my genes, but it working and being efficient doesn't make it moral or legal. Robbing a bank or taking some hostages sure is the most efficient way to make some money -- in fact, almost no other job offers nearly as much pay per hour -- but that doesn't make it legal or moral.

Or in the context of WW2, confiscating the wealth of Jews and using slave labour was hella effective at paying for the war AND boosting the industrial output. But, repeat after me, it being effective doesn't make it morally right.

So when an argument revolves around the morality of WW2, then please try to explain without the special pleading fallacy, why only THERE one should bow to the broken argument that effective is moral.
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Old 19th April 2016, 08:05 AM   #377
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post

In other words, "he started it" is not considered an excuse. And frankly, it wasn't an excuse even in kindergarten, so I'm not sure why some people think it should be an excuse in international relations.
It’s hardly a case of who started it. It was a choice between a totalitarian genocidal Europe, or a democratic peaceful Europe. The ends justified means that would have been considered abhorrent when facing less existential threats.

You appear to be looking at our delicious European omelet and naively wishing that it could have been made without any eggs being broken. Unfortunately, you haven’t suggested anyway that could have happened.
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Old 19th April 2016, 08:30 AM   #378
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By that broken logic, you can't criticize Pedro Lopez unless you can show that you could have as much sex without raping.

But actually even going by your logic, the argument has been made again and again. Your refusing to parse it doesn't mean it doesn't exist.

The fact is that just about every single claimed benefit of bombing the cities falls into two categories:

- stuff that would have happened no matter WHAT was being bombed, and

- stuff that happened BECAUSE something else than civilian houses was bombed

E.g., the grounding of the Luftwaffe didn't happen because of scaring away civilians, but because someone bombed the refineries and oil reserves.

E.g., the attrition in the air happened happened more because of attacking the USAF day bombing formations and their escorts, than because of Harris's taking it out on civilians. And would have happened no matter WHERE those bomber formations were going. There's nothing magical about bombing civilians there.

E.g., forcing Germany to divert resources to produce FLAK would have happened just the same, no matter where the bombers were going, as long as it's spread over the territory.

And at that, we can add the categories:

- oportunities missed because some dumbass had a hard-on about going after civilians instead of more valuable targets. E.g., bombing to prevent rebuilding the dams after operation Chastise would have made a bigger difference than going after civilian houses while letting the Germans rebuild in 10 days flat.

- stuff that REALLY influenced the war outcome and had absolutely nothing to do with bombing civilians. E.g., if we're talking about decimating the Luftwaffe, what REALLY made a difference was Mark II gyro gunsight, first on British fighters and then, assisted by radar too, on Lancaster bombers too.
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Old 19th April 2016, 08:35 AM   #379
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I put in the reminder on dates as some other posters hadn't picked up on the date, you did make it clear earlier; the 1949 conventions mostly focussed on the effect on civilians of occupations, the more general ones were added later in 1977.

Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
Still, I think said lawyer would have an uphill battle establishing reasonable doubt that maybe Harris had no bloody idea for several years straight that he's bombing civilian houses instead of factories, and with a bomb mix tuned for civilian houses rather than factories. Because, see 57.2.b., once it becomes apparent that you're doing something wrong, you're supposed to stop, not just keep doing it.
57.2 b

Quote:
(b) an attack shall be cancelled or suspended if it becomes apparent that the objective is not a military one or is subject to special protection or that the attack may be expected to cause incidental loss of civilian life, injury to civilians, damage to civilian objects, or a combination thereof, which would be excessive in relation to the concrete and direct military advantage anticipated;
You stop when the expected damage becomes excessive compared to the direct military advantage expected. Lawyers would love this because there are so many get out clauses:

Expected damage to civilians - past performance was poor, but this time we'll get it right and hit only the factory. It's not our fault that fires in the factories got out of control.
Excessive - a standard of 1 civilian vs 1 of our soldiers seems reasonable. Of course we consider members of the opposing armed forces (as we define them) not to be civilians, and any property used by the opposing armed forces not to be civilian objects.
Military advantage anticipated - We expect that hitting the factory will stop tank production for 3 months, saving 10,000 lives and shortening the war by a week.

It's not necessarily a good case, but it is certainly an arguable one especially as the protocol focuses on the anticipated outcome, not the actual results.
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Old 19th April 2016, 08:45 AM   #380
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
By that broken logic, you can't criticize Pedro Lopez unless you can show that you could have as much sex without raping.

.
This is just showing your moral blindness. Saving Europe from Nazi domination is not comparable to Pedro Lopez inflicting rape and murder for personal gratification. But that seems to be your shtick: "Pedro Lopez, Winston Churchill, Adolf Hitler; all dicks".

Thank goodness you weren't in charge of the USA or UK in WW2. Your 'morality' would have let the world become a far worse place.
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Old 19th April 2016, 08:48 AM   #381
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@Aber
Well, that is assuming that nobody asks exactly what orders did the actual units get. Because as soon as it becomes evident that the target, as far as the pilots were told, was the city and not a specific factory, that becomes a war crime. Even going, "but there were some factories in that city too" is at the very least a violation of protocol I, 51.5.a.

But as I was saying, I'm not flat out excluding that a good lawyer could argue the case. Just saying that they'd have the work cut out for them.
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Old 19th April 2016, 08:54 AM   #382
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Originally Posted by Giz View Post
This is just showing your moral blindness. Saving Europe from Nazi domination is not comparable to Pedro Lopez inflicting rape and murder for personal gratification. But that seems to be your shtick: "Pedro Lopez, Winston Churchill, Adolf Hitler; all dicks".

Thank goodness you weren't in charge of the USA or UK in WW2. Your 'morality' would have let the world become a far worse place.
So, basically again you ignore the argument about the actual war impact, and pretend that it didn't exist, so you can cut straight to the browbeating? Well, why am I not surprised? It's almost as if I never expected you to actually have an argument except the moral indignation card
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Old 19th April 2016, 09:01 AM   #383
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
Can we compromise and call it the best of dick moves?
No.

A dick move is to for a burglar to sue the homeowner when he injures himself robbing the place for creating an attractive nuisance and then negligently failing to take steps to make the environment safe.

A dick move is starting a fight, then suing because the other guy hurt your knuckles with his cheekbones.

It is not a dick move to punch the guy who attacked you in the nards.
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Old 19th April 2016, 09:18 AM   #384
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
So, basically again you ignore the argument about the actual war impact, and pretend that it didn't exist, so you can cut straight to the browbeating? Well, why am I not surprised? It's almost as if I never expected you to actually have an argument except the moral indignation card
The actual war impact has been addressed but here's another go:

Part 1 - Goals matter (aka sometimes the ends justify the means)

- It's generally wrong to shoot people
- It's specifically wrong for Pedro Lopez to shoot people in furtherance of his crimes
- It's specifically OK for a cop to shoot Pedro Lopez in order to stop him committing a crime

Therefore, shooting people is:
a) effective
b) the morality is dependent on your goals


Part 2 - Enemy Territory versus Friendly Territory
- From the Hague convention of 1907 (so actually in force at the time of the bombing):
---------------------
Art. 42.
Territory is considered occupied when it is actually placed under the authority of the hostile army.
The occupation extends only to the territory where such authority has been established and can be exercised.

Art. 43.
The authority of the legitimate power having in fact passed into the hands of the occupant, the latter shall take all the measures in his power to restore, and ensure, as far as possible, public order and safety, while respecting, unless absolutely prevented, the laws in force in the country.
---------------------

Note how the areas bombed by Bomber Command were not " territory where such authority has been established and can be exercised.", while the atrocities committed by the SS were "territory where such authority has been established and can be exercised."
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Old 19th April 2016, 09:25 AM   #385
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Originally Posted by Corsair 115 View Post
> Results were poor until LeMay took the bold step to radically change tactics—he ordered the B-29s stripped of their defensive armament so they could carry a heavier bomb load and had them fly in at low altitude at night. The bomber crews thought the idea was nuts. It could have been a disaster. But as it happened the Japanese weren't ready for it (and their aerial night-fighting capabilities were poor in any case).
Apologies for not responding earlier. Can't this be taken as a suggestion that US bombing strategy as carried out over Europe would not have been effective in isolation?
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Old 19th April 2016, 10:12 AM   #386
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
Still, I think said lawyer would have an uphill battle establishing reasonable doubt that maybe Harris had no bloody idea for several years straight that he's bombing civilian houses instead of factories, and with a bomb mix tuned for civilian houses rather than factories.

No, it was a bomb mix designed to spread fire, with fire being a rather effective way of destroying buildings. One can destroy a factory building with fire just as much as one can destroy any other sort of building.



Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
No, it's what's just a non-argument, really.

And yet you have not in any way refuted the elements in my statement, nor provided any sort of evidence that my statement is not an accurate assessment of the industrial state of war as it existed in WWII. You are simply asserting the points don't apply.


Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
The fact is that just about every single claimed benefit of bombing the cities falls into two categories ...

You keep saying 'cities' as if cities at the time contained residential buildings and nothing else. You conveniently ignore how cities were physically quite different at the time, with firms large and small producing items for the war effort. Production was not all concentrated into massive factory complexes outside the city limits. (This point was especially true for Japanese cities.)


Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
E.g., the grounding of the Luftwaffe didn't happen because of scaring away civilians, but because someone bombed the refineries and oil reserves.

I've gone over this already in some detail. How many times must I repeat myself? The daytime and nighttime Luftwaffe were different. You appear to be stating things as if it is all a simple relationship, when in fact things were considerably more complicated and interconnected.


Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
E.g., the attrition in the air happened happened more because of attacking the USAF day bombing formations and their escorts, than because of Harris's taking it out on civilians.

The daytime Luftwaffe. Why do you ignore the nighttime Luftwaffe? It is not the same thing. Fighting in daylight was completely different from fighting at night. Daytime pilots couldn't be used at night; they had no training at all for it, and night-fighting techniques were very different. Daylight interceptions were in force, with multiple aircraft attacking a bomber formation at once, preferably in a head-on attack. Nighttime interceptions had aircraft working singly, tracking targets mostly by radar, attempting to sneak up on an unsuspecting bomber in the bomber stream in the dark. (The Schräge Musik cannon installation proved particularly effective in this regard, allowing German night-fighters to attack RAF bombers from the latter's blind spot.)

On occasion night-fighter crews were ordered up during a large daylight bombing raid, but this generally resulted in heavy losses among those crews, as they were not trained for daylight interceptions, and their aircraft were hampered by radar aerials and flame dampeners which decreased their performance.

In December of 1944 some 20% of the Luftwaffe's fighter strength was night-fighters.


Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
And would have happened no matter WHERE those bomber formations were going. There's nothing magical about bombing civilians there.

Pinning a good portion of the Luftwaffe's fighter strength in nighttime operations means those aircraft and crews are not trained for used in daylight operations. (And that's just one element to consider.)


Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
E.g., forcing Germany to divert resources to produce FLAK would have happened just the same, no matter where the bombers were going, as long as it's spread over the territory.

Can you explain how that would not have happened had there been no bombing offensive? If there are no bomber fleets overhead it seems quite reasonable to conclude all those excellent dual-purpose artillery pieces would not have been located around German cities pointed skyward.


Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
E.g., bombing to prevent rebuilding the dams after operation Chastise would have made a bigger difference than going after civilian houses while letting the Germans rebuild in 10 days flat.

That's part of the bomb damage assessment issue that persisted throughout much of the war. Reconnaissance photos often showed what looked like extensive damage, yet on the ground it was not actually that bad. It took some time for the air forces to learn that hitting a target once did not necessarily mean it was out of action for an extended time. Targets often had to be hit repeatedly to knock them out and keep them out.

Part of the problem with the raid itself was intelligence—one of the dams attacked wasn't actually as important as thought, but that dam unfortunately got much of the attention from the bombers that night.

Consider too that the Dambusters raid used some of the most experienced bomber crews in the RAF, who underwent extensive training for the operation. Yet despite that wealth of experience and skill, of the 19 aircraft dispatched, 8 failed to return. That's a loss rate of 42%. Of the very best. Looking at that, it's not hard to see why such precision/specialty missions were looked at unfavourably—that was too much valuable experience and skill to lose on just a single mission; it's a loss rate that's unsustainable.


Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
E.g., if we're talking about decimating the Luftwaffe, what REALLY made a difference was Mark II gyro gunsight, first on British fighters and then, assisted by radar too, on Lancaster bombers too.

Oversimplified nonsense. Again.

In terms of nighttime bomber defences, all manner of electronic aids were developed. None were particularly effective on a sustained basis. (And in some cases they were more trouble than they were worth.) The best consistent defence proved to be a rear gunner with excellent nighttime eyesight, who could warn the pilot to take evasive action before the night-fighter got into firing position. (In regards to flak, not much could be done other than hope it didn't hit you.)
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Old 19th April 2016, 10:15 AM   #387
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Originally Posted by John Nowak View Post
Apologies for not responding earlier. Can't this be taken as a suggestion that US bombing strategy as carried out over Europe would not have been effective in isolation?

Not sure what you mean. The U.S. tried to bomb Japan in the same way it had Germany, but the situations proved to be rather different. Techniques which worked for the USAAF over Europe weren't working nearly as well over Japan. So a change in tactics was undertaken.
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Old 19th April 2016, 10:55 AM   #388
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
It's much more simple than that, and really, it's clear enough in the international conventions I've been citing all along. The short and skinny is that you should target the valid military targets and at least try to minimize the non-combatant casualties, in as much as feasible.

You are NOT required to refrain from bombing a valid military target just because you might cause collateral damage, or at least not if it's proportional to the value of the target. So if some folks were inside, or you hit a house across the road, well, tough luck for them.

But you are not allowed to intentionally target non-combatants, nor use a military target as an excuse to just do the "collateral" damage.
Hans, if I may point to my list, what you seem to be pointing at, or most closely at, is #4. "Bombing of any citizens, no matter what they do. " I would say that we could probably expand that, in war, to "Killing of any citizens, no matter what they do". This would definitely include incidents of the soldiers of the Axis power executing civilians, such as Oradour-sur-Glane.

However, I don't see any evidence presented so far that the Churchill, or Harris, were trying to execute citizens, per se. The destruction of housing, which would be #3 on my previous list, was one of Harris' objectives (in that precious resources and manpower would be needed to put out the fires, rebuild the housing, house the workers in the meantime: resources and manpower that would not be available to be put directly into war effort).

There is, of course, always the possibility that housing might be occupied at the time; I would expect this would be listed as collateral damage, in the same way that any visitors to a munitions factory would be listed the same.

Is it your opinion that bombing housing, which may or may not be occupied at the time, is the same as executions of citizens by the SS and Wehrmacht, such as at Oradour-sur-Glane?
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Old 19th April 2016, 10:57 AM   #389
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Quote:
In terms of nighttime bomber defences, all manner of electronic aids were developed. None were particularly effective on a sustained basis. (And in some cases they were more trouble than they were worth.) The best consistent defence proved to be a rear gunner with excellent nighttime eyesight, who could warn the pilot to take evasive action before the night-fighter got into firing position
A good example is the 'Monica' tail warning radar that was fitted to Lancasters from 1942. It was supposed to give a warning of an approaching nightfighter.

Unfortunately the Germans developed 'Flensberg' a passive radar receiver used by nightfighters to home in on bombers using Monica. In July 1944, a nightfighter equipped with Flensburg mistakenly landed at RAF Woodbridge. After examining the equipment, the RAF ordered Monica withdrawn from all Bomber Command aircraft.
From 44 the rear Frazer Nash turret on Lancasters armed with 4 .303 machine guns started to be replaced with the 'Rose' turret armed with a pair of .50 cals and much improved visibility.Aircraft fitted with this turret suffered far fewer losses mainly due to the much greater all round visibility of the gunner.

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Old 19th April 2016, 12:05 PM   #390
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
@Aber
Well, that is assuming that nobody asks exactly what orders did the actual units get. Because as soon as it becomes evident that the target, as far as the pilots were told, was the city and not a specific factory, that becomes a war crime. Even going, "but there were some factories in that city too" is at the very least a violation of protocol I, 51.5.a.

But as I was saying, I'm not flat out excluding that a good lawyer could argue the case. Just saying that they'd have the work cut out for them.
If the 1977 Protocols were in place during WW2, then the orders to the crews would have looked very different.

However, the outcome would probably be very similar given the state of the technology at the time.
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Old 19th April 2016, 12:18 PM   #391
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
I will draw your attention to protocol I, article 51.8. "Any violation of these prohibitions shall not release the Parties to the conflict from their legal obligations with respect to the civilian population and civilians, including the obligation to take the precautionary measures provided for in Article 57"
Written after the war. It's usually considered a dick move to apply new rules to actions taken before the rules were created.

There might be a convincing argument that certain actions were dick moves anyway, but not on this basis.

Quote:
In other words, "he started it" is not considered an excuse. And frankly, it wasn't an excuse even in kindergarten, so I'm not sure why some people think it should be an excuse in international relations.
"He started it" is not, never was, and never will be my argument.

In general, I look at the principles of collateral damage--distinction, necessity, and proportionality--as my guideline for judging actions taken in wartime. I also, if possible, try to avoid drawing a moral equivalence between the aggressor and those who are forced or choose to defend against him.

Quote:
That said, nobody is forcing you to take part in the discussion, if you've run out of argument. Stomping out while proclaiming that the other party is wrong is, after all, a staple of internet discussions. But you don't get to put conditions. Sorry.
I'm not stomping out. And I'm not putting conditions. I'm telling you I disagree with you on this point, and I'm telling you what could be done to resolve this disagreement.

As for running out of arguments... I agree with the substance of the arguments already made against your dickery paradigm. They clearly don't convince you, but I am satisfied that they are sufficient to reach a reasonable conclusion that contradicts your position.

Tell me this: What argument would convince you that the Allied leaders, in general, were not motivated by a spirit of dickery, to wage war in the way that they did?

As for my part? You say it's dickery. I disagree. Have you run out of arguments? Will you give up here, and simply repeat the arguments that have failed to convince so far, until you tire even of that?

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Old 20th April 2016, 02:15 AM   #392
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Originally Posted by bignickel View Post
Hans, if I may point to my list, what you seem to be pointing at, or most closely at, is #4. "Bombing of any citizens, no matter what they do. " I would say that we could probably expand that, in war, to "Killing of any citizens, no matter what they do". This would definitely include incidents of the soldiers of the Axis power executing civilians, such as Oradour-sur-Glane.
Well, sort of, but not really. Basically what I'm saying is that all 4 on your list are unworkable over-simplifications. Unless at #4 you mean deliberately bombing civilians, which then is pretty accurate.

Thing is, there's no way to make war completely clean, so some degree of collateral damage is to be expected. So in as much as you try to keep it to a minimum, and it's indeed collateral and not intended, you can bomb anyone anywhere. It's when it's not quite collateral and unintended any more that it becomes an atrocity.

Originally Posted by bignickel View Post
Is it your opinion that bombing housing, which may or may not be occupied at the time, is the same as executions of citizens by the SS and Wehrmacht, such as at Oradour-sur-Glane?
Not really the same. I'll freely admit that the SS were much bigger dicks, and in particular the Oradour-sur-Glane massacre was disproportionate even by SS standards. As evidenced by the fact that even the superior officer of the berk who did the massacre started a criminal investigation. So, yeah, when it's too evil even by SS standards, you know you have supervillain material.

So, yeah, there are smaller dick moves, bigger dick moves, and then there are dick moves that can be seen from orbit.

But if you wan an analogy with perhaps less emotional payload, consider Vlad The Impaler's campaign in Bulgaria, and his chilling anccountant-like listing of how many thousands of peasants and burghers he killed in each place. After all, he too couldn't just hold that terrain against the Ottomans, and the huge (for that time) numbers of people killed did affect the economic power and army supply limit of the Ottoman Empire in the area. And he too seems to have thought he's acting for the greater good: after all, the alternative could have been an Europe overrun by the Islam.

Would you think that's a dick move or not?

Or consider his raids on Brasov and Bran, where instead of a long and costly siege, he just impaled the peasants around the fortified parts. After all, those peasants too were what fed and paid for the armies of those places. So the effect is kinda the same as what was intended by the RAF.

Does it count as a dick move?

I'm asking because even at that time it DID pass for a dick move. Centuries before there were a Geneva Convention. Most of the reason he became so well known as a monster in the West isn't because of what he did at home, but because the Hungarians and especially the Saxons there didn't find it funny at all.
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Old 20th April 2016, 02:22 AM   #393
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One minor difference is that Vlad was the aggressor, the allies were defending themselves.
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Old 20th April 2016, 02:56 AM   #394
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I think most of Europe would have disagreed about the Ottomans being just the victims of an invasion. The 15'th century was pretty much the apex of Ottoman expansion and aggression.

After finally taking Constantinople, the Turks proceeded to attack and seize all the outposts of Genoa in the Black Sea in 1475, and the Venice colony of Euboea in 1479. In the same year, the Ottomans attacked the Friuli region in North Italy on land, and that affair would continue into the 16'th century. One year later they invaded and seized the city of Otranto in Italy, and only the death of the Sultan and a resulting war of succession stopped that campaign into Italy. In the same 15'th century, the Ottomans invaded Croatia and the devastation in some areas (e.g., Kninska Krajina) drove most of the native population away and pretty much left the whole area in ruins. Even earlier they had just taken Albania. Etc, etc, etc.

So yeah, what we have is a ruthless aggressor. And its very explicit goals reached as far as intending to conquer Italy and especially Rome, to add legitimacy to the "Kaisar Al Rum" (Caesar Of Rome) title it had inherited from the Byzantines.

Vlad was just trying to get into the defensive alliance against that aggressor really.

So in that context, I ask again, was his impaling tens of thousands of peasants in Bulgaria justified or a dick move? I vote for dick move, myself.
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Old 20th April 2016, 03:27 AM   #395
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He certainly doesn't sound like a very nice person, but on the other hand the allies didn't slaughter peasants indiscriminately on the way to Berlin.
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Old 20th April 2016, 03:36 AM   #396
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Well, he didn't do it on the way to conquer Constantinople either, because there was no way in hell to even hold the territory in Bulgaria, much less actually end the Ottoman Empire. He did exactly the equivalent of a bombing raid aimed at civilians, except, you know, on foot
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Old 20th April 2016, 03:42 AM   #397
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Very low level bombing?
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Old 20th April 2016, 04:21 AM   #398
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
Well, sort of, but not really. Basically what I'm saying is that all 4 on your list are unworkable over-simplifications. Unless at #4 you mean deliberately bombing civilians, which then is pretty accurate.

Thing is, there's no way to make war completely clean, so some degree of collateral damage is to be expected. So in as much as you try to keep it to a minimum, and it's indeed collateral and not intended, you can bomb anyone anywhere. It's when it's not quite collateral and unintended any more that it becomes an atrocity.



Not really the same. I'll freely admit that the SS were much bigger dicks, and in particular the Oradour-sur-Glane massacre was disproportionate even by SS standards. As evidenced by the fact that even the superior officer of the berk who did the massacre started a criminal investigation. So, yeah, when it's too evil even by SS standards, you know you have supervillain material.

So, yeah, there are smaller dick moves, bigger dick moves, and then there are dick moves that can be seen from orbit.

But if you wan an analogy with perhaps less emotional payload, consider Vlad The Impaler's campaign in Bulgaria, and his chilling anccountant-like listing of how many thousands of peasants and burghers he killed in each place. After all, he too couldn't just hold that terrain against the Ottomans, and the huge (for that time) numbers of people killed did affect the economic power and army supply limit of the Ottoman Empire in the area. And he too seems to have thought he's acting for the greater good: after all, the alternative could have been an Europe overrun by the Islam.

Would you think that's a dick move or not?

Or consider his raids on Brasov and Bran, where instead of a long and costly siege, he just impaled the peasants around the fortified parts. After all, those peasants too were what fed and paid for the armies of those places. So the effect is kinda the same as what was intended by the RAF.

Does it count as a dick move?

I'm asking because even at that time it DID pass for a dick move. Centuries before there were a Geneva Convention. Most of the reason he became so well known as a monster in the West isn't because of what he did at home, but because the Hungarians and especially the Saxons there didn't find it funny at all.
Avoiding responding to me?
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Old 20th April 2016, 05:24 AM   #399
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
Or consider his raids on Brasov and Bran, where instead of a long and costly siege, he just impaled the peasants around the fortified parts. After all, those peasants too were what fed and paid for the armies of those places. So the effect is kinda the same as what was intended by the RAF.

Does it count as a dick move?

I'm asking because even at that time it DID pass for a dick move. Centuries before there were a Geneva Convention. Most of the reason he became so well known as a monster in the West isn't because of what he did at home, but because the Hungarians and especially the Saxons there didn't find it funny at all.
Actually, the reason that Vlad Dracula is known as a monster is not because the Hungarians and Saxons thought that the way Vlad prosecuted war was excessive and "a dick move". His reputation as an "Athlete of Christ" was set by the Pope (and given that Vlad was an Orthodox Christian for most of his life this would indicate that he was well regarded in the West) becasue he was agressively campaigning against the Turks. His reputation as "a most evil man" was established by the primarily Saxon merchants of Transylvania who had many of their very favourable trade deals and monopolies voided by the Voivode, in addition to being assessed what they considered to be unfair taxes and "contributions to the war effort." These merchants were able to harness that new darling of mass media - the printing press to tarnish Vlad's reputation. These pamphlets were produced for two reasons, one to get back at Vlad for what was seen as ill treatment, secondly to make money, and at both were wildly successful - we still think of Vlad as a blood thirsty monster 500 years after his death, and they were lurid and interesting enough to still be printed 40-60 years after Dracula's death.

There is definitely some propaganda at play for Vlad - the German sources of information about his reign and the most accessible to the West and these are the ones that contain the majority of the ultra-violence that we associate with Dracula. The Russian and Slavic sources do not emphasize the atrocities, but do bring bring out some of them.

There's no question that Vlad III Dracula was a very violent individual who was not afraid to use ultra violence in pursuit of his aims.
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Old 20th April 2016, 06:39 AM   #400
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Originally Posted by fagin View Post
Very low level bombing?
Lol, pretty much
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