« NW Syria Summary - 9 February 2016 | Main | Ideology and Hillary’s Foreign Policy by Richard Sale »

09 February 2016


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.


To add to the Dresden photo here is one of the remains of Coventry Cathedral. The day after it was destroyed Churchill came. The man to his right is the extraordinary Provost Howard, who was in the cathedral as it started to collapsed, escaped, and the next day, in the ruins, using two roof timbers and medeival nails, constructed a cross on the wall with the words "Father Forgive" beneath it. Sunday Mass was celebrated before it on an altar of rubble.

The same day Provost Howard made a commitment not to revenge, but to forgiveness and reconciliation with those responsible.

Using a national radio broadcast from the cathedral ruins on Christmas Day 1940 he declared that when the war was over he would work with those who had been enemies “to build a kinder, more Christ-child-like world.”

The Cathedral was rebuilt by the visionary modernist architect Basil Spence. Today Coventry Cathedral is at the centre of world-wide peace initiatives and works for reconciliation between people.




"Until well into the 1960, in West Germany, the Judges were those appointed under the NAZI regime - as far as I know."

You raise one important point here: most members of the party, from functionaries down to simple members, weren't prosecuted and sentenced or anything, not at all. Instead, they were integrated into society and were free to pursue professions they had during the party's reign. This includes businessmen, politicians, security and, later, military personnel, in the latter case needed to establish the successor armed forces to those of the Nazi-era, the Bundeswehr...

The western allies knew full well they needed these people first to rebuild the country, only second to firmly position it against the Warsaw Treaty* countries.
One should keep that in mind when looking at the abysmal failure by the Coalition to transfer Iraq away from Saddam's Baathist government - without integrating Baath party personnel into the process, but rather showing them the door. We know how well that turned out in the end...

*Important to note that "pact" was a negative spin put on the treaty's official name, Treaty of Friendship, Co-operation, and Mutual Assistance. Same goes for the "Hitler-Stalin Pact" which is sometimes evoked, which was in fact called Non-Aggression Treaty.


Great response, Col. I think it was George Kennan who wrote that the 'enemy' must always be demonized completely, which we have successively done with Taliban, al Queda and Isis and will continue to do ad infinitum as long as we keep running out of ordnance. Didn't Secdef just say that we needed to buy more of them?

How you run out of 'discriminating' ordnance without winning? Me, I never stopped hating Great Britain since I read about the prison ships in New York harbor. One person's Dresden and Hamburg is another one's 'righteous' war. Motes turn into 8 feet planks and everyone goes blind together.


Very similar op-ed in WaPo has me fuming. One of the authors is the same guy (former head of Liberal party in Canada) who Roger Cohen cites at the end of his article. The other author is a former editor at The New Republic.

This is R2P on steroids, at its very worst. In this WaPo article, the premise is humanitarian but there are plenty of hints throughout that it's really not about humanitarianism at all.

They literally say take the risk of war with Russia. Take the risk of nuclear war. It's insane and it's being treated as righteous intellectual argument. A "cri de couer" one gagworthy guy on social media says.

"Enough is enough -- U.S. abdication on Syria must come to an end"


On top of everything else, the area bombing campaign was ineffective. German war production peaked in the Summer of 1944, two years after the first thousand bomber raid on Cologne. After the first year of the campaign, the suspicion was growing that it was an ineffective waste, but Harris wouldn't budge and he was untouchable because he had Churchill's ear. War rage had trumped war logic ever since the London blitz.

It was only in the last months of the war that strategic bombing made much difference to Germany's war production. There were some incidental benefits, such as the fortuitous destruction of the Me-262 tooling during the disastrous Regensburg raid of 1943, which knocked production off schedule, drawing German air power away from the eastern front to defend the homeland, and eventually the defeat of the Luftwaffe over Germany in 1944.


This is, of course, all backdrop to the NATO 2-day meeting starting tomorrow.


That article illustrated spectacularly Col. Lang's description of the MSM's coverage of the Aleppo situation.


Gabriel Charmes', an enormously popular French journalist of the second half of XIX century, who convinced Admiral Theofilo Aube to bet on torpedo as weapon system and torpedo boats, within what came to be known as Jeune Ecole' (Young School). Needless to say, Charmes utter incompetence on any tactical, operational and technological issues resulted in the doctrinal catastrophe and impeded the development of French Navy for decades to come. Each time some good ol' boy with Ivy League "degree" in journalism, history or law begins to preach serious military sermons, the way they were convinced in Harvard or Princeton to be the only correct view, the only thing I want to do is to throw Ignatieff's or somebody else' ass to spent couple of weeks on some FOB in some shithole in Afghanistan or drop them directly into the ISIS location and then observe (not without satisfaction) what is going to happen to them. Whatever one may say about James Schlesinger, but his idea of periodically taking Congress out to proving grounds and then detonating (far away) moderate yield nuclear device for members of both Houses to hear the sound and feel the heat is a very sound plan.



Yes, the effects of such destabilizing "McCarthyite witch-hunts" is still being felt...

Babak Makkinejad

In regards to wrecked ecology: it could get ugly if harms comes to dams in Iraq and in Syria.


That is the US/NATO/kingdoms' tap dancing is all about. The end of bloodshed is intolerable for the regime changers.

FB Ali

Yes, unfortunately, Michael Ignatieff was once leader of the Liberal Party of Canada (and had the dubious distinction of running it completely into the ground). But he is Canadian only formally; he has spent most of his working life in the US, where he is a noted neocon.

I am ashamed to have him calling himself, technically, a Canadian.

FB Ali

"...if this were the U.S. military, would there be what looks like indiscriminate bombing?"

Give me a break! This is such laughable nonsense as to preclude any reply or comment.


The "scientific" point of view of the administration under cover of JHSPH in 2015: http://hub.jhu.edu/2015/09/23/syrian-refugee-crisis-symposium

A more balanced version on British Medical Journal: http://www.bmj.com/content/bmj/suppl/2015/09/29/bmj.h4736.DC1/guhd028432.ww2_default.pdf

Caveat, I am not an epidemiologist, public health expert nor have I visited the affected locations.

Chris Rogers

It's a gross insult to state that between 1933-1945 that the majority of German's were NAZIS or members of the NAZIS Party. Indeed, in the last democratic elections in the tail-end of the Weimar Republic the NAZIS percentage of the popular vote was in decline and never in an election did the NAZIS Party gain a majority of the vote. Indeed the first groups to suffer under NAZIS rule were trades unionists and leftwing political activists, many of whom landed up in concentration camps for their opposition to Hitler. The historical record demonstrates clearly, even at the height of Hitler's popularity that a significant minority were opposed to NAZISM and justifiably so as it transpires and many of these opponents were killed in Allied bombing raids given the primary German targets were the industrial heartlands, which predominantly voted for left of centre political groupings prior to the NAZIS dismemberment of democracy and any and all opposition to its rule.


Great timing on this article, because a very interesting news story came out today:

Russian air strikes in Syria 'good thing': Del Ponte

Geneva (AFP) - Former war crimes prosecutor Carla Del Ponte, who is currently probing rights abuses in Syria, on Monday backed Russia's air strikes on "terrorist groups" in the war-torn country.

"Overall, I think the Russian intervention is a good thing, because finally someone is attacking these terrorist groups," Del Ponte told Swiss public broadcaster RTS, listing the Islamic State group and Al-Nusra among the groups targeted.

But Del Ponte, a member of the UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria, quickly added that the Russians apparently "are not distinguishing enough between the terrorists and others, and that is not as good."

Her comments came amid international bickering over the Russian air strikes and what role they played in undermining last week's peace talks to end the country's five-year war.

Moscow launched a bombing campaign in Syria last year at the request of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, saying it was targeting the Islamic State group and other jihadist organisations.


Not really as bad as Dresden
or here:

But by now, not so far from Dresden anymore:


There were reports that strategic bombers being flown from Russian territories had joined in some sorties at least. I don't know how much they contributed to the Russian effort. But, yes, the Russian resources committed to the Syria expedition, as far as I know, are quite modest and nothing approaching "indiscriminate bombing."

At least they are using real bombs and not improvised "barrel bombs." That takes that canard out of Western commentators' potty mouths.


However, the more relevant question for me is: In 1942, when the Bomber Command realised that their attacks were not working very well could they still change the industrial production? Could the USA?

Some of the quite basic decisions on industrial production and large trainings programs were made in 1940 and without clear alternatives I assume that the decison to stay on course made sense.

In retrospective, the strategic bombing was very likely a waste in Europe, considering the huge share of GDP it ate and the high number of dead air men.


Good ole David Brooks. Seems the establishment is being rather fast with the hyperbole and furious about the inconvenient truth.

Trey N

How true about the early 1930s street battles between the communists and the Brown Shirts of the Nazi SA (Sturm Abteilung) under Ernst Rohm.

And most people think of the East Front as strictly a battle between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. In reality Germany was leading a "Great European Anticommunist Crusade" against the Soviet Union. In addition to the Wehrmacht, in Russia in 1942 there were 2 Romanian armies, 1 Hungarian and 1 Italian army, the Finnish army, the Spanish "Blue" division at Leningrad, and several Slovak units. The SS fielded a plethora of such units: the French "Charlemagne" division, the Scandinavian "Nord" division, and the Flemish "Dirlewanger" brigade, among others. Many anticommunist Soviet peoples joined the crusade as the campaign progressed, most notably the Cossacks and some Caucasian moslems. Beside the "Vlasov Army" of former Russian soldiers, tens of thousands of such men served as individual volunteers in Wehrmacht divisions as "HiWis" (hilfswillige = 'willing helpers').

After Germany lost the war, of course, the vast majority of European people wanted to forget and erase the fact of their collaboration with the Nazi crusade. In Austria the British handed over tens of thousands of Cossacks to the vengeful Soviets, who immediately murdered them. The Hiwis were dealt with just as harshly by them. The French remained loyal to the end; the Charlemagne division was annihilated defending Berlin in the last days of the war.

All in all, the situation was a helluva lot more complex than the simplistic crap that passes as standard history in most of the West today.


He hung around in Britain a lot. Then his speciality was presenting arts and "intellectual" discussion programmes.

He is one of those miraculous persons who arise without trace. Suddenly he is there.


The JDL (yes, it's been allowed to operate in Canada after being banned here as a terrorist group in the late 80s/early90s), powerful political Jews in the shadows in Ottawa, with TPTB whose short hairs they could wrench with donor promises, chose Ignatieff literally overnight to become the leader of the Liberal Party. Plucked him out of Harvard, gave him a riding in TO (think?) to run in with the promise of a win. . . .all within four weeks of an election IIRC. [They did the same thing with Chrystia Freeland, although she wasn't plucked from the US for national leadership. She is Ukrainian, and they wanted a sympathetic voice in Canadian Parliament to direct US/Victoria Nuland's Ukrainian policy against Russia.]


To think I've actually read some of their articles...

Very misleading to [impressionable] youths: worse than pornography.

David Habakkuk


'It was only in the last months of the war that strategic bombing made much difference to Germany's war production.'

Actually, research in recent years has shown that this is simply wrong. Its conclusions are summarised in interviews with Tami Biddle to which I linked. She is Professor of National Security at the U.S. Army War College.

What is actually an enormously complicated picture was obscured, first, by the grotesquely exaggerated hopes, and then claims, of the proponents of strategic bombing, and then by the reaction against these.

However, as Biddle brings out, in a key response which summarises much recent work, at a crucial time in 1943 Bomber Command – making far fewer attacks than in the subsequent two years – was devastatingly effective:

An extract:

'Speer was gearing up for a great industrial expansion and a real push to drive his war economy up to another level and Harris and Bomber Command came in and waged a very concentrated attack on the Ruhr cities and pretty much upended Speer's plan for that expansion at a pretty critical moment in time. This is 1943 and a lot is hanging in the balance just at that moment. The Battle of Kursk is going to take place in July so a lot of that stuff that Speer would have taken advantage of in the spring would have been on the Eastern Front had Bomber Command not attacked the Ruhr at that moment in time.'

(See http://ww2history.com/experts/Tami_Biddle/The_effectiveness_of_the_bombing .)

Another point she stresses is the decisive air superiority which American and British forces enjoyed at the time of the invasion of France and subsequently.

In the film 'The Longest Day', there is a scene where, when the German commanders finally grasp that the invasion of Normandy is not a ruse, but for real, a Luftwaffe commandant is ordered to attack the invading force. Having exploded down the 'phone that he hasn't got any men and planes, he and one other go off to strafe the beaches.

How both the invasion and what followed might have played out, had the Allies not had decisive air superiority – and the Wehrmacht not been bled white on the Eastern Front – I shudder to think. Intelligent people in this country were quite well aware of how formidable German armies were.

The comments to this entry are closed.

My Photo

February 2021

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
  1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
Blog powered by Typepad