“The public was told…planes sought out strictly military targets…and civilians were only killed by mistake…U.S. Army air force doctrine called for ‘high-altitude precision bombing.’ The [plane’s] bombsight, a new high-tech aiming device was capable of ‘pinpoint accuracy’, the American’s claimed, able to place a bomb down a smokestack from five miles up in the sky. The technological marvel would, it was argued, make high-altitude bombing more effective and more humane. Cities could be bombed with surgical precision, targeting only key economic sites like airplane factories and oil refineries.”
---Someone reading this paragraph could be forgiven if they thought this passage was explaining the official justification for bombing civilian areas in the last decade, during the Gulf War, or the Afghan War, or the Iraq War.
This paragraph is actually explaining the official justification given to the American and British people for carpet bombing in 1943-1944, during World War II. It comes from the patriotic book: Flyboys, A True Story of Courage.
With 60 years of hindsight, and the fog of war lifted, anyone who claimed today that American carpet bombing of Germany and Japan was “high-altitude precision bombing” capable of “pinpoint accuracy” would be seen as a historical ignoramus.
How does this relate to our government’s official public statements about the war today?
Please refer to the John Hopkins Study below.
100,000 Civilians Died Because of Iraq War, Hopkins Study Says
John Hopkins study: Mortality before and after the 2003 invasion of Iraq: cluster sample survey
Originally from The Lancet [registration required]
Article Copied here
For the complete PDF file, click here.
More on America's precision bombs:
When 'Precision' Bombing Isn't
Book:Blown Away : The Myth_and Reality_of "Precision Bombing" in Afghanistan
"Marc Herold became famous by pointing out that for every Taliban killed, we killed 200 civilians."
Publisher's webpage on the book
Christian Science Monitor: 'Smarter' Bombs Still Hit Civilians
lndependent/UK newspaper: The Proof: Marketplace Deaths Were Caused by a US Missile
San Francisco Chronicle: "There's really no such thing as precision bombing"
FAIR: "Precise" and "Surgical" NBC's bombing claims lack verification
TomPaine.com: Honesty: The Worst Policy When Telling The Truth Will Get You Fired From The Networks
"Speaking of the insistence by Rummy and the parroting CENTCOM briefers on the "precision" of our weapons, it now appears that those thousands of Tomahawks we've been firing from our ships in the Persian Gulf have been plopping down all over the place in Saudi Arabia, our "ally" -- to such an extent that the Saudis asked us to stop launching them until we could find out why. Asked about this on Sunday, the happy-face CENTCOM spokesman finally acknowledged a structural failure in the Tomahawk's guidance system, and said the Navy was "working on it quite a bit." Just a bit late for the civilians who've been the missile's unintended victims, wouldn't you think? And the rather startling admission didn't make American TV's summaries of the press conference."
Americans elect to use rich man's method of retaliation The Herald (Glasgow) September 4, 1996
The Americans fired 288 cruise missiles against targets in Iraq during the initial phase of the Gulf War in 1991. Television audiences worldwide were glued nightly to their screens by film of robot-like strikes which sent the so -called "smart" weapons through windows and ventilation shafts in downtown Baghdad.
But reality was somewhat less precise and considerably less effective. The Pentagon was forced to admit, in the light of post-war analysis of damage, that only 55% of the wonder weapons actually hit their targets. The relatively low speed of the missiles meant that they were vulnerable to unsophisticated air defences such as multiple-barrelled light cannon.
Several were downed by the simple expedient of ordering gunners to send up a wall of lead through which the Tomahawks would have to fly. High-velocity shells and computer software do not mix well. It did not require a genius to work out likely targets and position triple-A - anti-aircraft artillery - on the approach routes.