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Strategic bombing did not work in London or Germany. Probably not in Ukraine either.

Posted by John Reed on

One of the surprising lessons learned in WW II was that strategic bombing of cities does not demoralize the civilians at ground zero. Neither the British nor the Germans became demoralized by getting the hell bombed out of them. The German war production at the end of the war was as high as it ever was during the war.

I say the lesson was learned. Apparently not by Putin. He is now doing strategic bombing and strategic artillery and rocket shelling of Ukraine cities. He did this in Afghanistan and Chechnya and seems to think it accomplished something in Chechnya. I read that the only thing that worked in Chechnya was paying a big bribe to the head Chechen, not leveling Grozny. 

Ukraine is bigger than Germany. Ukraine is 233,031 square miles; Chechnya, 6,680 square miles.

The book Heart of Darkness spoke of the futility of a “powerful” European power shooting its cannons into Africa. 

“The ship was a tiny speck firing away into a continent. It was pointless and impossible to understand. The guns would pop, a small flame would appear from their barrels, a little white smoke would puff out, and nothing would happen.”

Yes, rubble is created in Ukraine cities, but 44 million Ukrainians just get more and more pissed off.  If you look at maps of Europe every ten years from, say, 1800, until today, they basically have stayed the same, notwithstanding all the wars and rubble they created. There will always be a Ukraine and a Russia. Little dictators like Napoleon or Hitler or Putin come and go and demolish buildings, but they demolish no nations, expand no nations.

The only exception I can think of was Carthage. The Roman Empire was really angry at Hannibal, his elephants, and the very excellent Carthaginian Army. The Romans finally destroyed it in 146 BC, salted the land. Apparently, what they did was genocide. It was just a city-state with a population of around 500,000—smaller than Chechnya.

“Carthage was the capital city of the ancient Carthaginian civilization, on the eastern side of the Lake of Tunis in what is now Tunisia. Carthage was one of the most important trading hubs of the Ancient Mediterranean and one of the most affluent cities of the classical world.”

As many have said since the beginning, Mr. Putin appears to have bitten off more than he can chew.

johnreed@johntreed.com


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