Friday, January 16, 2009

Indiscriminate slaughter from the air is a barbarism that must be abolished

From Vietnam and Iraq to Gaza today, history testifies that aerial bombing is an ineffective, intolerable military tactic

Simon Jenkins
The Guardian, Friday 16 January 2009

"A Palestinian woman is standing in her kitchen when she hears a deafening bang. Rushing to her living room she sees her family in pieces, spread across floors, walls and ceiling. The horror is total and meaningless. Nobody meant it to happen, so what was its cause?

The tragedy in Gaza surely marks the time when the world declares air-launched bombs and long-distance shells to be illegal under the 1983 Geneva convention. They should be on a par with chemical munitions, white phosphorous, cluster bombs and delayed-action land mines. They pose a threat to non-combatants that should be intolerable even in the miserable context of war......

In Vietnam, Serbia, Lebanon, Iraq and Afghanistan, those deploying bomber power constantly promised more than they could deliver, as they did before D-day. As Correlli Barnett has remarked, as in Vietnam and Kosovo so now in Gaza, the airman's bombast, that he could terrify the enemy into surrender, must be rectified by troops on the ground. Time and again the bomber has been outgunned by the AK-47......

If Israel fails to win its political objectives in Gaza, it will in part be because of its massively destructive attempt to terrify the Palestinians into surrender from the air. Every errant missile explodes on the television screens of the world......"

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