Saturday, December 16, 2006

Bombing civilians from the air


In 1911, the Italians bombed Libyan civilians from the air.

In 1912 the French began bombing Moroccan civilians from the air.

In 1913 the Spanish began bombing Moroccan villagers from the air. They later used poison gas.

In 1915 the British began the aerial bombardment of Pathan villages on India’s North-West Frontier.

In 1919 the British bombed Afghan civilians from the air. The British aerial bombardment of Dacca killed 600.

Source for the above:

How Britain used terror bombing in 1920s Iraq

The following is taken from:

Churchill was in no doubt that gas could be profitably employed against the Kurds and Iraqis (as well as against other peoples in the Empire): 'I do not understand this squeamishness about the use of gas. I am strongly in favour of using poison gas against uncivilised tribes.'

Today in 1993 there are still Iraqis and Kurds who remember being bombed and machine-gunned by the RAF in the 1920s.

A Kurd from the Korak mountains commented, seventy years after the event: 'They were bombing here in the Kaniya Khoran. Sometimes they raided three times a day.'

Wing-Commander Sir Arthur Harris (later Bomber Harris, head of wartime Bomber Command) was happy to emphasise that 'The Arab and Kurd now know what real bombing means in casualties and damage. Within forty-five minutes a full-size village can be practically wiped out and a third of its inhabitants killed or injured.'

It was an easy matter to bomb and machine-gun the tribespeople, because they had no means of defence or retaliation.

Iraq and Kurdistan were also useful laboratories for new weapons; devices specifically developed by the Air Ministry for use against tribal villages.

The ministry drew up a list of possible weapons, some of them the forerunners of napalm and air-to-ground missiles:Phosphorus bombs, war rockets, metal crowsfeet [to maim livestock] man-killing shrapnel, liquid fire, delayed-action bombs. Many of these weapons were first used in Kurdistan.

Hugh Trenchard, the RAF's chief of staff between 1919 and 1927 mentioned earlier, submitted a report to the Cabinet shortly after the RAF had temporarily quelled anti-British unrest in Iraqi Kurdistan.

Trenchard reported that Churchill had first employed aerial bombardment against Iraq's Kurds as a means of finding "some cheaper form of control".

Trenchard enthusiastically endorsed the verdict of the British High Commissioner for Iraq that "a free and vigorous use of aerial resources" had proven to both highly potent and cost-effective.
The RAF chief of staff concluded prophetically:"Air power is of vital concern to the Empire and in Iraq, under the control of an air officer, further evidence is accumulating of its great potentialities. A continued demonstration, until its effectiveness is beyond dispute, may have far-reaching results, in that it may lead to still further economies in defence expenditure, not only in Iraq, but also in other Eastern territories where armed forces are required to give effect to British policy and uphold British prestige".

Aerial bombardment had proven to be a satisfactory method of mass killing.

Jonathan Glancey (The Guardian, 19 April 2003) reports that the RAF "flew missions totaling 4,008 hours, dropped 97 tons of bombs and fired 183,861 rounds for the loss of nine men killed, seven wounded and 11 aircraft destroyed behind rebel lines".

The British bombing of Kurdistan was the first use of aerial bombardment.

British forces engaged in their third Afghan War soon after this also used this tactic.

The monster 'Bomber Harris' became notorious "for his ruthless championing of saturation bombing against German civilian and military targets" (Jonathan C. Randal, After Such Knowledge, What Forgiveness? My Encounters with Kurdistan, p. 5).

The British military certainly took to aerial bombardment with gusto as a means of spreading mass terror.

In 1921, Wing Commander J. A. Chamier suggested that the best way to demoralise local people was to concentrate bombing on the "most inaccessible village of the most prominent tribe which it is desired to punish.

All available aircraft must be collected, the attack with bombs and machine guns must be relentless and unremitting and carried on continuously by day and night, on houses, inhabitants, crops and cattle"(cited in Glancey, op. cit.).

After proving it in the colonies, this tactic was then deployed during World War II to a massive extent - first of all in the British and German blanket bombing campaigns against each other's populations, which included the massacre of the workers of Dresden in 1945.

In Dresden, preliminary sorties were flown using high explosives to remove the roofs from buildings.

This was followed by targeted bombing of phosphorous devices into houses, factories, offices, schools and hospitals, with the objective of spreading a devastating firestorm as rapidly as possible.

An estimated 150,000 to 200,000 people - many of these war refugees - were killed over three weeks. This was a casualty rate far in excess of the death toll exacted in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which were also just another example of a massive terror bombing campaign.

Churchill, Harris, Lawrence, Chamier, Trenchard and Hitler were certainly all terrorists of the first order....

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