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John Chuckman


“There’s no such thing as precise air strikes in modern warfare”

Absolutely, and saying otherwise is American propaganda from the time of the Gulf War.

Remember General “Stormin’ Norman” giving press briefings with an impressive video of a smart munition going down a smokestack?

At the time he did that stunt, only 1% of the bombs America was using were “smart” bombs.

The rest were the same kind of stuff used in the carpet bombings of Vietnam and North Korea.

Indeed. the poor Iraqi recruits in the desert behind sandhill forts were carpet-bombed by B-52s. Untold tens of thousands were pulverized into the sand, the US refusing to reveal how many were killed, but the number was horrific.

B-52 carpet-bombing was used again extensively in Afghanistan.

In Iraq, American used many dumb bombs, a fair amount of white phosphorus (its substitute for napalm after all the furor over Vietnam), and, worst of all, cluster bombs.

Independent and Al-Jazeera photographers captured many sickening pictures of lacerated children or women smashed into pulp.

The fact is that whatever kind of bomb you use, there is the greatest need for good intelligence and bomb-spotting. This is a risky and expensive business to carry out with special forces gathering information about planned targets.

The US proved very poor at doing this in Raqqa and other places. It likely killed more people than ISIS.

Still, the vast majority of bombs dropped in many cases are old “dumb” bombs. “Smart” bombs cost a whole lot more money, and they very much need ground-based intelligence to be at all effective.

The fact is that war is horrible, that all of it is a vast atrocity. It should be only the last resort, but an imperial power like the US makes it pretty well the first choice.

And it doesn’t care about leaving behind a lot of mangled people and a lot of hideous stuff like tons of depleted uranium dust (or, in Vietnam, millions of pounds of poisonous Agent Orange) and the shrapnel-loaded mini-canisters of cluster bombs – all of which keep killing for many years after.

Some years back, Israel dropped a million of those horrific cluster-bomb canisters along the Lebanese border to shred farmers and children for years to come. It was an atrocious act, but I heard few speak up about it.

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