[Marxism] Bombing Civilians: An American Tradition

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Tue Apr 14 12:15:49 MDT 2009


Bombing Civilians: An American Tradition
By Marilyn B. Young

Ms. Young is a professor of history at New York University. This excerpt 
originally appeared in Bombing Civilians: A Twentieth-Century History 
edited by Yuki Tanaka and Ms. Young.

Airpower embodies American technology at its most dashing. At regular 
intervals, the air force and allied technocrats claim that innovations 
in air technology herald an entirely new age of warfare. Korea and 
Vietnam were, so to speak, living laboratories for the development of 
new weapons: the 1,200-pound radio-guided Tarzon bomb (featured in 
Korean-era Movietone newsreels); white-phosphorous-enhanced napalm; 
cluster bombs (CBUs) carrying up to 700 bomblets, each bomblet 
containing 200 to 300 tiny steel balls or fiberglass fléchettes; 
delayed-fuse cluster bombs; airburst cluster bombs; toxic defoliants; 
varieties of nerve gas; sets of six B 52s, operating at altitudes too 
high to be heard on the ground, capable of delivering up to thirty tons 
of explosives each. A usual mission consisted of six planes in 
formation, which together could devastate an area one half mile wide by 
three miles long. Older technologies were retrofitted: slow cargo planes 
(“Puff the Magic Dragon”) equipped with rapid-fire machine guns capable 
of firing 6,000 rounds a minute; World War I– era Skyraiders, carrying 
bomb loads of 7,500 pounds and fitted with four 20-millimeter cannon 
that together fired over 2,000 rounds per minute.

full: http://hnn.us/articles/67717.html




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