January 11, 2008

"We should have bombed it."

Said George Bush.

43 comments:

jeff said...

hard to disagree.

George said...

I was born a prisoner....I was a slave under club and fist. It was a world where love, happiness, joy or resistance found no meaning....Although we were a family by fiat, there was nothing familial about us. We showed no affection for one another, nor was that even possible....My mother and brother were found guilty of treason and sentenced to public execution. I was taken outside and forced to witness their deaths.

There are...perhaps some 150,000 to 200,000 prisoners....Both perceived wrongdoers and up to three generations of their extended families are “arrested,” or, more accurately, abducted by police authorities and deposited...without any judicial process or legal recourse whatsoever, for lifetime sentences of extremely hard labor in mining, timber-cutting, or farming enterprises. The prisoners live under brutal conditions in permanent situations of deliberately contrived semi-starvation.

...where thousands die each year and where prison guards stamp on the necks of babies born to prisoners to kill them.

The Drill SGT said...

sorry but this story is historical fantasy and revisionism.

1. there were what 20 camps? with lines coming in from several directions at each? I bet that's more camps than there were oil refineries in Germany and we couldn't hit those worth a damn.

2. those camps in Poland would have been very long strikes. The article has a fantasy that we could have used bases in the USSR. Bull!! As far as I know, when ever one of our bombers was onced to land at a Soviet location the crew was interned.

3. bombing individual rail lines was NEVER done in WWII by heavy bombers as far as I know. the CEP (circular probable error) (likelihood of a 50% prob of a bomb falling within x distance of the traget) was huge. we dropped hundreds if not thousands of bombs to put 1 on the target. Hence those destroyed German cities. rail lines are thin and hard to hit from 10,000 feet. When ever we tried bombing rail targets we either bombed marshalling yards (big square targets where even a miss is a hit) or used light-medium bombers from 1,000 feet or lower. ala the pre-D-day rail interdiction.

The Drill SGT said...

4. and of course rail lines are very easy to repair if you have the labor and of course camps had labor. we would have needed to restrike the rail lines every day with a hundred at each camp.

jeff said...

Drill Sgt, there may have very well been very good logistic reasons why we couldn't or didn't bomb any of the camps. Doesn't mean we can't wish there was something we could have done before the war was essentially over.

jeff said...

Which is basically how I read Bush's comment.

rcocean said...

Its too bad only 200,000 Americans died getting rid of Hitler.

I guess we didn't do enough. Maybe we can increase aid to Israel.

The Drill SGT said...

did a bit of research.

5. apparently Auschwitz was served by 5 rail lines. I know a bit about rail service, bu father having worked in rail maintenance for 40 years. In order to seriously impact through-put, the Allies would have had to cut 4 of the 5 lines on a regular basis.

6. To give you an idea of the effort it took to strike a single target. Remember that it is much easier to hit a square oil refinery that then burns, than precise strikes on 5 thin rail lines:

On July 7, 1944, American bombers flew over the rail lines to Auschwitz. On July 7, shortly after the U.S. War Department refused requests from Jewish leaders to bomb the railway lines leading to the camps, a fleet of 452 15th Air Force bombers (and of course more than 100 escorts in addition) flew along and across the five deportation railway lines on their way to bomb oil refineries nearby.

On August 20, 127 B-17s, with an escort of 100 P-51 fighter craft, dropped 1,336 500-pound bombs on the IG Farben synthetic-oil factory that was less than 5 miles (8 km) east of Birkenau. German oil reserves were a priority American target, and the Farben plant ranked high on the target list.


so 300-600 planes to have a chance at cutting the rail lines to 1 of 20 camps, each strike which would need to be repeated nearly daily. a HUGE (impossible) effort if it was to have a real impact rather than a gesture.

jeff said...

"Its too bad only 200,000 Americans died getting rid of Hitler.

I guess we didn't do enough. Maybe we can increase aid to Israel."

Ok, you are aware we didn't go to war because of what Germany was doing to Jews, right? They invaded a lot of countries, and bombed the hell out of England. Then there was this little thing in Hawaii.
So do you not have the history channel where you are?
Maybe we should increase aid to Israel. What with it being the only democratic country in the area. That has a firm rule of law. That really likes us.

reader_iam said...

Its too bad only 200,000 Americans died getting rid of Hitler.

I guess we didn't do enough. Maybe we can increase aid to Israel.


The burden is on you to explain that comment--and more specifically, the tone.

Not that I expect you'll rise to the occasion.

hdhouse said...

how you guys got off on that tangent is a mystery.

this is president moron's finest hour. the real story is that, judging by his reaction, this may well be the first time he heard about it.

jeff said...

Yeah house, most people who visit that place are pretty much unmoved by it, since they know about the history of the place and all. Speaking of morons, do you even read the article before making up your mind about it? I suspect he was just as emotional the first time he visited back in '98.

Chip Ahoy said...

what george said ^^^

I'm for it.

Revenant said...

judging by his reaction, this may well be the first time he heard about it.

Or maybe he has empathy for the suffering of others. You should look into it. But hey, I'm talking to a guy who regrets Saddam Hussein isn't still feeding Kurds into wood chippers, so why am I surprised?

Drill Sgt -- you make some good points, and those were probably the main reasons why we didn't try to cut of the flow to the camps. I do think you're wrong on a few points, though:

(1): According to Wikipedia, the B-29 had a combat radius of 3250 miles; Auschwitz is around a thousand miles from England. So we had the *capacity* to easily bomb targets at that distance, at least from a technological point of view (the bombers weren't really used in the European theater).

(2): While there were many camps in the Auschwitz camps, only one (Birkenau) had the setup for high-volume executions. The others were mostly labor camps; only one had a gas chamber, and that one wasn't set up to "process" that many people. Just crippling Birkenau would have seriously hindered the Germans' campaign of genocide.

(3): A brief utilitarian point: Birkenau didn't actually *house* that many prisoners. Around 80% of all the people sent there were immediately killed after getting off the train. Using bombers to completely annihilate the camp itself would have resulted in the death of tens of thousands of prisoners -- but probably would have saved hundreds of thousands more. Of course, it would have been impossible to make that kind of decision at the time, and good arguments can be made that it would have been wrong even then.

rcocean said...

The article missed a simple point. Most of the six million killed were NOT killed in Auschwitz. They were killed elsewhere and were shot, denied medical care, or simply starved to death.

Auschwitz Gas chambers simply made the killing easier and more convenient.

Had Auschwitz been bombed, the Germans could have stopped the Death trains anywhere along the line, pushed the Jews out and shot them. Or set up little mini death camps along the way. All you need is an open field and some barbed wire.

rcocean said...
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rcocean said...

Also, why was it OUR responsibility and not the Soviets?

The Red Air Force wasn't 900 miles away in June 1944, they were
only 300 miles away and easily could have cut the rail lines with medium bombers flying from Ukraine.

Finally, if Stopping railway traffic by bombing was easy, Allied bombing would have stopped the Germans from troops/supplies from Germany to the Italian front or Normandy. Tens of thousands of bombing sorties were flown trying to cut the Italian Rail Lines without success.

Nichevo said...

rcocean, you're too much. I tell you what: you read William L. Shirer's Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, then ask your questions.

I'm sure you could shoot six million Jews all by yourself, but regrettably you weren't around to solve Eichmann's problems for him at the time. Remarkably, even the Einsatzgruppen found it a wearing task, killing all those people by hand or, as it were, "retail." Something similar to PTSD was observed. Really, it is difficult for most men to murder more than fifty or a hundred defenseless people without having problems.

The gas chambers and crematoria were not a jobs program, they were a response to a need perceived by the German government.

And yes, there were several other death camps besides Auschwitz - Sobibor might come to mind as the subject of a 1987 movie on a prisoner uprising and mass escape there - but IIRC, Auschwitz-Birkenau directly exterminated, as opposed to working starving and neglecting to death, something like a million and a half Jews?

Yes, they were generally rather close to Russia. Russia's capabilities were of course lesser as was their regard for human life. But later in the war I believe Allied air forces did a heckuva job shooting up trains and wrecking their rail infrastructure.

Aside from which, perhaps the gas chambers and the crematoria would have made sufficiently large targets? Wrecking them would indeed slow the rate at which the Nazis could "process" inmates. The factories at these camps might have been hit as well if you had to justify yourself in terms of the war effort.

Oh, also, rcocean, if you haven't yet been brought to a sense of what an insect you are, please note that a large number of non-Jews were also killed in camps, so efforts along these lines could have saved people whose lives you might actually value.

Assuming you value any life but your own. Zounds, man, where'd they grow you?

rcocean said...

Nichevo:

Sorry for bringing facts and and historical reality into the discussion. Don't mind me, just keep dreaming those revisionist fantasies.

John Stodder said...

All of what the Drill Sgt. said is undeniable. Where US leaders feel uneasy is the practice of the Roosevelt Administration, with the support of US Jewish leaders such as the publisher of the NY Times, to play down Hitler's genocidal designs on the Jews. They believed American support for the war would diminish if it became seen as the war to save the Jews.

Looking at some of the comments here, do you doubt they were right?

As a result, most Americans had no idea that Auschwitz and other death camps even existed until the end of the war.

Revenant said...

Also, why was it OUR responsibility and not the Soviets?

Yeah, let's ask the genocidal dictator to divert military resources to prevent genocide in a foreign country. That'll work.

If you see a person bleeding to death on the sidewalk, you help them. You don't point to the gang member on the corner and say "how come THAT guy doesn't help? I'm busy, and he's closer".

hdhouse said...

you guys are utter bullshit.

i lost half a family there moron. that was covered months ago. don't you dare lecture me.

bush is playing the crying card that you bushites hate about hillary for being human/weak/whatever. it doesn't play. bush the moron is all about showing fake compassion when he had more than a chance to be genuine and work through the Isreali situation starting at the beginning of is "term" rather than at the end of it.

he is a fake, fraud and phoney and it mystifies me that you buttheads don't get it.

The Drill SGT said...

Rev: (1): According to Wikipedia, the B-29 had a combat radius of 3250 miles; Auschwitz is around a thousand miles from England. So we had the *capacity* to easily bomb targets at that distance, at least from a technological point of view (the bombers weren't really used in the European theater).

1. B-29's as you point out, were only used in the Pacific. There were handfulls used from China in Jul 44, 14 launched from islands on 28 Oct 44, and the first 100 plane strike didnt occur till 24 Nov 44, against Toyko. Now you can bomb something the size of a city from 20,000 feet in winter, but weather over Germany then is pretty bad. You can't get clear weather from England to Poland. And if you can't, your bomber stream breaks up and you leave 100+ planes each alone over Germany, easy targets for fighters. and you can't do pinpoint bombing of course, but rail lines could not even be tried without crystal clear weather. so there was a very small window for B-29 use into Poland if a decision had been made to use them in theater. There weren't many till 1 Dec 44 (in the Pacific), and Auschwitz was liberated by Russians in late January, so you would be talking about less than 60 days of bombing window.

The limiting factor was not B-29 or even B24 range, it was fighter range. the long range escort was the P-51 and it had a one way range of 1650 miles, which meant a combat radius of around 700 (up and back with loiter to the bomber stream and time to shoot a German). That meant this was the limiting range factor. Italy was the only place that could range fighters to Poland and we didn't get Rome till mid summer 44, so again before weather closed in we had from Aug-Oct 44 to bomb Auschwitz, after that weather issues would have made it problematic. and as I said before, the bombing would have to be relentless to keep the rail lines cut. Not likely that we would have diverted bombing strength from the defeat of Germans in direct fighting with American boys in Aug-Oct 44 to try a political target in Poland. Talk about a political firestorm at home.

HD,

for once I agree. Bush was playing the empathy card and he does it badly. it was BS.

Middle Class Guy said...

Drill Sgt.

You left out one important point. Bomb sights. New and improved bomb sights- the Norton I believe- did not come on line until the middle of the war. They increased the accuracy of the bombings.

Middle Class Guy said...

Children, children, take a time out. hdhouse, you are so consumed and blinded by hatred that you cannot see the forest for the trees. Your hatred is distorting your perception of reality.

Let us all take a deep breath and play nice.

Middle Class Guy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Middle Class Guy said...

Revenant said...
If you see a person bleeding to death on the sidewalk, you help them. You don't point to the gang member on the corner and say "how come THAT guy doesn't help? I'm busy, and he's closer".

You are partly right. You have to make a choice that depends on your personal testicular fortitude. You can either run or you can shoot the gang banger, then help the guy. The gang banger caused him to lie bleeding in the first place.

The Drill SGT said...

MCG, while you are correct in implying that our bombsights were better than other nations, the theory and practice differed. Here is what wiki says about Norden (really about crew training), which BTW was used up into the Vietnam war:

In use in Europe the Norden likewise demonstrated a poor real-world accuracy. Under perfect conditions only 50 percent of American bombs fell within a quarter of a mile of the target, and American flyers estimated that as many as 90 percent of bombs could miss their targets. (BIG ASS TARGETS BTW) Nevertheless many veteran B-17 and B-24 bombardiers swore by the Norden.

rcocean said...

Per "Online Britannica" Jewish leaders didn't ask FDR to bomb Auschwitz until July 44 and that exterminations at Auschwitz stopped in Nov 44. So we're talking about a VERY short window.

And fortunately, our WWII military leaders were realists - and not politicians. They were actually trying to accomplish something, win the war, NOT risk men's lives to order to make people feel good.

I'll file "We should have done something"; After "What about the children?" and before "We just can't stand here and do nothing".

Der Hahn said...

If the Allies had bombed the camps during WWII, those who now accuse us of doing little or nothing to stop the slaughter would be arguing that we *shouln't* have bombed the camps due to the increase in loss of innocent life.

SGT Ted said...

i lost half a family there moron. that was covered months ago. don't you dare lecture me.

Well, ok then, Mr Absolute Moral Authority. Since I served in Iraq and had friends killed there, I expect I will hear no more crap from you about our involvement there being a mistake. Deal?

Middle Class Guy said...

SGT TED

Yesssssssssssssssssssssssss!

AlphaLiberal said...

Interesting informaton, Drill Sgt.

AlphaLiberal said...

Of course George Bush thinks first of bombing. His is a failed mindset that thinks extreme application of force changes a society for the better. He didn't think this decision through any better than he did the decision to invade and occupy Iraq with "Shock and Awe" (a.k.a., "terror") that led to "a massive death toll in the wake of the 2003 invasion.".

A recent estimates says 150,000 Iraqi's have died as a result of the violence following the America bombings and invasion and more from other related causes. Juan Cole nails it:

'There is also the question of how many Iraqis have sustained significant or crippling injuries from the same violence that has left so many dead. For US troops, the ratio is nearly 4,000 killed to nearly 10,000 severely wounded, or 2.5 times. If the same rate held true for Iraqi civilians in the war, and if it is true that 250,000 have by now been killed, it would equal 625,000 severely wounded.

One of the arguments warmongers gave for overthrowing Saddam Hussein was that his regime was responsible for the violent deaths of some 300,000 civilians between 1968 and 2003. That estimate now appears exaggerated, since the number of bodies in mass graves has not borne it out. But what is tragic is that in 4 1/2 short years, a foreign military occupation has unleashed killing on a scale achieved by the murderous Saddam Hussein regime only over decades. Bush did not kill all those people directly, of course, but he did indirectly cause them to be killed, since these are excess deaths beyond what you would have expected if there had been no invasion and occupation.

I am often struck by how clueless the American public is to the vast destruction we have wrought on Iraq and its people, directly or indirectly. It strikes me as a bitter joke that 4 million are displaced, often facing hunger and disease, and the rightwing periodicals and presidential candidates are talking about how the "surge" has "turned things around." For whom? How many orphans have we created? How many widows? How many people who weep and cry every night while trying to fall asleep on straw mats? I estimate on the basis of a UN study of refugees in Syria that as many as 600,000 or 700,000 Baghdadis were ethnically cleansedfrom the capital under the nose of the American troops implementing the surge.'

AlphaLiberal said...

h/t Greenwald

Revenant said...

The limiting factor was not B-29 or even B24 range, it was fighter range.

Given that the article you yourself cited indicated that B-17s bombed an IG Farben complex five miles from the camp, it would appear that the complex was indeed within effective bomber range. Interestingly, the article also indicated that the military never investigated the feasibility of the bombing, although they said that they did.

The Drill SGT said...

Rev,

I think you need to look at the timing issues:

1. Jewish leaders ask FDR to bomb in July 44

2. It really doesn't become possible till July 44. fighter range from Italy.

3. Those strikes that were done into Poland were 300-600 plane strikes. e.g. resource intensive

4. Auschwitz apparently slows down killing in Nov.

5. the US military is pretty busy in France from June - Nov 44, we have a fantasy that we can end the war before Christmas if we make one more push. Diversions from that fantasy were not encouraged.

6. So multiple very successful large strikes might have slowed killing at Auschwitz for a few days before they stopped anyway, at the cost of prolonging the war, increased US losses, increased German civilian losses, and increased Jewish camp starvations.

Monday morning quarterbacking at best.

Synova said...

Nice to know, AL, that you figure we shouldn't have even tried to do anything about the concentration camps in WW2.

The arguments that it wouldn't have worked are one thing.

The argument that we shouldn't do anything if it means bombing is another.

As for Greenwald, his "logic" is suspect from the very start. The assumption that deaths to living wounded ratio carries over from US troops to Iraqis is ludicrous.

And just like that travesty published in Lancet... it's possible to just COUNT and when people prefer not to COUNT then you have to ask yourself why.

Beldar said...

This is an example of what makes current president George W. Bush tear up.

Compare and contrast that to would-be president Hillary Clinton tear up.

Gahrie said...

hdhouse:
this is president moron's finest hour. the real story is that, judging by his reaction, this may well be the first time he heard about it.

As usual, your ignorance is showing.

Hell if you had even bothered to read the article, you would know that this is President Bush's second visit to the camp. He went earlier while he was governor of Texas.

As usual, the real story is the ugly spectacle of BDS rearing it's head.

hdhouse said...

gharie..

then i stand corrected. this was president woowoo's first sober visit to the memorial. perhaps he will remember it this time.

Gary Rosen said...

rcocean/C-fudd describes Shirer's book as "revisionist fantasies", not surprising. There were a number of death camps besides Auschwitz but these nitwits don't ever let the facts get in the way of their neurotic obsessions and delusions.

rcocean said...

Gary:

Thanks for a post that is not only insulting but makes absolutely NO sense. Suggest you take a reading comprehension course - and stay on the meds.