Monday, February 18, 2013

Aerial Bombing, a new type of warfare

States, and now terrorist organisations, endeavour to find new and more efficient ways of afflicting the enemy, showing thus superiority. Aerial bombing, especially since 1945, has altered the way with which wars are fought, climaxing to the Yugoslavia attack by NATO forces only via the air. Despite conventional war being regulated in many respects, aerial warfare is governed by no rules.
Since the Korean War in the 1950’s ethical issues have arisen, scaring of the West by bombing uncontrollably due to the negative press and propaganda that could arise back home, which would mean an enormous political cost.

Vietnam was a different story, remaining to this day controversial; it is often being criticised as indiscriminate and disproportionately harmful to Vietnamese civilians. Rolling Thunder bombing campaign (March 1965-October 1968) was a combination of interdiction and industrial bombing designed to degrade North Vietnam’s ability to continue the war and hence show the seriousness of the U.S.A. in the matter. It was known as one of the most constrained military campaigns in history. Nevertheless, many states and organisations went against this practice describing it, as The New York Times did, as “Stone Age barbarism. On the other hand Pope Paul VI condemned the bombings from the Vatican.
During the Persian War restrained bombing continued in order to minimize casualties. Thankfully, a number of potential targets, such as those that were culturally or religiously sensitive, were placed on a protected ‘joint no fire target list’. All of these actions were carefully planned in order to maintain an international support for military action against Saddam Hussein.

The Yugoslavia war (1999) was a unique case, in regards to past wars. It was the only instance where ground troops were not used, from NATO’s side. Despite the media and many sources claiming that there were limited casualties, mistakes were evident since countless buildings were destroyed, including hospitals and houses, bringing Serbia down to its knees. Unfortunately, collateral damage is always a reality when in war with another state or group.
Ethical issues inevitably occur. How is a war fought when one actor is fighting from the sky and the other from the ground? It is true that no NATO lives were lost during the Yugoslavia campaign; however, collateral damage was a reality, destroying Serbia, which is still endeavouring to revive its previous state. Technology has progressed, new planes have accurate and clever bombs; nevertheless, it does question the future of mankind… What could happen when something goes wrong? 

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