Monday, April 28, 2008

Imprecise precision.

I wish to apologise to all. I have been away rather longer than I expected and I feel I have let duty slip. I will try to post more in the next few weeks.

Carrying on with the theme of double effect, here are a few facts worth pondering. A the end of the Second World War the U.S. conducted a review of the effectiveness of its bombing campaign. The report can be found
here.

During most of the Second World War the U.S pursued a policy of daylight bombing of specific targets of military value. Unlike the British who early on instigated area bombing due to their inability to hit a specific target at all. One of the interesting facts that it presents is that overall only 20% of bombs when aimed at a clear and specific target fell within a 1000 ft radius of the target. Where did the other 80% go?

In fact the average CEP of bombers in the WW2 was approximately 3000 ft.

Now, how do we morally evaluate the actions of the bombardier, who while aiming at a specific target, exposes approximately 5 square miles around the target to the possibility of being bombed? Clearly an attempt at discrimination is being made even if the effects are indiscriminate.

2 comments:

BMX said...

I believe in "The more you read the more you learn" and after reading your article i learn that the average CEP of bombers in the WW2 was approximately 3000 ft. I didn't knew that.

The Social Pathologist said...

Now the question to ask is: Is there a moral difference between the attacks on Schweinfurt which was a daylight operation and there was a specific military target--ball bearing factory--and the raids on Hamburg, in which the targets were workers housing?

In my opinion yes. In both instances there was a fair amount of collateral damage but I believe the actions at Schweinfurt to be morally justifiable while the bombings of Hamburg not.