Stephen Lendman

Jan 12, 2009

History's terror bombings. This article reviews some of the most infamous:

-- Guernica - 1937;

-- the London Blitz - 1940 - 41;

-- Dresden - 1945;

-- Tokyo - 1945;

-- Hiroshima and Nagasaki - 1945;

-- North Korea - 1950 - 53;

-- Southeast Asia - 1964 - 73;

-- Iraq - 1991 to the present;

-- Serbia/Kosovo - 1999;

-- Afghanistan - 2001 to the present;

-- Lebanon - 1982 and 2006; and

-- Gaza - 2008 - 09.

Strategic bombing involves destroying an adversary's economic and military ability to wage war. It targets its war making capacity and related infrastructure. Terror bombing is another matter. It's against civilians to break their morale, cause panic, weaken an enemy's will to fight, and inflict mass casualties and punishment.

Geneva and other international laws forbid the targeting of civilians. The Laws of War: Laws and Customs of War on Land (1907 Hague IV Convention) states:

-- Article 25: "The attack or bombardment, by whatever means, of towns, villages, dwellings, or buildings which are undefended is prohibited."

-- Article 26: "The officer in command of an attacking force must, before commencing a bombardment, except in cases of assault, do all in his power to warn the authorities."

Article 27: "In sieges and bombardments, all necessary steps must be taken to spare, as far as possible, buildings dedicated to religion, art, science, or charitable purposes, historic monuments, hospitals, and places where the sick and wounded are collected, provided they are not being used at the time for military purposes." The besieged should visibly indicate these buildings or places and notify an adversary beforehand.

The Fourth Geneva Convention protects civilians in time of war. It prohibits violence of any type against them and requires treatment for the sick and wounded. In September 1938, a League of Nations unanimous resolution prohibited the:

"bombardment of cities, towns, villages, dwellings or buildings not in the immediate neighborhood of the operations of land forces....In cases where (legitimate targets) are so situated, (aircraft) must abstain from bombardment" if this action indiscriminately affects civilians.

The 1945 Nuremberg Principles prohibit "crimes against peace, war crimes and crimes against humanity." These include "inhumane acts committed against any civilian populations, before or during the war," including indiscriminate killing and "wanton destruction of cities, towns, or villages, or devastation not justified by military necessity."

The 1968 General Assembly Resolution on Human Rights prohibits launching attacks against civilian populations. Israel and America do it repeatedly - by land, sea and terror bombings.

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