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Operation Vegetarian (wikipedia.org)
39 points by monort on Sept 19, 2018 | hide | past | favorite | 6 comments

The source mentioned in that page has more information: https://www.thevintagenews.com/2018/01/10/operation-vegetari...

The potential risk to potential reward here seems pretty low. Both a good chance of it killing lots of people you didn't need/want to, and a good chance of it not doing any damage whatsoever to your enemy. War is full of bad things and hard choices, but this sounds like the worst of both worlds. Perhaps why it never got deployed.

WWII was also distinguished by the use of aerial firebombing, where tons and tons of explosives were hurled into cities more or less at random in the hopes that it would have some psychological or material impact. The whole idea of “precision strikes” and not harming civilians is a fairly recent development in the history of war. (Let’s hope it sticks around!)

My knowledge about this is largely from Jonathan Glover's excellent/depressing Humanity: A Moral History of the Twentieth Century.

I thought 'harming civilians' is the fairly recent development. Battles usually always used to be between two armies on a field, away from cities. At the beginning of WWII, bombing cities was not even considered by the Allies; by the end, they were doing it themselves, justified by the Germans V2s bombing cities in Britain. The Germans justified that by saying the WWI British blockade of Germany was aimed at starving the people and killed many more. In the Nuremberg trials, the standard was "stuff they did that we didn't", but that standard had been slipping constantly during the century, as that book makes plain.

Perhaps most frightening was the description of the 'decision' to drop the atomic bombs on Japan, which wasn't even a decision, but a series of misunderstandings between a few different groups. No-one made a decision.

Um, no. The world history of warfare is very much one of looting, pillaging, rape, and enslavement. This held true everywhere from Africa over the centuries, to Greece and Rome, to the Ottoman Empire, to the Aztecs and Mayans and Olmec to Japan, to the Russian revolution, to the First Peoples in North America long before there was a United States of America .

Hardcore history talks about this aspect of total war and how they justified and wrestled with it

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