Strategic VS "Tactical" bombing, there is no good bombing, a possible lesson from later history

Under a certain video I have engaged in a conversation regarding strategic vs tactical bombing. (Prompted by outrageous comments that made like Nazi occupation was more civil that what the US had to do to stop it. “The German soldiers more polite and on a short leash than the Americans”… depends on who you were!) To me the issue isn’t “strategic bombing was good and effective”. It’s more like just about any bombing is going to result in the same problems. Where I get that idea is from the Vietnam war. I AM NO HISTORIAN … but the basis of what I know comes from a set of documentaries. One called Battlefield was all about WW II. The third season of which was about Vietnam. Vietnam might be instructive since it is the last time we see the USAF in action with dumb bombs comparable to, if not identical to, those used in WW II. After that, even at the tail end of that, we are talking smart weapons. Then comparisons aren’t really valid.

Its an interesting watch. Battlefield Vietnam - Part 10: Rolling Thunder - YouTube The whole episode was about the tactical approach tried by Johnson and McNamera. Operation Rolling Thunder tried really hard to avoid civilian casualties and resulted in 10’s of 1000’s of casualties. Averaging depending on the estimate used between 60 and 150 per day. That is with tight control and target list approved by the White house itself.

Operation Linebacker and Linebacker II, done by Nixon, are very well described here for any who are curious. Battlefield Vietnam - Part 12: The Fall of Saigon - YouTube Linebacker II is what I found good numbers for at about 135 / day over 12 days. Nixon basically unleashed the full non nuclear might of the USAF upon North Vietnam to get them back to the negotiating table and get his “peace with honor”. Which they did and the Republic of Vietnam would last from 1972-1975 without US troops.

Did it work? Was it good? There is no good way to do this.

The only possible “good” in these things is that, in modern times, the side the US chooses has been the side that would not do genocide if left alone. Not because we are good but because we learned the hard way (Indian removal and Black Chattel Slavery) that those things are truly wrong. No matter how superior any group may think it is. Those things are evil and never even work.

“War is Hell” - General William Tecemseh Sherman.