- Entertain conjecture of a national leader, in the midst
of a ferocious war, plotting to drop tens of thousands of anthrax "superbombs"
on the civilian population of his enemy. At his order, his generals draw
up a detailed plan for a chemical attack on six major cities: they estimate
that millions will die immediately "by inhalation," with millions
more succumbing later through skin absorption of the poisons.
- In the end, the leader is thwarted by objections from
his aides and allies. To assuage his frustration, he launches another pet
idea: "Operation Thunderclap," a massive conventional bombing
raid on the enemy's capital, also aimed at civilians, designed to "castrate"
the enemy population. In a single night, allied forces kill 25,000 people,
almost all of them from the city's working class and poorest districts.
- Emboldened, he presses for yet another feast of fire
and death. He gets it: a bombing raid on a non-military target, a cultural
center, a city glutted with refugees, slave laborers and prisoners of war
-- his own soldiers and those of his allies. The raid kills 35,000 people
or more; no one knows for sure, because the city is completely pulverized
-- and is bombed again immediately afterward, with special high explosives,
in an attempt to kill any survivors hiding in the ruins.
- A portrait of Saddam Hussein, at the height of the murderous
Iran-Iraq war? No, it's Winston Churchill, whose shadow looms so large
over the carnage being conducted by his historically ignorant successors
in the Anglo-American "coalition." Churchill has long been anointed
a secular saint by the chewed cud of received wisdom, especially in America,
although those who knew him best seemed to like him least -- he was booted
out of office by his own people not once but twice: the first time before
the end of World War II (which we are now told he won almost single-handedly).
- As journalist Mike Davis reports in his book, "Dead
Cities," Churchill's plan to blanket Germany with 40,000 anthrax bombs
was narrowly averted by Franklin Roosevelt. But Winston was allowed to
wield his more conventional "thunderclaps" on the civilians of
Berlin and then Dresden. Finally, the once-reluctant Americans succumbed
to his policy of "terror bombing" and launched "Operation
Meetinghouse," the firebombing of Tokyo that killed more than 100,000
civilians in a single night. Although American war planners called the
raid "nothing short of wonderful," it was, in some respects,
a disappointment: they had originally planned a six-city extravaganza with
the carefully calibrated target of 584,000 civilian fatalities.
- Oddly enough, these attacks were launched over the strenuous
objections of some of America's most battle-hardened military brass, Davis
notes. Air Force General George McDonald railed against "indiscriminate
homicide and destruction," which "repudiates our past purposes
and practices." War Secretary Henry Stimson warned, "We don't
want the United States to get the reputation of outdoing Hitler in atrocities."
Major General Laurence Kuter declared "it is contrary to our national
ideals to wage war against civilians."
- These honorable stances cut no ice with Churchill (or
Roosevelt, in the end). Of course, the pendulously jowled prime minister
was a mass-destruction fan from way back. In 1919, Churchill called for
airborne chemical assaults on "uncooperative Arabs" (actually
Kurds and Afghans, but your great men need not make such petty distinctions).
"I do not understand the squeamishness about the use of gas,"
he declared. "I am strongly in favor of using poison gas against uncivilized
tribes.." Some years later, a certain A. Hitler would apply this gaseous
philosophy to another troublesome "tribe."
- The two Teutonically-derived statesmen also shared a
loathing for the lesser breeds. As Churchill put it with customary eloquence
in 1937: "I do not agree that the dog in a manger has the final right
to the manger even though he may have lain there for a very long time.
I do not admit that right. I do not admit that a great wrong has been done
to the Red Indians of America or the black people of Australia. I do not
admit that a wrong has been done to these people by the fact that a stronger
race, a higher-grade race, a more worldly wise race, has come in and taken
their place." Hear! Hear! cried Hitler, as he sent his "higher-grade"
hordes swarming eastward into the vast Slavic manger.
- Churchill's understandable thirst for revenge against
the Nazis who had bombed English cities took a curious turn, however. The
mass British counter-raids aimed at "breaking the enemy's morale"
were targeted almost exclusively against the "lower orders,"
who died by the hundreds of thousands in the "area bombing" that
neither broke civilian morale nor substantially hampered German war production
(although it did waste the lives of thousands of allied airmen). Yet the
sumptuous, undefended villas of Nazi leaders (the very men who had ordered
the blitz on English cities) and major Nazi industrialists (who, along
with their American partners like Prescott Bush, had built Hitler's war
machine) were specifically excluded from the attacks. What stirring chivalry
among the warrior elite!
- Today, Churchill's bust adorns the office of George W.
Bush -- a gift from his loyal tributary, Tony Blair. Churchill is their
lodestar, their magic totem, the mythic foundation of their "moral
authority" as war leaders. But as history shows, there is no "moral
authority" in war, even in a "good war": There is only "indiscriminate
homicide and destruction," the unleashing of the beast within all
of us -- even the "great ones," made drunk with power and terror.