More on Strategic Bombing

OK, I know this is a weird obsession of mine, but ever since my “read everything ever written about World War II” phase, which came when I was 13, I have been fascinated by the still endless debate about the effectiveness of strategic bombing.

I recently exchanged email on the subject with William H. Roberts, my first managing editor at The Tech, a career naval man, and a published author on war tactics. Here’s his latest:

There have indeed been a lot of questions as to the efficacy of “strategic bombing” and I would say the record is mixed, with much ink expended—the US Strategic Bombing Survey (WWII) and Gulf War Air Power Survey (Gulf War I) come to mind. The WWII application of strategic bombardment was based in great part on the hope that air power could win a war cleanly, without the massive casualties of WWI, which hope was encouraged by pre-WWII thinking that grossly exaggerated the preciseness of “precision” bombardment and believed that “the bomber will always get through.”

That last quote was from a piece of Bill’s  on the Civil War Monitor program, “Transformational thinking stresses a new technology’s disruptive effects and minimizes its drawbacks, devaluing experience and seeing a future in which all that is past will be swept away.”

 There’s more on WWI and pre-WWII thought at Brett Holman’s blog,


First some throat clearing. Am I the only one who finds the LinkedIn interface to be difficult? Usually when I start reading an article, if I don’t finish it, it disappears. Sometimes I can find it elsewhere on the Internet, sometimes I can’t.

 This link to a book Antisexist: Challenge Sexism, Champion Women's Rights, and Create Equality was accompanied, on LinkedIn, by startling and scary statistics about the depth and breadth of prejudice against women.

It’s important to me for two reasons. First, our family has gone to girls. Secondly, I’m fine with that as long as they are treated as equals to men – which isn’t really fair since they’re superior.

In my youth, I was fond of the saying “I’m surrounded by idiots.” Whenever I said that my mother said, “What does that say about you?”

Well, now I am surrounded by women and what that says about me is that I have excellent taste and judgment.

Graceful Exit

For decades, I viewed a tumultuous era of my youth as one of the worst times of my life. Now I view it as one of the best. Too bad I didn’t know from meditation at the time (despite a good friend driving me in her car to lessons), which would have eased the suffering, if not the pain.

She gave me an Ellen Goodman column: Retirement — The Art Of Knowing When To Quit. Its drop quote appears on the Internet 888 times. I read it at the time; to this day I wish I had practiced it. The only other time I’ve needed it was the day CMP laid me off after 20 years. I wish I had remembered it then as well. At the very least, I have stopped running my annual complaint column about the layoff.

I now believe myself capable of remembering Graceful Exits the next time I need the advice.

Terms of Art

In college, I always loved, “Intuitively obvious to the casual observer,” “Left as a proof for the reader,” and “nothing is idiot-proof because idiots are so ingenious.”

Craig Reynolds has added a new one: “could be ‘replicated by a competent graduate student’ (a term of art in reviewing papers for journals)”