Who Bombs Children?

Published: 1995-04-01

This document is part of the Journal of Historical Review periodical.
Use this menu to find more documents that are part of this periodical.

Nicholas Strakon is the pen name of the editor of Dispatches from The Last Ditch, a newsletter. (P.O. Box 224, Roanoke, IN 46783. $42 for twelve issues. Free sample available on request.) "Who Bombs Children?" and "The Bombardier's Song" are reprinted from the April-May 1995 issue.

After the Oklahoma City bombing, ordinary Americans all over the country were asking in bewildered horror, "Who bombs children?" I can answer that question without having a scrap of evidence about who really employed Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols, the accused bombers. I can answer it not because I am so smart but because it is so easy.

My answer is: the United States government, among others.

With regard to war and the state, many Americans wander in a fog of mystification – or, to put it not so generously, in a moral stupor. For heaven's sake, the Oklahoma City bombing occurred a mere 19 days before the 50th anniversary of V-E Day. It occurred two months after the 50th anniversary of the incineration of Dresden and less than four months before the 50th anniversary of the incineration of Hiroshima. Let us, for once, connect historical events everyone knows about with the values all civilized people are supposed to cherish. Who is the greatest bomber of children if not the state?

When I write that World War II went far toward corrupting the moral sense of the American people, making possible the civilizational collapse we are now witnessing, I do not mean to indict the deceived, the propagandized, or the maleducated. Instead, I mean to suggest that the ruling class has robbed us not only materially but morally as well. And I mean to suggest that we can recapture our moral sense by reading history, recalling the values we were taught as children, and restoring certain vital connections between that history and those values. Americans of today cannot overturn the Permanent Regime, but we can keep it from stealing our souls. So let us remember all of what happened in World War II, and let us call mass murder by its right name.

A Juvenile War Fan

I shrink at sounding holier-than-thou, so immediately I offer a mea culpa. I was an adolescent World War II buff. I read everything about the war I could lay my hands on, but especially books about the European Theater, where the dictators were cinematic, the music was stirring, the massed tanks were exciting, and glamorous cities were destroyed. In those days, the materials available to me reflected the William Shirer/Time-Life triumphalist-nationalist school, but even those works of propaganda gave strategic bombing at least a glance.

It's safe to say that in 1962 the formative work for any bespectacled, bloodthirsty 13-year-old war fan was the paperback edition of Shirer's Rise and Fall of the Third Reich. It certainly was for me. I read my copy until it fell apart, and then I bought another. Now, Shirer, in the three pages – out of a total of 1,483 – that he devotes to the subject of area bombing, describes the destruction only of German "cities" and "homes," as if the inhabitants themselves were magically untouched. And in the entire massive work, he mentions the bombing of Dresden not once. He does criticize the bombing of cities – but because it was strategically unproductive, not because it was a monstrous atrocity.

Still, it shouldn't have taken much of a leap of imagination for me to conclude that many children must have been turned into ash in those air raids. Indeed, I may have made that connection; I don't recall. I do recall that a few years later when I started to learn about civilian casualties in Germany and Japan from historians more honest than Shirer, I blamed not Roosevelt, Truman, and Churchill but Hitler and Tojo. Those latter villains forced "us" to kill the civilians! And anyway, those civilians (including the children, I suppose) had it coming for supporting Hitler and Tojo.

It is difficult to compartmentalize moral numbness, and mine infected more than just my understanding of World War II. After 1945, Western propaganda ministries abruptly dropped their loving descriptions of Stalin as the kindly, brave, pipesmoking "Uncle Joe" and transformed the Soviet people from "our glorious, fraternal, democratic allies" into our most fearsome, loathsome enemy. It was an act of massive rectification that no doubt served as the principal inspiration for George Orwell's parables in 1984, where the dread enemy might change in mid-speech from Eurasia to Eastasia, whereupon the people of Oceania were obliged instantly to adopt the belief that "Oceania is at war with Eastasia ... Oceania has always been at war with Eastasia."

In any event, as a good citizen groping toward intellectual consistency in 1967, I justified a surprise nuclear attack on Soviet cities – the old "throw a thousand missiles over the pole" strategy – by arguing that the Soviet people had a moral imperative to overthrow their wicked regime, and if they didn't, they (the children, too, I suppose) deserved whatever "we" had to do to them in the course of extirpating communism. That is what I had learned from my studies of World War II, and that is the tortured way I went about making it comport with what I had learned about good and evil in Sunday School. It had to comport somehow, or everything I believed about the sanctity of the United State would be threatened.

Victims of an Allied bombing raid on Berlin, December 1943, laid out in a gymnasium

Victims of an Allied bombing raid on Berlin, December 1943, are laid out for identification in a gymnasium incongruously decorated with Christmas trees. An estimated 50,000 to 60,000 Berliners perished in Allied air attacks. More than half a million Germans civilians were killed in Allied bombing attacks during the Second World War. In addition, Allied bombers took the lives of many tens of thousands of civilians in France, Italy, Hungary, Belgium and other European countries.

Eventually, I found a better way to integrate what I knew of history with what I believed about freedom, justice, slavery, and murder. A late-blooming moral Columbus, I discovered America the beautiful, and had done with the hideous United State and its grisly works.

Kill a Child for FDR and Uncle Joe

The government of the United State is surely the champion bomber of children in world history, with the British Imperial regime secure in second place. Some writers tell us that the Eighth and Fifteenth air forces didn't do much terror bombing, as such, in Europe until late 1944 or early 1945, but in fact American air forces became full partners with Britain's terroristic Bomber Command much earlier. The difference was that the Americans at first tended to bomb cities for tactical reasons – that is, to clear the way for their armies; or for reasons of economic strategy – that is, to shatter industry and infrastructure. The resulting massacre of civilians was merely "collateral damage." Unintended. Just accidental: "Ooops! There goes another orphanage! Sorry! Thought it was a power plant. Don't worry, when it's all over, we'll pass out choon gum, chocolate, and Lucky Strikes to the kids, if any survive." The fliers didn't restrict their activities to Germany, by the way: they wrecked cities in Italy, France, and Belgium as well. It was, one supposes, a case of having to destroy those cities in order to liberate them.[1]

By the last months of the war in Europe, the American bomber force did resort to outright terror bombing. For example, the courageous Eighth Air Force took over from the heroic Brits on the second day of the destruction of Dresden, a city with no AA guns but a million helpless refugees. And David Irving writes of another noble military operation no doubt vital to winning the war: "To exploit the refugee chaos in Berlin, the Americans sent over nine hundred heavy bombers at noon on February 3 [1945] ... The city's casualties were immense."[2]

In the Pacific Theater, the United State had no close rival in child-bombing: it ran the Allies' only major air force, and that force rained havoc and death on a scale that made the raids conducted on Chinese civilians by Japan's rickety bomber force look like juvenile vandalism.[3]

(Other nations win prizes in other classes of heroic, valorous endeavor. For instance, that Red Army whose glorious achievements the Clintons celebrated in Moscow the other day qualifies, at least in the European Theater, as the No. 1 Rapist – of women and children.)

The Butcher's Bill

How many children, in both theaters, did the United State and British Imperialist air forces slaughter? I've dabbled in a little demography in an effort to come up with a figure. Douglas Botting, in From the Ruins of the Reich, estimates that Allied bombing killed 500,000 civilians in Germany, not counting another 100,000 civilians killed in the land warfare, which included another type of bombing – artillery bombardment.[4] The 500,000 figure seems decidedly conservative in light of estimates that 250,000 were killed in the raids on Dresden alone (February 13-14, 1945).[5] But let it stand for our present purpose. In War Without Mercy (p. 298), John Dower calculates that American saturation bombing of 66 Japanese cities killed 393,000 civilians. Say, then, that about 893,000 civilians were killed in air attacks on Germany and Japan. (I omit civilians murdered by the "liberation" air forces in Italy, France, and the Low Countries.)

Census figures indicate that in 1970, children 14 or younger made up approximately 28 percent of the U.S. population.[6] It is reasonable to assume that the cohort of German and Japanese children was proportionally larger in the 1940s – a time of larger families and shorter life expectancy – but, again, let the conservative estimate stand.

If 28 percent of the victims were age 14 and younger, we end with an estimated butcher's bill of about 250,000 children murdered by American and British fliers. Extrapolating from the total figures, we can assume, roughly, that 44 percent of the murdered children were Japanese and 56 percent were German. If all the murdered Japanese children were murdered by Americans, for 44 percent of the total, and – at a guess – a third of the murdered German children were murdered by Americans, for another 18.67 percent of the total, we arrive at a figure of 62.67 percent or 156,675 children murdered by Americans, and 37.33 percent or 93,325 murdered by the British.

156,675 children! Call to mind the child the whole world saw in the Oklahoma City fireman's arms – and then imagine having to see a different child suffocated or crushed or incinerated on the front page of your daily paper every day for almost 429 years!

I don't mince words, because this must be clear: it wasn't "bombing" or "air raids" or "airplanes" that accounted for those homicides. It was the government employees crewing the planes. B-17s don't bomb people; people bomb people. Some crewmen were conscripts, "serving" with a gun in their back; but the pilots, navigators, and bombardiers were officers. Doing what they did should ignite 50 years' worth of fiery nightmares, for anyone with a moral imagination.

Hey, Hey,LBJ ...

I could not compartmentalize my moral numbness, and neither could other Americans. It infected our evaluation of other public calamities. For every youngster in the '60s who chanted, "Hey, hey, LBJ, how many kids did you kill today?" there had to be a hundred Americans who never gave a second thought to those "collateral losses" produced by the strategic bombing of Vietnam. In fact, many probably thought the chanting kids ought to be lynched for insulting "our" president. (In the end, the war did become quite unpopular with most adults, but primarily because they didn't care to have their sons' tails shot off by an unbeatable enemy, not because of any holocaust of underage Oriental Commies.)

Worse: although it was no secret, in 1983, that the battleship New Jersey had bombarded unseen Lebanese villages with its 16-inch guns, most Americans were surprised when, in response, Shiite soldiers gave their lives to blow up the Marine barracks in Beirut. The ugliest thing wasn't that Americans failed to take seriously the murdering of the villagers – including children – by US sailors, but that they didn't even expect the Lebanese to take those homicides seriously enough to want to strike back. In fact, they thought of the avengers as typical Ayrab fanatics for carrying out their strike! Apparently, only Americans are allowed to be outraged when their civilians and children are murdered. Such an attitude reveals not merely a lapse, but the death, of the moral imagination.

It Can't Happen Here

Writing without regard to nationality, I believe I have made my case that the United States is the greatest bomber of children in history. That is all I wanted to demonstrate in order to shed some light on this odd season of terror and celebration, and it is all I can demonstrate. I have no secret knowledge, only black suspicions, about what happened in Oklahoma City. However, for the benefit of those who object that the children bombed to death in World War II were, after all, mere foreigners, and that "It (government child-bombing) can't happen here," I go on to suggest that just as the popular vocabulary, from curse words to the names of ethnic groups, has undergone considerable rectification in recent decades, so the definition of "us" and "them" has changed.

Pyre with air raid victims in Dresden, Germany, 1945

On makeshift grids of steel girders, heaped bodies of victims of the Dresden fire storm air raid were cremated in large bonfires. Some two thousand British and American bombers took part in the devastating attack, February 13-14, 1945. So intense was the heat of the firestorm created in the raid that rivers of molten asphalt flowed through the streets. Conservative estimates put the number of victims at 135,000 – the great majority of them civilians. Authoritative sources estimate that as many as 300,000 perished in the raid.

At the time of the attack Dresden was packed with hundreds of thousands of German women and children fleeing advancing Soviet forces. One of Europe's great cultural and architectural treasures, the German city had no importance as a military target. Mass killing and terrorism were the sole objectives of the Dresden attack, which British diplomat and author Harold Nicolson called "the single greatest holocaust by war."

I maintained in "Dark Suits and Red Guards" that, since the completion of the Suits' Managerial Revolution and the rise of the Guards in the '60s, the two wings of the American ruling apparatus have shared a growing contempt, if not a loathing, for us ordinary, unprogressive, provincial Majority Americans. In the conclusion of an earlier article, I envisioned a near-future American regime dispatching Rapid Deployment Force planes with paraquat, Agent Orange, napalm, and anthrax to wipe out backwaters that had become difficult to govern. "Extreme?" I wrote. "But why would we expect our cosmopolitan Suits and Guards to display sentiments toward domestic rubes and yahoos any warmer than those which earlier, nationalistic American elites displayed toward the inhabitants of Dresden, Nagasaki, and Hiroshima?"

Why, indeed? To the elites, what happens to us American "yahoos" at century's end matters as little as what happened to the "grinning yellow monkeys" and "bestial Huns" – of whatever tender age – in the 1940s. How much crippling inflation and taxation – how many policies destroying families, small businesses, small towns, and traditional culture – how much nihilistic Red Guard propaganda in the schools and media – how much reverse discrimination – how many campaigns for civil disarmament – how many managed-trade and world government schemes – how much ruinous foreign aid and intervention – how many expropriations in favor of Wall Street banks, Israel, and Third World dictatorships must we suffer before we understand that it is not for us that the elites are building their New World Order? We ordinary Americans in the 1990s have more in common with the ordinary people of Germany and Japan than we have with our masters in New York and Washington.

Many of the victims in Oklahoma City were not just Americans, of course, but friends and servants of the regime. Even if the deracinated elites would hesitate to murder American children no more than they would Lebanese children, wouldn't they flinch at killing their own servants?

I think they would not flinch. Regimes have always been willing to sacrifice some of their hapless minions for reasons of state.[7] Perhaps there would have been some resistance to a plan to butcher low-level nobodies at a facility on the Bicoasts. (Of course, that wouldn't have worked half as well for terroristic purposes, either.) But the bureaucrats and others who were targeted were mere Heartlanders – Okies, Velveeta eaters, K-mart shoppers, folks with unwashed accents, butts of Bicoastal jokes and ridicule. Almost all were undoubtedly Christians. In the eyes of New York and Washington, they were absolute nobodies from nowhere (although the media and other, more official spokesmen for the regime must make it seem that they were somebodies, for the benefit of the other nobodies in front of the tube).

I was relating to an acquaintance of mine, a 28-year veteran of the Central Government bureaucracy, the conspiratorial allegation that none of the "senior personnel" assigned to the Murrah building showed up for work the morning of the bombing. "Senior personnel!" he said, chuckling. "What senior personnel?" He said he doubted whether Murrah housed anyone at all in the Senior Executive Service, let alone any important political appointees. "At most, you had a handful of GS-15s. In DC, a GS-15 doesn't even rate a reserved parking space."

Infantile Bromides

I no longer support mass murder, but I'm afraid millions of nice, friendly, peaceful-looking Americans acquiesce in it, without thinking much about it. Undoubtedly, they would have the murdering limited to war – the slaughter specially sanctified by statesmen. But we all should remember that we live in an era of undeclared wars, secret wars, and "moral equivalents" of war. We should pray that the statesmen of our own nation don't decide to make war on us.

And although it won't change anything in the bloody world around us, we might remember the simple moral teachings of the West we all learned as children, such as "Two wrongs don't make a right," "Innocent until proven guilty," "Spare the children," and "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." Call them infantile bromides if you will, but they are central tenets of any decent civilization, and of any decent man.


[1]See James J . Martin, "The Bombing and Negotiated Peace Questions in 1944," in Revisionist Viewpoints: Essays in a Dissident Historical Tradition (Colorado Springs, Colo.: Ralph Myles, 1971), pp. 116-17. [Available from the IHR for $9.75, postpaid. (check www.ihr.org for current availability and price; ed.)]
This revelatory essay describes the hate campaign mounted by the US and British regimes and their unofficial mouthpieces, designed to corrupt the American and British peoples so they would be ready to accept what Martin calls "the new barbarism." Before reading this essay, I had never heard of the Peace Now Movement (1943-1944).
[2]David Irving, Hitler's War: 1942-1945 (London: Macmillan, 1985 [1977]), p. 762. See also: David Irving, Hitler's War and The War Path, 1933-1945 (London: Focal Point, 1991), p. 735.
[3]I do not mean to minimize Chinese losses and suffering from other causes. John W. Dower, in War Without Mercy: Race & Power in the Pacific War (New York: Pantheon, 1986 [pp. 295-296]), suggests that a figure of nine million civilian deaths, from all causes, is a conservative estimate.
[4]Douglas Botting, From the Ruins of the Reich: Germany 1945-1949 (New York: Crown, 1985), p. 125.
[5]D. Irving, Hitler's War: 1942-1945 (London: 1985 [1977]), p. 771, and D. Irving, Hitler's War (London: Focal Point, 1991), p. 739.
"Most of the [Dresden] victims were refugee women and children," writes Frederick J.P. Veale. The Allied "strategic air offensive," he reports, killed a total of 600,000 civilians in Germany. F.J.P. Veale, Advance to Barbarism: The Devel opment of Total Warfare (Institute for Historical Review, 1993), pp. 191, 199.

[6]The Statistical History of the United States from Colonial Times to the Present, introduction and user's guide by Ben J. Wattenberg (New York: Basic Books, 1976), p. 23.
[7]Whoever carried out the bombing, we may be skeptical about the extent to which the Dark Suits considered it a threat to themselves and their agenda, given the fact that the Dow index not only closed at a record high on the day of the bombing but also set new highs on each of several days immediately thereafter.

The Bombardier's Song

Here's an example of how moral numbness can propagate factual error and, in effect, result in the Orwellian rectification of history. I heard recently on my local socialist radio station a locally produced "concert preview" for the Fort Wayne Philharmonic, which was scheduled to perform Carl Orff's "Carmina Burana." The announcer was recounting the life and career of the German composer. Reading from a prepared script, he informed us that Orff had been working at the Guntherschule in Munich, but that his work was interrupted in 1943 when the Nazis bombed the school.

Now, I found that statement remarkable, given the fact that Orff shared with Richard Strauss the distinction of being the Nazi regime's favorite contemporary composer. And oddly, none of my books on World War II reports a "Nazi" bombing of Munich in 1943. However, B.H. Liddell Hart, in his History ofthe Second World War, does report that the British Bomber Command perpetrated a major raid on Munich the night of October 7, 1943.

The scriptwriter whose presentation I heard was brought up to believe that whatever the Allies did was, by definition, good. Conversely, if a bad thing happened in World War II to something that, in his present context, he regards as good, in this case a music school, the Nazis must have done it. Even if it was a Nazi music school!

– N. S.

Rights and Duties

"We are born into no right whatever but what has an equivalent and corresponding duty right alongside of it. There is no such thing on this earth as something for nothing. Whatever we inherit of wealth, knowledge or institutions from the past has been paid for by the labor and sacrifice of preceding generations."
—William Graham Sumner

Additional information about this document
Property Value
Author(s): Nicholas Strakon
Title: Who Bombs Children?
Sources: The Journal of Historical Review, vol. 15, no. 4 (July/August 1995), pp. 35-39; reprinted from Dispatches from The Last Ditch, April-May 1995.
Published: 1995-04-01
First posted on CODOH: Dec. 21, 2012, 6 p.m.
Last revision:
Appears In: