“Many years ago, at Bletchley Park near Oxford where the German security code ?Enigma? was deciphered during the second world war, an elderly English gentleman at a security policy conference asked me where I hailed from. ‘Cologne’, I said. ‘Oh, I bombed it,’ he answered.
“Trying to change the conversation, I ventured that I was born in the little East German town of Kî’œhen. ‘Oh, I bombed that too,’ he said. I remember those bombs very well. What did he expect me to say? ‘Thank you for liberating me from Hitler’? I will never forget my mother?s fear-stricken face during those moments in the basement of our house, as the sounds of explosions moved closer and closer. We survived: others did not.
“The bombing of Germany shortened the war. What it did not do was to shift the German people?s allegiance away from Hitler. No doubt he was privately cursed for the prevailing misery, but the immediate blame for the bombings was not transferred to the Nazis until the war was definitively over. The same psychological pattern is becoming evident amongst the bombed citizens of Baghdad and Basra, although they clearly do not identify with Saddam Hussein?s regime as closely as the Germans did with Hitler?s.”
(by Michael Naumann, continued here)