18 April 2007
More Caption Controversy
The Canadian War Museum's exhibition on the work of the RCAF in Bomber Command has come in for some complaints from veterans. Unfortunately, the article doesn't quote the offending text at any length, so one must be more circumspect in taking sides. However, in this case my sympathies lie with the museum. The grim fact of strategic bombing operations during the war is that they killed many German civilians who for one reason or another found themselves in the vicinity of legitimate war targets. (Although at some point I believe Bomber Command regarding housing as a legitimate war target.) In the same way that chemical and biological weapons have been effectively criminalized by international institutions, I personally feel that the killing of civilians by military action should also be viewed with a jaundiced eye, no matter what military (or naval, in the case of the Lusitania) logic can be seen to justify their deaths. In that sense, I'd argue that the burden of proof rests on the Bomber Command personnel, and not the museum.