Bombs are any of a range (short or long distance) of explosive weapons that only rely on the exothermic reaction of an explosive material to provide an extremely sudden and violent release of energy. Detonations inflict damage principally through ground- and atmosphere-transmitted mechanical stress, the impact and penetration of pressure-driven projectiles, pressure damage, and explosion-generated effects. A nuclear weapon employs chemical-based explosives to initiate a much larger nuclear-based explosion. Bombing or bombardment is the use of bombs, particularly when done as part of a campaign of directing multiple bombs towards a series of strategic targets. A bomber is a person who sets up, sets off, or drops bombs.
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- The first step for Democrats was embracing violence as a tool of positive social change. In 1965, liberals viewed the bombing of North Vietnam as a moral atrocity. Thirty years later, they applauded Bill Clinton’s bombing of Bosnia as a means of protecting the rights of a vulnerable minority group, the local Muslim population. Liberals discovered that war was an expedient form of social engineering, not to mention politically popular. Want to save children? Bomb their country. Head Start suddenly seemed like a tepid half measure compared to the swift compassion of air strikes. How often do bombings actually improve people’s lives? Do children on the ground really like them? Who knows? Follow-up stories on the aftermath of cruise missile attacks are notably rare in American media. The practical effects of the policies are less interesting to policy makers in Washington than the spirit in which they’re intended. When you’re pulling the trigger, the spirit is always pure. Liberals believed that Curtis LeMay dropped bombs because he was a crazed warmonger who took pleasure in hurting people. Liberals believe they bomb countries for the same reason they once opposed bombing countries, because they want to make the world a better place. Intent is what matters.
- Tucker Carlson, Ship of Fools: How a Selfish Ruling Class Is Bringing America to the Brink of Revolution (2018)
- It is now apparently part of the normal doctrine of those who advocate this system that no distinction can be made between combatants and non-combatants, and that a perfectly legitimate and indeed necessary method of warfare will be the wholesale destruction of unfortified cities and their inhabitants. No doubt there will be countervailing efforts to prevent such things happening; but there is, at any rate, one section of military thought which believes that the only way to stop the bombardment of the cities belonging to one belligerent will be the bombardment of the cities belonging to the other.
- Robert Cecil, 1st Viscount Cecil of Chelwood, The Future of Civilization (1938).
- "Now just hold on,"
Said the little bomb,
"If you were just to hold my hands
Then time would stop
The plot would flop
And jumbo would be safe to land"
- My eventual participation is especially ironic in view of my own earliest attitudes toward bombing and my unusual introduction to the nuclear age. An intense abhorrence of both population bombing and nuclear weapons went back to my childhood during World War II. A year before Pearl Harbor, when I was nine years old, newsreels of the London Blitz impressed me with the incomprehensible cruelty of the Nazis. The demolition and burning of cities filled with people of all ages seemed to express their demonic character. In grade school after Pearl Harbor, we had air raid drills. One day my teacher handed out a model of a short, slim silver-colored incendiary bomb, which was used to spread fires. We were told it was a magnesium bomb, whose blaze couldn’t be extinguished by water. You had to cover it with sand to keep oxygen from feeding the flames. In every room in our school there was a large bucket filled with sand for this purpose. I take it that this was a way of making us identify with the war effort, the likelihood of German or Japanese bombers penetrating as far as Detroit being quite small in retrospect. But the notion of the magnesium bomb made a strong impression on me. It was uncanny to think of humans designing and dropping on other humans a flaming substance that couldn’t easily be extinguished, a particle of which, we were told, would burn through flesh to the bone and wouldn’t stop burning even then. It was hard for me to understand people who were willing to burn children like that. Later newsreels showed American and British bombers bravely flying through flak to drop their loads on targets in Germany. I believed what we were told—that our daylight precision bombing was aimed only at war factories and military targets (even if, regrettably, some civilians were also hit by accident).
- Daniel Ellsberg, The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner (2017)
- And if I had been fully aware how commonly—particularly in the B-29 raids over Japan—we were imitating Nazi terror bombing practices, how would I have reacted? I don’t really know. Perhaps any concerns would have been quieted by the thoughts that they had started the war and the bombing of cities, that retaliation was fair and necessary, and that anything that would help win a war against such atrocious foes was justified. Those same thoughts might have reassured me about the use of atomic bombs on Japan, as they did for most Americans, if it hadn’t been for an unusual classroom experience I had had in the last year of the war.
- Daniel Ellsberg, The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner (2017)
- Maybe we should develop a Crayola bomb as our next secret weapon. A happiness weapon. A Beauty Bomb. And every time a crisis developed, we would launch one. It would explode high in the air — explode softly — and send thousands, millions, of little parachutes into the air. Floating down to earth — boxes of Crayolas. And we wouldn't go cheap either — not little boxes of eight. Boxes of sixty-four, with the sharpener built right in. With silver and gold and copper, magenta and peach and lime, amber and umber and all the rest. And people would smile and get a little funny look on their faces and cover the world with imagination instead of death. A child who touched one wouldn't have his hand blown off.
- Robert Fulghum, All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten : Uncommon Thoughts on Common Things (1986).
- Their [antiwar movement] mantra was: "Afghanistan, where the world's richest country rains bombs on the world's poorest country." Poor fools. They should never have tried to beat me at this game. What about, "Afghanistan, where the world's most open society confronts the world's most closed one"? "Where American women pilots kill the men who enslave women." "Where the world's most indiscriminate bombers are bombed by the world's most accurate ones." "Where the largest number of poor people applaud the bombing of their own regime." I could go on. (I think No. 4 may need a little work.) But there are some suggested contrasts for the "doves" to paste into their scrapbook. Incidentally, when they look at their scrapbooks they will be able to reread themselves saying things like, "The bombing of Kosovo is driving the Serbs into the arms of Milosevic."
- "Bombing Afghanistan back into the Stone Age" was quite a favourite headline for some wobbly liberals... But an instant's thought shows that Afghanistan is being, if anything, bombed OUT of the Stone Age.
- Christopher Hitchens, "Christopher Hitchens on why peace-lovers must welcome this war", The Mirror, 15 November 2001 .
- And the rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.
- Francis Scott Key, "The Star-Spangled Banner", (September 14, 1814).
- Stillman: There's no need to worry so much. You won't actually be dismantling the bombs. That's not for amateurs. What we'll try here instead is a temporary freezing method. Here, look at this. This is a C4 bomb. It's live, you can see it pulsing. Now you spray this on the sucker and......there we go. Simple, huh? The spray freezes the detonator instantly.
- My solution to the problem would be to tell [the North Vietnamese Communists] frankly that they've got to draw in their horns and stop their aggression or we're going to bomb them into the Stone Age. And we would shove them back into the Stone Age with Air power or Naval power — not with ground forces.
- General Curtis LeMay, as portrayed in Mission With LeMay: My Story (1965), co-written with MacKinlay Kantor, p. 565; in an interview two years after the publication of this book, reported in The Washington Post (4 October 1968), p. A8, LeMay said, "I never said we should bomb them back to the Stone Age. I said we had the capability to do it. I want to save lives on both sides." He claimed that this was his ghost writer's overwriting.
- I think the issue is not so much incendiary bombs. I think the issue is: in order to win a war should you kill 100,000 people in one night, by firebombing or any other way? LeMay's answer would be clearly "Yes." "McNamara, do you mean to say that instead of killing 100,000, burning to death 100,000 Japanese civilians in that one night, we should have burned to death a lesser number or none? And then had our soldiers cross the beaches in Tokyo and been slaughtered in the tens of thousands? Is that what you're proposing? Is that moral? Is that wise?" Why was it necessary to drop the nuclear bomb if LeMay was burning up Japan? And he went on from Tokyo to firebomb other cities. 58% of Yokohama. Yokohama is roughly the size of Cleveland. 58% of Cleveland destroyed. Tokyo is roughly the size of New York. 51% percent of New York destroyed. 99% of the equivalent of Chattanooga, which was Toyama. 40% of the equivalent of Los Angeles, which was Nagoya. This was all done before the dropping of the nuclear bomb, which by the way was dropped by LeMay's command.
- Proportionality should be a guideline in war. Killing 50% to 90% of the people of 67 Japanese cities and then bombing them with two nuclear bombs is not proportional, in the minds of some people, to the objectives we were trying to achieve. I don't fault Truman for dropping the nuclear bomb. The U.S.—Japanese War was one of the most brutal wars in all of human history ? kamikaze pilots, suicide, unbelievable. What one can criticize is that the human race prior to that time ? and today ? has not really grappled with what are, I'll call it, "the rules of war." Was there a rule then that said you shouldn't bomb, shouldn't kill, shouldn't burn to death 100,000 civilians in one night? LeMay said, "If we'd lost the war, we'd all have been prosecuted as war criminals." And I think he's right. He, and I'd say I, were behaving as war criminals. LeMay recognized that what he was doing would be thought immoral if his side had lost. But what makes it immoral if you lose and not immoral if you win?
- Bombs have no mothers. That is an
insult to mothers.
- Naomi Shihab Nye Voices in the Air: Poems for Listeners (2018)
- For man, unlike any other thing organic or inorganic in the universe, grows beyond his work, walks up the stairs of his concepts, emerges ahead of his accomplishments. This you may say of man — when theories change and crash, when schools, philosophies, when narrow dark alleys of thought, national, religious, economic, grow and disintegrate, man reaches, stumbles forward, painfully, mistakenly sometimes. Having stepped forward, he may slip back, but only half a step, never the full step back. This you may say and know it and know it. This you may know when the bombs plummet out of the black planes on the market place, when prisoners are stuck like pigs, when the crushed bodies drain filthily in the dust. You may know it in this way. If the step were not being taken, if the stumbling-forward ache were not alive, the bombs would not fall, the throats would not be cut. Fear the time when the bombs stop falling while the bombers live — for every bomb is proof that the spirit has not died. And fear the time when the strikes stop while the great owners live — for every little beaten strike is proof that the step is being taken. And this you can know — fear the time when Manself will not suffer and die for a concept, for this one quality is the foundation of Manself, and this one quality is man, distinctive in the universe.