I really don’t have the words necessary to explain how dumbfounded I am by this.
A teary-eyed President Bush stopped in front of an aerial photo of Auschwitz on Friday at Israel’s Holocaust memorial and said the U.S. should have sent bombers to prevent the extermination of Jews there.
Yad Vashem’s chairman, Avner Shalev, quoted Bush as saying the U.S. should have “bombed it.” Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Bush referred to the train tracks leading to Auschwitz, not the camp itself, where between 1.1 million and 1.5 million people were killed by Nazi Germany.
The rest of the article doesn’t seem to paint Bush in a very good light. He sounds like a third grader in it.
For starters, our bombing technology was not nearly as precise during WWII as compared to now. Something like 20% of dropped bombs hit within 1000 feet of their intended targets. That’s why we carpet bombed to begin with – we didn’t have the accuracy necessary to drop a bomb on a factory, but not on the school next door.
Of course, it’s debatable that bombing the rail lines to Auschwitz would have had much positive effect, if any. There were lots of other camps, and the Germans had already shown how determined they were to enacting the “Final Solution”; they had diverted resources away from the war effort to kill Jews, to the detriment of the war effort. Not to mention diverting the resources away from the battle field to try and take out the infrastructure for one concentration camp might have potentially prolonged the war. Let’s not forget, the US was still very preoccupied with German forces in Western Europe; the Battle of the Bulge was over less than a month before the Soviets liberated Auschwitz. Additionally, US documents explaining why bombing Auschwitz was not feasible were created just two months after D-Day, and before Operation Market Garden.
It’s a nice sentiment to think “gee, it would have been great to have been able to knock Auschwitz out of commission”, but frankly I just don’t think it possible or reasonable to think we should (or could) have done differently. This kind of navel-gazing is ultimately pointless.