Baghdad has now suffered its first dose of “shock and awe.” According to the LA Times, Iraqi officials are reporting one civilian dead and fourteen civilians wounded from Thursday night’s bombings. Presumably they’re not understating the actual losses.
If so, then my earlier belief that the “shock and awe” idea meant “terror-bombing” was wrong. Without minimizing the suffering of those who were hit, and the fear felt by everyone else in Baghdad, it’s still fair to say that those sound like an evening’s traffic-accident casualties, not like what happened to Guernica or Dresden.
Maybe our “smart weapons” are actually getting smarter. If a big bombing raid can now be carried on with that low a ratio of civilian damage, then the argument that ground warfare is ethically preferable because it does less collateral damage may be obsolete.