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Would carpet bombing still be used in modern warfare?


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I'm not sure it will ever be the same as the carpet bombing as in WW2, Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, but there is contemporary precedent for the use of the term. The USA "area bombing" campaign in Pakistan and Afghanistan when they were trying to get Bin Laden is technically carpet bombing. In the age of smart bombs and drones, the need for it would be dramatically less.

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In a full on war. Yes carpet bombing would be used. Not these glorified police actions in Afghan and Iraq. It would be used if it was reasonably safe to use B-52s. They are slow so air dominance would need to have been established.

The US has not been in a full on war since WW2. Korea, Vietnam, Iraq etc have all been very minor conflicts in comparison to WW2.

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Apart from being used during the opening stages of Afghanistan which led to a large amount of collateral damage there haven't been many times its been used since Vietnam. With this in mind I doubt it would be used today by any western military force except perhaps in the event of a full on invasion. As an aside even strategic or precision bombing can produce large numbers of civilian casualties one needs only look at Kosovo or Iraq/Afganistan to see how devastating any form of bombing can be to a populace.

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Carpet bombing isn't really neccissary anymore, even in a conventional war. Circa WWII, bombing wasn't terribly accurate. So they just dropped more ordinance to increase the chance of hitting the target. A single 500lb guided aircraft bomb can be more effective than an entire 1944 bomber's payload.

Carpet bombing for "Strategic Bombing" (no specific target, just level the enemy's citys, ie London, Berlin) is now regared as not very effective. With today's accuracy precision strikes against military and industrial targets are vastly more effective.

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