Monday, 4 December 2017
Rivers Of Blood
"That happened when you desecrated a people's symbols, unless there was something badly wrong with the people concerned."
-SM Stirling, Prince Of Outcasts (New York, 2017), Chapter Two, p. 40.
I disagree. If a king has been killed, then deal with those responsible and prevent a repetition. Ideally, that would involve just a retaliatory assassination followed by a regime change. In practice, it would probably mean a war. But that is still a different matter from wanting to kill thousands of subjects of a despot. Similarly, a terrorist attack requires apprehension of the attack's surviving planners and perpetrators but not bombardment of another country.
In Poul Anderson's Technic History, when Flandry had bombarded Chereion, should the Terran Empire have followed this up with attacks further into the Roidhunate? In that case, yes - to destroy military targets, not cities or populations. Terran Intelligence knew that, after the loss of Aycharaych, the Merseians would merely reorganize and continue their "war by other means" so a preemptive strike would have saved a lot of trouble in the long run.