It was the Turnip Winter of 1916 which precipitated the German defeat in World War I. Civilian misery is lamentable, but it is preferable to wholesale slaughter. People recover from malnutrition and go on to procreate and prosper in happier times, but death is irreversible. It is therefore more civilized to target the enemy’s civilian logistics than to kill either their soldiers or citizens. It is a starving population, rather than a dead one, which convinces the armed forces to seek an armistice. Therefore, instead of wholesale unrestricted bombing of civilian populations, it is better to simply disrupt their logistics and cause famine by disabling electricity and water infrastructure, bridges, airports, crops, roads, rail, warehouses, dams, and the like.

This article is an extract from the book ‘Principles of Good Government’ by Matthew Bransgrove