Tuesday, 25 May 2010


My obit of Col. Bud Mahurin, one of the leading American aces of WWII, and one of the major victims of brainwashing during the Korean War, is in today's Guardian; you can link to it here. It's another one where I wish there had been more room, to discuss the differences between the uses of the P-47 Thunderbolt and P-51 Mustang fighters, in Europe and Asia, and the difference, which I mention, in the nature of air combat in jets in Korea, which was much more like World War I than World War II.

When I was a kid, my favourite planes were the Republic P-47, also known as 'the jug' or the 'seven ton milk jug', and the Lockheed P-38 Lightning, and looking back I think that what appealled to me in both cases was the oddity of their design (the Navy's Vought F4U Corsair, with its bent wings, was another one). Planes like the Mustang, Zero, or Spitfire looked like they should fly and fight naturally, but those three looked like they should be doing something else. The Thunderbolt and Lightning were that way for a reason though, and did their job (long-range escorting of bombers, primarily) very well.

I would also have liked a little more room to discuss the nature of the North Korean-Chinese brainwashing, its influence through American culture (The Manchurian Candidate, obviously), and its relation to the current climate of torture taken for granted by both sides in American and British politics.

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