I'll once again engage in your whataboutism. Billy Mitchell was born in 1879, Giulio Douhet in 1869. Both men died even before WWII. This is who you look to for guidance? The world has since moved on. Of the four wars you listed only two involved what you call the hypocritical West, yet coincidentally both of your examples prove the opposite point:
1. Gulf War air campaign - 1 month
10,000–12,000 Iraqi military killed
2,000–3,000 Iraqi civilians killed
2. Operation Allied Force (Kosovo War) - 2 months
1000 Serb military killed
Human Rights Watch estimate: 489–528 civilians
Yugoslav estimate: 1,200–2,000 civilians killed
So what terrorizing are you talking about? In Mariupol alone, which had a pre-war population of 450,000, some estimates of civilians killed go as high as 100,000 (Timothy Snyder from Yale), but even conservative estimates are over 20,000.
- Billy Mitchell (1879) and Douhet (1869) was born even before the advent of powered heavier than air flight
- Billy Mitchell (1936) and Douhet (1930) died before WWII commenced also correct
These are your first mistake, let me explain to you. You're implying that because both men were born and died before the use of strategic bombing, then they're irrelevant to Russia's conduct of 2022/23 ? Amirite ?
This is where you are very very wrong. manned heavier than air powered aviation are invented right when these guys are in their 20s-30s, and it will took just a decade more that these tools are weaponized in World War I.
When aircraft and airpower comes around, there's only a select country that are able to master and develop them. These are the countries like USA, France, Germany, Italy...the rest of the world are just that watchers and followers, some countries wouldn't even exist 50-60 years after the invention of flight. That means whatever contibution in the science of the use of air power comes from these countries, not Ukraine, not Malaysia, not Brazil, not Indonesia, not China. Simply put these countries of USA, UK, Italy, France and Germany are the ones who wrote the very manual and intended use of them. Any other countries air forces simply adopted (and maybe modify it a little) of what those countries air force contribute in science and crafts of weaponized airplanes.
If air power are a religion than the men like Douhet and Billy Mitchell are the prophets of this religion, and their words that is the gospel. ANY variations on the use of airpower are based on the thoughts of this guys and their experience of using airpwoer in WW1 and that includes the idea to use aircraft to bomb populations centers. They know what people don't know.
The Russian air force of today is just simply using the updated but very much borrowed on the thoughts of Douhet and Mitchell manual of air power. If they're shit at it, that's they're problem, but pretty much they are only followers of the universal manual of air power that Billy Mitchell and Douhet contrubute.
You may say aaahh only Russia does this, but the list I mentioned all pointed to the use of punishing bombardments intended on harms of civillians and the populace. Numbers doesn't matter, intentions are.
In Desert Storm the Iraqi army are rolled faster than necessary for the allies to start bombing Baghdad and its industrial centers to rubbles and ashes, In Ukraine because of the stiffness of the Ukrainian defender it is necessary (for Russia) to use the manual to target and kill and possibly torture the population by means of airpower. These are intended to "break the spirit of the population"
Warden's five rings model, which are distributed in 2002 is just a modified or clarified version of what Douhet and Mitchell thinks in the 1920s with a taste of 20th century industrial advancement.
Warden wrote a thesis that the National Defense University eventually published as The Air Campaign: Planning for Combat. The book, updated in 2000, brings great clarity to the intersection of modern technology, airpower doctrine, and joint doctrine at the operational level of war. Warden revisits the topic of “center of gravity” as the foundation for his book and the “five rings” system he developed.
Warden wrote that centers of gravity exist not only at each level of war (grand strategic, strategic, operational, and tactical), but potentially at many points within a system at each level. As such, to affect a system like the political leadership of a nation, airpower would have to target all centers of gravity to alter the system.21 Warden also developed his theory based on the assumption that individuals and organizations share certain qualities or functions being: leadership, energy conversion or production means, infrastructure, population, and fielded forces. Warden visualizes these as five concentric rings with leadership in the center and military forces on the outside (Figure 4).
Warden wrote that by viewing the enemy as systems within systems, airpower could target in parallel, the most critical centers of gravity within each system or ring to bring about strategic paralysis.2
This is what the Russians are now practicing in Ukraine, albeir with abbysmal effect.
As much as people would like to blame Russia, if at some point their nations happens to be at war, they will do the very same. And if that happens what will they say then ? Say sorry ?