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Collateral damage

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Title: Collateral damage  
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Subject: Friendly fire, Aerial bombing of cities, AGM-176 Griffin, Small Diameter Bomb, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev
Collection: Euphemisms, Military Terminology, Political Correctness, War Casualties
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Collateral damage

Collateral damage is a general term for unintentional deaths, injuries, or other damage inflicted incidentally on an intended target. In military terminology, it is frequently used where non-combatants are unintentionally killed or wounded and/or non-combatant property damaged as result of the attack on legitimate military targets.[1][2] The unintentional destruction of friendly targets is called friendly fire.

Critics of the term see it as a euphemism that dehumanizes non-combatants killed or injured during military operations, used to reduce the perception of culpability of military leadership in failing to prevent non-combatant casualties.[3][4][5][6]

Contents

  • Etymology 1
  • Non-military uses of the phrase 2
  • Controversy 3
  • International humanitarian law 4
  • U.S. military approach to collateral damage 5
  • See also 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8

Etymology

The word "collateral" comes from medieval Latin collateralis, from col-, "together with" + lateralis (from latus, later-, "side" ) and is otherwise mainly used as a synonym for "parallel" or "additional" in certain expressions ("collateral veins" run parallel to each other and "collateral security" means additional security to the main obligation in a contract). The first known usage of the term "collateral damage" in this context occurred in a May 1961 article written by T. C. Schelling entitled "DISPERSAL, DETERRENCE, AND DAMAGE".[7]

The USAF Intelligence Targeting Guide defines the term "[the] unintentional damage or incidental damage affecting facilities, equipment, or personnel, occurring as a result of military actions directed against targeted enemy forces or facilities. Such damage can occur to friendly, neutral, and even enemy forces".[1] Another United States Department of Defense document uses "[u]nintentional or incidental injury or damage to persons or objects that would not be lawful military targets in the circumstances ruling at the time. Such damage is not unlawful so long as it is not excessive in light of the overall military advantage anticipated from the attack."[8]

Intent is the key element in understanding the military definition as it relates to target selection and prosecution. Collateral damage is damage aside from that which was intended. Since the dawn of precision guided munitions, military "targeteers" and operations personnel are often considered to have gone to great lengths to minimize collateral damage.[9]

Non-military uses of the phrase

The term 'collateral damage' has also been borrowed by the computing community to refer to the denial of service to legitimate users when administrators take blanket preventative measures against some individuals who are abusing systems. For example, Realtime Blackhole Lists used to combat email spam generally block ranges of Internet Protocol (IP) addresses rather than individual IPs associated with spam, and can deny legitimate users within those ranges the ability to send email to some domains.

The related term collateral mortality is also becoming prevalent, and probably derives from the term collateral damage. It has been applied to other spheres in addition to the original military context. An example is in fisheries where bycatch of species such as dolphins are called collateral mortality; i.e., they are species that die in pursuit of the legal death of fishery targets, such as tuna.[10]

Controversy

The U.S. military states the term is used in regards to unintentional or incidental damage to non-combatant property and non-combatant casualties,[1] however, at least one source claims that the term "collateral damage" originated as a euphemism during the Vietnam War and can refer to friendly fire, or the intentional killing of non-combatants and the destruction of their property.[11]

During World War II, widespread civilian casualties and damage to civilian property were caused by strategic bombing of enemy cities. If the intent of the strategic bombing was to destroy the enemy's war industry, then civilian casualties were called collateral damage. Given the low accuracy of bombing technology in WWII, it was inevitable that civilian casualties would occur. However, bombardments such as the Japanese bombing of Chongqing and the indiscriminate attacks by the Germans on Allied cities with V-weapons fall outside the definition of collateral damage as these raids were meant to terrorize and kill enemy civilians.[12][13][14]

Also during the 1991 Gulf War, Coalition forces used the phrase 'collateral damage' to describe the killing of civilians in attacks on legitimate military targets. According to Scottish linguist Deborah Cameron,[15] "the classic Orwellian argument for finding this usage objectionable would be that

  • it is jargon, and to the extent that people cannot decode it, it conceals what is actually going on;
  • it is a euphemism; abstract, agentless and affectless, so that even if people succeed in associating it with a real act or event they will be insulated from any feeling of repulsion and moral outrage".

In 1999, "collateral damage" (German: Kollateralschaden) was named the German Un-Word of the Year by a jury of linguistic scholars. With this choice, it was criticized that the term had been used by NATO forces to describe civilian casualties during the Kosovo War, which the jury considered to be an inhuman euphemism.[16]

When Wikileaks released a video of a 2007 airstrike in Baghdad, they titled it Collateral Murder, as a parody of the phrase.

International humanitarian law

Military necessity, along with distinction, and proportionality, are three important principles of international humanitarian law governing the legal use of force in an armed conflict and how that relates to collateral damage.

Luis Moreno-Ocampo, Chief Prosecutor at the International Criminal Court, investigated allegations of war crimes during the 2003 invasion of Iraq and he published an open letter containing his findings. In a section titled "Allegations concerning War Crimes" elucidates this use of Military necessity, distinction and proportionality:

U.S. military approach to collateral damage

The U.S. military follows a technology-based process for estimating and mitigating collateral damage. The software used is known as "FAST-CD" or "Fast Assessment Strike Tool—Collateral Damage."[19]

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c "USAF Intelligence Targeting Guide — AIR FORCE PAMPHLET 14- 210 Intelligence". 1 February 1998. p. 180. Retrieved 6 October 2007. 
  2. ^ "collateral damage".  
  3. ^ "The Political Psychology of Collateral Damage". 
  4. ^ Peter Olsthoorn (21 September 2010). Military Ethics and Virtues: An Interdisciplinary Approach for the 21st Century. Routledge. p. 125.  
  5. ^ Magedah Shabo (2008). Techniques of Propaganda and Persuasion. Prestwick House Inc. p. 134.  
  6. ^  
  7. ^ "Dispersal, Deterrence, And Damage - Tags: Bombers (Airplanes) War". Connection.ebscohost.com. Retrieved 1 August 2013. 
  8. ^ http://www.dtic.mil/doctrine/new_pubs/jp1_02.pdf
  9. ^ "Defense.gov News Article: U.S. Military Works to Avoid Civilian Deaths, Collateral Damage". Defenselink.mil. Retrieved 25 February 2010. 
  10. ^ Chuenpagdee, R., Morgan, L.E., Maxwell, S.M., Norse, E.A. & Pauly, D. (2003) Shifting gears: assessing collateral impacts of fishing methods in US waters. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, 1, 517-524.
  11. ^ Anthony H. Cordesman (2003). The Iraq War: Strategy, Tactics, and Military Lessons. Praeger/Greenwood. p. 266.  
  12. ^ Ivan Arreguín-Toft (19 December 2005). How the Weak Win Wars: A Theory of Asymmetric Conflict.  
  13. ^ Ivan Arreguín-Toft (19 December 2005). How the Weak Win Wars: A Theory of Asymmetric Conflict.  
  14. ^ Beau Grosscup (22 August 2006). Strategic Terror: The Politics and Ethics of Aerial Bombardment.  
  15. ^ Deborah Cameron (1995). . 2 - Restrictive practices. The politics of style. "Collateral damage" and the politics of discourseVerbal Hygiene. Routledge, p.72. ISBN 041510355X.
  16. ^ Spiegel Online: Ein Jahr, ein (Un-)Wort! (in German).
  17. ^ Article 52 of Additional Protocol I to the Geneva Conventions provides a widely accepted definition of military objective: "In so far as objects are concerned, military objectives are limited to those objects which by their nature, location, purpose or use make an effective contribution to military action and whose total or partial destruction, capture or neutralization, in the circumstances ruling at the time, offers a definite military advantage" (Source: Luis Moreno-Ocampo References page 5, footnote 11).
  18. ^ Luis Moreno-Ocampo OTP letter to senders re Iraq 9 February 2006. "Allegations concerning War Crimes" Pages 4,5
  19. ^ Bradley, Graham (21 February 2003). "Military Turns to Software to Cut Civilian Casualties". Washington Post. p. A18. 

External links

  • Beyond Precision: Issues of Morality and Decision Making in Minimizing Collateral Casualties, ACDIS Occasional Paper by Lt. Col. Dwight A. Roblyer
  • USAF Intelligence Targeting Guide - Attachment 7: Collateral Damage
  • The Culture of Collateral Damage: A Genealogy by Glen Perice, The Journal of Poverty, Volume 10, No. 4, 2007
  • Army Technology
  • Air Force Law Review, Wntr, 2005 by Jefferson D. Reynolds
  • The Faces of “Collateral Damage” by Charlie Clements, Friends Journal, April 2003
  • Collateral Damage during NATO bombing of SR Yugoslavia 1999 Warning: explicit images
  • "Collateral Damage: A Military Euphemism for Murder" by Camillo "Mac" Bica, Znet, 16 April 2007
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