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Collateral Damage: A Military Euphemism for Murder Collateral Damage: A Military Euphemism for Murder April 16, 2007

By Camillo Ma ! Bi a Camillo Ma ! Bi a"s #$pa e %age &oi' #$pa e ('here't i' moder' )ar*ma+i'g pra ti e is the o',i tio' that there is a sig'ifi a't moral differe' e -et)ee' +illi'g i''o e't i,ilia's i' a' atta + su h as that o' the .orld /rade Ce'ter or o' a -us filled )ith ollege stude'ts a'd +illi'g 'o' om-ata'ts duri'g a military respo'se to su h a' atta +0 /his o',i tio' is learly demo'strated i' a myriad of (sraeli reprisals agai'st %alesti'ia' terrorist groups su h as 1e2-ollah a'd i' the 3$ )ar i' 4iet'am, 5oso,o, Afgha'ista', a'd (ra60 (t is refle ted, as )ell, i' the la'guage used to des ri-e the i''o e't deaths, the ,alue lade' term 7terrorism7 i' the ase of the former, a'd the morally 'eutral term 7 ollateral damage7 i' the latter0

.ar, e,e' as a respo'se to terrorism is rule go,er'ed0 A ordi'g to &ust .ar /heory a'd a myriad of i'ter'atio'al agreeme'ts a'd treaties, )ar is e,aluated a ordi'g to )hether esta-lished riteria are satisfied0 8'e of the most importa't rules of )ar is the legal a'd moral prohi-itio' agai'st the targeti'g a'd +illi'g of i''o e'ts, i0e0, the riterio' of dis rimi'ati'g a'd affordi'g of immu'ity to 'o' om-ata'ts * the Criterio' of Dis rimi'atio'0 $i' e 'o' om-ata'ts are 'either dire tly 'or i'dire tly i',ol,ed i' the prose utio' of a terrorist atta + or of a )ar, they ha,e do'e 'othi'g to )arra't a forfeiture of their immu'ity0 Co'se6ue'tly, to +ill 'o' om-ata'ts to further some goal or o-9e ti,e )hether politi al, religious, or so ial, e,e' if for a 9ust ause, is 'ot a' a t of )ar -ut of murder a'd fu'dame'tal to our u'dersta'di'g of terrorism0 /hat is, the Criterio' of Dis rimi'atio' is i'tegral i' differe'tiati'g )ar from terrorism a'd +illi'g i' )ar from murder0 A ts of terrorism, u'li+e a ts of )ar, +'o)i'gly harm a'd +ill 'o' om-ata'ts0

:ou'datio'al to the o' ept of ollateral damage is the Do tri'e of Dou-le Effe t ;DDE<0 :irst de,eloped -y Catholi asuists duri'g the Middle Ages, the DDE morally differe'tiates the i'te'ded effe ts of a' a t from those that are u'i'te'ded, though foresee'0 :urther, -y fo usi'g upo' the moral sig'ifi a' e of i'te'tio' a'd its rele,a' e to moral age' y a'd respo'si-ility, the DDE morally disti'guishes +illi'g as a' u'i'te'ded, se o'dary effe t * * ollateral damage * * from murder, laimi'g o'ly the latter as a-solutely prohi-ited0 Co'se6ue'tly, the Criterio' of Dis rimi'atio' is preser,ed a'd, if i'te'tio' is )ithheld, +illi'g 'o' om-ata'ts is morally permissi-le0 1erei', the', lies the alleged ru ial moral disti' tio' -et)ee' the a ts of the terrorist a'd of those )ho respo'd to terrorism ;respo'ders< a'd -et)ee' murder a'd ollateral damage0 /errorists are a ti'g immorally a'd are morally ulpa-le1 a'd lia-le2 for their a tio's -e ause they i'te'd the 'o' om-ata't deaths i' their atta +s0 /hey are ommitti'g murder0 /hose )ho respo'd to terrorism, ho)e,er, laim o'ly to -e targeti'g the terrorists, or the regimes that support terrorism, a'd a'y 'o' om-ata't deaths that o ur, though foresee', are, it is alleged, the u'fortu'ate, u'i'te'ded, -y*produ t of a 7moral a t7 of om-ati'g terrorism0 $u h +illi'g is 'ot murder -ut ollateral damage0 Co'se6ue'tly, respo'ders are

a ti'g morally a'd are 'o' lia-le a'd 'o' ulpa-le for the 'o' om-ata'ts they +ill0

/he DDE 9ustifi atio' is 'ot 9ust the stuff of theoreti al philosophers a'd theologia's0 /ragi ally, it has real )orld appli atio' a'd, )ith the 7=e) .arfare7 strategy of the last de ade * sta'doff 7pre isio'7 missile a'd air raft atta +s * the DDE has -e ome a' importa't 9ustifi atory tool of 3$ )ar fighti'g0 .hile the i'sta' es of ollateral damage are myriad, ( )ill o'sider, as represe'tati,e, the April, >, 200? 3$ atta + o' the al*$a"ah restaura't0 A ordi'g to Ameri a' i'tellige' e sour es, $addam 1ussei' a'd his t)o so's, 3day a'd @usay, had -ee' meeti'g )ith +ey aides i' a -u'+er deep -e'eath the al*$a"ah restaura't lo ated i' the de'sely populated Ma'sour distri t of Baghdad0 $hortly after ?pm, a' Ameri a' B1 air raft dropped four satellite guided -u'+er*-uster -om-s o' the restaura't0 3'fortu'ately, all four -om-s missed their target, destroyi'g homes a'd tur'i'g at least fourtee' i''o e't people, three of them hildre', i'to )hat the 3$ military refers to as a 7pi'+ mist07 (f $addam a'd his so's )ere prese't at the restaura't at all, they )ere 'ot harmed i' the -om-i'g0 /he i''o e't deaths )ere dismissed as ollateral damage a'd 'o o'e held respo'si-le or a ou'ta-le for this tragi loss of life0

/here are a 'um-er of importa't o-ser,atio's regardi'g this atta + that are morally rele,a't to a DDE 9ustifi atio'0 :irst, the o-,ious0 /he (ra6i i,ilia's, li,i'g i' the proAimity of the restaura't, had do'e 'othi'g to )arra't lia-ility * a forfeiture of their immu'ity0 /hey )ere i''o e't, 'o' om-ata'ts0 $e o'd, o'sider a hypotheti al0 (f the (ra6i i,ilia's had -e ome a)are that a' atta + )as imma'e't a'd ould 'ot es ape, )ould they ha,e -ee' )ithi' their rights to respo'd defe'si,ely * to shoot do)' the air raft ;+illi'g the pilot< i' self*defe'se0 ( thi'+ the a's)er is learly that they )ould0 1uma' -ei'gs do 'ot loose their right to defe'd themsel,es -e ause others ha,e deemed their deaths to -e i' o'se6ue'tial * 'e essary for some greater good0 (t is 'ot the ase, -y the )ay, as a o'se6ue' e of 'o) -ei'g threate'ed -y a' (ra6i defe'si,e respo'se, that the pilot ould ha,e morally targeted a'd +illed the (ra6i defe'ders * laimi'g self*defe'se0 /he (ra6is do 'ot forfeit the ,ery right they are 9ustified i' asserti'g0 .hat is irrele,a't i' this hypotheti al is )hether the pilot has age' y, )hether the threat to the (ra6is is dire tly i'te'ded or u'i'te'ded, a'd )hether the (ra6i deaths are the primary or se o'dary effe t of the a t of -om-i'g the restaura't0 (' other )ords, )hat is irrele,a't is the appli atio' of the DDE0

/he fa t that the (ra6is may 9ustifia-ly shoot do)' the air raft i' self defe'se is legally a'd morally sig'ifi a't0 (t i'di ates that the pilot"s right to life a'd laim agai'st others has -ee' forfeited or o,erridde'0 Clearly, the pilot"s lia-ility is a o'se6ue' e of his -om-i'g ;or threate'i'g to -om-< the restaura't a'd +illi'g ;or threate'i'g to +ill< the (ra6is0 $i' e a ti'g morally a'd permissi-ly ought 'e,er )arra't su h sa' tio's, i0e0, -ei'g the ,i tim of the 9ustifia-le use of ,iole' eBdeadly for e i' self defe'se, the (ra6i"s right to +ill the pilot i'di ates the failure of the DDE to do the moral )or+ alleged, that is, to re'der the -om-i'g of the restaura't morally a'd legally permissi-le a'd the deaths of the (ra6is tri,iali2ed as ollateral damage0

Also of moral rele,a' e i' ma'y su h i' ide'ts of ollateral damage is that the respo'ders do 'ot

merely foresee the possi-ility that, despite reaso'a-le pre,e'ti,e pre autio's, sometimes thi'gs go a)ry a'd 'o' om-ata'ts )ill -e +illed0 /he respo'ders +ill i''o e'ts +'o)i'gly a'd )ith free )ill a'd o'se't i' order to a hie,e the goal or o-9e ti,e of e'di'g terrorism ;or elimi'ati'g the (ra6i leadership<0 (' su h ases, therefore, +illi'g 'o' om-ata'ts is 'ot a ide'tal, -ut )hat ( )ill term a' 7a t of ollateral ,iole' e07 /hat is, a' a t, moti,ated -y military 'e essity, i' )hi h 'o' om-ata'ts are harmed or +illed, perhaps 'ot )ith dire t i'te't 'or as the primary goal or purpose of the a t, -ut, 'e,ertheless, +'o)i'gly a'd )ith as high a degree of pro-a-ility as is the harmi'g or +illi'g of the terrorists0 Co'se6ue'tly, the fa t that a respo'der laims o'ly to -e targeti'g the terrorists ;or $addam a'd his so's< does 'ot a-sol,e him of ausal a'd moral respo'si-ility0

.here the DDE 9ustifi atio' goes )ro'g, the', is i' the moral importa' e it assig's to the dire ti'g of i'te't0 /hat is, it relies eA lusi,ely upo' the i'te'ded effe t of the a t as pro laimed -y the a tor as the ru ial moral o'sideratio' for determi'i'g the permissi-ility a'd moral ,alue of a' a t, rather tha' ta+i'g i'to a ou't the e'tire set of foresee' pro-a-le effe ts0 Co'se6ue'tly, o'ly the i'te'ded 7good effe t7 -e omes morally rele,a't, a'd the foresee' e,il effe t * 'o) termed 7 ollateral damage7 * -e omes someho) a-rogated a'd moral respo'si-ility for the i''o e't deaths someho) diffused0 /he DDE 9ustifi atio' fails -e ause morality re6uires more tha' merely a pro lamatio' of good i'te't0

A DDE 9ustifi atio' i' su h ases a'd the alleged disti' tio' -et)ee' terrorism a'd a ollaterally ,iole't respo'se to terrorism, -et)ee' the atta +s of CB11 a'd the -om-i'g of the al*$a"ah restaura't, is misguided a'd merely a prete'se or ratio'ali2atio' for retaliatio' a'd re,e'ge0 Both a ts +'o)i'gly +ill 'o' om-ata'ts to a hie,e some goal or o-9e ti,e0 Both terrorists a'd respo'ders ,iolate the right to life of their i''o e't ,i tims a'd fail to fulfill their o-ligatio' to respe t su h rights0 Co'se6ue'tly, there is 'o moral differe' e -et)ee' a ts of terrorism a'd of ollateral ,iole' e0 /hey are morally e6ui,ale't0 =either are a ts of )ar -ut of murder0 =either the terrorists 'or the respo'ders i' su h ases are om-ata'ts -ut -riga'ds a'd murderers0 .ith the i,ilia' death toll i' (ra6 estimated at o,er 6DE,000, a re og'itio' that ollateral damage is 'othi'g more tha' a rhetori al o'tri,a' e that tri,iali2es the murder of i''o e't huma' -ei'gs, should -e of moral o' er' to us all0

Camillo 7Ma 7 Bi a is a professor of philosophy at the $ hool of 4isual Arts i' =e) For+ City0 As a ,etera' re o,eri'g from his eAperie' es as a 3'ited $tates Mari'e Corps 8ffi er duri'g the 4iet'am .ar, he fou'ded, a'd oordi'ated for fi,e years, the 4etera's $elf*1elp ('itiati,e, a therapeuti ommu'ity of ,etera's sufferi'g from %ost /raumati $tress Disorder0 1e is a lo'g*time a ti,ist for pea e a'd 9usti e, a mem-er of the 4iet'am 4etera's Agai'st the .ar, a'd a fou'di'g mem-er of the Go'g (sla'd Chapter of 4etera's for %ea e0 Arti les -y Dr0 Bi a ha,e appeared i' /he 1uma'ist Maga2i'e, #=et, /ruthout0 om, Mo'thly He,ie) #i'e, :oreig' %oli y i' :o us, a'd 'umerous philosophi al 9our'als0


1 Moral a'd legal -lame a'd o'dem'atio' * * -ei'g su-9e t to retri-utio' a'd pu'ishme't post -ellum0

20 /he forfeiture or o,erride of the age't"s rights or immu'ity a'd -ei'g the o-9e t of the 9ustifia-le use of ,iole' e a'd deadly for e i' self or other defe'se0