Collateral Damage in War

Discussion in 'Politics & Law' started by Mirage, Mar 1, 2009.


Is unavoidable collateral damage in war ever justified?

  1. Yes

  2. No

  1. Mirage

    Mirage Administrator Staff Member V.I.P.

    If there is a weapons manufacturing facility right next to a hospital, and the only way to take it out without risking extra soldiers lives is by bombing the area, which contains hospitals, should the bombs be dropped?

    How do you feel about collateral damage in war? If it can't be avoided, is it worth it for the greater good?

    Is unavoidable collateral damage ever justified? By unavoidable, I mean an important mission objective cannot be accomplished without killing innocent people along with the bad guys.

    This would also include things like dropping atomic bombs on Nagasaki and Hiroshima, or in future wars.

    I would say that if the potential positives (taking out terrorists who will try to kill lots of people later) outweigh the immediate negatives (innocents lost) that collateral damage can definitely be justified on a case by case basis. It's unfortunate when innocent people die, but it's also unfortunate when terrorists live another day and kill hundreds or even thousands of innocents.

    The way I see it is innocents vs innocents. It's not worth bringing a skyscraper full of innocents down to kill 10 bad guys, but it is worth bringing a skyscraper full of terrorists down even if 10 innocents will die in the process. (If there are no other options).

  2. pro2A

    pro2A Hell, It's about time!

    I think it should be avoided if it isn't immediately necessary. Hospitals and schools and such should not be targets, however I do think if the enemy uses these targets to gain the upper hand in a battle (which they do), all bets are off.

    In the day of GPS and laser weapons, this is almost a moot issue as you can take out the one building you want without the damage around it.

    Just remember this tho Hybrix... in the rules of war there is no such thing as excessive force, and using only the amount of force necessary to win, insures that you will lose.

    Sometimes a carpet bomb is needed to crush the opposition in order to lessen the loss of life later on down the road.
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2009
  3. PretzelCorps

    PretzelCorps Registered Member

    Let me clarify: Nothing in war is justified --> Shit happens, and then people try to make sense of it afterward.

    I think many people hurt and kill things for shits and giggles --> These people are punished as war criminals. Everyone else is just doing the best that they can with a 100% shitty situation.

    Since war itself is inherently a bad thing, it's not unreasonable to assume that bad things will result; that doesn't mean any action is "justified", but it certainly might be "necessary".
  4. SuiGeneris

    SuiGeneris blue 3

    I have to agree with Pretzel. I mean things like this are going to happen. I can't really say anyone not in the war has any true basis to make this decision. The hospital could be used by the enemy to hold more soldiers. Who knows. Personally, I think that yes, we should limit as much collateral damage as possible. however, when it is known that they are using tactics such as this to hide themselves, then yes I do think that this would be acceptable.
    pro2A likes this.
  5. Wade8813

    Wade8813 Registered Member

    You're basically asking if war is justified. I feel that at times, it is.

    This is a related but separate issue. Dropping a nuke is guaranteed to hit huge numbers of civilians, not to mention rendering the entire area uninhabitable for decades.

    Actually, our military's current policy disagrees with that. We try to only use the minimum force necessary.
  6. pro2A

    pro2A Hell, It's about time!

    It may be policy, but as I have pointed out, it insures that we will loose. When you tie one hand behind the back of our military because of all the PC shit like this, you only cost more lives of innocents and soldiers.
  7. Wade8813

    Wade8813 Registered Member

    On the other hand, if we act in a completely uninhibited manner, we'll end up making even more enemies.
    Bananas likes this.
  8. Kazmarov

    Kazmarov For a Free Scotland

    The most recent Gaza conflict sparked a lot of questions about this- for example Israel shelled a UN compound in Gaza, claiming Gaza militants were using it as a base.

    Of course, claiming things as 'sanctuaries' doesn't necessarily make all that much sense- if one says we're not going to bomb hospitals, or churches, or schools that makes them that more strategically important to whomever you happen to be fighting.

    Fundamentally it goes down to how valuable one thinks human life is. In World War II about two civilians died for every soldier. In the War in Iraq I'd gather it's higher because modern wars often are fought in civilian areas. Is it worth killing one civilian to also kill a militant? Two? Three? Five? Ten? I do not know.
  9. pro2A

    pro2A Hell, It's about time!

    :rolleyes: Oh god, I can't believe you swallowed that cool aide.

    In war, the objective is to kill your enemy. Not to play tiddly-winks and hope you don't make more enemies. If you are too pre-occupied with all this PC crap "oh we don't want to hurt anyone's feelings" you end up with more Americans and innocents dead, because the enemy uses that against us, and they know it.
  10. Wade8813

    Wade8813 Registered Member

    Our current policy is that we avoid fighting in hospitals, churches/mosques/etc, and schools (and other infrastructure buildings) unless someone in there is posing a threat to us. Then (generally) we still won't bomb the whole building, but we will return fire, and might send soldiers to clear the building.
    Does that WWII stat include civilians executed by Nazis, that had nothing to do with collateral damage? Does it include the 2 nukes on Japan?

    Both WWII and the current war in Iraq involve a lot of fighting in civilian areas. And our technology for preventing collateral damage is far better than it was then.

    It's true, our policies are impeding us. But you're naive if you don't think that our actions don't have a huge impact on how successful terrorists are in recruiting.

    If we wanted to, America could turn all of Iraq into a giant radioactive crater. But doing so would probably start WWIII.

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