Is Accidental Killing Of Civilians An Unavoidable Part Of The War On Terrorism?

Targeting terrorists presents several difficult challenges. One of the most sensitive of these is the need to restrict civilian casualties. This poses one of the greatest dilemmas, since defense forces targeting terrorists have to do it fast, almost in a spur of a moment, and with limited information and resources at their disposal. Yet, it is important, since a lack of compassion of the people can lead to loss of legitimacy of the war on terror!
Is Accidental Killing of Civilians an Unavoidable Part of the War on Terrorism?
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Terrorism is a global menace against humanity and must be controlled with every bit of resource and resolve available with mankind. Yet, there often arise question marks about casualties among innocent civilians caught in the middle of cross fire. Are these purely accidental or are they result from a certain insensitivity among those fighting this war on our behalf.


"In the magical universe there are no coincidences and there are no accidents. Nothing happens unless someone wills it to happen", so says William S. Burroughs. In my opinion, magical or not, there is nothing like a coincident or an accident

in this entire universe, except the fact that we, the humans, are ignorant of what is going to happen next, sometimes, even when we ourselves are very much a cause of it!

Or maybe, we are knowingly ignorant!

The Freudian Slip

Sigmund Freud described a phenomenon of an error in speech, memory or physical action that is believed to be caused by the unconscious mind. He termed it "fehlleistung" (literally meaning 'para-praxis' in English), explained it by the fact that there is something there in the unconscious mind, which only leads to that particular error. The phenomenon is commonly known today as the "Freudian slip". In simple words, it is an action intended subconsciously. In that way, it can be a spoken phrase, an act of commission that looks like an accident or an act of omission that result in "apparently unintended damage" to somebody else!

What is true of an individual is often true of the country or the society as well. God forbidding, if there are acts of terrorism on US soil, and the US army has to do something about it, to what extent do you think they will allow the civilian casualties to mount. Not many, if I am correct, and certainly not for too long, if people in this great country have some sense! One can be sure that whatever may be the reason, civilian casualties on US territory, from action

taken by US army, can never be anything compared to what has been the case, outside its territory.

The reasons are not too difficult to fathom.

That also explains the "accidents", for all the detailed explanations that may be given, and in spite of the fact that all those details may not be incorrect at all.

Us vs. Them – The Divide Always Matters

It is the basic approach and sensitivity with which a country's army approaches the safety of its citizens, which is the biggest casualty, once that very armed outfit crosses the shores of its territory, and perhaps, in a way, the shores of its responsibility and accountability. This casualty is the causality of all other unintended casualties that take place subsequently, and by all means, it is not accidental!

Military action by an army in a territory where it is not accountable, will always be a dangerous proposition, not for the military result of the conflict, but for the humane credibility of the outfits. This is why, most countries shun such a role. US is perhaps the only country in the world that has adopted tackling all wars outside its territory as one of its most important defense strategies, and very reasonably too, for that is only way its own citizens can remain safe and untouched by the severe side-effects of international conflicts. Maybe, it is also the only strategy that can succeed in ensuring a continued long-term support of US citizens and taxpayers for all the action planned and envisaged by its huge military cum strategic defense machinery.

Unfortunately, there are no free lunches. Even the best of strategies has its own downsides, and that again, is no accident!



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