Terrorism as "collateral damages"

Discussion in 'Ethics, Morality, & Justice' started by S.A.M., Mar 3, 2010.

  1. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

    Isn't terrorism also collateral damages of political policies?

    Why isn't it treated like other collateral damages are?
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  3. spidergoat pubic diorama Valued Senior Member

    They call it blowback.
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  5. GeoffP Caput gerat lupinum Valued Senior Member

    Because its intended targets are civilians.
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  7. quadraphonics Bloodthirsty Barbarian Valued Senior Member

    No. Terrorists have political agency. Bullets do not.
  8. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

    This and that

    What about homicide bombers?

    • • •​

    Because there is at least one more step involved.

    Perhaps that seems arbitrary to some, but the difference between a cupcake and a homemade hockey puck can also be reduced to one step more or less.

    Remember that the people who invent terms like "collateral damage" are ensconced in the "innocence" of double effect.


    McIntyre, Alison. "Doctrine of Double Effect". Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. June 29, 2009. Plato.Stanford.edu. March 2, 2010. http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/double-effect/
  9. quadraphonics Bloodthirsty Barbarian Valued Senior Member

    What about them?
  10. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

    That was ... "unexpected"

    Thought so.
  11. quadraphonics Bloodthirsty Barbarian Valued Senior Member



  12. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

    Flipping something

    Oh, I'm just flipping a little shit. I don't think your response to S.A.M. necessarily fit the question at hand. So I'm playing with the term "homicide bombers", which Ariel Sharon tried promoting on FOX News years ago. Thing is, our American pilots, technically, are homicide bombers.

    Or I could point out that explosives have no political agenda, either. As with one homicide bomber, so with another. It's not the bomb, but the bomber. Bombs and bullets don't really enter into the issue.
  13. quadraphonics Bloodthirsty Barbarian Valued Senior Member

    I suppose I should have been less obtuse with my original response. At the time I was feeling less than generous about this thread.

    Actually, on second though, this thread still isn't something I want to endorse with substantive participation. I don't believe it was started for honorable reasons, and I don't think productive discussion will occur here.

    Not because of anything to do with you, by the way. I trust I can remain somewhat obtuse about my motivations in this regard?
  14. Gustav Banned Banned

    from tiassa's link....

    The terror bomber aims to bring about civilian deaths in order to weaken the resolve of the enemy: when his bombs kill civilians this is a consequence that he intends. The tactical bomber aims at military targets while foreseeing that bombing such targets will cause civilian deaths. When his bombs kill civilians this is a foreseen but unintended consequence of his actions. Even if it is equally certain that the two bombers will cause the same number of civilian deaths, terror bombing is impermissible while tactical bombing is permissible

    honor is what matters
    damn the facts
  15. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

    Rube Goldberg vs. some poor twat with dynamite strapped to his chest

    Of course. However, I would simply note:

    The second part of that sentence depends as much on contributors to the thread as the first depends on you.

    Or, to consider the validity of the question, does it matter so much whether one plunges the knife into the heart, or flips the switch that starts the Rube Goldberg process that drops the bowling ball to crush their skull? Or, in that latter case, can we blame the hamster running frantically in his wheel at stage 27?
  16. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

    So if two nuclear bombs cause 300,000 deaths, radiation burns in several hundred thousands [possibly millions more] and cancer for several generations, is it terror bombing or tactical bombing?

    Indeed, and not only that, the difference between the two is that the suicide bomber only goes on one mission.
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2010
  17. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

    The two obvious responses

    Two immediate responses spring to mind:

    • What do you think?

    • Not really either. Maybe terror. Maybe tactical. But, in the end, it's a crime against humanity.​
  18. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

    I think it doesn't matter if you're wearing a uniform, getting decorated and going home to hug your children, rather than suffering the same fate as your most affected victims.

    It makes no difference to the ones who are affected

    But thats not the question I'm asking. My question is a little apart from this: if it is collateral damages to bomb/starve/kill civilians in war time, what difference does it make who is doing it? Is there a difference between a car bomb going off in Iraq or a car bomb going off in London? Is there a difference between SS men in Arab clothing setting off car bombs in Iraqi marketplaces or Pakistani men in western clothing setting off car bombs in British subways? Is there a difference between American Special Forces pulling out children from their beds and executing them and Afghanis pulling up missionaries and beheading them?

    Isn't this all collateral damages? If not, why not? Whats the difference?
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2010
  19. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member


    The difference is in who decides what is what.

    One complication, though, is that when a bomb goes off in a marketplace, there is usually someone who is willing to proudly claim responsibility. When regular soldiers commit atrocities, the response is to deny first, then stutter and justify while attacking the credibility of the allegations. It makes a big difference in the whole "hearts and minds" issue.

    You have to remember that, in the United States, the biggest difference between an American child and an Arab child is that the American kid is worth giving a damn about. I still find it ironic that, in the wake of 9/11, we should have appealed to the suffering of the children who lost parents, and then gone abroad to orphan as many children as we couldn't manage to "accidentally" kill.

    Americans have rendered the notion of terrorism utterly meaningless in their lexicon. I mean, former Secretary of Education Rod Paige once classified union teachers as terrorists because they were willing to picket labor issues. To the other, a white guy who writes a manifesto against the government and then suicide bombs a federal building with an airplane isn't a terrorist.

    I would suggest it helpful to always bear in mind just who and what you are considering.

    As a raw notion, you're not going to hear any disagreement from me at this point. But I think you're as aware as I am that beyond that, you're largely asking a bunch of people who are absolutely determined to excuse or indict along cultural lines. These are people who argue from the safe position of being unable to realistically foresee any circumstances by which they might come to be reduced to the poverty and chaos that colonial and commercial ventures have visited upon many around the world. They condemn people for behavior under circumstances the judges wouldn't ever imagine enduring themselves.

    Look at what has happened in Nigeria. Americans might complain about big corporations, or corrupt government, but few among my fellows in this country imagine that they will ever live, in the United States, under such conditions as we see in Nigeria. Or, the Liberian conflict: We will never be kept under a dictator propped up by a superpower caught up in a nasty game of chicken known as brinkmanship; we will never be abandoned by that superpower after the game has been won; and we will never find ourselves pushed to the very strand in an effort to flee the carnage of the resulting civil war. We Americans do not imagine that we will ever exist under conditions similar to those in troubled nations around the world. And we might abhor what we see, but if history tells you anything, it should be that we will never, as a nation, allow ourselves to even consider the possibility that we might have had even a miniscule role in creating the problem.

    And look at the mentality around here. It's not just Americans. I picked up a story today that developed over the last month or so and thought, "I wonder how badly people will react if S.A.M. mentions that Ehud Barak used the word 'apartheid'?" Actually, I don't need to wonder. I mean, after your inquiry about what really does appear to be Judeosupremacism in Israel, it's clear to me that if you ask about the flashing, forty-foot neon sign, you'll be sanctioned for suggesting that there is a flashing, forty-foot neon sign.

    What you're dealing with is a neurotic complex of unprecedented scale. I agree to a certain extent with Quad that nothing good can come of this thread, but that is because I have long been aware that people really are that desperate to find a reason to excuse what they otherwise claim to hold reprehensible.

    Excuses, excuses, excuses. The only excuse at this point is that they cannot help themselves.

    A question I like to ask about mental health: When it is determined that a majority of the population is medicating their brains—be it with prescriptions, illicit drugs, or common intoxicants—does that mean we can take all the happy, allegedly normal people and put them on downers or antipsychotics?

    In a similar context: A community might be dangerous to itself and the rest of humanity, but if that community comprises a majority, either in raw numbers or according to empowerment, they are pretty much free to define for themselves what danger equals.

    And my American neighbors will never indict themselves as such, no matter how repugnant their conduct, or disingenuous their desperate justifications.

    So you have, essentially, two answers to what I perceive as the underlying question:

    • Sure, you're correct.
    • It does not, as a practical consideration, matter a whit that you are correct.​

    America, America, God shed His Grace on thee!
  20. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

    Is there really? With the thousands and thousands of car bombs going off, is there anyone who has claimed responsibility that has a name and a face and evidence linking them to the crime?

    Who were the British and American officers in Arab clothing setting off car bombs in Iraq?

    Thats much easier to find out, than the self confessed "al Qaeda in Iraq" which turned out to be the taped voice of an actor. And yet "al Qaeda" is more "real" than those officers with handlers who follow a chain of [some] command.

    There is too much signal to noise ratio and incredibly difficult to separate fact from fiction
  21. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

    Peckinpah would have done it better

    Claim, m'lady. I said nothing about prove.

    Still, as a practical matter, it does seem to make a difference to people.

    Like we're ever going to find out.

    I really don't know where to start on that one. It is, in the context of black humor, one of the funnier episodes of the war.

    Aye. But there has been at least since Secretary Rumsfeld sought to pin 9/11 on Saddam Hussein. You know, like, minutes after everything hit the fan? Excuse me, I mean, the buildings?
  22. GeoffP Caput gerat lupinum Valued Senior Member

    Keeping in mind of course, that Sam's links are accusations, and little else: some of which are handily made by the Iranians.
  23. joepistole Deacon Blues Valued Senior Member

    Because it is not collateral damage. Terrorists deliberately attack civilians (non combatants) only. Rare is the event when a terrorist would attack a military target...they prefer instead to attack unarmed civilians.

    Collateral damage occurs when attacking legitimate combatant targets.

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