Columbia, SC — The term “collateral damage” sounds as if it describes gravy accidentally spilled on the carpet; but in combat it means, “Killing innocent bystanders who we knew we’d have to kill to destroy the enemies we intended to kill.”
“Collateral damage” is the reason most modern wars kill more non-combatant civilians — women, children, old people — than enemy combatants. And since we don’t really know which Syrians are combatants or where they might be hiding, a U.S. bomb or missile is bound to produce a great deal of collateral damage.
Worse, we’d be “punishing” Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for killing his innocent citizens by killing more of his innocent citizens. The chances of actually hurting Assad or his forces seem very slim.
Clearly, killing one’s own citizens with poison gas is demonic. It’s hard to see how destroying still more lives and property with sophisticated bombs makes the situation any better.
Richard C. Massey