"collateral damage"

Eric Nielsen ericbarnak at GMAIL.COM
Fri Oct 7 05:32:16 UTC 2011

Perhaps this has been brought up before, but
I was doing a little research on "collateral damage" and came
upon "neutracide". New to me.

"However, the steering group also found that "the avoidance of collateral
damage, or neutracide, is a secondary consideration", and that "the primary
focus would remain improving operational effectiveness, while reducing the
risk of fratricide (first) and neutracide (firmly second)"."



 On Thu, Oct 6, 2011 at 7:34 AM, Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at gmail.com>wrote:

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> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM>
> Subject:      Re: "collateral damage"
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> True, but I think there's ordinarily a formal distinction between
> "intentional" and "unavoidable." In the context of unscripted speech in an
> operational situation, the distinction might easily be blurred. But the PBS
> writer is narrating history and presumably employing _le mot juste_.
> To use the PBS terminology, "collateral damage" in WWII was so generally
> intentional that I don't think the phrase even existed. Much of the point
> of
> strategic bombing was to kill, main, and dispossess as many civilians as
> possible, so as to to disrupt the enemy's economy, industry, and will to
> fight. Except in some very unusual circumstances, nothing was "collateral."
> The tone of the PBS promo (and I haven't seen the actual program) was that
> everybody "knows" that "collateral damage" means "civilian deaths and
> injuries (and property loss)."  To ask, "how much is intentional" is almost
> like asking "how much isn't collateral damage?"
> Of course, maybe that's what they really were asking, with a little
> rhetorical irony.  But it didn't sound that way.  It sounded as though, for
> the writers at PBS, "collateral damage" no longer has any policy reference.
> It just means civilian destruction, unavoidable or otherwise.
> Beyond that, my impression is that the story will focus on rape as military
> policy in Bosnia. If so, the victims would hardly be "collateral damage,"
> in
> the technical sense, by any stretch of the imagination.
> JL
> --
> "If the truth is half as bad as I think it is, you can't handle the truth."
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