Rethinking Collateral Damage

The harming or killing of innocents or non-combatants in armed conflict is beyond tragic and totally unacceptable.  Accidents are no excuse when you are using deadly force.  Being a custodian of deadly force requires a higher standard of responsibility and accountability.

 I propose a debate on a simple set of principles for mitigating collateral damage:

  •  Consenting and informed Combatants are fully responsible and accountable for decisions and actions regarding the use of deadly force.
  • If there is any possibility whatsoever of non-combatant civilians being harmed, if any doubt exists, combatants will assume the risk and do not shoot or use deadly force.  Combatants are trained, equipped and protected to assume risk, civilians are not.
  • The assumption of risk means that you find another way or withdraw.
  • You do not kill or harm unarmed non combatants under any circumstances, even to save your own life or your mission.  You have no right.
  • Accountability means such as, but not limited to, immediate care, compensation for pain and suffering, full medical care, medical pensions, full restitution for loss of livelihood, restoration of property or lands, mine removal, and consideration of criminal negligence.
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