Concept

Collateral damage

Summary
Collateral damage is any death, injury, or other damage inflicted that is an incidental result of an activity. Originally coined by military operations, it is now also used in non-military contexts. Since the development of precision guided munitions in the 1970s, military forces often claim to have gone to great lengths to minimize collateral damage. Critics of use of the term "collateral damage" see it as a euphemism that dehumanizes non-combatants killed or injured during combat, used to reduce the perceived culpability of military leadership in failing to prevent non-combatant casualties. Collateral damage does not include civilian casualties caused by military operations that are intended to terrorize or kill enemy civilians (e.g., the bombing of Chongqing during World War II). Etymology The word "collateral" comes from medieval Latin word collateralis, from col-, "together with" + lateralis (from latus, later-, "side" ) and is otherwise mainly used as a synonym fo
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