“Collateral Damage”

June 13, 2009

The more recent use of the term “collateral damage” is nothing but a euphemism for the murder of civilians, usually in wartime – in effect the commission of Nuremberg war crimes and crimes against humanity, usually as a part of the more encompassing Nuremberg crime against peace. Prior to the use of the term “collateral damage,” the military forces carrying out war policies designed by political architects simply used extremely derogatory terms such that the people being killed were considered subhuman – “savages,” “gooks,” “slope heads,” “rodents,” “darkies,” “criminals,” “niggers,” “illegal combatants,” “goo-goos,” “ragheads,” “hajis,” etc. This type of language, still commonly used by military forces to describe the people they are killing, i.e., murdering, reflects a deep racist ideology that enables soldiers to completely lose sight of their own humanity as they are thrust into dangerous situations.

A “good kid” without any particular predisposition to kill or hate can easily become a monster when thrust into what psychiatrist Robert Jay Lifton describes as an “atrocity producing situation.” This is what war does to people. Our species cannot seem to grasp that war – whether used as a tool for conquest, for dealing with conflict, or even as a rite of passage – is detrimental to the health of humans and to the earth herself, and threatens the very survival of our species. War is traumatic to the human condition, and the human soul.

Humans are capable of making radically different choices from the ones we have been conditioned to make from upbringing, education, and obedience to the status quo. Recovery of archetypal characteristics of empathy, equity, and cooperation as autonomous beings in small, familiar groups resides in each of us as part of our evolutionary biology and psychology. To be liberated from the claustrophobic box of conformance to a top-down political, economic or religious ideology requires our willingness to be disobedient. Nothing short of our humanity and survival is at stake.

Post a Comment

Your email is never shared. Required fields are marked *


Real Time Web Analytics