Letters to the Editor

Civilian deaths in war zones unintended fact of conflicts

As a general rule I am pretty much a middle-of-the-road type person. I make note of the hysterical reactions of those on the extreme right or left and generally find both extremes distasteful. Whether from a liberal or conservative viewpoint, extremes seldom encompass common sense.

Case in point; on page 3A of the Jan. 12 Bradenton Herald, the article "U.S. investigates reports that its air strikes killed civilians."

Various groups, most notably Human Rights Watch, claim that U.S. air strikes against Islamic State militants occasionally kill "innocent" women and children. While not the intent of the air strikes, I do not doubt that innocent, non-combative civilians have died. In military parlance, that's called collateral damage. It is regrettable, but a fact of warfare.

World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq and any number of other conflicts should have taught us that noncombatants will be killed. Further, and more importantly, they should have taught us that identifying "innocents" is not always possible.

Apparently innocent women and children have been used repeatedly for suicide operations against both military personnel and civilian non-combatants.

There is a vast difference between occasionally killing innocent civilians and targeting innocent civilians.

Were the victims of the Twin Towers collateral damage or were they targeted? What about the victims in the Boston Marathon, the London subway attacks, or the recent attacks in Paris?

I do not minimize the horror of innocent men, women and children being maimed or killed, accidentally or otherwise, but I recognize that "it is what it is."

Lest we forget:

"We didn't start the fire

"No we didn't light it

"But we tried to fight it."

("We Didn't Start the Fire," Billy Joel, 1989)

Stan Anderson

Bradenton

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