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Collateral Damage: A Web Experiment in Which You Judge and Impact Social Policy

Should a line be drawn? When the claimed benefit is thought to outweigh concern for deaths of innocents, what is the difference between a nuclear strike against a city and using a drone or a car bomb to kill everyone in a car where only one person was the target?

By H. Michael Sweeney, copyright © 2013, all rights reserved,
Permission to duplicate online hereby granted provided it is reproduced in full with all links and text colors in tact and unaltered, including this notice. 

When is collateral damage acceptable?

Is collateral damage ever acceptable?

Revealing article on Drone Attacks (more than we hear about) from Der Spiegel (CLICK).

Revealing article on Drone Attacks (more than we hear about) from Der Spiegel (CLICK).

With Obama ordering 30,000 Drones into American skies, and the military regularly conducting raids against American cities, and Police shooting at anyone on two feet to get one Cop Killer in California… we should perhaps come to a clear and concise understanding of what constitutes acceptable collateral damage, if anything at all. Perhaps “Thou shalt not kill,” is all we need to know. But…

If you could save 100 lives by killing one innocent person, would you elect their execution? If the only way you could prevent a Sept. 11 style attack threatening thousands was by shooting down a hijacked jetliner, would you so elect? Would you order someone sniped because of a significant chance they were about to kill the President, with no way to prevent it otherwise, but also no way to know for certain if they were the right person because all you had was circumstantial evidence? Where do you, personally, draw the line?

We hear those two words more and more in our news, even when there is no actual war going on. Drone diplomacy and policing has turned the taking of life into a video game, where decisions about who lives and dies is frequently being decided by a stranger in a darkened room half-way around the World. Murder is still murder, is it not? Or is it? What madness is this, that anyone ever has the authority for reasons of political expediency to decide life-or-death fate of innocent persons? Or is it silliness to even dare ask?

If a murderer deliberately sets out to kill you, or any person sets into motion events which accidentally kill you, that’s God’s domain to decide. His Will be done. But if your government or another wants to kill you simply to insure that someone else dies, or to insure some important political outcome for which you are not involved with or perhaps even aware of, who decides if the reason is good enough? I doubt they ask God before they sign off on the act. But what if YOU were the one to decide?

The answer is not simple, of course. For instance, for each unintended casualty, the blowback can be quite damaging and unexpected. Each becomes a martyred victim of US Imperialism (or something similar, depending on the target, of course) and literally strengthens the enemy. Governments and media in all nations involved, including our own, tend to roast (the President, or whomever) over a slow fire; it weakens relations with allies and foes alike internationally, and erodes political integrity at home. Collateral Damage can end up being to a tactical mission and the politics and politicians behind the mission the same as a total crash and burn, the burn often worse than the evil being attacked in the first place.

Is it OK to kill an innocent person if it will save the lives of many other people?

Where would you draw the line?

The answer may indeed be yours to decide — by means of the simple poll herein, which you are invited to use, which may very well give us a public concensus which can be used to help shape public policy by agencies, and the military, and those who empower them and wield them as political tools. Results of the poll may spark more officious study or even be cited directly in activist and legislative quarters. But only if you participate will it have such value. Answers are anonymous, and not traceable to individuals.

Lets look at a few examples in history which will give you practice for the Poll.

Deliberately sinking a passenger liner: During WWI the passenger steamship RMS Lusitania was headed for England from New York with nearly 2,000 souls on board.  Two people decided its fate, but ultimately, one was responsible, correctly predicting the other’s response to their provocation.

A torpedo was fired by a U-Boat, sinking the luxury liner, a horrific event which turned the tide of public and Congressional opinion in the United States and brought America into the war; nearly 10% of the 1,198 persons who died were Americans, many of them prominent. Who was really to blame?

It was not the U-Boat Captain, because the German High Command had already given the order that the Lusitania, if sighted, was to be considered a combatant because intelligence had revealed it was carrying munitions for England acquired from America, a violation of international law. This decision weighed 2,000 against the loss of life such munitions would inflict upon the German Army to the detriment of their war effort. But their decision it is not the one you are asked to judge.

Some other, unknown person, an American, also made a decision. Not just to illegally put munitions on a passenger ship without informing the steamship company, who would have objected and refused. No, that was by far a more innocent decision. The real decision that we are asking you to judge is this: that person also decided to deliberately allow the Germans to learn of the munition shipment specifically in hopes that they would dare sink the Liner, because that person, and their counsel, wanted the United States to go to war for political expedience.

Would you deem the Lusitania’s passengers as acceptible collateral damage for such a ‘noble political aim’ as rescuing Europe from domination by Germany, the argument they relied upon in their decision? Would it help to know that among those counseling for the move were shareholders and Board Members in the Powder Industry, makers of weapons and munitions?

This later aspect, the Powder Industry, highlights the importance of questioning such decisions. Often the decision makers have ulterior motives which are not part of the official consideration, or justification. The Military-Industrial-Intelligence-Media Complex, and the New World Order crowd (often one and the same people), are more often than not the decision makers. So choose wisely, your answers.

Dropping the Atomic Bomb: In WWII we decided to use the Atom bomb to try to force Japan to surrender. While the US Government was unwilling to cite the true facts and figures used in their decision, the argument to bomb was simple: using the bomb could speed the end of the war and save more lives on both sides than would be lost by dropping the bomb. Just like the Germans and the Lusitania.

President Truman rightly saw no difference in terms of moral choice between Atomics and fire bombing, already authorized in the bombing of Dresden, a like horrific act of war against civilian populations. Of course, we were also regularly firebombing Japan, a nation where homes were literally made of paper, burning to death up to 100,000 civilians in a single city. Indeed, we might should be arguing the bombing of any city by any kind of bomb should undergo the same scrutiny. But we need to focus on a singular incident.

In excusing the use of Atomic weapons, the military claimed they had at the time estimated it would save 500,000 to 1,000,000 lives of US military, and 1.7 to 4 million Japanese by avoiding invasion. We now know that the actual estimates were far less than the propoganda those larger numbers represent, numbers which continue to be used even today.

In like manner, the number of deaths predicted for the Japanese were minimized beyond reality. It was argued that by dropping warning leaflets ahead of the attack, citizens could be evacuated and limit their losses to mere tens of thousands, refusing the advice that such leaflets would be ignored as a scare tactic, which was indeed the case. Very few people fled the cities as result; most who could flee had already done so when non atomic bombing started taking its toll.

In all, more than a quarter million Japanese perished because of the two bombs dropped (it originally being argued a single bomb would do the job). The actual number of American lives estimated to have been saved from invasion was 60-190,000, and perhaps twice that number of Japanese. So let us presume the estimated loss by bombing was only 50,000 Japanese, and that it would save up to 200,000 combatants on each side by conventional invasion (50K vs. 400K). What would your decision be?

When the actual loss of life was later known, how would you feel? I think I would feel like confessing and suicide. Indeed, our first Secretary of Defense, James Forestall, who was one of the decision makers, may have taken that path, or he may have been assassinated for threatening to do so. He, or someone, put a cord around his neck before his body left the second story room via a window… in a government detention facility with barred windows, where he was being kept against his will after walking off the job without explanation.

Lets reduce the scale a bit — are Janitors acceptable collateral damage? Based on a real-World decision to bomb Lybia in retaliation for terrorist attacks backed by the Lybian government… dialog in the screenplay The American President (title role played by Michael Douglas) detailed what is thought to have been part of the actual decision making process by Presidents Reagan and, later, GW Bush… though in fact, the terrorism itself was seen by many as reprisal for attempts to kill Muammar Gaddafi already undertaken by America. I doubt the dialog took place in real life, but let’s use it, anyway…

The President (Shepard) is having a late-night emergency dialog with military and staff about the decision to order a B-1 Bomber attack in a ‘retaliation’ scenario. He is under intense political pressure by the other Party in a hotly contested bid for reelection against a man named Rumson (a ‘Defense Hawk’ rather a lot like Donald Rumsfeld), Shepard’s lack of military experience and seeming timidity in the face of affronts by other nations and terrorism being used against him. Keep in mind, that a large building would not have a single janitor, but a team of many, as well as the likelihood of citizens at large being on the streets nearby:


Robin, as soon as our planes have cleared Libyan airspace, you can call the press…


General Rork says around O-Eight Hundred.


Sir, what do you think about a national address?


The last thing I want to do is put the Lybians center stage.


I think it’s a great idea, sir. You know Rumson’s gonna be talking about your lack of military service.


This isn’t about Rumson. What I did tonight was not about political gain.


But it can be, sir. What you did tonight was very presidential.


Leon, somewhere in Libya right now there’s a janitor working the night shift at the Libyan Intelligence Headquarters. He’s going about his job ’cause he has no idea that in about an hour he’s gonna die in a massive explosion. He’s just going about his job ’cause he has no idea that an hour ago I gave an order to have him killed. You just saw me do the least presidential thing I do.

So what would your verdict be? Would the international strategic political value of such an attack justify the collateral damage of a few janitors? On the assumption you genuinely feared the opposition would take America into an unwise war for the benefit of the military-industrial complex if they won the election, would the political gains at the voting booth change your answer?

Final example: Drone attack. It happens more than we hear about in media. I highly urge you to watch the Matt Damon/George Clooney film, Syriana (sorry for the multiple film references, but such things are part of media’s overall impact on our belief structures, and often the best ways of illustrating visually a gritty reality otherwise limited to mere words). Syriana is an insightful look at the intrigues of Middle East politics and oil-industry machinations rarely gained from the headlines. It also shows you exactly how a Drone attack is carried out in terms of command and control. But you need not see the film, or read the non fiction book it was based upon, See No Evil, by Robert Baer.

The question is, a CIA informant has provided fast-breaking intelligence that a known terrorist has, by unusual circumstances, been spotted hitchhiking and picked up by a car now driving along a deserted roadway in the desert. Presume there is a terror plot in works that will take perhaps hundreds of lives if you do not find a way to stop him. But it is also known that the other occupants, the driver, a woman and a child, do not know who their passenger is. Do you order a Drone to strike, or do you pass for a better opportunity, which are few and far between?

These are hard questions our leaders face all-too often. They do what they think is right for you, perhaps at times for political gain or for corporate profits, but always doing so in your name regardless of reason. So let’s take the poll, and see what you think should or should not be done in your name.

Poll on collateral damage

The Polls

Poll assumptions: Assume you are Commander in Chief or some other person for whom the decision is yours and yours alone. You’ve already asked advice, but it was 50-50 in weight results, and of no help, or there is no one to ask. The answers are incremental in nature, and as it is multiple choice, you only get one answer — each prior answer is considered inclusive in subsequent answers.

You should take the poll before finishing this article, because the remainder of the article might change your answers in the first section. Part of the experiment is to gauge just that: did additional considerations change your answer, as covered later.

But remember: how you answer about the value of the lives of others may impact how government thinks about the value of your life, or a loved one. A casual answer could be costly, considering the 30,000 Drones, military raids on American Cities, and trigger happy Cops in many American cities.

A poll on acceptable collateraldamage

Now that you’ve taken the first section. Lets ask the question in two more case studies. Bear in mind this time, however, how you’ve already answered on the Poll. That means you will need to weigh your answer to the following questions based on decisions you’ve already made. Its about body count, and justification. The context will be different, but it should not change your answers if your logic remains true to form.

The first regarding the Death Penalty for capital crime. We know for a fact that some percentage of persons sent to Death Row turn out to be innocent, in the end. Shockingly, there are at least 39 instances where there was overwhelming evidence of innocence but the stay of execution was refused out of fear it would cause turmoil or harm to the general function of the courts and penal system. For example, a single incident might force the verdict in hundreds of cases to be thrown out and require new trials. Is that acceptable collateral damage, or should the death penalty simply be abolished and the system be forced to clean up its own mistakes?

Take that same reasoning, now, and apply it to NDAA, the National Defense Authorization Act, which gives the President and Military the power and authority to assassinate any American merely suspected of being involved in terrorism (or simply kidnap and vanish and/or torture them). No due process. No trial. Is there any difference in the likelihood of collateral damage being present in such an act as there is in the Death Penalty scenario? That, too, is being done in your name.

Is it acceptable collateral damage to execute a death row prisoner who is really innocent?


The second is more complex. It will require you to suspend your current belief structure and to take on the mindset of someone quite different than you (hopefully). If you were of a political mindset that truly believed that the only good future course for the World was a one-World government… and understood that the only way such a government could exist was if, among other things, the United States, Mexico, and Canada formed the North American Union… and that the only way to establish that was to stage a military coup and suspend the Constitution that it could be replaced with a new Constitution which enables the NAU. Consider further that you believe (correctly), that the 2nd Amendment makes the outcome of such a coup highly unpredictable.

Note: the Constitution of the NewStates of America has already been written, as reproduced with analysis as such a document in my bookset, Fatal Rebirth. Please see special offer on free copy of Volume I by email.

If you believed the above to be true, and you believed that if there a one-World government was not established, dire consequences such as World-wide famine and wars over shortages of oil and food would result costing billions of lives (the kinds of arguments sometimes used to recruit for Globalists agenda)… and given HOW YOU RESPONDED TO THE POLL, could you justify in your mind a given number of innocent lives to help insure repeal of the 2nd Amendment?

Would you be willing, for instance, to authorize staging mass shootings to heat up the gun control debate, knowing that eventually, it would force a confrontation with gun owners and result in Martial Law, etc.? Would it be better to kill a few hundred people to save billions, or not? Would it matter if whole bunches of them were school kids, or wouldn’t it make it better for the purpose? Regardless of your own personal answer, look at the Poll results to see how others voted.

If just ONE person voted in the first section in a manner which implies they might also decide in favor of collateral damage in this matter, then does that change how you view of conspiracy theories regarding Comumbine, Aurora, Sandy Hook, and the many other mass shootings where such charges have been levied by critics? Does it change your previous opinion as to the likelihood or possibility that such a conspiracy might exist?

Is a false flag event ever excused as acceptable collateral damage?

How can collateral damage be anything but murder?

Summary commentary

Just asking? Just saying? No. It’s more important than curiosity, or what I believe is true. As a nation, we make public policy and law, in part, by virtue of battles between varied agenda and beliefs present in our collective body of decision makers, and prior policy and law.

Leaders make collateral damage decisions based on the limitations of law and public policy, and their willingness to violate either. But also, any willingness to violate the law or policy is, in part, determined by public outcry and expression of citizen beliefs. God save us were the no such thing as an activist, conspiracy theorist, honest and diligent reporters, or letters to the Editor and to Congressmen.

Unfortunately, where a conspiracy exists by those with an agenda, it is easy to manipulate emotions to impact that public expression. The purpose in asking these questions, was to help you reevaluate the mechanisms and basis for your viewpoints, and to stir you to express any changes in opinion or beliefs which result, or to at least be more open to considering the arguments of others that such change is warranted.

If you do not understand the reality of decisions made in your name, your opinion about them is incorrect, and the decisions are not being made correctly to your true wishes. You are de facto victim even if you are completely unaware, and by your ignorance, others suffer more seriously, including paying the ultimate price.

Those who have full understanding also know that conspiracy theories only exist when reported facts do not make sense. Conspiracies are hard to prove without proper investigation, which is all ‘conspiracy theorists’ seek to sponsor when they propose their alternative explanations or explore the evidence publicly. If enough people say “Yeah… what about that, Mr. Congressman? I want an honest investigation with no white wash,” truth stands a chance. Conspiracies cannot otherwise prove themselves except by two means, one rare, and the other all-too common, but completely ignored.

They rarely are proven by confession or smoking gun evidence, because theorists do not have the authority or means to acquire them, as a rule. But whenever there is any evidence of a cover up, or disinformation tactics used against the theories, that alone proves there is a conspiracy afoot. So when media and government responds to theories by name calling or lies instead of explaining away the charges with useful facts… you know there is fire beneath the smoke.

Please question government, always, lest you be fooled again. All governments lie, and all-too often, for reasons just as questionable as collateral damage, which is almost always part and parcel of any conspiracy. They do so in your name, and only you can prevent that deception, that collateral damage. Your mind is yours to control, not theirs to manipulate with lies, just as your life is yours to live, and not theirs to dispose of as collateral damage for political gain.

Neither is there any difference between your life or that of a loved one, and the life of some nameless person in another nation on the other side of the planet. If they deem any individual acceptable collateral damage, then every individual can be so deemed just as easily, regardless of nationality or political beliefs. If you have rights, all have rights, or non have rights. There is no insurance for you, alone, but that which you make true for all by voicing your mind.

There is no difference, so use your mind, think for yourself, and voice your opinions loudly, lest you loose your life, or someone else does in your stead… and in your name.


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