Let's talk about "Collateral Damage". Where did this term come from? How did collateral damage become the description for civilian deaths in what have been illegal wars perpetrated by America?
By Lloyd Hart
Let's talk about "Collateral Damage". Where did this term come from? How did collateral damage become the description for civilian deaths in what have been illegal wars perpetrated by America? Did Madison Avenue come up with the term as a marketing strategy for helping a war be more successful? I suppose the bigger question is, is why does the American public tolerate it? I have heard all the talking heads on the supposed left and the right in the corporate media use the term collateral damage as if it were business as usual that civilians should die in the pursuit of American interests abroad. The fact is, if the Americans that died on 9/11 were referred to as collateral damage by the supposed "enemy" ( "This war on terrorism is bogus." "The 9/11 attacks gave the US an ideal pretext to use force to secure its global domination." by Michael Meacher
Saturday September 6, 2003 The Guardian http://politics.guardian.co.uk/iraq/comment/0,12956,1036687,00.html ) that committed the attack, the American public would be absolutely outraged. Using the American Standard of describing the deaths of noncombatants as acceptable collateral damage is actually a central principle of doing business in general within the U.S. itself and through America's Global Economic Dictatorship.
If we were to view the U.S. military to be strictly the military wing of American corporate business globally and domestically, collateral damage in practice is the accepted philosophy in dealing with all those who suffer as a direct result of U.S. Global Economic Dictatorship. In other words, the 750,000 people who die of cancer every year in America are collateral damage as a result of the domestic American corporate dictatorship and that corporate dictatorship's practice of polluting with carcinogenic toxins the air, the water and the food at will and with full knowledge of its own corrupt practices. Not to mention all the heart disease, respiratory illnesses, intestinal and internal organ diseases that are caused by these toxins which expands the numbers of the collateral damage into the millions. And of course we can easily pile on all those that died as a result of practicing extensions of the American corporate dictatorship like car accidents, workplace injuries and deaths and economic stress in general and during downturns in the economy.
If we were to look deeper and globally, we will find that the U.S. Global Economic Dictatorship as administered through the IMF and the World Bank, the WTO (meeting this coming week in Cancun http://cancun.mediosindependientes.org/ ) and through agreements such as Free Trade, NAFTA and the presently negotiated FTAA ( http://www.stopftaa.org/ ) creates all kinds of collateral damage so great in magnitude that even the most powerful human imagination collapses under the weight of it. Such as in Kenya when the IMF imposed school fees upon the children and families of Kenya in order for the corrupt regime of President Moi to receive a World Bank loan. The collateral damage from the IMF imposed policy was the creation of a huge surplus of cheap child labor. Forty percent of the children in Kenya between the ages of 5 and 14 ended up working in the multinational corporate coffee fields and many other child labor institutions. ( http://stolenchildhoods.org )
There is a more insidious and philosophically corrupt form of collateral damage that illustrates the contempt the U.S. Global Economic Dictatorship has for and that now threatens to wipe out all Life on this planet. In 1937 a law was passed in the U.S. Congress and signed by President Roosevelt. This law was called the Marijuana Tax Act and was the result of a powerful lumber industry suffering from the collapse of housing starts in the U.S. as a result of the crash of the market in 1929. As a result of the marijuana Tax Act the manufacture of paper turned from hemp, marijuana's industrial cannabis cousin, to wood fiber giving the lumber industry a stable and consistent product but more importantly, a monopoly on the supply of newsprint and even greater sway in American and global politics. If you control the news print, you control what gets printed. The collateral damage from the imposition of the Marijuana Tax Act in 1937 was the chopping down of over 50 percent of the world's forests since then for strictly paper manufacture and of course, the truth. ( http://www.globalhemp.com/ )This horrible act of destroying the world's forests is the very source of the collapse of the air, food and fresh water supply we are now experiencing and which has the conservative elite's invading Afghanistan, Iraq, taking control of the strategic oil supply so they can simply and militarily control what resources are left and where and how the world's poorest will starve to death. Collateral damage on the grandest scale ever.
My very own father, George William Hart became collateral damage at the hands of the nuclear industry working at the White Shell Nuclear Research in Manitoba for the Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. as probably one of the greatest minds in electronics to walk the face of the earth, But in his attempt to make nuclear power safer he became so contaminated that his thyroid practically disappeared and he died in 1980 at 58 of heart failure, a common side effect of man made radioactive materials pollution. And now that I live on Martha's Vineyard off Cape Cod in Massachusetts, will myself, my family, my neighbors and life itself above and under the sea become collateral damage as a result of a million barrels of radioactive waste on the bottom of the Bay of Massachusetts openning up and distributing high and low-level radioactive materials throughout the area. Turning Cape Cod and the Islands into a dead zone where no one will ever be able to live again. The Department of Defense owns these barrels of radioactive waste, the very people the use the term collateral damage to describe the acceptable losses in the advancement of their agenda.
I have wondered constantly why the death of a child in Basra, Iraq or U.S. sanctions imposed on Iraq after the first illegal invasion of Iraq that killed 500,000 children is acceptable to the American public. Are Americans so devoid of feeling that they cannot see what their leaders have conned them into. Even just watching the corporate media there's enough information to draw the conclusion that what is going on is morally and practically all wrong. How long will the American Public go along with the general day-to-day process of the destruction of life on this planet chalking it all up to collateral damage in the maintenance of it's material well being. The rest of the world outside the U.S. has already begun the process of turning away from this self-destructive behavior but the U.S. remains the single most powerful influence in the world, militarily and economically.
A good question to ask now is, is America's foreign and domestic policy truly reflective of the majority of American people or is American foreign and domestic policy as a result of the American public not even participating by a simple majority in shaping the policy in America? Of course one could now argue as Governor Dean of Vermont did yesterday in defending Governor Gray Davis of California from the continued corruption, that the American Economic Dictatorship has listed democracy as collateral damage. Prove it wrong America! Register to vote in record numbers and vote in record numbers for the most progressive Democratic Candidates in the primaries coming up this winter. Vote Ambassador Moseley Braun, Al Sharpton and Congressman Dennis Kucinich. Vote, if only to prove the existence of the Global American Economic Dictatorship and to draw it out into the open for a scrap we know we must fight in order, at just a minimum, to survive the damage we have done to this beautiful planet. But god damn it, VOTE.
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