‘Collateral Damage’ Is an Exact Science

Military projects civilian body count before operations
By Heather McPherson,  Newser User
Posted Jul 30, 2007 10:40 AM CDT
Iraqi children inspect a car destroyed in a US helicopter attack Monday night in a residential area of the Shiite enclave of Sadr City in Baghdad, Iraq, Tuesday, July 3, 2007. According to eyewitnesses,...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Technology allows US forces to know with precision how many civilians will die in targeted bombings—and at the beginning of the Iraq war, only those attacks expected to kill more than 30 civilians required approval from Rumsfeld or Bush, Salon reports. “‘Accident’ is not the right word,” said an activist.

Collateral damage is effectively legalized by military protocol, and drones can even count women and children near potential targets. With Iraqi and Afghan hearts and minds ever more at risk, civilian deaths have reportedly fallen off—but have also become more secretive, while NATO closely guards a “zero tolerance” casualties policy.