Zimmer054 – doryk – destructive material (Hungary)
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The word „collateral“ comes from medieval Latin collateralis, from col-, „together with“ + lateralis (from latus, later-, „side“ ) and is otherwise mainly used as a synonym for „parallel“ or „additional“ in certain expressions („collateral veins“ run parallel to each other and „collateral security“ means additional security to the main obligation in a contract). The first known usage of the term „collateral damage“ in this context occurred in a May 1961 article written by T. C. Schelling entitled „DISPERSAL, DETERRENCE, AND DAMAGE“.
The USAF Intelligence Targeting Guide defines the term „[the] unintentional damage or incidental damage affecting facilities, equipment, or personnel, occurring as a result of military actions directed against targeted enemy forces or facilities. Such damage can occur to friendly, neutral, and even enemy forces“. Another United States Department of Defense document uses „[u]nintentional or incidental injury or damage to persons or objects that would not be lawful military targets in the circumstances ruling at the time. Such damage is not unlawful so long as it is not excessive in light of the overall military advantage anticipated from the attack.“
Intent is the key element in understanding the military definition as it relates to target selection and prosecution. Collateral damage is damage aside from that which was intended. Since the dawn of precision guided munitions, military „targeteers“ and operations personnel are often considered to have gone to great lengths to minimize collateral damage.
The U.S. military states the term is used in regards to unintentional or incidental damage to civilian property and non-combatant casualties, however, at least one source claims that the term „collateral damage“ originated as a euphemism during the Vietnam War and can refer to friendly fire, or the intentional killing of non-combatants and the destruction of their property.
During World War II, widespread civilian casualties and damage to civilian property were caused by strategic bombing of enemy cities. If the intent of the strategic bombing was to destroy the enemy’s war industry, then civilian casualties were called collateral damage. Given the low accuracy of bombing technology in WWII, it was inevitable that civilian casualties would occur. However, bombardments such as the Japanese bombing of Chongqing and the indiscriminate attacks by the Germans on Allied cities with V-weapons fall outside the definition of collateral damage as these raids were meant to terrorize and kill enemy civilians.
Also during the 1991 Gulf War, Coalition forces used the phrase ‚collateral damage‘ to describe the killing of civilians in attacks on legitimate military targets. According to Scottish linguist Deborah Cameron, „the classic Orwellian argument for finding this usage objectionable would be that
- it is jargon, and to the extent that people cannot decode it, it conceals what is actually going on;
- it is a euphemism; abstract, agentless and affectless, so that even if people succeed in associating it with a real act or event they will be insulated from any feeling of repulsion and moral outrage“.
In 1999, „collateral damage“ (German: Kollateralschaden) was named the German Un-Word of the Year by a jury of linguistic scholars. With this choice, it was criticized that the term had been used by NATO forces to describe civilian casualties during the Kosovo War, which the jury considered to be an inhuman euphemism. //wikipedia