Collateral damage is the incidental or unintentional injury or damage caused to persons or objects that may 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.

The plane crash in Iran resulted in 176 civilian lives lost. Like the game of dominoes where one stacked behind the other needs only a slight push and all collapse, there wouldn’t have been a shooting down of that plane if President Trump hadn’t ordered the killing of Suleimani. So can we say, that according to the damage (civilian lives lost in the plane crash) that it was “not excessive in light of [what the assassination gave] as a military advantage” to the US? I believe that one civilian life lost is excessive. Doesn’t matter if the Iranians made a mistake or shot the plane down on purpose. These were 176 people who had nothing to do with “military” matters. President Trump has so far not made any comment about this as collateral damage, has not recognized that his directive to kill Suleimani was the primary cause they lost their lives. Can the US live with this and what our president did to create it? This is why the Constitution was written with checks and balances so that Congress would be able to make sure any such military action was in the best interests of the country and thought through thoroughly, not just some president’s egomaniacal desire to exercise power doing what he thinks is right.

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