One of the two Boston Marathon bombing perpetrators scrawled an unusual statement on the side of the boat where he was cowering in fear, hiding from the police, calling the victims "collateral damage".
Now, perhaps he can be forgiven for misusing the term, as English is not his first language, but victims of terrorism are not "collateral damage". The term may be properly used, for example, in the case of a cowardly jihadist firing missiles, while hiding in a hospital, or a schoolyard, or a mosque, or in a residential area where he can use the residents as human shields.
The goal of our military is to capture or kill these individuals and them alone, without causing damage to the surrounding neighborhood, if possible, and without injuries or casualties to themselves or any innocents nearby. When an innocent bystander is injured or killed in the process of taking out a jihadist or military combatant, that is considered "collateral damage".
However, when a terrorist sets of a bomb or bombs to indiscriminately kill civilians, there is no military target. The civilians are the primary target, not "collateral damage", even if they are not targeted as individuals. Whether calling them collateral damage is through his ignorance of the language, or some futile attempt to spin some sympathy in his favor, it will not work. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev targeted men, women and children who posed no real or imminent threat to him or his religion. The runners did not just come from defiling a mosque. The bystanders did not hold up banners mocking the Prophet. They were living their lives under the freedom that God gave them. Two cowardly ingrates, living off the state they say they despise, indiscriminately killed and maimed men women and children because of their own religious bigotry.
Let us not allow the language to become the collateral damage of murderers and cowards.