By: Brig KGK Nair, SM (Retd)
I don’t know how we are all so surprised by civilian deaths. In any conflict, civilians die, but naturally. They are helpless, shelterless and most vulnerable.
Even when we operate with utmost care in the Counter Insurgency Operations, civilians die. In one particular operation, a small girl almost lost her life when she was caught in the crossfire with two terrorists in the jungles of Shalnar in Anantnag, Jammu and Kashmir, India. Despite best practices that we followed in the battalion that I was serving in, I thought she was gone. But during the search for bodies, we found her safe in the corn field adjoining her home and I just took her in my arms and hugged her till eternity.
Besides there’s collateral damage to property which is unavoidable because they get into civilian houses and govt property. So, civilians dying is as much collateral damage as damage to any property.
In conventional wars the damage and death increase manifolds. In the World War II, the total civilian deaths could easily cross 50 million, if not more. Germany and Japan alone would have lost 2 million if not more, in my opinion. Where were the human rights then? So why the bleeding hearts now? When civilians remain mute spectators and do not stand up to stupid regimes, even if of their own race and religion, death is surely to follow. The Gazans and Palestinians have supported Hamas, willingly or tacitly just like the Germans supported Hitler during his reign. A few good souls here or there is immaterial. They’ll all face the wrath of the War! While the terrorists and non-state actors do it openly, the states and it’s military and covert organs may do it either unwittingly or deliberately, and then deny it.
War is ugly. War is however necessary, and there’s nothing to repent.
There’s no white, no black, there’s just grey!
About the Author
Commissioned in 1991, Brig KGK Nair, SM (Retd) is an alumnus of IMA, Dehradun. He has commanded an Artillery Brigade in eastern Arunachal Pradesh as well as a Corps Artillery Brigade in Punjab. He has extensive field experience, having served in Siachen, Jammu & Kashmir as well as in North East. He specialised in Precise Intelligence based Operations during his tenure with the Rashtriya Rifles and was also twice awarded for Gallantry including a Sena Medal. The views expressed are personal. He tweets at @KrishnarajNair6