The words inadvertent and accidental have been used to describe the tragic killing of the American and Italian hostages being held by al-Qaida in Pakistan.

The word inadvertent is accurate, as the drones most certainly would not have fired on the site had we known the hostages were there ["War once again brings tragic consequences," Editorial, April 24]. But it was no accident.

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It's well known that al-Qaida and similar groups deliberately hide among civilian populations and house hostages where they will be in harm's way. They know if civilians or hostages are killed by our airstrikes, it will result in hand-wringing and self-blame by Americans. Are we to give up and allow these extremists to spread their murderous ways around the globe because they have discovered that humanity is our weakness?

Collateral damage is a euphemism for the tragedy that innocent people are killed in wars. But a distinction needs to be made between inadvertent loss of innocent life, as was caused by the drone, and deliberate orchestration of that by terrorists, which was what happened both here and, lest we forget, on Sept. 11.

Anne Corson, South Huntington