Surgical strike

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This page is about the military attack; for the Sega CD FMV game, see Surgical Strike (video game).

A surgical strike is a military attack which results in, was intended to result in, or is claimed to have resulted in only damage to the intended legitimate military target, and no or minimal collateral damage to surrounding structures, vehicles, buildings, or the general public infrastructure and utilities.[1]

Precision bombing is an example of a surgical strike carried out by aircraft – it can be contrasted against carpet bombing, the latter which results in high collateral damage and a wide range of destruction over an affected area which may or may not include high civilian casualties. The bombing of Baghdad during the initial stages of the 2003 Iraq War by US forces, known as Shock and Awe is an example of a coordinated surgical strike, where government buildings and military targets were systematically attacked by US aircraft in an attempt to cripple the Ba'athist controlled Iraqi government under Saddam Hussein.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Shultz, Jr., Richard H.; Pfaltzgraff, Robert L., eds. (1992). The Future of Air Power: In the Aftermath of the Gulf War. DIANE Publishing. ISBN 1-58566-046-9.