Sunday, June 04, 2006

U.S. Government: An Iraqi Life is Worth $2500 (at most)

From an article in today's Washington Post, entitled "In Haditha Killings, Details Come Slowly":

"At 5 p.m. Nov. 19, near the end of one of the most violent days the Marine Corps had experienced in the Upper Euphrates Valley, a call went out for trucks to collect the bodies of 24 Iraqi civilians.

The unit that arrived in the farming town of Haditha found babies, women and children shot in the head and chest. An old man in a wheelchair had been shot nine times. A group of girls, ages 1 to 14, lay dead. Everyone had been killed by gunfire, according to death certificates issued later.

The next day, Capt. Jeffrey S. Pool, a Marine spokesman in Iraq, released a terse statement: Fifteen Iraqis 'were killed yesterday from the blast of a roadside bomb in Haditha. Immediately after the bombing, gunmen attacked the convoy with small arms fire. Iraqi army soldiers and Marines returned fire, killing eight insurgents and wounding another'... Not long after the bodies were discovered, Maj. Dana Hyatt, a Marine reservist whose job in part was to work with the civilian population when damage was inflicted by the U.S. military, paid out $38,000 in compensation to the families of the 15 dead. The Iraqis received the maximum the United States offers -- $2,500 per death, plus a small amount for other damage.

Is this what Bush means when he talks about the "armies of compassion"?

1 comment:

D.W. Congdon said...

The value of a "enemy's" life: $2,500.

The value of a U.S. soldier's life: priceless (and eternal, with all the burial fanfare and memorials)

What a striking indictment of what a nation-state's ideology does to one's valuation of human life. Thanks for this post.