Thursday, April 12, 2007

We Don't Belong There....

Civilian Claims on U.S. Suggest the Toll of War - New York Times:
The paperwork, examined by The New York Times, provides unusually detailed accounts of how bystanders to the conflicts have become targets of American forces grappling to identify who is friend, who is foe.

In the case of the fisherman in Tikrit, he and his companion desperately tried to appear unthreatening to an American helicopter overhead.

“They held up the fish in the air and shouted ‘Fish! Fish!’ to show they meant no harm,” said the Army report attached to the claim filed by the fisherman’s family. The Army refused to compensate for the killing, ruling that it was “combat activity,” but approved $3,500 for his boat, net and cellphone, which drifted away and were stolen.

In the killings at the gas station in Balad, documents show that the Army determined that the neither of the dead Iraqis had done anything hostile or criminal, and approved $5,000 to the civilian’s brother but nothing for the Iraqi officer.

In another incident, in 2005, an American soldier in a dangerous Sunni Arab area south of Baghdad killed a boy after mistaking his book bag for a bomb satchel. The Army paid the boy’s uncle $500.
I know, I know; this is nothing compared to the attrocities of Vietnam, but it shouldn't even compare to Vietnam. That's the problem. We don't belong there, and we can't even identify who it is we are fighting.

Yes, the U.S. force is trying to compensate some of the people affected, but really, how much is your brother or mother worth?
The Foreign Claims Act, which governs such compensation, does not deal with combat-related cases. For those cases, including the boy’s, the Army may offer a condolence payment as a gesture of regret with no admission of fault, of usually no higher than $2,500 per person killed.
I ask you, is that enough? Is that even reasonable? If so, then we are dehumanizing an entire nation of people. We don't belong there. We should not stay there. We must get out now.

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