This topic blows my mind. I first heard about it on NPR.
Basically, the US military will provide compensation to Iraqi civilians who have been harmed by american forces. This includes compensation for a door that has been run over by a tank, or a cow that was killed during a fight with insurgents. OR, when a family member has been killed during fighting.
Here's a an excerpt from the site Iraq Body Count:
The US Army paid $7,500 to two children whose mother they killed inside a taxi that ran a checkpoint — both children were also in the taxi, and were shot and injured; they also paid $6,000 for killing a child looking out of the window, while a raid was on-going in the house across the street. They refused, as they do in the majority of cases, to compensate the child whose father they killed as he drove home, but agreed to make a ‘condolence payment’ of $1,500. More recently, the US military is reported to have paid $2,500 to each family of the three men they killed near Abu Lukah, as they guarded their village.
It can certainly be debated whether or not the US military should be compensating for civilian deaths. The US army will generally not compensate for deaths resulting from insurgent weaponry - something that both family members or the military would have a hard time proving/disproving. And sadly, many civilians will go to different stations to see if they can get multiple compensations.
what simply kicks me in the balls, though, is the compensatory figures and the different words attached. $2,500. $6,000. "condolence payment granted." $500.
"compensation for death denied due to combat exemption." "negligent fire." $3,500.
I know we have lawsuits in the US for deaths associated with prescription drugs or wack police officers. I guess I'm wallowing in this thought that we really can/should/need to/have put a price tag on a person's life.