They just got a different tool to use than we do: They kill innocent lives to achieve objectives. That's what they do. And they're good. They get on the TV screens and they get people to ask questions about, well, you know, this, that or the other. I mean, they're able to kind of say to people: Don't come and bother us, because we will kill you. Bush - Joint News Conference with Blair - 28 July '06

Friday, October 12, 2007

Iraqis' claims against US usually rejected

On a dusty street in Samarra, a bustling city north of Baghdad, two brothers, 10 and 12, are carrying plastic bags of groceries home from the market. Approaching an intersection guarded by U.S. troops, they strip off their white undershirts and wave them in the air as they cautiously venture across. Suddenly, shots.

Down goes the 10-year old, his stomach ripped by bullets. Down goes the 12-year-old with his stomach shot away.

... American troops are exhaustively trained to avoid harming innocent civilians, and they operate under strict rules that govern when lethal force can be used.

... the dead boys' father came to the 101st Airborne Division asking for compensation. His sons waved their white shirts as a "symbol of peace," he explained.

Asking for $6,000 compensation, he offered death certificates, witness accounts and legal opinions. It was not enough. An Army lawyer denied the claim citing "the Foreign Claims Act, 10 U.S.C. 2734, as implemented by Army Regulation 27-20."

The father -- his name and all others on the released documents were blacked out by Army censors -- ran afoul of the law's fine print, which requires proof that American soldiers were negligent. On the form handed back to him, an Army lawyer had circled one of five reasons for denial, explaining that there was "not enough evidence to prove your claim."

Claimants also must establish that they are "friendly to the United States." And any deaths that occurred during combat operations are ineligible for payments, a criterion that could exempt nearly every claim. More