Do the math
In comments at Obsidian Wings yesterday, I said:
I wonder if the DoD releases figures on how much has been paid out so far in "condolence payments" of up to $2500 per life ... For how many of those lives have the troops who killed them been punished in any way, including something as light as reprimands?
Within an hour of posting, I learned the answer to the first question, published that same day by the Boston Globe:
The amount of cash the US military has paid to families of Iraqi civilians killed or maimed in operations involving American troops skyrocketed from just under $5 million in 2004 to almost $20 million last year, according to Pentagon financial data.
The dramatic spike in what's known as condolence payments -- distributed to Iraqi families whose loved ones were caught in US crossfire or victimized during US ground and air assaults -- suggests that American commanders made on-the-spot restitution far more frequently...
That's almost 8000 civilian victims of U.S. military last year alone -- not a number we've heard much.
Now my second question -- how many servicemembers have been held accountable -- takes on more urgency. The Globe reporter may be trying to dig out an answer right now, but I imagine that will be much harder to extract. Call me cynical, but I'll be amazed if the number is as high as 400.
Update: The Scottish Sunday Herald reports:
Some 600 cases of abuse by GIs against civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan have so far been investigated by the Pentagon. Although around 230 soldiers have been disciplined, most military personnel found guilty of abusing civilians received “administrative” punishment such as being reduced in rank, loss of pay, confinement to base or extra duty. Out of 76 courts martial, only a few resulted in jail terms of more than a year.
Labels: Iraq mil