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Pentagon spends $31 million to compensate civilians caught in combat

Pentagon spends $31 million to compensate civilians caught in combat

The Defense Department has spent nearly $31 million (euro23 million) in payments to Iraqis or Afghans who suffered as a result of U.S. combat operations.
The payments, up to $2,500 (euro1,850) per incident, are given as a token of sympathy or remorse toward a victim or victim's family for death, injury or property damage. U.S. officials say individual payouts are based on local customs, and are not considered an admission of legal liability or fault.
The tally was included in a report released Thursday by the Government Accountability Office, the research arm of Congress. It covered a three-year period, from late 2002 through September 2006.
According to the GAO, the number of "condolence payments" made in 2006 dropped 66 percent compared with those in 2005. U.S. commanders decide when a payment should be made and how much.
"Condolence payment levels have fluctuated over time, but DOD does not analyze underlying reasons," the GAO states.
Sen. Edward Kennedy, who requested the assessment, said the report raises serious concerns about the fairness and uniformity of the payments.
"It's surprising that the level of these payments has plunged in the past years," Kennedy, a Democrat, said in a statement. "Innocent Iraqi civilians are bearing an immense burden in this misguided war, and the administration has the responsibility to ensure that its condolences policy is fair and is seen to be fair by the Iraqi people and the world."
In a response to the report, Pentagon Comptroller Tina Jonas said she concurred with the GAO recommendations that the Defense Department do more to track and analyze claims.


Updated : 2021-10-19 06:44 GMT+08:00