Depuis le début de la guerre en Irak, la presse a été tenue au secret concernant le nombre de civils tués par les soldats anglo-américains et sur les conséquences de ces assassinats. Aujourd’hui, en accédant au registre des demandes de compensation et les réponses apportées à ces demandes par le Ministère de la Défense US (publié en ligne), l’horreur de la situation irakienne apparaît… et la pingrerie du Pentagone qui cherche toutes les excuses du monde pour ne pas « dédommager » (comme si c’était possible) les familles des victimes.

« Sorry We Shot Your Kid, But Here’s $500 »
[Greg Mitchell – Editor & Publisher – 15.04.2007]
For the entire war in Iraq, the press has been kept largely in the dark concerning the number of civilians killed by our forces, and what happened in the aftemath. Now several hundred files posted online reveal some of the true horror while raising questions about lack of compensation.

The most revealing new information on Iraq — guaranteed to make readers sad or angry, or both — is found not in any press dispatch but in a collection of several hundred PDFs posted on the Web this week.

Here you will find, for example, that when the U.S. drops a bomb that goes awry, lands in an orchard, and does not detonate — until after a couple of kids go out to take a look — our military does not feel any moral or legal reason to compensate the family of the dead child because this is, after all, broadly speaking, a « combat situation. »

Also: What price (when we do pay) do we place on the life of a 9-year-old boy, shot by one of our soldiers who mistook his book bag for a bomb satchel? Would you believe $500? And when we shoot an Iraqi journalist on a bridge we shell out $2500 to his widow — but why not the measly $5000 she had requested?

This, and much more, is found in the new PDFs of Iraqi claims, which are usually denied.

Last June, The Boston Globe and The New York Times revealed that a local custom in Iraq known as « solatia » had now been adapted by the U.S. military — it means families receive financial compensation for physical damage or a loss of life. The Globe revealed that payoffs had « skyrocketed from just under $5 million in 2004 to almost $20 million last year, according to Pentagon financial data. »
In a column at that time, I asked: How common is the practice? And how many unnecessary deaths do the numbers seem to suggest?
It’s necessary to ask because the press generally has been denied information on civilian killings and, in recent years, it has become too dangerous in much of Iraq for reporters to go out and investigate shootings or alleged atrocities.