New Details About Civilian Casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan

Through a Freedom of Information Act request, the ACLU has obtained hundreds of files on damage claims brought by family members of civilians killed or injured by Coalition Forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. Yesterday, it released the files.

The files made public today are claims submitted to the U.S. Foreign Claims Commissions by surviving Iraqi and Afghan family members of civilians said to have been killed or injured or to have suffered property damages due to actions by Coalition Forces. The ACLU released a total of 496 files: 479 from Iraq and 17 from Afghanistan.

You can view the files here.

Some of the stories that show the human cost of war -- and the toll on innocent civilians:


In one file, a civilian from the Salah Ad Din province in eastern Iraq states that U.S. forces opened fire with more than 100 hundred rounds on his sleeping family, killing his mother, father and brother. The firepower was of such magnitude that 32 of the family's sheep were also killed. The Army acknowledged responsibility and the claim resulted in two payments: a compensation payment of $11,200 and a $2,500 condolence payment. In another file, a civilian in Baghdad states that his only son, a nine-year-old, was playing outside when a stray bullet hit and killed him. The Army acknowledged responsibility and paid compensation of $4,000.

There are some patterns:

The ACLU noted that a significant number of the files - 92 of 496 - relate to deaths at checkpoints (50 files) or near American convoys (42 files). In one file, a civilian states that his son drove up to a checkpoint (PDF) in Kirkuk, was shot at through the roof of the car and hit in the abdomen; he later died from his wounds. An e-mail in the file from an Army sergeant states: "How was he supposed to know to get out of the vehicle when they fired warning shots? If I was in his place I would have stayed put too." The claim was denied although the sergeant suggested that the civilian might seek a condolence payment.

In another file, a civilian states that his mother was killed, his four-year-old brother suffered shrapnel wounds to the head, and his sister was shot in the leg after the taxi they were riding in ran through a checkpoint in the eastern Iraq town of Baqubah. An Army memorandum states: "[T]here is evidence to suggest that the warning cones and printed checkpoint signs had not yet been displayed in front of the checkpoint, which may be the reason why the driver of the Taxi did not believe he was required to stop." The Army suggested a condolence payment of $7,500. It is not known whether it was granted.

As to the results of the filed claims:

Of the 496 claims, 164 incidents resulted in cash payments to family members. In approximately half of the cash payment cases, the United States accepted responsibility for the death of the civilian and offered a "compensation payment." In the other half, U.S. authorities issued "condolence" payments, which are discretionary payments capped at $2,500 and offered "as an expression of sympathy" but "without reference to fault." Claims based on incidents that were not reported in the military's "SIGACT" ("significant act") database, despite eyewitness corroborations, are generally denied for compensation although a condolence payment may be issued.

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  • Display: Sort:
    My taxes (5.00 / 2) (#1)
    by Che's Lounge on Fri Apr 13, 2007 at 01:09:36 AM EST
    Blood money.

    FU Bush apologists.

    What's wrong with this picture? (none / 0) (#2)
    by Edger on Fri Apr 13, 2007 at 08:38:26 AM EST
    What don't they get?

    Don't Iraqis know how happy they are since Bush "liberated them"?

    Chicago Tribune this morning,
    April 13, 2007
    BAGHDAD -- An apparent suicide bombing inside the tightly guarded parliament building that killed two Sunni Arab legislators and six other people here Thursday struck at the heart of Iraq's struggling democracy and the U.S. security plan that is trying to bolster it.

    The attack in the parliament's cafeteria, which also injured 23 people, highlighted what many have described as serious gaps in security around the building where legislators elected in December 2005 have been struggling with little success to form a consensus to bring peace.

    The bomb also delivered a harsh reminder that there are few corners of safety anywhere in Baghdad, even the Green Zone, home to U.S. officials, contractors and the Iraqi government. Hours earlier, a suicide bomber exploded his truck on al-Sarafiya bridge, about 4 miles from the Green Zone, sending a section of the span into the Tigris River. Several cars tumbled into the current, and at least 10 people died.

    edger (1.00 / 1) (#3)
    by jimakaPPJ on Fri Apr 13, 2007 at 09:17:12 AM EST
    So it is your belief that the US made the suicide terrorist bomber strap a bomb to his body, slip into the parliment building and kill himself and others.


    The base cause of his actions was his belief in jihad. In this case against his fellow citizens, who he evidently believed belonged to the wrong sect of the Islamic religion.

    Am I the only one who sees something wrong in this?


    Sure. Great point, ppj. (5.00 / 2) (#5)
    by Edger on Fri Apr 13, 2007 at 10:07:01 AM EST
    Now that you mention it, I do remember hearing something about things like this happening regularly in Iraq before Bush invaded and occupied Iraq and began doing such a wonderful job of protecting Iraqis from themselves and each other.

    Now where would I have heard that? One or more of your comments perhaps?

    edger (1.00 / 2) (#9)
    by jimakaPPJ on Fri Apr 13, 2007 at 12:53:26 PM EST
    So you won't answer the qustion and, of course, blame America for a person's actions that were based on the concept of jihad.

    What's new in your world??


    OFF TOPIC (none / 0) (#10)
    by Sailor on Fri Apr 13, 2007 at 07:25:02 PM EST
    and yet a continuing series of personal attacks by TL's personal troll.

    Nice job Jeralyn and ppj, you've hijacked yet another post.


    ok (none / 0) (#4)
    by peacrevol on Fri Apr 13, 2007 at 09:18:56 AM EST
    dont tell me about stray bullets, and dont tell me about people getting shot driving up to checkpoints. we're not in a pillowfight, it's a war. if you dont agree with the war, that's fine, but stray bullets are going to happen in wars. at checkpoints, people drive up to them and blow themselves up. our troops are over there trying to survive so that they can come back to their families. it's a very tense moment when somebody doesnt slow down at checkpoints. it's really pretty tense even when they stop at checkpoints. you dont know who's in that car or what their plans may be. support for troops does not mean pointing out mistakes that may have been honest mistakes and trying to make them look like bad guys.

    Peace (5.00 / 3) (#6)
    by Peaches on Fri Apr 13, 2007 at 10:19:47 AM EST
    You are right that checkpoints, stray bullets, and civilian casualties are a part of war. I don't blame soldiers for these casualties. However, I do blame the people who put the soldiers in the position for these tragedies to happen, in the first place. We go to war knowing there will be civilian casualties. This is why the decision makers should use caution when deciding for war and also why this adminsitration should not be excused for the preemptive attack against Iraq based on false premisies (WMD, Ties to AQ, etc.). Every day this war continues more innocent lives are lost. This is not the fault of ouor soldiers, but the people who put them there.

    NOT a war. An Occupation. (5.00 / 2) (#7)
    by Edger on Fri Apr 13, 2007 at 10:26:45 AM EST
    The war in Iraq was won and declared so to the peasants by a monkey on a boat about six weeks after the invasion began. It has been an illegal occupation and murderous debacle of monstrous proportions ever since.

    The other war, for the minds of the peasants (the 26 percenters) was won long before the invasion began. It was short battle. The losers had so little to offer.

    Tell that to the survivors (5.00 / 3) (#8)
    by Al on Fri Apr 13, 2007 at 11:48:02 AM EST
    because the victims are, you know, dead. Tell the guy whose entire family was killed in their sleep that really he can't complain because it was "an honest mistake". Who gives a damn if it was a mistake? I'd like to see you react like that if a foreign army came to your town and destroyed your family.

    I have told that to survivors! (none / 0) (#11)
    by peacrevol on Mon Apr 16, 2007 at 04:58:00 PM EST
    You think that sh*t is easy? Do you think it's fun to me? We as marines were defending ourselves over there whether you call it a war or an occupation. When there's someone shooting at you and trying to blow you up, that's all you have left is your GI weapons and the ability to defend yourself. Argue what you will about whether we should be over there or not, but dont try to make me out to be a bad guy for trying to keep myself alive to possibly reduce the chances of "a foreign army coming to your town and destroying your family.

    Then use your conscience (none / 0) (#12)
    by Sailor on Mon Apr 16, 2007 at 06:11:15 PM EST
    and refuse to participate.

    If the Nuremberg folks had done that they wouldn't have been prosecuted.

    Sure, bushco will put you in prison, but better prison than hell.


    How can you be that separated from the reality? (none / 0) (#13)
    by peacrevol on Thu Apr 19, 2007 at 10:07:19 AM EST
    Do you honestly think I had any choice at all? Seriously. For a Marine in active duty, you have absolutely positively no choice. You go where you're told, when you're told, or you go to prison or Mexico or into hiding somewhere else. After you get a dishonorable discharge. Then the man has got you by your short and curlies the rest of your life. AWOL? sh*t! not to mention, I'm not going to let another marine die in my place!