Friday, June 01, 2007

GAO: Pentagon has given $31 million in 'condolence' payments to civilians hurt or killed in Iraq, Afghanistan

Iraqis load a coffin onto a mini bus during the funeral of a victim of an early morning U.S. air strike in Sadr City yesterday.

The Defense Department has spent nearly $31 million in payments to Iraqis or Afghans who suffered as a result of U.S. combat operations.

The payments, up to $2,500 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.

Read the rest at the International Herald Tribune