When Staff Sgt. Robert Bales opened fire on innocent Afghanistan civilians in two villages an international crisis began and to help quell the anger being felt the United States government has handed over nearly $50,000 in compensation to each family that lost loved ones to the shootings.
When asked about the payments officials on the condition on anonymity said the amount was “significant” and “substantial.”
If the $50,000 price tag is correct it would be a significant amount of money in a region where the average family earns just $425 per year.
Sgt. Bales has been charged with the murder of 17 Afghanistan people after he attacked men, women and children with his 8mm pistol and M-4 rifle. Under the currently payment structure for his crimes an overall payment would have been made of approximate $850,000 by the United States government.
While Sgt. Bales is set to stand trial his defense attorney on Friday said the military lacks the physical evidence necessary to establish a strong case against Bales while others claim a crumbling military mental health infrastructure put Sgt. Bales back into the field after sustaining a devastating head injury.
Kandahar provincial council member Agha Lalai also recently revealed that U.S. officials paid each wounded person in the region $11,000. According to Lalai those people were told the money came from U.S. President Barack Obama.
In the meantime the alleged payments were spoke about by NATO spokesman Lieutenant Commander Brian Badura who told Reuters that the ISAF as a matter of policy doesn’t make restitution payments for “losses resulting from combat, combat-related activities or operational necessity.”
Badura goes on to note:
“Individual troop contributing nations may participate in some form of restitution consistent with the cultural norms of Afghanistan … Settlement can come in a number of forms which may (be) but is not always financial.”
In any case the terms of settlements with the United States government appear to remain confidential at this time.
Do you think the US government made the right decision in offering restitution to the family’s of murdered Afghanistan citizens? And do you think Sgt. Bales should be tried or provided with the mental health services he likely needed before the attack but never received?