Since most of us are aware of the way Washington approaches its alleged fight against terrorism, murdering tens of thousands of civilians in the process, it seems that the relatives of all those who perished under American bombs in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria may finally get their day in court. To be specific, it has recently been reported that a US court found Damascus liable in the death of American journalist Marie Colvin, who was killed during the shelling of Baba Amr district of Homs back in 2012.
It was stated that Judge Amy Berman Jackson of the US District Court for the District of Columbia chose to double the typical compensation that the relatives of the deceased journalist would receive, bringing it up to 302.5 million dollars.
This decision was made in spite of the fact that in his interview for NBC News, Syria’s president Bashar Assad made it clear that:
“It’s a war and she came illegally to Syria. She worked with the terrorists, and because she came illegally, she’s been responsible of everything that befall on her.”
As most of you must be aware, the US legal system is based on the so-called common law principle that America inherited from the United Kingdom. In this situation it’s only natural to ask: could the above mentioned US District Court decision force Washington to pay billions of dollars in compensations to the families of those who are being unscrupulously referred to in the West as “collateral damage”? As it’s pretty clear for everyone that a precedent has been set. Moreover, on numerous occasions, US authorities would be forced to officially describe a great many of the air raids they launched as erroneous, thus taking full responsibility for the civilian death toll those attacks inflicted.
And the number of such air strikes is growing by the day! Thus, in Afghanistan alone, there’s been an unprecedented increase in the number of civilians killed by the US Air Force, while Washington pretends to be interested in negotiations with the Taliban. Over the last two months, at least 10 of such erroneous strikes were reported, resulting in 68 people perishing. Over the last two weeks alone, some 35 peaceful Afghan citizens would die in the course of US air raids. A lot of attention should be paid to the most recent incident when a US military drone murdered 16 civilians in a single attack in the Afghan province of Helmand in late January. On the next day, the funeral procession organized by the relatives of the victims of the first strike came under fire of yet another US drone, which resulted in 13 more people perishing. So far, the Pentagon failed to provide any intelligible comment on the bloodbath its people created, while only making a remark that it was going to launch an investigation. However, as it became evident from hundreds of similar investigations, nobody in the US armed forces is ever going to be held accountable for such crimes.
In Syria, similar air raids have become a daily occurrence. For instance, as it’s been reported by the Kurdish TV-channel Rudaw, a recent air strike launched by the Pentagon in the Deir ez-Zor Governorate resulted in numerous civilian casualties, including women and children.
This attack took place on January 23, when local refugees would try to flee advancing militant groups, when they were hit by the US Air Force. A week later, 11 civilians perished in yet another attack launched by the US-led coalition in the same province. Earlier, in mid-December, a similar strike in Deir ez-Zor left 17 civilians dead.
To make the matters worse, the US-led coalition has been repeatedly accused of using white phosphorus munitions in its attacks against residential areas; which resulted in Syrian authorities filing a request to the UN last year so this blatant violation of international law would be properly investigated.
On January 19, Syria’s officials demanded the United Nations to put an end to the onslaught that the US-led coalition has been carrying on for months across numerous Syrian towns.
However, Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq are not the only states that fell victims of the unscrupulous bombing raids of the US armed forces.
So it’s safe to say that countless lawyers across different countries may now have their hands full of work, filing lawsuits to numerous US courts to represent the families where people felt victims to American bombs.
If the family of Mary Colvin alone managed to receive 300 million dollars in compensation, it’s safe to say that the sky is the limit if those lawsuits start piling up across all of the US District Courts.
Grete Mautner is an independent researcher and journalist from Germany, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook.”