According to a report by USA Today, the US has paid $50,000 for each Afghan killed and $11,000 for each wounded person in the shooting spree allegedly committed by Army Staff Sergeant Robert Bales on March 11 of this year.
Kandahar provincial council member Agha Lalai was quoted as saying that the families of the victims who received the payments at the governor’s office were told that the money came from U.S. President Obama.
I am sure no amount of money will be able to erase the pains of human loss to the families and to the community of Kandahar as well as to the country of Afghanistan—as demonstrated in the public outrage in many protests against the US in Afghanistan since the incident.
But how larger is this amount as compared to other shooting incidents that involved civilian casualties in Afghanistan? Per numbers from the same USA Today article, in 2010, U.S. troops in Helmand province said they paid $1,500-$2,000 for a death and $600-$1,500 for a serious injury.
It seems to me, President Obama is trying to use the large amount of money to silence the protests since the incident. After all, this is an election year and he does not want people to be reminded of his promise made in 2008 election to send more troops to Afghanistan. During his campaign in 2008, he promised 10,000 more troops to Afghanistan to finish a job that he blamed Bush failed. He actually sent more than 50,000 troops to Afghanistan—this is one campaign promise that Obama actually exceeded and probably the only one he’s kept. Many have compared Afghanistan War to Obama is like Vietnam War to Lyndon Johnson.
Speaking of Vietnam War, I don’t remember if any compensation was made to the victim of My Lai massacre—the number of victims was reported between 347 and 504 in the little hamlets of My Lai and My Khe.