“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Brits to compensate wounded soldiers. Now what about the US?

This is a very big deal and will be politically unstoppable.

Wounded to get millions in compensation

By Sean Rayment, Defence Correspondent, Sunday Telegraph
Last Updated: 1:14am GMT 10/12/2006

Hundreds of troops wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan are to be awarded millions of pounds in compensation following a ruling by the Government that they are victims of crime not war.

British troops wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan will be paid compensation on a sliding scale of about £1,000 for a small facial scar, up to a maximum of £500,000 for the loss of a limb
Forty injured servicemen are to receive payments of up to £500,000 each in a series of test cases. This is expected to lead to claims from hundreds more of the estimated 1,000 troops injured in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2001.

Payments will be made on a "sliding scale" of about £1,000, for a small facial scar, up to a maximum of £500,000, for the loss of a limb. The ruling was agreed, it is understood, after Government lawyers raised fears that the Ministry of Defence (MoD) could be subject to a legal challenge by troops claiming they were victims of crime because they were wounded in Iraq after the end of "at war" hostilities in May 2003.

All those injured fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, but who have decided to remain in the Army, could be entitled to lodge claims with the newly revised Armed Forces' Criminal Injury Compensation (overseas) scheme.

This is similar to that run by the Home Office, which makes payments to the victims of crimes such as muggings, rape, burglary and robbery. Troops will be informed officially of the new policy in the next few weeks and the first payments will be made in early spring.

Until now, the MOD has paid "criminal" compensation only for incidents where troops were injured in "civilian situations" such as a fight in a nightclub while off-duty.

Those injured in Northern Ireland during the Troubles were also eligible for such compensation because it was deemed that the terrorists attacking them were criminals and not enemy combatants in a conventional war.

The new ruling and expansion of compensation to the Iraq and Afghan conflicts means insurgents or terrorists launching surprise attacks and sabotage missions are also regarded as criminals and not enemy troops. It is thought the only circumstances where troops injured in Iraq and Afghanistan would not be eligible for criminal compensation is when they were involved in pre-arranged, offensive operations directly targeting insurgents.

But most casualties in Iraq have received their wounds through car bombings, sniping and rocket attacks — circumstances not dissimilar to most attacks sustained in Ulster. Defence sources say the ruling reflects the changing nature of the conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan. Although both theatres of conflict are described frequently as war zones, in strict legal terms British troops are not at war.

The revelation of the Government decision follows demands from MPs, military chiefs and the public, as well as a campaign by The Sunday Telegraph, for the Government to provide the Armed Forces with better pay, accommodation and medical care.

Defences sources have admitted that the awarding of compensation will be "complex and difficult", with evidence being presented to the panel by the serviceman's commanding officer.

Under the revised MoD compensation scheme, all wounded troops will be given legal advice from government lawyers as to whether their injury was as a result of a crime or of war. Those deemed to have been injured through "criminal acts" will be able to lodge compensation claims that will be assessed by a panel comprising a senior military officer, civil servants and a civilian.

The scheme will be open to troops who stay in the forces. Those who are medically discharge will receive war pensions, as is already the case.

It is understood that Major David Bradley, who was severely injured in August 2004 in an ambush in Basra, southern Iraq, is one of those about to receive compensation.

Major Bradley, who was the commander of B company, the 1st Bn the Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment, almost died as he took the full blast of a rocket-propelled grenade during an operation to rescue nine comrades.

An MoD spokesman said: "Ensuring that we obtain the best for our soldiers has meant that the criteria under which normal claims are submitted have had to be better defined. It is anticipated by early spring claims will be paid."


  1. Buddy linked this Babbin Piece a couple of days ago.

    It's what I've argued for some time, but Trish says is not true:
    Got any links, Trish?
    Babbin seems to have talked to the folks that were there.
    ...not that that means certainty, of course.

    Few know that in early 2003 - a month or more before the Iraq invasion - President Bush was presented with two plans for post-war Iraq. The first, written by CIA Director George Tenet and Secretary of State Colin Powell, provided for a long occupation of Iraq and the nation-building that the president renounced in his 2000 campaign. The second, a Pentagon plan authored by Rumsfeld's team, provided for the establishment of a provisional government before the invasion and American withdrawal within months of Saddam's overthrow.
    The president, convinced by Powell that "if you break it, you own it", chose the Powell-Tenet plan and ordered Rumsfeld to carry it out.

    When Baghdad fell, after the brief tenure of Gen. Jay Garner, the president appointed L. Paul Bremer III to govern Iraq under Rumsfeld's direction. But Bremer proved to be a loose cannon, endlessly circling around from Powell to Rice to the president to get permission to do whatever Rumsfeld didn't agree with.

    One Pentagon official involved closely told me Bremer's tenure was disastrous because of his continuing reliance on the group surrounding Adnan Pachachi, an old-time Sunni whose persuasion of Bremer to leave Sunni militants alone was one of the principal reasons the Sunni insurgency was able to gain strength. Bremer's decisions to disband the Iraqi army and delay the outlay of reconstruction funds alienated Iraqis almost completely.
    At about that time, the media began contriving the myths of Rumsfeld and Iraq.
    I liked the part about our local hero, Shinseki, wanting the whole Army in Afghanistan too.
    All we hear in MSM is wrt Iraq.
    The fog of the MSM.

  2. Too late for intelligent comment on thread.
    My vote is to surrender to the ACLU, fwiw.

  3. I once got workman's comp payment in 4 figures for a sure fire multimillion dollar injury in the "real world" of the Trial Lawyers Guild.
    ...guess I should feel like a victim.

  4. Doug said, "Bremer's decisions to disband the Iraqi army and delay the outlay of reconstruction funds alienated Iraqis almost completely."

    Alienating Iraqis was irrelevant. Bush could have put Harriet Miers in there for all he cared. Bremer had the only qualification that matters to Bush...he was loyal.

  5. That's a swell Idea:
    Not to late to put Harriet in their now!
    Bring back Dana Carvey doing the Church Lady Goes to Baghdad!

  6. phllydan,

    The casualties from Iraq include thousands of multiple amputees. Unless the reimbursement for such injuries under the Veterans' Affairs (VA) statutes has increased dramatically over the past few years, it will be woefully insufficient.

    Like you, I find an open ended system troubling. However, the disabilities schedule used by VA is in need of substantial revision, given the nature of the physical and physic wounds coming out of Iraq.

  7. Quite worthwhile information, thanks so much for the post.