This piece of news is an illustration of how wrong things may sometimes go under the label of "justice" in today's world.
- the US invades Iraq on false pretenses of links to Al Qaeda and weapons of mass destruction; in the process, it topples Saddam Hussein's dictatorial regime under which Iraqis had been suffering for many years;
- the invasion war is followed by occupation and a bloody civil war, during which tens of thousands of innocent Iraqis are killed, many at the hands of US troops and security contractors under the label of "collateral victims"; scores others suffered injuries and abuse;
- under a new Administration, the US eventually decides to pull out from Iraq and announces the end of combat operations;
- and now Iraq (which has been in a politically fragile situation and without a legitimate post-elections government for months) is pressed into agreeing to compensate american victims of Saddam's regime.
In 1825, France forced Haiti, at gunpoint, to agree to paying a huge indemnity to compensate slave owners for property lost, in exchange for its independence. Haiti never really recovered since; to this day, it is the poorest country of the Western hemisphere. It's not clear that the indemnity that it had to pay to France was the main cause of its misery for generations; but clearly it didn't help.
Sure, Iraq's situation is very different: it's a much bigger, more resourceful country, and the amount claimed is much lower; it will not cripple Iraq the way the French-imposed indemnity crippled Haiti.
But fundamentally, the two acts look equally unjust.
Why would today's Iraq have to compensate others for Saddam's past wrongs, when it has suffered enormously itself both under Saddam, as well as under the American occupation?
Why not respond rather with a counter-claim for reparations by the US?
But that would be shocking, no?