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Four payments have been made by the High Court to Iraqi citizens claiming compensation for abuse inflicted during the Iraq War. But are these payments justified? Douglas Murray suggests not. (Credit Image: PA/PA Archive/PA Images)

UnHerd Elsewhere: Why we shouldn’t be making payouts to Iraqi citizens

In an article for the Daily Express, Douglas Murray criticises the High Court’s decision to award compensation to four Iraqi civilians alleging ill treatment by British soldiers.

The four men have been awarded compensation payments ranging from £13,000 to £33,000. Douglas suggests that the decision is the wrong one for several reasons, but particularly because of the way it insults the reputation of British soldiers:

“What it [the decision by the High Court] does is suggest that all the accusations made against serving British soldiers are true. Without even needing to investigate to a level at which proceedings could be brought against them, our soldiers are simply smeared, stained and moved along. It is a shocking way for a justice system to treat the men and women who keep us safe.”

The second aspect of this scenario that is wrong, according to Douglas, is the attempt to litigate war in a courtroom:

“Whether you agreed with the Iraq war or not, this country’s Parliament voted to send our young men and women into a dangerous conflict and then to secure the city of Basra. They did this under considerable strain… Telling friend from foe is not easy. And there are obviously going to be mistakes made as well as successes achieved. To decide the rights or wrongs of this situation in a room in London more than a decade after these events is exceptionally hard.”

The article also points out the ‘insane’ double standards that involve paying an accuser £33,000 when a British soldier’s annual starting salary is less than half that.

This is a scandal, suggests Douglas, that is only going to become more commonplace. If such rewards can be gained when the evidence doesn’t even need to be sufficient to see a soldier tried, then we should prepare ourselves for many more such claims:

“Who wouldn’t think of defaming the British Army and claiming their cash prize? What happened this week was a disgrace but it will also prove the start of a colossal shakedown. One paid for by every one of us.”

Read the full article here.