I read two articles in the last couple of days that contrast what value two entities place on a human life. The first is the $5,000 each passenger of the US Airways flight that flew into the Hudson River will receive for the incident. As of now each will receive reimbursement of the ticket and $5K for “immediate needs”. That is not to say the passengers won’t get more but that’s all that’s been discussed publicly so far. http://www.usatoday.com/travel/flights/2009-01-26-us-airways-river-crash_N.htm
Next is the amount relatives in Afghanistan will receive after U.S. forces were responsible for “accidentally killing” civilians during an operation. There were 15 people killed in the raid and the U.S. is paying a total of $40K. This amounts to $2,666 for each person killed. Granted this is a war zone, and sometimes collateral damage or death is a necessary evil during wartime. It’s also important to consider that the Afghani people are accustomed to a very small or non-existent income so $2.6K is a probably more that they will make in several lifetimes. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/28878989/
Despite these differences, the fact remains that U.S. Airways is willing to pay more to a living passenger for their Hudson River ordeal than the U.S. govt. is willing to pay for killing the wrong Afghani people in a raid. I’m not saying it’s right or wrong but it certainly shows what value we have for human life. Not much.
Please post your comments.