The US Supreme Court has rejected a lawsuit filed on behalf of sick and disabled military veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars who were debilitated by burn pits which contained tires, batteries, medical waste and other hazardous materials.
Plaintiffs allege that KBR, formerly owned by Halliburton Corporation, and other companies dumped tires, batteries, medical waste and other materials into the burn pits downrange. The smoke from those pits caused health issues in more than 800 veterans in the lawsuits, attorneys claim. At least a dozen affected have since died.
Judges with the Virginia-based 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, who issued the ruling in last year’s appeal, said that KBR had little discretion in how to dispose of the waste, as they were under military control and the use of the burn pits was a military decision.
They said the lawsuits amounted to a “political question” that Congress and the president should resolve, not the courts.
How is this a political question? Why can’t veterans seek justice for injuries they sustained while honorably and courageously serving their country?
Once again, it’s the large corporations such as Halliburton that receives favorable treatment from our court system at the expense of our military veterans. As a vet myself, I am outraged at this treatment. Lawyers for the veterans issued a statement in the wake of the Supreme Court decision which stated, “Over and over, KBR, a military contractor with the duty to handle waste on bases, did not do so with care. KBR operated burn pits that burned everything from plastics and human waste to car parts. We are disappointed that the Supreme Court declined to hear this case. We encourage all of those impacted and those who care about our veterans to contact their local representatives to push for change.”
I am in complete agreement. We need to protect and honor these heroes. If the courts won’t do it, we have a responsibility as citizens to voice our protest. Veterans sacrifice too much for our safety to be treated in this fashion.