A week ago, Congress controversially voted to override President Obama’s veto of a bill which allows for the families of 9/11 victims to sue the Saudi Arabian government.
The deeply emotional legislation was passed by an overwhelming margin through both chambers of Congress. It passed the Senate with just one dissenting vote, and passed the House with 348 votes in favor of it.
Proponents of the measure argue that allow families to do this is common sense and allows for those responsible for the attacks to once and for all be held accountable. Opponents were largely concerned about the precedent it would set, as foreign entities could potentially sue the United States government over what they deem to be as issues.
With the passing of the bill, even without President Obama’s approval, it has already been set into law as some individuals have begun to sue. On Saturday, just days after passing, a widow as a result of the attacks, Stephanie Ross DeSimone sued the kingdom on behalf of her daughter.
In the suit, she argued that the Saudi government provided material support for al Queda and their leader Osama bin Laden. There are sure to be numerous other similar to suits to be coming forward in the near future.
However, it appears, that those concerned about the precedent may already have a valid concern. Also over the weekend, it appears that the Iraqi Parliament is considering to take similar actions against the United States. It appears that Iraq may attempt to receive compensation for the issues created by the American invasion of Iraq, starting the Iraq War in 2003.
The war with Iraq has been extremely controversial even in the States, as some polls suggest as few as 22% of Americans actually believe that the invasion and following war were actually worthwhile. As one can imagine, this American intervention certainly is not very popular in Iraq and the majority of the Middle East as a whole.
A letter from the Iraqi National Project wrote involving the measure, “[W]e hereby declare that if this bill is actually passed and becomes a law, then it constitutes a window of opportunity for millions of Iraqis who have lost their sons and daughters in military operations by US military forces and US contracted forces since the US invasion in 2003 to pursue compensation from the US government for what they have endured.”
Since being signed into law, a number of Americans have voiced concern for the measure. Former Republican Senator of South Dakota, Larry Pressler wrote in The Hill, “As a Vietnam combat veteran, I could almost certainly be sued by the Vietnamese government or by a Vietnamese citizen.”
Regardless of one’s take on the situation, it is potentially concerning, especially to think former combat veterans may have to worry about lawsuits from foreign entities. It will be interesting to see how this situation plays itself out, and if justice is finally achieved by holding the Saudi government accountable.
(h/t Ron Paul Institute)