U.S. government will compensate missionaries shot down over Peru
"Our government is compensating the victims of terrorist attacks, so it seems very appropriate that the government compensate innocent victims of negligence on the part of the United States," Donald Davis, an attorney for the Association of Baptists for World Evangelism (ABWE), told the Associated Press yesterday. Apparently the Bush administration agrees, and will pay Baptist missionaries shot down over Peru last April. Davis says the ABWE initially asked for $35 million (that's asked for, not sued for), but settled for an undisclosed smaller amount. In addition, the Peruvian government will buy the ABWE a new plane and pay the medical expenses of pilot Kevin Donaldson. (The AP story says the U.S. "will compensate the family of an American missionary and her infant daughter who died," i.e., Jim Bowers. Surely Donaldson is part of the deal, too, but the AP suggests he isn't.)

White House press secretary Ari Fleischer also issued a non-apology for the incident yesterday. "The United States Government and the Government of Peru deeply regret this tragic event," said a written statement. "We offer our sincere condolences to the victims and their families. Neither government believes that Mr. Donaldson was responsible for this incident. It should never have happened, and efforts are underway to prevent such tragedies in the future."

While signing books in Grand Rapids, Michigan (near his hometown of Muskegon), on Saturday, Bowers apparently knew of the deal. But he's still clearly upset. "There will be no justice served in this case, because the Peruvian Air Force officers and CIA operatives continue as usual with no repercussions," he told The Muskegon Chronicle. ...

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