Federal Court Dismisses US Veterans’ Lawsuit Over Burn Pits

Toxins From Burn Pits Causing Major Health Problems for Vets

The long, sad story of burn pits has included years of US veterans facing major health ramifications from being stationed near the pits, breathing in the toxic fumes from them. With studies showing the open burning of munitions and waste was wildly dangerous, you’d think this would be a slam dunk for a lawsuit.

That’s not the case, however, as US District Court Judge Roger Titus has dismissed a lawsuit by veterans and family members related to the health problems, and even deaths, caused by the burn pits, saying there was no way to hold anyone accountable for it.

The burn pit problem has been well documented for several years, but Titus insisted the lawsuit against KBR could not proceed, because the military contractor which ran the burn pits didn’t get to decide where to position them, that being a military decision.

The military’s off the hook too, Titus insisted, because the decision to put the pits dangerously close to soldiers’ housing was made in a time of war, and it would “not be appropriate” to question the military’s decisions in a time of war.

This is likely not over. Judge Titus tried to summarily dismiss this same case back in 2013, with the exact same argument that you can’t question military decisions, and the Fourth Court of Appeals overturned his ruling and sent it back to him to consider again.

That’s likely to raise the possibility of further appeals, and KBR’s continued claims that the pits were “operated safely and effectively” is probably going to continue to be a sore spot for the veterans, as they seek redress for calamitous health problems.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for Antiwar.com. He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.