Our Turn: Terrorists killed our son in Iraq. Why we're suing Americans



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A company that makes armor for military vehicles says it has come up with a new active system for cutting down on injuries from roadside bombs. (Oct. 25) AP






Our Turn: Our son, Shawn Dressler, was killed by a roadside bomb in Iraq. Here's why we're suing Iran and the American financial institutions that we believe bankrolled the attack.



This summer, instead of celebrating the 33rd birthday of our son Shawn, we will mark the 10th anniversary of his murder in a terrorist attack while he was serving in the U.S. Army in Iraq. The pain of this loss has never dissipated — but it has been channeled into a commitment to bringing justice to those responsible.


Shawn was a terrific son who loved to be surrounded by friends and family. While he was stationed in Germany, his Army colleagues recalled that Shawn’s room was where everyone hung out. Since childhood, Shawn loved to hunt and was a superb marksman. Those skills served Shawn well as a Humvee gunner responsible for protecting his fellow soldiers.


But during Shawn’s second deployment to Iraq in 2007, a roadside bomb exploded into his armored Humvee as it patrolled in Baghdad. Both Shawn and a fellow soldier died in the attack.


Our son was killed by an Iranian EFP


Coping with Shawn’s death has been very difficult, and was made only more so as we learned more about the circumstances surrounding the attack.

The bomb responsible for Shawn’s death was a sophisticated weapon known as an explosively formed penetrator, or EFP. These EFPs contain a copper cone specifically designed to punch through armored vehicles like Shawn’s Humvee.


According to U.S. intelligence analysis reported in the media, EFPs like the one that killed Shawn came from Iran. Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps provided the parts and training to terrorist cells it directed in Iraq with the specific intent to kill or maim American troops.


Over a six-year period, there were well over a thousand attacks using Iranian-provided EFPs. These bombings were terrorist acts perpetrated by Iranian-trained terrorists who presented themselves as civilians rather than as uniformed enemy soldiers.


We sued Iran and its American financiers


During this same time period, several international banks helped Iran launder money through the U.S., making it possible for that country to sustain its terror campaign in Iraq, a campaign that claimed the lives of our son and hundreds of other American soldiers like him.

We and more than a hundred other victims and families brought a legal case against Iran itself, under a law called the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act that permits civil suits against countries that have been designated state sponsors of terrorism.


While Iran has ignored our lawsuit, we have asked the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C. to hold a hearing later this year in which we hope to prove Iran’s responsibility for these terrorist attacks.


We have also sued some of the financial institutions that helped Iran launder money through the U.S., under a law called the Anti-Terrorism Act.


We're ready to spend years on this fight


To lead these efforts, we and the other families of victims of EFP attacks in Iraq turned to Osen LLC, a law firm specializing in civil terrorism cases. Three years ago, they won the first jury verdict against a financial institution for facilitating terrorism.


We know these cases may take years to finish, but we are prepared to continue fighting until those responsible for Shawn’s murder are held accountable. And an important part of that fight is ensuring more Americans know the truth about Iran and its enablers’ conspiracy to kill American service members in Iraq.


Nothing will erase the pain of Shawn’s murder, but nothing will stop us from seeking justice in his name.


Ardith "Cecil" and Tonya Dressler live in Sun City. Email them at a.cecil.dressler@gmail.com.

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