The venerable dean of torts, Melvin Belli of San Francisco, was foremost among a score of U.S. lawyers who descended upon Bhopal in the wake of the disaster. In February, legal suits, begun in several American states on behalf of the Bhopal victims, were all referred to the United States Southern District Court of Manhattan, New York City, this appearing most convenient to the litigants. Thousands of victims had signed delegations of authority for various lawyers. The number of counsel engaged in India is still very small compared to the Americans, of whom upwards of sixty have put in an appearance.
Belli's clients were not asked to sign contingency agreements but other attorneys asked up to 30% and expenses from whatever sum, if any, their clients might receive. (They do not really expect so great a reward for their services; the courts will ultimately be arbiters of a just compensation.) All of the suits named certain clients and added on all other similarly placed victims, that is, the whole class of persons affected. Such "class actions," now common in America but unfamiliar to Indians, if successful, will achieve awards for all those victims who are similarly situated with the named, represented victims. An enormous amount of repetitive litigation is avoided.
In India there exist doubts that a class action is permissible in the present case. The slowness of victims to file suits in India results from the awkwardness of processing such a mass of suits under the circumstances, from the resistance to contingency-fee arrangements, and from the high cost of litigating in Indian courts, where a plaintiff has to put money "up front" and may, if unsuccessful, be stuck with his attorney's fees plus court costs. If it were not for the fact that certain highly placed Indian leaders, the Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh and the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of India, have promised that all deposits and costs would be waived for a poor petitioner, almost none of the victims could afford to file. This act of charity and grace is just that -- and as yet a promise -- so that the victims are not streaming into the Indian courts for their justice. Perhaps the tragedy will bring about needed reforms of the Indian legal system in the direction of equality and personal rights.
It is in this light that one can reassess the outcry against the "legal vultures" and "ambulance chasers" that arose in the Indian and world press. A revulsion against the rush to seize upon sick and poor victims as clients is natural, even more in liberal and enlightened circles than among conservatives. However, let me suggest additional reasons why one should not hasten to condemn the American lawyers.
Who could be trusted to plead the victim's cause other than the American lawyer? The Indian courts and lawyers? -- But it was not until the American lawyers came stampeding that Indian officialdom was shamed and empowered magically to remove the Indian obstacles for these poor clients. Who else? Union Carbide corporations of the U.S.A. and India? The State of Madhya Pradesh? The City of Bhopal? The Indian Union government? The impoverished "People's Movement"? All except the last had their own axes to grind. They might well be brought to the bar on their own accounts.
Who were tightly and personally bound to the victims' interest in the highest and fastest compensation? The American lawyers alone.
Who also could plead the cause before the U.S. Courts? Only the American lawyers. Later, goaded by them, the Indian governments came to think that they might have a good case in law, too, before the U.S. courts and might be allowed to plead before them. Since the Indian governments are involved as parties to other aspects of the Bhopal issues, they may risk disqualification for not "appearing before the courts with clean hands."
Who would pay the victims' legal fees if they lost at court? Now the Indian governments will sue in their name, they say, and pay the heavy costs of litigation out of the lean public treasury. If their action is truly for the convenience of the victims, then they should consider these sums as advances to be repaid from the awards. Is it just to save money for the victims that the Indian governments intend to go to the U.S. courts? It must be so, because they can hardly do as well before the courts as Melvin Belli and others like him can, and there is nothing that the court will permit them to say that the lawyers of individual clients cannot say.
Furthermore, they have their own cases to fight against Union Carbide and other multinationals, in and out of the courts; victim litigation might conceivably be used to avoid addressing other issues which are very important to India and the world and arise out of the Bhopal disaster.
Who could better fight off attempts of a third party (a government, say) to determine and control the compensation, accepting less, charging for heavy administrative costs, and forever subjecting the victims and survivors to a bureaucracy, even if a benevolent one?
Who can better afford and more effectively fight to keep the case alive, and away from the compromises of India-U.S.A. relations? Who can better establish the case as a landmark of world law and justice on multinational industrial concerns? The American lawyers, I would assert.
And, finally, who can better force testimony from the American side and pry evidence loose from private, corporate, and governmental sources? Again the lawyers. If the governments are permitted to prosecute on behalf of the victims, one can foresee some prolonged legal disputes over the forcing of release of information from the Indian governmental side that will be embarrassing to reveal, as well as the calling of witnesses who will refuse to testify, on one ground or another, or perhaps who will find themselves pleading the Fifth Amendment (the right not to testify on grounds that one might incriminate himself) in an American Court !
Why were the American lawyers so eager to offer their services? One need not denounce their expressions of sympathy for the victims as hypocrisy. Suing a big company on behalf of a little fellow in so horrendous a case is a classic ambition of the American torts lawyer.
As far as concerned the liability of the company in the tort, the case appeared clear. Every student who has taken a first course in Tort law in an Indian or American law school has learned the opinion of the court in the case of Rylands vs Fletcher, heard in 1868 in the British House of Lords. There one reads that "the true rule of law is that person who, for his own purposes brings on his land and collects and keeps there anything likely to do mischief if it escapes, must keep it in at his own peril, and, if he does not do so, he is prima facie answerable for all the damage which is the material consequence of its escape." This is still good law.
The doctrine of strict liability, now established in American law, holds that a company may incur liability for escape of its hazardous substances causing injury. Prolonged investigation of causes becomes unnecessary; mainly the source of the substance needs be proved.
Courts have the power to determine the form that payments of damages may take, as a logical extension of the problem of dealing with international currency exchanges here, among other reasons, Moreover they can determine the period of time over which damages may be paid. In one English case, a young man acquired the obligation for the support of the full term of dependency of a family whose breadwinner he had negligently killed.
American courts, too, have great informal powers to manipulate, even when they cannot coerce, parties appearing before them into a settlement "out of court", at the same time indicating to them the kind of arrangement which the court would find acceptable.
In determining whether to accept jurisdiction over the cases brought before them by the Bhopal victims, the U.S. courts will ask themselves whether the Union Carbide Corporation centered in New York City with headquarters at Danbury, Connecticut, was responsible for the actions of the employees of Union Carbide of India, incorporated in India. The criteria to be applied will include the extent of its formal and effective control over Union Carbide India, in a chain of communications leading from the U.S.A. to the employees.
The formal control is manifest in the ownership by the parent company of 50.9% of the shares issued by Union Carbide India. With such a majority interest, the U.S. company can make, while abiding by Indian law, every kind of decision it pleases governing the affiliate, from electing members of its Board of Directors to determining dividends and salaries, not to mention requiring safe practices in the plants. This fact is so potent in law, that any evidence brought to bear by the Union Carbide defendants to demonstrate that they lacked real control is likely to be turned into evidence of negligence. If a man's dog leaps over his fence to bite a passer-by, the man's explanation that the dog taught itself to jump over the fence can only add to his culpability. For he should have de-trained the dog or built a higher fence.
It is conceivable that the U.S. Corporation might argue that its controlled affiliate was ordered by the Indian and or Madhya Pradesh and or Bhopal governments to conform to certain laws, rules, and orders that they were legally entitled to promulgate and which the Indian Company had to obey, and which were of such character as to effectively but legally block the measures otherwise taken or ordered by the parent company to ensure the safety of the affiliate's operations.
A possible issue in this connection arises from the contrasting computerization of certain safety features of the West Virginia plant and the manual operation of corresponding features of the twin plant at Bhopal; was it more than a rationalization to say that the Bhopal plant was being pressured to avoid laborsaving devices given the very high unemployment rate? (And the low wages?) Such allegations are not too difficult to sustain, if true.
What is somewhat more possible is that the Indian company, in conforming to general Indian attitudes and practices, behaved unsafely. But, in this case, Union Carbide U.S.A. would only gain the possibility of suing its own Indian company and officers for bowing to the situation and suing the Indian governments for non-feasance and negligence. It does make sense, and perhaps even good law, to call to account any corporate entities, whether governmental or not, who illegally permit, condone, or engage in corrupt or improper practices that tend to bring about a liability on the part of the multinational company if the company can show, on its side, attempts to resist such behaviors. However, neither the Indian, nor other governments, has gone far in giving up its sovereign right to evade suits.
Union Carbide (USA) may contemplate other arguments, as that it merely offered designs, procedures, and consultation to the Indian company, which could, at will and despite flat orders to the contrary, refuse them. But, in such a case, it would only be setting up a policy, not creating a new kind of entity -- the owned, but legally uncontrolled, subsidiary. Again, if it allowed its powers to go unexercised, Union Carbide would also be proving itself a poor sort of parent, inert and neglectful. And, all too often, the manager who makes no decision when a decision is necessary, may encourage his subordinates to do the same.
We scarcely need to dwell further upon this matter. Union Carbide (USA) controlled Union Carbide (India), albeit fitfully. The former managing director of Union Carbide (India), in a sworn affidavit before a U.S. Federal Court early in February, claimed that he and others in India differed from the U.S. company view on a controversy of the mid-seventies over whether MIC should be stored at Bhopal in small containers or large tanks. The U.S. view prevailed.
Also, a U.S. inspection team was sent to Bhopal in 1982 and reported back detailing a number of practices, including safety procedures, that required correction and Union Carbide (India) dutifully reported over the next two years its progress in correcting its deficiencies.
Monthly reports were submitted to the parent company. The Indian annual budget was cleared for approval by the parent company. One could bring forward other instances and many more of them must be contained in the records of the two companies, to show that Union Carbide (USA) did govern, well or poorly, Union Carbide (India).
To the fertile mind of a lawyer, a veritable cornucopia of lawsuits can have issued from the killer cloud of Bhopal. Without much ado one counts eighteen parties (or classes of parties) that may be inclined to launch significant types of civil and criminal actions at law. All of these parties might initiate cases against more than one defendant party. I counted as many as seventy such potential parties of the second part. Thus we have an eventual possible total of seventy categories of actions going before the courts. To differing degrees, every resident of Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh and India, and every stockholder of Union Carbide might be involved in the court processes.
Who can sue whom for what? Who can charge whom with doing what? Proceeding to answer these questions, we obtain an acute sense of the far reaching legal entanglements and consequences and meet as well with some surprises. I do not suggest that all of these are viable actions or even desirable; in fact my motive in exposing them is to demonstrate the expanse of the cloud of responsibility that is over Bhopal and to show how interrelated are all the characters of the dramatic tragedy. To exercise all legal possibilities, much less all wrongs that entertain legal hopes, would be a poor solution, though not the worst. The best solution would be a grand imaginative settlement, but I am persuaded that this will not come about without the help of the courts. Indeed the courts are already bringing positive benefits by the mere prospects of their employment.
In the first rank of litigants would come the direct individual victims :
We classify them as the heirs of the deceased (who may number over 15,000, if the dead are 3000, and who may live far from Bhopal); the injured, who may number 200,000; losers of property to the same numbers; and business losers to the number of a million.
Once more it may be well to stress the true nature of the damages inflicted. Putting aside death and personal injury, examine the matter of property losses. A poor child in India may wear a silver bracelet. It is the family's property and will go to her dowry; it represents months or years of savings: its loss should be carefully charged up, not discussed as unworthy of interest in a billion dollar suit.
So with shacks that have had to be sold for a few rupees: these are wrought out of almost nothing, but that is not to say that they, and the site upon which they squat, are obtained by nothing worthwhile. They are homes, they were homes, and their abandonment or sale because of death in the family requires logging in the account books. Everyone in Bhopal lost work time, rich and poor alike, so all of this must be calculated in damages. If a cobbler working in a shop no larger than a packing crate has lost two weeks of work because of personal preoccupations or loss of customers, he deserves compensation. Similarly, the middle class person has lost on a more elegant scale proportionately and requires recompense.
The heirs, the disabled, those undergoing minor injuries but much anguish and suffering, and those with business losses are logically trying to sue the party that is wealthiest, Union Carbide (USA). However, they can, may, and perhaps should sue all four entities Union Carbide (India), the State of Madhya Pradesh, the City of Bhopal, and the Government of India. Union Carbide (India) can be sued for damages on grounds of negligence, gross negligence and criminal negligence in India, just as its parent company in America can be. The grounds for suit are set forth in the next chapters in some detail. One should not overlook, too, the right of individual victims to file criminal complaints, whether in India or the U.S.A., especially in the event that criminal charges are not being pressed by the authorities where the alleged "crimes" have been committed, Bhopal and Bombay. Further, individual claims may be filed against seemingly culpable top executives and boards of directors. (I have counted neither these nor the preceding criminal actions in calculating above some eighteen opportunities for suit.)
In addition, the victims and damaged -- numbering as high as a million persons -- should be able to sue but almost surely cannot sue the State of Madhya Pradesh, the City of Bhopal and the Government of India, all on the roughly similar grounds of granting licenses without obligatory prior determination of fulfillment of required conditions for doing business, failure to carry out obligatory inspections, and in the event that sworn testimony is available about individual officers, the criminal acceptance of bribes in connection with quick-pass or other inspection failures.
Actually it is conceivable that a case can be brought against the U.S. government before the World Court at the Hague for knowingly and willfully permitting the export of design, factories, management services, and products that are hazardous and pretend to be what they are not such as "equal and uniform" with U.S. standards. Probably, because the U.S. government will refuse to except the World Court, the case will not succeed in a material sense, but the potential, virtual international law of this year tends to become the actual law of the future.
Likewise the City of Bhopal might sue all of the forgoing and perhaps its own parent State of Madhya Pradesh. Fortunately, because the State recently decreed the right of the squatters to their bit of turf, it cannot try to evict all the squatter victims and charge them for unlawful trespass, should it feel driven to commit some spectacular folly.
Let us now proceed to the State of Madhya Pradesh, which can choose civil and criminal actions aimed at six parties : Union Carbide India, of course, then Union Carbide (USA), the Boards of Directors of both companies as individuals, the Plant-Manager, and one or more supervisors and workers. It might even try to sue the Government of India for not doing its statutory duty in restraining and controlling the importation and processing of ultra-hazardous products. The several Union Carbide officers and employees who were arrested were charged under the Indian criminal code with criminal conspiracy, culpable homicide not amounting to murder, causing death by negligence, mischief, mischief in the killing of livestock, making the atmosphere noxious for health, and negligent conduct in respect to poisonous substances.
A month after the disaster, the Chief Minister saw to the suspension of six Labour Department officials. It appears that, following serious phosgene gas leakage accidents in December 1981 and January 1982, an inquiry was ordered. A local science college chemistry professor was allowed to take over two years to report. The report then waited for seven months in the lower offices, and further delays occurred at the level of the Under Secretary and the Deputy Secretary. Only in October 1984 did the Secretary come to know of it. Still no action was taken and when the Chief Minister, a week after the accident, asked for the report, a week passed before he got it. Safety obviously did not have top priority. A seventh official, the Chief Inspector of Factories, was dismissed for having given perfunctory approval to the Union Carbide License year after year "without taking cognizance of the safety lapses." Aside from the accidents, it is notable that of the seven Union Carbide employees arrested following the accident, three had not undergone the training with the parent company which had been assured in obtaining the license setting up the plant.
In entering India with a new process, Union Carbide had to seek a license. Its application proceeded through the Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers, the Directorate General of Technological Development, the Ministry of Agriculture, the Central Pesticides Board and several State Government agencies of Madhya Pradesh. As Aristotle pointed out 2300 years ago, everybody's business is nobody's business. The Bhopal tragedy may serve as a guideline for tracing the licensing process in the Indian government. An examination of the pertinent records of all of these agencies (others, too, have had a hand in the matter) should provide recommendations for general reforms of administration. Corruption is prevalent, it is believed, but unlikely here; what is not generally realized in India is that the murder of time and the dismembering of responsibility may have worse effects than corruption. Corruption, too, is often the only way to dip down into the muck of dismemberment and delay to pluck out a project while it is still alive.
The Government of India might not only sue Union Carbide, Union Carbide India, and the State of Madhya Pradesh (for corruption and nonfeasance in controlling operations at the lethal site), but also it might sue the government of the U.S.A., whether in America, in India, or at the World Court, alleging that the U.S.A. is effectively the incorporating authority, the regulator, the authorizer, the sponsor, and subsidizer of Union Carbide in its operations abroad. The suits are worth pressing, not especially with confidence in their outcome but with interest in their merits. There are significant analogies between the privateers of old, commissioned by a state and let loose upon the high seas to take and destroy hostile vessels (even in the absence of declaration of war) and the irresponsibility with which many nations encouraged the launching of multinational corporations; privateering, it will be recalled, was finally outlawed in international law. Indian environmentalists might mobilize pressures and talents to bring these cases before, if not the courts, then the bars or world opinion.
But then, too, the U.S. government might have a case against the Indian government for offering unlawful and inappropriate inducements to attract a multinational company, and for not keeping its part of the bargain to control and inspect the company. At the same time, the U.S. government should not be discouraged from suing Union Carbide for any possible involvement in improper solicitation of contracts, or conceivably the corruption of local and state officials (who knows what witnesses to this sort of crime may be hovering in the shadows?). When a company and individual acts badly abroad, their nation suffers defamation. It might be nice to think of the U.S. government suing Union Carbide on such grounds, but the idea is fanciful, no more than parents can sue their children for the damage they may do to their parents' reputation.
Now then, Union Carbide (U.S.A.) itself is likely to enable actions against Union Carbide India and its Board of Directors for falsifying records, exceeding its authority, and endangering the interests of its stockholders. Doubtless, too, Union Carbide will be heavily engaged in litigation with its insurers, who will be most reluctant to pay the full amount of insurance coverage called for under their contracts with Union Carbide.
In its turn, Union Carbide (India) must consider whether to sue its parent company for denying it the funds, services, and permissions required to run a safe plant. It, too, will engage in law suits with its insuring companies. And it may even contemplate a suit against the State of Madhya Pradesh for statutory nonfeasance, negligent inspection procedures, and accepting bribery (if any credence can be placed in widely spread rumors).
If, as the two corporations allege, the Indian governmental authorities permitted the vast colonies to be founded near the factory gates, may the authorities be liable in a counter-suit for setting up victims in large numbers for prospective disasters?
The Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh put his own predicament and defense beautifully when he said, "In a way, I am responsible for everything. But there must be some level at which the persons most concerned have to have greater responsibility than me." Again, it may be difficult or impossible to prosecute such actions in India or Madhya Pradesh or the U.S.A. Still a legal trend may be noticed, which allows suits for nonfeasance and charges of corruption to be brought by victims, even culpable corporate victims.
So, too, might certain individuals try to go to court. The Chairman of the Board of Union Carbide (India) may elect to sue his own company, Union Carbide (USA) and the State Government with somewhat the same rationale: failure to provide information, non-compliance with originally agreed conditions of engagement, false arrest, non-feasance, and corruption.
The same logic, more forcibly perhaps, may be brought to bear on behalf of the Plant Manager, who appears to be the most vulnerable official of all, and in regard to whom high technical managers around the world will attend with some sense of identification. Can a Plant Manager, hired for his technical engineering and management abilities, sue his company, his parent company, and the State of Madhya Pradesh for denying him the equipment and personnel needed to ensure safety at the plant site, refusing him necessary funds for this purpose, neglecting to give him the back-up support of information and inspection he needs, also for false arrest, malfeasance in failure to inspect required by law, and solicitation of bribes.
There is a Union at Union Carbide (India) that claims the company has never responded to complaints about its safety. Its members have lost their jobs (though still paid) and will find it difficult to get new work; many will have to move out of town and will suffer from the reputation of the disastrous plant. Its suits lie against the State as well, if it can show that its demands for inspection and compliance to the law were ignored or deviously avoided. There was a lot of union-bursting going on at Bhopal; is there a tort here, if only on the safety question, that could be pursued in the American Courts?
If the multinationals were to organize around the world to regulate themselves, they might as well seek the legal power upon entering a country to sue the governments. Just as the governments can hold them accountable for a breach of agreement, they might hold the government accountable for the same. There is perhaps no good reason, whatever the legal situation, why the Chief Minister should be able to say that the burden rested with the Company to inform the local authority about potential hazards, but then the Company should not be able to say the same of the local authority. If a company contracts with a private security company for guarding its property and the private police wink at thefts, let the plant be flooded, and disconnect the alarm systems, a suit for damages would legitimately ensue; why then should a government be able to violate its own explicit and implied promises of inspection, zoning, public health measures, and fire and police protection?
The shareholders of both Union Carbide (USA) and Union Carbide (India) may request their day in court; the first against their own Company, the Government of India, and the State for reasons already given, the second against their own Company, Union Carbide (USA), and their Board of Directors. For instance they might sue Madhya Pradesh for nonfeasance under a 36-year-old Factories Act that directs States to make rules governing the proper site surveys and the legitimacy of various manufacturing processes prior to permitting construction. Such rules have never been promulgated by the State. There are other improprieties, too. But again the "sovereignty" of a government mocks promises and injuries.
The hospitals of Bhopal and the Medical School which performed nobly and heroically during the tragic days of massive admissions are poor and underequipped and ought certainly to present a bill for services rendered to the Union Carbide Companies. Since some number in the order of 600,000 stays or visits were accomplished, and the most modest American bill would average $50 per treatment, 30 millions or some lesser compromise would be a reasonable charge, or, if payment were not promptly forthcoming, might be the amount demanded in a case at law. (Of course, a great many patients received inadequate, mistaken, delayed treatment by doctors and hospitals, for which, in America, under normal conditions they could sue; what kind of case law applies to mass emergencies? Hospitals had better seek appropriate legislation.)
A number of insurance claims will undoubtedly enter court. The principle behind insurance against damage claims brought by employees and injured third parties, whether individuals or private and public entities, is that a heavy realized liability of a single insured can be spread over a great many insurance-holders. At Bhopal, it is apparent that the Indian insurance held by the Company, guessed to be $200 millions, is altogether inadequate to pay off even some unlikely moderate settlement or judgement. Moreover, it is improbable that such insurance would be paid all or in part by the primary insurance company, given the negligence aspects of the case.
The situation is similar and still more complicated with regard to Union Carbide (USA), which has an immense umbrella composed of several agents and insurers. Should Union Carbide be assessed for punitive damages, it will be in a most difficult position, because even if any insurance resources were yet untapped and even if the insurers had contracted to pay for punitive damages, the U.S. courts have not permitted this to be done in times past, holding that if punitive damages could be covered by insurance then their rationale as a punishment would be largely defeated.
Punitive damages are intended to punish a company that recklessly disregards safety in the making or handling of its product. An intentional, deliberate choice of the non-safe or risky over safe materials and procedures gives reason for punitive damages. Thus punitive damages go far beyond the calculated needs of the victim and makes the victim beneficiary of public policy in a civil case, where jail terms and heavy fines are not at issue. Triple damages are common, but larger multiples are not unknown.
The question of whether any award should be so large as to destroy a company is, strictly speaking, irrelevant to a court's judgement. In the Manville Corporation asbestos exposure cases, indications in many pending cases that the company would be found to have knowingly and deliberately exposed its workers to risk of severe pulmonary and other disabilities led to the voluntary bankruptcy of the corporation. Union Carbide must be considering the same way out of its jungle of problems, and may even regard it as one of its trump cards. For, if its Board of Directors should decide to prefer certain creditors to others and to engage in certain personally or even publicly beneficial maneuvers under the umbrella of bankruptcy, they may deliberately plunge the company into a voluntary bankruptcy, abandoning their stockholders for the larger part and letting the legal process and relief of the Bhopal victims extend almost indefinitely into the future. This could be a second Bhopal tragedy.
One can foresee costly litigation extended over some years. As with the others types of litigation arising out of the tragedy, the insurance litigation will be legally interacting with the litigation of other parties in other courts, until some key determination is made somewhere, that begins an avalanche of settlements and judgements. To predict the champion in this mass marathon to resolve legally the Bhopal tragedy is almost impossible.
One of the more likely resolutions would be the collapse of Union Carbide Corporation under the weight of financial threat, followed by a court dismemberment of the company and parcelling out of its assets to innumerable approved claimants. (It is likely but not certain in law and in the politics of the collapse that the victims would receive priority in the distribution of the proceeds.) One should appreciate the size of such a transaction : Union Carbide has sales rivaling the combined gross domestic product of Zaire, Zambia, and Zimbabwe; imagine the scene should some mythical world authority decide to dismantle and reorganise them because they failed to pay their foreign debts.
One may profit, though, from the analogy to afford some sympathy to the hundreds of thousands of stockholders, suppliers, employees, and officers of the Union Carbide complex. A majority of these will be adversely affected, whatever the resolution. The Chairman of Union Carbide was prompt to say that his life would never be the same again owing to the tragedy. The mood of the people at Bhopal's sister plant in West Virginia was of general shock and mourning. Granted that all will have to swallow their feelings and losses, and submit to tinges of regret and guilt, still they all, too, will have a stake, as tiny or large as their sympathies, in a human and creative resolution. Indeed, with the Bhopal disaster, Americans on the whole must add another iota of guilt to what has been accumulating since the decimation of the U.S. Indian tribes, the suppression of their black fellow countrymen, the extirpation of German cities, the holocausts of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the ravaging of Vietnam. Therefore, the American people, too, have an investment in the fate of the company gone abroad, for they have become party to its policies and disasters.