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9-11 Families and the rush to change the CIA
by Mark Neckameyer


November 22, 2004

This is a topic that has bothered me for quite awhile yet I feel more than a little guilty every time I consider it.  Have the so called "9-11 Families", survivors of the September 11, 2001 terrorists, been accorded an inordinate amount of influence when it comes to national policy dealing with terrorism?  Everybody, yours truly included, feels a depth of sympathy for these folks who lost so much in an instant that awful day.  Because the Towers were staffed by highly educated individuals mostly, their survivors naturally tend to be more eloquent and prosperous than most so they have influence too. They explain themselves and their feelings very well on TV.  All of that said, what do those people know about the technical aspects of fighting terrorism and aren't their feelings being unfairly manipulated by politicians?
It bothered me each time a politician or wannbe politician would bring in a 9-11 survivor during the recent political campaign to support one position or another. The survivors are not completely of one mind and there are a few differing opinions among them. One opinion they all seem to have however is that their ideas are worth so much more than other ideas and is that fair? Did the survivors of Pearl Harbor have a say in how we prosecuted war in the Pacific in the 1940s? Did Lusitania survivors help decide if we were going to go to war with Germany in 1914?  Of course the answers are "no".  One danger is that as these survivors live in the most liberal part of the bluest of the "Blue States", they represent mostly one opinion ... a very Liberal opinion.  I suppose had the buildings destroyed been in Texas, we would be hearing an entirely different political philosophy from the families. Is that right?
The 9-11 investigations and hearings, held when they were right before a presidential campaign, were infected by political inputs. That is just the truth.  Now the continuing considerations  on how to modify the CIA and our intelligence mechanisms in general can go on free of election politics for awhile.  They should also go on free of feelings that are more emotional and sympathy based than reason based.  Let's not re-do the hearings which did have quite a bit of value but let's not continue to have legislators trot out sympathetic families to lobby for changes in intelligence policy one way or another.  Let's let the new Congress make changes when they get seated in January and if they screw-up, we get somebody else in these in two years instead of rushing now, using 9-11 families as political props.
Mark Neckameyer
Irvine, CA - USA



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