« Sleep Deprivation | Main | Comparative Effectiveness Research »

May 11, 2009

Comments

I would put to you that an Afghan villager whose wedding has been bloodily ended by a US air strike is a lot more likely to turn anti American than a villager who hears that some Arab has been tortured in some place called Guantanamo Bay.

As far as Afghan villagers go, sure. But then, Afghan villagers aren't generally prone to become terrorists in the first place. Almost zero known international terrorists have been from Afghanistan. We're more worried about the Muslim world in general, and, in those cases, the outrage and radicalization is hard to quantify in terms of causes.

But that doesn't excuse the practice, nor does it explain away the complications it has in terms of COIN.

I would put to you that an Afghan villager whose wedding has been bloodily ended by a US air strike is a lot more likely to turn anti American that a villager who hears that some Arab has been tortured in some place called Guantanamo Bay

And yet just today the Obama administration rescinded its decision to release additional detainee abuse photos to the ACLU per court orders under the argument that doing so would endanger the lives of our troops. Whoops.

"Well according to Admiral Blair, Obama's spokesman, we got valuable info. We all have to take his word for it."

According to the director of the FBI, we didn't. We all have to take his word for it.

According to the FBI's lead FBI counterterrorism agent, we didn't. We all have to take his word for it.

First-hand testimony. We all have to take his word for it.

"It is notable that neither Blair or anyone else has come up with any ideas as to how else the info could be obtained, despite having good reason to work hard at coming up with alternatives."

This is, of course, total nonsense. Interrogation works; torture does not; we have endless professional testimony on this. That you're ignorant of it, and rely on a single source, Mark Bowden, doesn't change the facts.

But since you like Dennis Blair, what he actually said:

[...] Blair, Obama's appointee to oversee the 16 U.S. intelligence agencies, summarized in the statement an assessment he gave his staff in a memo last week, according to U.S. officials familiar with the document. Blair is a participant in a White House-ordered review of CIA interrogation methods used on high-value terrorism suspects between 2002 and 2006.

"The bottom line is these techniques have hurt our image around the world," Blair said in the statement. "The damage they have done to our interests far outweighed whatever benefit they gave us and they are not essential to our national security."

Blair said he supported Obama's decision to ban "enhanced interrogation techniques," and he rejected assertions by former vice president Richard B. Cheney and others that the methods were crucial to protecting the country.

We all have to take his word for it.

"It must be good stuff too, because its apparently still valuable , years later."

This is your imagination talking.

David Petraeus:

[...] Some may argue that we would be more effective if we sanctioned torture or other expedient methods to obtain information from the enemy. They would be wrong. Beyond the basic fact that such actions are illegal, history shows that they also are frequently neither useful nor necessary. Certainly, extreme physical action can make someone "talk;" however, what the individual says may be of questionable value. In fact, our experience in applying the interrogation standards laid out in the Army Field Manual (2-22.3) on Human Intelligence Collector Operations that was published last year shows that the techniques in the manual work effectively and humanely in eliciting information from detainees.
We all have to take his word for it.

"Well according to Admiral Blair, Obama's spokesman, we got valuable info."

Blair:

“The information gained from these techniques was valuable in some instances, but there is no way of knowing whether the same information could have been obtained through other means,” Admiral Blair said in a written statement issued last night. “The bottom line is these techniques have hurt our image around the world, the damage they have done to our interests far outweighed whatever benefit they gave us and they are not essential to our national security."

"We all have to take his word for it."

I have a magic rock in my pocket. It's green and shiny and if you rub it three times it will make you invisible.

I'll sell it to you for $100.00.

Damn, I was actually still giving stonetools the benefit of the doubt, but that use of Blair is a pretty good indication of bad faith. I suppose I'll have to set my troll tolerance a bit lower.

Phil: And yet just today the Obama administration rescinded its decision to release additional detainee abuse photos to the ACLU...

Unless you have a cite of further developments, the Obama administration has not made but hinted at such a reversal.

The "impact on the troops" excuse was pathetic enough coming from Bush; from Obama, it's even more insulting and sickening. It's the impact on the American public Pres. Obama is concerned about, and the strong likelihood that the photo release could interfere with the speedy confirmation of Iraq torture commander Stanley McChrystal as commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan.

The Arab and Muslim publics are fully aware of U.S. torture; they've lived it, they've read the accounts of survivors, they're not going to be specially inflamed by a new round of images. The only way to protect troops from the anger of Iraqis and Afghans is to hold some higher-level people accountable for these crimes.

The debate of whether ongoing raids, missile strikes, and occupation makes more enemies than torture (past or ongoing) is a pointless one. Both are disgusting and fruitless; both should end. The horrors of one don't lessen the horrors of another.

Nell: confirmed.

(see TPM if the link doesn't go through)

"I'm not a big enthusiast of effectiveness arguments, but I have to say that's a great one. Thanks."


Thanks Nell, I appreciate that very much, especially coming from you. I really wish effectiveness arguments weren't necessary - that we actually did live in Shep Smith's America where "we don't f****ing torture". Unfortunately as a result of watching this debate unfold I've come to the depressing conclusion that I am living in a different country than that, and effectiveness arguments are not only necessary but essential to getting this evil jinn stuffed back into its bottle.

It seems to me that folks I've read who are outspoken in their opposition to torture see either the moral argument or the effectiveness argument as disqualifying on their own merits, independently on one another. In other words if it is either immoral or ineffective, don't do it. Arguing the effectiveness case feels like it is undercutting the argument on moral grounds by giving the appearance of making a tactical choice as to which side is the stronger or more important one on which to make arguments, and making a stand there.

Torture advocates on the other hand seem to see a failure of either argument as enabling – it is OK if it is either moral or if it is effective. If they can’t get it via the front door, the back door will do. And I think this latter view is made possible by the very human tendency to use evasions and euphemisms to deny the reality of what we are talking about, so that a little leeway on the effectiveness argument can be leveraged into erosion on the moral argument.

Efficacy of “harsh methods” is thus a gateway drug for torture. That is why it is so important not to concede the effectiveness of even mildly abusive practices. Admit the effectiveness of "harsh methods" which stop somewhat short of the sort of medieval torture methods which ordinary folks are familiar with from classic literature (the rack, hot irons, savage beatings, pulling out fingernails, etc.), and now we are on a slippery slope. And a slope where cognitive bias and all the subtle and sophisticated techniques the human mind uses to justify and rationalize the morality of something which we think is "effective" then kick in and act as a lubricant to make the slope ever more slippery. That slope is made possible by the general public not being familiar with the provenance and history of techniques like sleep deprivation, and effectiveness arguments are what the pro-torture crowd are using to get us onto the top of the slope.

So the net result is, I think that we need to win both the moral argument and the effectiveness argument. And if we can make progress on one side, if framed properly it can reinforce our position on the other side. Ordinary people will have a harder time rationalizing the morality of something which has been conceded to be ineffective, and less tenacious at defending the effectiveness of something which is widely regarded as immoral.

I think the partial ban on the use of chemical weapons in conventional warfare is a similar case which may provide some guidance here. Since WW1 poison gas has come to be widely regarded as a unique horror not to be repeated - yet that moral consensus was made possible in large part because for conventional armies fighting other conventional armies, gas proved to be a not particularly effective weapon. It was easier to stigmatize than other more effective weapons. In a similar fashion, I think the moral and utilitarian arguments against torture need to be framed so they are seen as supporting and reinforcing each other, rather than seen as being in competition and undercutting one another.

I say this with some trepidation over the hubris involved in someone with my very sparse background giving advice to somebody like you who has been toiling thanklessly on this issue for so long, so apply the usual caveats (IMHO, YMMV, etc.) with extra strength. Thanks.

Any word from Typepad on when the latest idiotic change (randomly stripping out HTML) will be fixed? Do they ever test things before rolling them out?

"...they're not going to be specially inflamed by a new round of images. The only way to protect troops from the anger of Iraqis and Afghans is to hold some higher-level people accountable for these crimes."

This is one of the aspects of this debate that drives me bonkers. I forget which Republican Member of Congress was on which Sunday morning news program a few weeks back making the argument that any new release of evidence of detainee "mistreatment" would put our troops and our national security at risk by inciting anti-American sentiment and action. (It probably doesn't matter who it was, because it's a common angle these days.)

But it seems to me that, if revealing what we were doing is so dangerous, why were we doing it? Aren't these people actually making the argument that our treatment of detainees, regardless of whether or not it was torture, put our troops and our national security at risk by inciting anti-American sentiment and action?

Yet the same people will insist that we had to do these things to protect America. Which is it, folks?

I guess the answer would be something like "It's only a problem if someone finds out. We weren't good enough at keeping it a secret." But, then, why would anyone expect that we would be? I see this as a pragmatic argument aside from the information-gathering effectivness argument (and aside the more basic moral argument that should be a non-argument).

There are just too many levels on which this "Enhanced Interrogation" policy was wrong. No matter how you try to square it, it sucks for everyone involved.

And the "We weren't good enough at keeping it a secret" argument can only mean that anyone subjected to torture must never be released or even allowed to communicate with the outside world, even if they're determined not to be of value.

I don't know KC, if someone showed up on TV in say, 2000, claiming that the US had kidnapped him off the street in Europe, shipped him off to Morocco to be tortured, and then when the US discovered the person to be innocent, shipped him back to where he was kidnapped and dumped him on the street, would anyone have believed him?

And the "We weren't good enough at keeping it a secret" argument can only mean that anyone subjected to torture must never be released or even allowed to communicate with the outside world, even if they're determined not to be of value.

well, that did seem to be the plan.

Thanks for the link, Ugh, though that's really depressing news. Have updated the post at my blog.

And thanks, TLT, for that illuminating discussion of moral and utilitarian arguments in the hands of pro- and anti-torture advocates. You're winning me back over. ;>

In the 'old days' (2004-5), on this very blog among other places, I used to encourage people to use pragmatic as well as moral and legal arguments, if needed. But this winter I began to get very uneasy about the apparent reluctance of most of the people taking part in the discussion to ground themselves in the settled illegality and fundamental immorality of torture. That reluctance had/has a lot to do with many of those same people not wanting to put the Obama administration on the spot wrt prosecutions.

It's typically a long, long road to accountability for the higher-ups. Good thing the irises are especially glorious this year; my soul needs to be rinsed out a bit.

Thanks for the link, Ugh, though that's really depressing news. Have updated the post at my blog.

My only positive spin on this is that Obama knows they will lose in the 2d Circuit, so he can go to bat for the military now by appealing, then when the 2d Circuit orders the photos released he can tell the military he now has no choice and release them. Thus, he gets some cred with the military, and the photos get released anyway, albeit a few months later, at the cost of us screaming at him now.

Man, this thread will not die...

@ Gary

You linked to the same guy twice. Clever that.Now Ali Souban is an important fdata point in the anti -torture argument, iwhich is why he getslinked to multiple times in every debate But it is imortant to realise that this testimony is in fact disputed. The CIA interrogator who handled Abu Zubaydah stated that waterboarding was necessary and that it did lead to the disruption of attacks.

Watch it on video at :
http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/Story?id=3978231

@martin

But where is it proven that torture works 100% of the time? Why would torture give us access to the other 20%?

The point is that NOTHING works 100% of the time-which is why you shouldn't take coercion off the table. Even with 'friendly" interrogation, one reason it works so well is that the suspect is afraid that "good cop" might be replaced by "bad cop". If "bad cop" is never an option and the suspect knows this, then he has less of an incentive to cooperate.

No matter how many Gary and others want to link to their favorite quotes, about all we can say with certainty is that coercion works-sometimes!
It ain't a magic bullet, but its simply not true that it never works.
In Israel, in which ticking bomb scenarios frequently happen (the favorite anti-torture myth is that they NEVER happen), torture is banned, but there are loopholes.

The justices left open several loopholes. Interrogators who used force preemptively to prevent a terrorist attack could invoke the "defense of necessity" if faced with prosecution. The court also made allowances for "prolonged" interrogation, even if it involved sleep deprivation, and shackling, "but only for the purpose of preserving the investigator's safety."

This approach is not exactly a success, but maybe its the best approach. its better than pretending that :

1. "ticking bomb scenarios NEVER happen. (they do- in some places frequently)

2. In such scenarios,say the anti-torture folks, coercion must never be used. On the contrary, they will be used, whatever we think, and the public will cheer on their use, especially if successful. Only in liberal fantasy land will an Obama Administration refuse to use coercion in a "ticking bomb' scenario- the political cost would be just too high.

Given the reality, we should move to either an Israeli solution or perhaps take a look again at the solution of that Nazi Gestapo Stalinist, Alan Dershowitz-torture warrants.It might not satisfy the absolutists- but these is a clear eyed, un-hypocritical, reality based solutions.

From your link, stonetools:

"In the first public comment by any CIA officer involved in handling high-value al Qaeda targets, John Kiriakou, now retired, said the technique broke Zubaydah in less than 35 seconds."

They waterboarded Zubaydah 83 times.

"1. "ticking bomb scenarios NEVER happen. (they do- in some places frequently)"

Name three.

"On the contrary, they will be used, whatever we think, and the public will cheer on their use, especially if successful."

Name one time this has happened.

(And as a hypothetical, fine: if people feel it's their duty to violate the law, let them, and face the consequences: if we truly feel they did the right thing, the president can always pardon them. Where's the problem?)

"The CIA interrogator who handled Abu Zubaydah"

You're implying John Kiriakou had direct knowledge of Zubaydah's waterboarding/torture. Wrong. His account is second-hand. And even he says: [...] Kiriakou said he now has mixed feelings about the use of waterboarding. He said that he thinks the technique provided a crucial break to the CIA and probably helped prevent attacks, but that he is now convinced that waterboarding is torture, and "Americans are better than that."

"Maybe that's inconsistent, but that's how I feel," he said. "It was an ugly little episode that was perhaps necessary at that time. But we've moved beyond that." You: The justices left open several loopholes. Interrogators who used force preemptively to prevent a terrorist attack could invoke the "defense of necessity" if faced with prosecution. The court also made allowances for "prolonged" interrogation, even if it involved sleep deprivation, and shackling, "but only for the purpose of preserving the investigator's safety." Cite?

Because I happen to have Justice Barak's commentary on the decisions right here.

And here are all the relevant rulings.

And, curiously, the phrase "preserving the investigator's safety" isn't there. The phrase "investigator's safety" doesn't appear.

"No matter how many Gary and others want to link to their favorite quotes,"

This from someone with only one link he constantly goes back to (Mark Bowden). But, you know, I've not linked before to those quotes in conversation with you. You're simply making that up.

And you're simply ignoring that you've been contradicted by authority, and your only quote, from Dennis Blair, which you cited repetitively, has been contradicted by what Blair actually said. Hand-waving doesn't obscure that, and neither does dropping an argument to go back to repeating yourself.

The actual Israeli court decision: [...] We asked petitioners whether the “ticking bomb” rationale was sufficiently persuasive to justify the use of physical means. This rationale would apply in
a situation where a bomb is known to have been placed in a public area and will cause human tragedy if its location is not revealed. This question elicited
different responses from the petitioners. There are those convinced that physical means are not to be used under any circumstances; the prohibition on such methods, to their mind, is absolute, whatever the consequences may be.

On the other hand, there are others who argue that, even if it is acceptable to employ physical means in the exceptional circumstances of the “ticking bomb,” these methods are used even in absence of “ticking bomb” conditions.

The very fact that the use of such means is illegal in most cases warrants banning their use altogether, even if doing so would include those rare cases in which physical coercion may have been justified. Whatever their individual views, all petitioners unanimously highlight the distinction between the post factum possibility of escaping criminal liability and the advance granting of permission to use physical means for interrogation purposes. So if your argument is that torture should be kept illegal, fine, we agree.

The court did include, as part of the decision, the claim by the state that there is a "necessity" defense. And the court ruled on it: [...] In the Court’s opinion, the authority to establish directives respecting the use of physical means during the course of a GSS interrogation cannot be
implied from the “necessity defense.” The “necessity defense” does not constitute a source of authority, which would allow GSS investigators to make
use physical means during the course of interrogations.

[...]

The Attorney-General can establish guidelines regarding circumstances in which investigators shall not stand trial, if they claim to have acted from “necessity.” A statutory provision is necessary to authorize the use of physical means during the course of an interrogation, beyond what is permitted by the ordinary “law of investigation,” and in order to provide the individual GSS investigator with the authority to employ these methods. The “necessity defense” cannot serve as a basis for such authority. I'm guessing you've never actually read the decision. I have.

Goddamn link-stripping: here are the Israeli court decisions: http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Politics/terrorirm_law.pdf

Here are Kiriakou's comments: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/12/10/AR2007121002091_pf.html

"Given the reality, we should move to either an Israeli solution"

Which is that torture is illegal. Okay by me.

Typepad, by virtue of randomly stripping out html, is making our comments and conversation incoherent. Why is ObWi still using Typepad?

"...but these is a clear eyed, un-hypocritical, reality based solutions."

And, not incidentally, your continued claims that the people who disagree with you are hypocritical, fantasy-based, and unclear, are unwarranted, just as is your hand-waving and refusal to respond to anything you don't want to believe. Condescension is no substitute for argument.

"And yet just today the Obama administration rescinded its decision to release additional detainee abuse photos to the ACLU . . ."

Score one for Dick Cheney.

Hello everyone!!

I fundamentally agree with everyone's comments that torture is wrong BUT has anyone posting here actually ever lost a loved one in the 9/11 terrorist attacks or had someone held hostage by terrorists or lost a loved one that is in our armed services????

If you were to look at this in a more personal way you might have a very different opinion. I also realize that "forgiveness" & "2 wrongs don't make a right" are great metaphors BUT are they the real truth???

If you were trapped in a building that had just been hit by a plane & waiting for it to collapse or on that plane knowing that you are going to crash and your loved ones are watching & are going to be left alone to try to pick up the pieces of their lives, which will never be same again no matter how civilized you try to stay. Do you think that torturing those responsible to "TRY" & prevent more attacks might be a little bit more appealing to you??

If you were also "responsible" for all of the citizens of the US you may also have a different responsibility than the "normal" Joe has & have to react very differently.

It is easy to sit back & judge after the fact but if you do not consider the "TIME" it occurred in history then you are missing a lot of the history of the truth!!

I think of the phase: "EVIL TRIUMPHS WHEN GOOD MEN DO NOTHING!!!" very much applies here and I am not saying it is right or wrong, again.

For the religious fans I also believe that the Bible says "Take up your arms & protect the children of God." This is not the exact phase but it does reinforce the question I ask??

You also have to consider that 9/11 was only the 2nd time in history that I can recall that an attack occurred on our home ground & that being aggressive is a very normal response to this. Not necessarily the right response but the normal response??

The soldiers who only followed orders are going to take the fall for this & that is also VERY, VERY WRONG and they should not bear the responsibility for this!!

Can you really say for sure if you were in someone else's shoes (keep in your mind & heart the hurt of losing someone very dear) that you might not have a different opinion and that just maybe we should all try to look at all sides of this before PASSING JUDGMENT after the fact???

Why is it that all the other countries of the world can make judgment mistakes and be forgiven but heaven forbid if the US does make a mistake we will not be forgiven by any other countries and we also probably will try & make an excuse why we did it. Neither is right, huh???

One last little thought..In most of the war cases we enter when we are ASKED AS A COUTNRY to help before we enter and proceed. This is a very important fact to remember!!

I am neither a Democrat or Republican and I am NOT STATING my own opinion on this event or any religion, I am simply asking some honest questions??

Well, there have been 'not in our name' campaigns by relatives of 9/11 victims against Bush's wars. I don't think that the same people have a very different view as far as torture is concerned. Btw, those 9/11 relatives were vilified to a degree exceeding even that aimed at 'normal' Bush critics (including one of O'Reilly's infamous 'cut his mike' moments followed by systematic follow-up lies).

"has anyone posting here actually ever lost a loved one in the 9/11 terrorist attacks"

Three people in my town were killed on 9/11.

One woman whose physician husband was killed responded by donating his medical library to a clinic in Kabul.

I don't know how the other folks responded.

I do know a lot of folks who advocate a "do whatever it takes" approach to Islamic terrorism, but oddly enough none of them lost anyone in any of the terror attacks, or have loved ones serving in Iraq or Afghanistan.

I remember talking with my in-laws right after 9/11. Father in law spent WWII marching around the Phillipines, mother in law spent WWII building Corsairs in Akron. Their first reaction was "We hope we don't go to war over this".

It's always somebody with no skin in the game that's all gung ho.

Don't know why that is, but that's my experience.

I think of the phase: "EVIL TRIUMPHS WHEN GOOD MEN DO NOTHING!!!" very much applies here and I am not saying it is right or wrong, again.

Considering that the only people I've seen suggesting doing nothing are those who want to do nothing about the fact that the United States has tortured people, you may be right to think of that phrase.

Have you considered the possibility that the embrace of torture makes it more likely that we will have attacks in the future? Certainly the fact that Obama is saying that merely releasing photos of the abuse will increase our troops' risk suggests that torture is counterproductive in a struggle for hearts and minds.

"I fundamentally agree with everyone's comments that torture is wrong BUT has anyone posting here actually ever lost a loved one in the 9/11 terrorist attacks"

I'm a New Yorker. I've been in the WTC a hundred times. I used to work in it. I used to live a few blocks from it. I have friends who lived across the street from it and were then when they fell. I have friends who had loved ones die there. I was traumatized for years by the event. For years I'd be terrified when a large plane flew overhead.

"or had someone held hostage by terrorists or lost a loved one that is in our armed services????""

Yes.

"if someone showed up on TV in say, 2000, claiming that the US had kidnapped him off the street in Europe, shipped him off to Morocco to be tortured, and then when the US discovered the person to be innocent, shipped him back to where he was kidnapped and dumped him on the street, would anyone have believed him?"

Without talking about a particular case, I can't believe anyone familiar with the history of the "intelligence" and "security" agencies in the US would consider such a thing to be beyond belief.

"It seems to me that folks I've read who are outspoken in their opposition to torture see either the moral argument or the effectiveness argument as disqualifying on their own merits, independently on one another"

It doesn't seem to me that those folks apply that standard with respect to killing. When we talk about killing, those opposed to torture justify plain old fashioned killing by some combination of arguing that it is legal, or effective, or traditional, or necessary for our safety or interests, or acceptable because it is done on a "battlefield", where the "battlefield" could be someone in an office in the US targeting by missile or drone a person in another country (or non-country) many days travel from even being in sight of another US soldier.

Or they just give up and say well war is hell. Or they apply some version of the smoking gun argument where whatever particular instance of war is brought up for discussion, they agree that perhaps that was immoral, but in some instance not specified with characteristics not present in any current or recent conflict it is acceptable.

None of these arguments would be acceptable for them to justify torture. And death is worse than torture.

I'm sure that given that the US accounts for half the world's war budget and weapons sales, has troops or bases in most of the countries of the world, is involved in all of the world's major conflicts even though most of them involve situations where there is no threat to its country's citizens, has used nuclear and chemical weapons on civilians, has used land mines and other weapons that still cause the death of children decades after conflicts end, and has caused the deaths of millions upon millions of people in wars that were fought for reasons of choice, and reasons that were concealed from its citizens, I am sure that both the present and former administrations are delighted that people spend so much time arguing whether the effectiveness of slamming someone into a wall changes the morality of the tactic.

This is called, "ignoring the elephant in the room".

And I don't know why people do it. It is absurd.

test

I fundamentally agree with everyone's comments that torture is wrong BUT has anyone posting here actually ever lost a loved one in the 9/11 terrorist attacks

I grew up in a suburb of NYC, and lost 5 people that I went to high school with. 5 people that I had hung out with, socialized with, played sports with, stayed in touch with, and considered friends.

In addition, a close friend from college lost his father. Sadly, the father had been in the infamous elevator incident at the WTC years earlier and survived.

The whole month of September (after the 11th) was spent shuttling to and from funerals.

This was made particularly difficult because my apartment was on Pearl St. btw John and Maiden, and was thus out of commission for weeks after the attacks.

So I didn't have access to my clothes and other personal belongings at the time - at least initially.

When I finally got back in, the apartment was covered in dust and had to be professionally cleaned multiple times. This was because I was forced to leave my apartment in a hurry that morning amid the general panic downtown after the second plane hit (and forgot to close the windows).

At the time, my brother was near the towers, and I didn't know if he was alive or dead for hours.

The air quality downtown was horrendous. The fulton street subway stop near the WTC reaked of decaying bodies and chemical fires. That was particularly tough because I knew some of my friends were probably still in the rubble.

So, yeah, I had an up close, personal, painful experience with 9/11.

Torture is still wrong. War crimes are still atrocities. I will not dishonor the memories of my friends by debasing shared principles.

"I fundamentally agree with everyone's comments that torture is wrong BUT has anyone posting here actually ever lost a loved one in the 9/11 terrorist attacks"

My personal exposure to the tragedy of 911 isn't as close as what others above have already posted, but my father-in-law used the WTC Path station to commute into lower Manhattan every working day up until he retired a few years prior to the attacks. Also, I lived in London in the mid 1970s. My father worked in a area of the city which was being bombed by the IRA on a sporadic basis. Every morning when he went to work he said goodbye to my mom and us the kids as if there was no guarantee he would ever get another chance to do so again.

So yes, it is not an abstract or academic question for some of us.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Blog powered by Typepad