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hearings or spanish inquisition?

I honestly thought that this portion of the 9/11 hearings would lack the partisan bickering, finger pointing and childish behavior of the previous hearings. Man, was I wrong. bq. The former police and fire chiefs who were lionized after the World Trade Center attack came under harsh criticism Tuesday from the Sept. 11 commission, with one member [John Lehman] saying the departments' lack of co-operation was scandalous and "not worthy of the boy scouts." ..
Families of Sept. 11 victims applauded the tough questioning and shook their heads sadly as the panel enumerated a litany of communication breakdowns between the departments. Family members sporadically mocked and booed Von Essen, Kerik and Richard Sheirer, former Office of Emergency Management commissioner, and they wept earlier in the day as they watched videotape of the buildings collapsing. As Von Essen testified, Sally Regenhard - who lost her firefighter son - held up a piece of paper reading: "LIES."
Mocked and booed? The fire department alone lost over 300 members that day. They did their best, I don't doubt that at all. They went into those buildings when everyone was running out so they could save lives. What do these people want? What despicable behavior. Absolutely horrifying. I can rattle off an extensive list of family members that I know personally would never say anything like that. What a terrible way to remember those who were killed trying to save others. I understand that grief makes people behave in startling ways, but I just cannot understand mocking and booing at these hearings. The purpose of today's hearing (and tomorrow's) was meant to find out how to better respond to future emergencies of this nature. But the people who testified were subject to scrutiny about their knowledge of terrorism prior to the attacks, asked whether they had hear of bin Laden or not. The former director of the World Trade Center, Alan Reiss, was asked by Bob Kerrey if he's angry that "things might have been different had they (FBI) trusted you enough" to deliver important intelligence. Reiss said he was not angry at the FBI, but rather at "19 people in an airplane," referring to the hijackers. Right answer. Unfortunately, the people on this "bipartisan" committee didn't think so. This whole commission sickens me. Nobody wants to know answers. Nobody cares about anything but laying the blame on someone besides the people who planned and executed the attacks. Why? Why this strong need to lay blame at the feet of someone else? Shouldn't we be trying to learn from this, to make our future safer should any terrorists attempt a feat like that again? Nobody is learning anything by mocking, booing and throwing condescending, derisive questions at the officials testifying. You would think from the way these people are behaving that the Port Authority, police and fire departments planned the attacks themselves. I'm sure you can throw some comments down and make the case for needing to know who knew what and when they knew it, but I just cannot get past the disrespect shown to the dead rescue workers.

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Comments

I can let the family members go on this. Grief does do crazy things.

The commission members do not get a pass. Jeff Jarvis has some more on Lehman

http://www.buzzmachine.com/archives/2004_05_18.html#007085

I understand and respect your point, Ryan, but the family members don't get a pass from me. It's more than two and a half years after the event; I don't think that grief is what's behind their behavior. I believe that it would have been less likely, rather than more, that a family member of one of the deceased heroes would have been holding up a sign that said "LIES" in, say, October 2001.

I can't look into other people's minds and see what's going on here, but this looks a whole lot more like publicity seeking than honest grief.

Not only grief, but ambulance-chasing lawyers and anti-Bush activists make "families" do crazy things:

http://sisu.typepad.com/sisu/2004/05/we_totally_agre_5.html

von Essen and Kerik support Bush, so they must be destroyed. Appalling. Go back and look at the video - von Essen was there in the lobby, he barely survived that day and few of the victims' families lost more close friends than the Fire Commissioner.

I would type something, but I'm too busy trying to get my lower jaw up off the floor.

The horrifying thing to me is that increasingly, when something goes wrong--whatever it is--the reaction of many people in our society is to turn on each other rather than adddressing the problem or the external enemy. I think this is a huge problem, and it seems like it has gotten much worse in the last decade. Anyone agree or disagree? Any thoughts as to causes?

ok David, I'll bite! How about the ACLU, political correctness, our societies lack of willingness to take responsiblity for our own actions. I know a few lawyers, some of them decent, but many more who would sue just for the fun of it.
This whole 9/11 commission is just breaking my heart. Life is not Jerry Springer, but there are days when one wouldn't know this from the horrible behaviour exhibited. Why do we have to sink to the level of the lowest common denominator? There will always be low-lifes, the wilfully ignorant and hateful. Why do they get so much airtime? Why are the opinions of these people held up as though they represented good folks like me and you?
I think that people need to be held to a higher standard, there is no shame any more. (sheesh, I sound like my Grandma!)

i knew this commission was in trouble when former nj govenor kean got the chair. not only is he a dope, i'm from nj so i know, but he has some phony prep school accent to boot. not part of "the best and the brightest" why do i find myself tired of most people these days?

Lehman need 343 kicks in the nuts.

Take the agencies to task for lack of communication, fine. This snide, condescending mockery is totally disrespectful and unprofessional. What a bunch of horseshit.

From what I've seen, this thing has devolved into a lot of political posturing from both sides. It's sad and discouraging, but I can't help wondering if the American people aren't really to blame for all the partisan bickering and brickbat throwing. Politicians fear the disapproval of the public more than anything else - they obviously seem to feel they have a green light to be highly partisan in what should have been a sober and rational examination of what we can and should do to improve in the future.

This is really grand! You are so correct, Diana. So much of what is becoming America is due to the lack of accountability and/or responsibility. We are becoming a society of victims obsessing with getting 'something for nothing'.

These heros are being vilified by jokers who had the opportunities to prevent this, but chose to play the game of politics.

I love being an American and I love politics, but this 'Commission' is disgusting.

What a bunch of freakin' ingrates. And unfortuantely I have to include those victims' families among their number. There were and are problems with emergency response in every large city, but since 911 NY has taken huge steps toward fixing them without their sage and learned advice. Most of the response problems which were found as a result of the disaster were rendered largely moot by the scale and nature of the disaster, anyway.

As for whether this is playing to the American people's baser natures, I think the answer is no. It's playing to the commission member's own egos, to their equally smallminded partisian pals, and to a tiny segment of the populace who are clinging to the commission as the last hope for salvaging their own miserable grudges and the lies that sustain them. Everyone else stopped paying attention a long time ago.

Maybe I'm naively optimistic, but I think the spectacle of these Monday-morning quarterbacks puffing themselves up with righteously indignant 20/20 hindsight is so obviously grotesque that it will backfire on them in terms of public opinion.

And doesn't the press just love the macho finger-pointing and the constant game of "gotcha." The 9/11 families are probably a very vocal very small minority of the entire group of grieving families. Unfortunately, they are the ones getting the press.

I am looking forward to seeing how Giuliani handles the commission tomorrow. I hope he lets them have it.

It is my understanding that nearly everyone agrees that there were communication problems that hampered the rescue efforts on 9/11. In fact, after 9/11, Giuliani issued regulations to address the rivalry between the police and firefighters and created the Office of Emergency Management to coordinate future responses amongst the agencies. This Newsday article gives more detail as to some of the alleged shortcomings on that fateful day.

My disagreement is with the suggestion that the folks questioned should only be adorned with hero worship and should be the beneficiaries of a per se prohibition against tough questioning or criticism and that to do otherwise is disrespectful to the dead. If the evidence, in fact, indicates they screwed up especially if those screw ups led to lost lives they should be criticized. I dont see any posts here addressing that issue and I am not familiar enough with the issues to know whether the Lehmans or families critical of these folks are off mark. The reports I have seen do not reference the Jersey Girls, for whom you righties have such high esteem, but refer to family members who lost rescue worker relatives. I would hazard to guess that some of them might argue that seeking to stop or criticizing the questioning that is taking place is disrespectful to their lost relatives. Indeed, there is a certain moral arrogance, maybe even exploitation, being displayed here by those of you suggesting this is disrespectful to the dead when clearly some of those who lost rescue worker relatives have voiced their support for this process.

And I know Al Qaeda is responsible for 9/11, but IF you send people into a burning building and there is info that the building is about to collapse and you fail to get that info to the people you sent in, you should be subject to criticism and changes should be made.

Crank, spot on. This is about "de-habilitating" people. They'd have bloodied Giuliani yesterday if they could, and still may. "No Republican 9-11 heroes" seems to be the mandate.

Over the past few years, I have been developing a theory about the behavior of the "hand-wringers brigades."

Essentially, it is a matter of control. Everyone has a deep-seated need to be in control of their surroundings. If circumstances are not as you wish, you act to change them. If you are threatened, you act to mitigate or eliminate the threat. This is elementary, and common to all people.

The "hand-wringers" have embraced an ideology that places everyone at an equivalent moral level, denies to them the use of coercive violence, and in some ways is solopsistic. They are the only actors, those who do unpleasant things are only reacting to the actions of others.

Therefore, the way to make things come out the way you want them is to adjust your actions such that the other's reactions are what you want. If you have restricted yourself from violent coercion, then the only way to do so is to change yourself. "Ask yourself why they hate you." Then, change yourself so they no longer hate you.

"Billy has issues. You should examine yourself to see what you are doing to incite Billy to bully you."

"The behavior of Israel has forced the Palestanians to use these tactics. It is time for Israel to do whatever it takes to restore peace in the region."

"Islamic terrorism is a reaction to imperialistic Americanism."

All of these are outgrowths of the same ideology. They are all fundamentally the same. All inherently solopsistic, all essentially pacifistic.

All ultimately wrong-headed.

We had two vile family members on Newsnight here talking about 9/11. They used as an excuse to slam Bush repeatedly for get this...bombing in their name! Of course, making party political points out of the atrocity is fine.

What, you expect different from liberals?

I have yet to see anything in the press about who did the cheers and clapping during to hearings when R. Clarke testified. I have yet, although its early, to see those indentified from yesterdays outbreak of cheers and boos.

I suspect some, maybe a very few, are some of the same that were critical of the Bush ads using 9/11 images. As we all know many turned out to be political hacks pushing a previously held agenda.

At best the outburst was a violation of protocol that is normally used in such events. If the same displays of protest or support are held in the US Senate the people are quickly rounded up and shown the door by the Sargent at Arms.

Britton has a good start, with 343 kicks in the balls for Lehman. how about 343 for each of the flaming asshats on the commission? Lehman was one of the few who I thought had some integrity, he shot that out yesterday. The preening, backward 20-20 bullshit out of ALL the commissioners makes me want to puke. What a bunch of fucking weasels, Repubs as well as the DemonRATs.

John Cunningham- well, there are plenty to go around, and plenty that deserve them.

Macswain...I agree that problems, like the comm incompatibilities, should be fixed, and possibly even some people should be fired. But there's a big difference between analyzing problems with the intent of fixing them, and approaching them from the ain't-it-awful-who-can-we-blame standpoint.

I think what we need is a commission to try and execute the members of the current commission.

I haven't seen anything as despicable as this since the Soviet Union collapsed and the People's Courts disappeared, except the Soviets were more credible.

I'll supply the rope.