Next-of-kin of World Trade Center
Victims Call for Avoiding Civilian Casualties in U.S. Response
October 1, 2001
A poster on an Internet bulletin
board was calling for blood, saying the U.S. shouldn't be concerned at all
about avoiding Afghan civilian casualties in its response to the September
A reader wrote back to the
poster, suggesting that a willingness to kill civilians could put the U.S.
in the same league as Osama bin Laden.
The poster replied that he
didn't care, they killed our civilians first. But, the poster added,
if the reader could bring to his attention any family members of those
killed in the World Trade Center who were also expressing concern about
avoiding Afghan civilian deaths, then perhaps the poster would reconsider
I knew I had read of such
sentiments among the next-of-kin, but had forgotten where. In the next
day or two, I came across two additional such expressions of "Let's
avoid killing more innocent people" from those directly touched by the
September 11 tragedy. It's now too late to respond to the poster
directly, but maybe somehow he will wind up reading this.
In a Letter to the Editor in The
New York Times, one bereaved parent wrote
My son Donald, a pilot, was
a passenger on board the hijacked United Airlines Flight 93. He died a
hero, fighting the terrorists to regain control of the airplane.
Naturally, I wish to see those responsible for the terrible events of
Sept. 11 brought to justice. But an assault on Afghanistan would cause
civilian casualties and inflame foreign sentiment against us.
The second example
comes from another bereaved set of parents:
The father of a man
presumed killed in the September 11 attack on the World Trade Center
raised his voice Sunday against the strident support for US military
"As a nation, we must not use the same means as the people who
attacked us. We're better than that," Orlando Rodriguez said, as he
and wife Phyllys mourned the loss of their 31-year-old son, Gregory, who
perished in Tower One of the World Trade Center.
Explaining further, Mr.
"Look at my son, who
died only because he was in the wrong place at the wrong time. And I
believe that, if there's a war, thousands of other sons in other lands are
going to die, for being in a wrong place at a wrong time."
"Revenge is a powerful emotion. It initially seems like a reasonable
reaction. But indiscriminate reprisals aren't going to help," he
said, adding that he didn't want to see his son used "to justify the
murder of others."
Hopefully such sentiments
coming from those with a unique right to offer them, will reduce the
bloodlust of not only the poster referred to above, but any others still
harboring similar feelings.
We should bring bin Laden to
justice in a way that avoids the deaths of innocent Afghan men, women and
children. In that way we will best honor the memory of those who died
on September 11.
UPDATE : Here's a link
to another expression of such sentiments which I just saw mentioned on a
UPDATE DEC. 5: Here's
a link to a
site with a large collection of such expressions by relatives of 9/11
[Anyone having other examples
of such expressions by next-of-kin, please send them to me]