Volume 16 • Issue 30 | December 23 - 29, 2003


Memorial is worth the wait
Lower Manhattan Development Corp. officials said privately last week that a design for the World Trade Center memorial is likely to be selected in January rather than by the end of this month, as had been previously planned. While it would have been better if the L.M.D.C. had publicly acknowledged that there is going to be a delay, the more important thing is there should not be a rushed decision.

The detailed deadlines set in April by Gov. George Pataki on Downtown’s redevelopment have generally been a positive force, but there are some areas where more deliberation are beneficial, and the memorial is one of them.

As for the eight designs being considered by the 13-member jury, there is much to criticize, as we and many others have already done. There are also powerful ideas in some of the plans and we recommend the jury continue to ask for changes in the most promising designs rather than listen to the calls from some to scrap the plans and restart the process.

The public has clearly not embraced any of the eight plans and it is time for the jury to be specific about the adjustments it is asking for each of the designs that the jurors are still considering. Significant changes are needed and it would be helpful if the jury released the adjusted designs and allow the public another round of comments before a decision is made.

In last week’s issue, remarks by one of the jurors, James Young, were quoted extensively, providing a window into at least one juror’s opinion. A recognized scholar on the subject of memorials, we could not help but be impressed with the seriousness and sensitivity that he and presumably all of the jurors are approaching their task. His emphasis on the importance of a design that would evolve over time was well-placed. We were dismayed however, to hear a certain sense of defensiveness and perhaps a degree of blaming the public for the negative reaction.

The jurors find themselves in a difficult predicament, but it is our hope that with a little more time and a little more opportunity for the public to see the results of the jurors’ deliberation, we will be able to come up with an inspirational design that meets the needs of the disparate communities and which will grow better with time.

Focus on the terrorists
Upon the capture of former brutal Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein just over a week ago, President Bush proclaimed that now “America is a safer country.” Why then do we find ourselves for the fifth time since 9/11 in a state of high alert of a terrorist attack?

The answer is simple. The real enemy behind the 9/11 attacks is still at large. Osama bin Laden, Al Qaeda’s fanatical leader, is believed to be hiding along Pakistan-Afghanistan border. What is horribly clear, is his terror apparatus remains, as witnessed by a series of deadly bombings since 9/11, in Bali, Kenya, Saudi Arabia, as well as suspected numerous others, including in Iraq.

It was exhilarating to see Saddam dragged from his spider hole. His apprehension means he can never reinstate his reign of terror and hopefully, that his supporters will eventually end their guerrilla attacks on coalition forces and Iraqi targets. Of course, the expensive task of rebuilding Iraq remains and it’s to be seen whether democracy can truly take hold there. Let’s hope it can.

We would have been far happier, however — and far more relieved — if bin Laden or one of his top lieutenants had been pulled out of a spider hole. They are the true threat.

And the $100 billion-plus Bush is pouring into the military and rebuilding effort in Iraq would have been much better spent if used to stabilize Pakistan and Afghanistan and to root out Al Qaeda forever.

The reasons for going after Saddam have not panned out — no weapons of mass destruction; no Saddam-9/11 connection; no uranium from Niger. Meanwhile, the connection between Al Qaeda, 9/11 and terror is as plain as the fact that 3,000 people perished in our neighborhood.

Now that we’ve caught Saddam, let’s put the focus where it should have been all along: catching Osama bin Laden and wiping out Al Qaeda.

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