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HIS WORK NEARING an end, Kenneth Feinberg, Special Master of the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund, raised questions during the SHILS LECTURE about Congress’ decision to provide financial help exclusively to victims of the 2001 terrorist attacks.
Feinberg, who said he unequivocably supports the program he has administered for the last two years, nonetheless wondered if the country can justify compensating families who lost loved ones in that assault after offering no assistance to victims of the Oklahoma City bombing, the U.S.S. Cole attack, or the first World Trade Center bombing.
“Can we as a people in a democratic society carve out for special community-based compensation one group of people, telling everybody else you’re not eligible?” Feinberg asked.
But that’s exactly what Congress did when it established the unprecedented Fund sixteen days after the worst terrorist attack in the nation’s history. The Fund was created to prevent lawsuits that could bankrupt the airlines. Claimants waive the right to sue.
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