United in loss, 9/11 families are divided on Afghan war





Terry Greene of Cambridge had just dropped her son at school when she heard on the radio that a second tower at the World Trade Center had been hit by an airliner. At that moment, on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, Greene knew that the tragedy in New York was no accident.

A short time later, Greene heard that United Flight 93 had crashed in a field in Shanksville, Pa. “My first reaction was, ‘Good, it didn’t hit another target,’ ’’ Greene recalled.

But Greene’s world soon began to dissolve when a brother called with the news that another sibling, Donald Freeman Greene, was on that plane. “I can’t really describe how dark and horrible that was,’’ Greene said.

Eight years later, as a roiling debate unfolds about US strategy in Afghanistan, Greene said she feels no need to sacrifice more American troops in a country where the 9/11 attacks were hatched.

“There has to be a way to build more bridges rather than destroy them,’’ Greene said. “I think the media assume that the families want revenge, like that’s respecting the family and the family member’s memory.’’

But just as the proposal to send more troops to Afghanistan has divided Washington and the country, the loved ones of the victims of Sept. 11 react in different ways despite their common bond of sudden, terrible tragedy.

Some believe that Al Qaeda and its Taliban allies must be defeated to ensure American security. Others believe that the American military effort in Afghanistan is a counterproductive drain of US blood and treasure. And another faction thinks that withdrawal would imperil a vulnerable nation that now needs US protection...


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