NEW YORK — The independent commission probing the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on
New York and Washington decided not to hear from the worker group that lost more lives than anyone else to the
terrorists: The Fire Fighters.
Speaking as the 9/11 panel heard New York officials discuss
communications, wrong instructions and other problems that beset rescue workers that fatal day, IAFF President
Harold Schaitberger called the city's response "lip service" or worse.
Of the 3,000 people killed by
the terrorist attacks that destroyed the World Trade Center and damaged the Pentagon, 343 were New York Fire
Fighters, all members of Schaitberger's union.
"Since no Fire Fighters were asked to speak, all the
people of New York will hear is the opinion of politicians and people who work for politicians" and who are
offering an inadequate, at best, future communications system, he added.
While Fire Fighters "will show
up and fight" the next attack, they'll be ill-equipped to do so--due to Bush budget cuts--and unable to
effectively communicate, costing lives, he added. Schaitberger called that "a formula for disaster."