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September 29, 2005
Pataki Nixes Controversial Freedom Center At Ground Zero

Governor George Pataki, buoyed by a late alliance with Hillary Clinton on the issue of the memorial, has ordered the removal of the controversial International Freedom Center from Ground Zero. The 9/11 memorial site had generated a storm of heated debate about the appropriate manner or remembrance for the thousands of dead from the worst foreign attack on American soil, and some had grave concerns that the IFC would amount to little more than a rationalization of the terrorists' actions. In response, the IFC has declared itself defunct, refusing any other site as inappropritae:

Governor Pataki pulled the plug yesterday on the International Freedom Center, the museum planned for ground zero that aimed to weave the events of September 11 into a historical movement toward freedom around the globe.

The governor asked the state agency in charge of the site, the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, to work with the freedom center to locate other potential sites outside of its previously designated home in the World Trade Center site's "memorial quadrant."

But freedom center officials abruptly terminated their project after learning of the governor's decision.

"We do not believe there is a viable alternative place for the IFC at the World Trade Center site," read the freedom center's statement. "We consider our work, therefore, to have been brought to an end."

The decision by Pataki makes sense, both objectively and politically. What he specifically ordered was to ensure that the IFC did not sit in the same quadrant as where the Twin Towers stood. He understands, at least now, that the gaping hole where the Towers once stood, mightily dominating Manhattan's skyline, should remain exclusively devoted to telling the stories of 9/11: the tragedy, the heroism, and the terrible effect of al-Qaeda terrorism.

The IFC could easily find a home elsewhere, but its backers have decided to act petulantly and disband. It calls their mission into question even further than Debra Burlingame and other critics have done in the past. Pataki did not ban the IFC from the entire 9/11 memorial site, after all, merely from the site of the Towers themselves. If the IFC feels that its message holds value as a component of the 9/11 memorial, the relocation should make little difference to its function. However, their reaction makes clear that they intended the IFC not just to present an alternative viewpoint espousing a why-do-they-hate-us exploration, but that they wanted to ensure that their approach supplanted the memorials that would directly recall the barbarity of the acts themselves.

If not, then why disband?

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at September 29, 2005 5:41 AM

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» Say "Bye" To the "International Freedom Center" from Pirate's Cove
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