Compensation for the Victims of September 11

Samuel Issacharoff and Anna Morawiec Mansfield

in The Handbook of Reparations

Published in print March 2006 | ISBN: 9780199291922
Published online May 2006 | e-ISBN: 9780191603716 | DOI:
 Compensation for the Victims of September 11

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The September 11th Victims Compensation Fund can only hesitatingly find its place within a comprehensive study of reparation programs. While the origin of the Fund lies in the political exigencies surrounding a perceived threat to the security of the United States, it more accurately reflects the desire by the U.S. Congress to ensure the viability of its nation’s air carriers. Unlike traditional reparations which are closely related to a process of social reintegration of the victim, fostering civic trust and social solidarity, the Fund was not established to bring justice to the victims of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. Also, unlike traditional reparations, the Fund did not seek to serve as a mechanism of corrective or distributive justice as a result of an authoritarian domestic regime or internal conflict. It was initially created out of fear that recourse to the U.S. courts would threaten the precarious financial health of the airline industry. Implicitly, however, such pragmatism reflected a desire by lawmakers that the government be seen as doing all it could to ease the pain of those who suffered so greatly on September 11, 2001. Initial motivations for the program aside, there is no question that the compensation scheme has since taken on a life of its own. Ultimately, the Fund’s contribution to any reparations case-study lies in its cautionary tale about the creation of elaborate administrative schemes that try to individualize recoveries as the mechanisms through which to compensate victims.

Keywords: September 11; September 11th Victims Compensation Fund; United States; Congress; terrorist attacks; reparations program

Chapter.  18164 words. 

Subjects: International Relations

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