09/01/2005: Let the Recriminations Begin...
Government is to blame for the chaos: New Orleans damage, looting might have been less severe if there were better disaster planning, by James Pinkerton (Newsday)
"As we see the devastation from Hurricane Katrina - caused first by nature and now by looters, shooters and carjackers - it's time to state the obvious. We need a larger vision of homeland security, as well as a better focus on the American homeland.
One might also ask: Where was President George W. Bush as the storm brewed? And Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff? Katrina was identified on Aug. 24, and so national authorities had five days to prepare for its impact on the Gulf Coast. Perhaps there wasn't enough time to strengthen the lifesaving levees, but where was the comprehensive disaster response? Where were the planeloads of temporary generators and pumps to keep the electricity and water going?
And most of all, where were the battalions of law enforcers, including, if need be, troops from around the country? Nowhere.
The AP reported that looters "floated garbage cans filled with clothing and jewelry down the street in a dash to grab what they could." Clothing? Jewelry? Not the first needs of the hungry.
Moreover, The AP continued, looting "took place in full view of police and National Guard troops." This is governmental malpractice - from the city, the state, the feds.
As in Iraq, the government has chosen to scrimp on the key to effective law enforcement: a big, visible presence on the streets. There are times when simple quantity has a quality all its own. Yes, it's great to have an elite "Starship Troopers" military, skilled at surgical-strike combat. But there are times when we also need a boot-heavy corps of Beetle Baileys to be visibly large and in charge of every street corner. And what's true for Baghdad is true for the Big Easy.
If homeland security is to have any meaning, it should focus on all threats to the home front. This week, the homeland securitizers failed, big-time."
Karen on 09.01.05 @ 07:14 AM CST