Dark Bilious Vapors

But how could I deny that I possess these hands and this body, and withal escape being classed with persons in a state of insanity, whose brains are so disordered and clouded by dark bilious vapors....
--Rene Descartes, Meditations on First Philosophy: Meditation I

Home » Archives » September 2005 » Issue of National Preparedness is Still the Question...

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09/06/2005: Issue of National Preparedness is Still the Question...

While we've been waging a fierce debate (on blog and off-blog) over this Before, During and After Hurricane Katrina issues and fall-out- The Main issue of National Preparedness still is the Open Question.

I began my part of this with an observation in a comment:

Well - I did a post about War of the Worlds, but what I didn’t mention at that time was the most horrifying thing about the movie wasn’t the Aliens attacking (tho’ the devastation and destruction with fields of blood were Gross)...

...But what scared the crap out of me (and my kids) was how the Humans dealt with the immediate threat reactions and the subsequent evacuation scenarios – and there were several – that come depressingly close to what must be the situations in New Orleans of Mobs and Looters grabbing what they can. So much for "society" under those conditions. Sad, but so close to the truth.

And that lack of *preparedness* applies to any attacks or disasters we face in the future.

This bAdmin is still squandering all the time, money and resources that could be used more effectively and put into some plan (ANY Plan) for evacuations and emergency needs. Unless ya count their *joke* of buying rolls of duct tape and stocking your own "emergency kits" as our Government "PLAN A" in a real emergency. Bleh!!!

And they had at least five days advance notice!! Ya think we’d get such advanced timing notice and exact location with a real terrorist attack again?

And that HAS always been the underlying Issue Number 1 - regardless of If and Where any apportionment of Blame is meted out is the question of the response and preparedness for a Predicted National Disaster.

From the 2001 report from the Federal Emergency Management Agency on the three likeliest potential disasters to threaten America. They were: an earthquake in San Francisco, a terrorist attack in New York City (predicted before 9/11), and a hurricane hitting New Orleans.

The Disaster in New Orleans, based on a Hurricane scenario, had the best lead time, advanced notice, and ability to demonstrate an effective plan for a large-case disaster mobilization for the area as well as the thousands of N.O. "evacuees." (I will say "evacuees" - Since *refugees* is unacceptable a term.)

These FED Disaster Plans (as I posted on here HERE) are still only in a Draft stage. The Homeland Security Dept has YET to demonstrate the efficacy of those plans since they aren’t even dry ink on a page yet. So, how does this show a National *preparedness* under extreme circumstances or any ability to perform on a National Level scale of disaster planning since 9-11?!?

This IS the Question and it IS National in scope; as posed these excerpts from the following two pieces: one from the ultraconservative Wall Street Journal editorial pages, the other from Eugene Robinson of the Washington Post.

Click on the “more” button to read further…

It’s your failure too, Mr. Bush By Eugene Robinson:
“...First, an administration that since Sept. 11, 2001, has told us a major terrorist strike is inevitable should have had in place a well-elaborated plan for evacuating a major American city. Even if there wasn't a specific plan for New Orleans -- although it was clear that a breach of the city's levees was one of the likeliest natural catastrophes -- there should have been a generic plan. George W. Bush told us time and again that our cities were threatened. Shouldn't he have ordered up a plan to get people out?

Second, someone should have thought about what to do with hundreds of thousands of evacuees, both in the days after a disaster and in the long term. As people flooded out of New Orleans, it was officials at the state and local level who rose to the challenge, making it up as they went along. Bring a bunch of people to the Astrodome. We have a vacant hotel that we can use. Send a hundred or so down to our church and we'll do the best we can.

Tent cities aren't a happy option, but neither is haphazard improvisation. Is the problem the Bush administration's ideological fervor for small government? Does the White House really believe that primary responsibility should fall on volunteers, church groups and individuals? Or is it just stunning incompetence and lack of foresight?..."

And this from the WSJ: Bush and Katrina: Reasserting presidential leadership amid a political hurricane.
“The White House is slowly recovering from its first-week stumbles responding to Katrina, with President Bush taking his second trip to New Orleans yesterday. His quick elevation of John Roberts to Chief Justice is another welcome sign of energy. But Mr. Bush can't afford to stop there, because the aftermath of Katrina poses a threat to his entire second term.

We aren't referring here to the storm surge of recrimination blaming post-Katrina problems on everything from Iraq, to tax cuts, to his refusal to endorse the Kyoto Protocol. The American public knows this was an epic natural disaster and won't fall for political opportunism. By the same token, Americans also won't have much patience for White House claims that state and local officials were the greater incompetents. Yes, Louisiana needed a Rudy Giuliani. But what Americans want now is proof that their government understands the nature of the challenge and is acting forcefully to meet it.

On this point, Mr. Bush is going to have to recognize the obvious initial failure of the Department of Homeland Security in its first big post-9/11 test. The President created this latest huge federal bureaucracy, against the advice of many of us, and we're still waiting for evidence that it has done anything but reshuffle the Beltway furniture. If FEMA can't now handle the diaspora out of New Orleans to Houston, Baton Rouge and other cities, the political retribution will be fierce.


What's really at stake in the coming months is the Republican claim to be the governing party. That claim has been based in part on the assertion that energetic government doesn't also have to be big government. Mr. Bush's refusal to restrain a free-spending GOP Congress has already undermined the latter, while Katrina is stretching the credibility of the former. Democrats will spend the next year asserting that at least they'll spend tax dollars on levees in New Orleans, rather than Alaskan bridges to nowhere.

As the initial polls are showing, most Americans aren't yet blaming Mr. Bush for Katrina's aftermath. But with war in Iraq and terrorism, rising energy prices and now a natural disaster, these are also anxious times. Voters will forgive a President many mistakes but no leader can survive a public judgment that he is unsure of himself and hostage to events. We've thought for some time that Mr. Bush's reticence was hurting him on Iraq, and that he needs to be both more visible and more assertive in making his case to Americans. After Katrina, we'd say that's imperative.”

Karen on 09.06.05 @ 12:26 PM CST

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