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Monday, August 14, 2006

We Don't Learn Well

Hurricane Katrina was supposed to have taught us that the multiple layers of control over groups who respond to disasters was, in itself, a disaster.

Louisiana was slow at mobilizing their National Guard troops to try and set up some sort of security in the New Orleans area. Pundits were all over TV (and the blogosphere) wondering why the President didn't take control of the Guard and get them mobilized.

The truth was, short of invoking the Insurrection Act, he couldn't do it, and Kathleen Blanco was, for a least a day or so, reluctant to bring in the Guard.

So, as Congress is supposed to do, they looked at the problem, and decided that the President should be able to mobilize the National Guard in times of natural disaster.

Now, the Governors are pissed off and sending a nasty letter to Congress whining that their toes have been stepped on. They are whining that their State's sovereignty is being infringed on by such an act.

Remember, these are the same governors who expect the feds to have thousands of people on the ground in minutes after a Katrina like hurricane to distribute food and water, and evacuate the people they generally fail to get out of harms way.

Keeping in mind that the Insurrection Act, and logistics, make it difficult to use federal troops in that role, the National Guard is the logical choice. They are close buy, authorized as state troops to provide security and law enforcement, and generally more familiar with their territory than the 3rd Infantry Division would be.

What the Governor's want is control, without of course responsibility or accountibility. When the relief effort is slow to start, security is bad, or things just aren't going right, they want FEMA to be the one to blame. At the same time, they don't want to give up any control on anything in the state.

Sorry Governors, if you want the feds to do everything for you because of the demonstrated piss poor planning in your disaster prone states, then you need to provide them all the tools. If you want to maintain local control, then be willing, unlike Ms. Blanco, to step up and take the heat when stuff goes south.

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5Comments:

Blogger NEO, SOC said...

Bob, Bob, Bobbio;

While your treatise is rank with logic; it suffers the reality that those who need to understand your position have not the common sense to function at such an intellectual level. So, then we are forced to relive the nightmare as again this year we will face another natural disaster that could have been averted had those in power concede to incompetency and seek necessary aide.

12:03 PM  
Blogger asacan said...

Luckily, this year has had a pretty benign hurricane season (at least in the Atlantic sector), but it's not over yet. The seawater has finally begun to heat up, there's a depression that can form off the coast of Northern Florida, and a large system has just come off the west coast of Africa.

Even if it's not this year, it will certainly happen again.

The problem, the REAL problem, is that people have suspended personal responsibility. As a survivor of many hurricanes in my lifetime, being from Virginia Beach, there is absolutely NO replacement for personal responsibility.

But, since there will always be people who have a million excuses as to why they can't fulfill their civil duties (number one, taking care of yourself and those who depend on you), then they're just going to have to deal with these problems of government. Now taxpayers are funding more and more for disaster preparedness. It's rediculous. This whole Katrina response is rediculous.

Don't get me wrong, government disaster preparedness is important, but not to the level that it completely ignores people being responsible for themselves. Hmmm...isn't that the most expensive part of taxpayer funding? Hasn't irresponsibility taken over Defense spending?

12:35 PM  
Blogger shoprat said...

There was a time when problems, and disasters, were handled by the most local level of government equipped to deal with it, but now the feds have to do everything. If Nagini had believed that it was HIS RESPONSIBILITY (and it was) the story of New Orleans might have been quite different.

5:13 PM  
Blogger ablur said...

We have seen the blame game played out to the highest level. If each person 18 or older would take basic responsibility for getting out of the way of harm, we wouldn't need all these extremely expensive gov orgs.
The greater the number of those to blame the more it will cost us.

10:24 PM  
Blogger Tim said...

If only we could get rid of the Dept. of Homeland Security...

6:05 PM  

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