Tuesday, September 06, 2005


This morning's NPR continued the routine condemnation of FEMA & Co., blasting their unpreparedness, etc... Criticisms fell like rain, flooding my bedroom with a good dose of post-holiday vitrol. Seems I wasn't the only one not happy about going back to work. The last commentator of the morning, a relief worker, broke the routine. The military's efforts were completely in keeping with timetables on such things, he argued. America's ability to provide comprehensive aid during this effort in 3 days is impressive. What is out of wack, he claimed, were our expectations.

Three days is an impressively short response time answering such a response, but central to our concern is the fact nothing was waiting as the storm approached. Americans aren't pissed that it takes 3 days to mobilize a National Guard unit, they are pissed that the Fed addressed the crisis reactively, not proactively. I expect that no serious planning, risk assessments or roadmaps have been drawn up for a US Rescue mission to Port-au-Prince, but who gives a shit. New Orleans was, until last week, one of the largest cities in the south, and such scenarios were envisioned. All the components for a proactive approach existed, and none was taken. As a result, our televisions have been inundated by pictures of an American City descending into the depths of lawlessness, privation and chaos. The government's response this week might be considered a stunning success in Port-au-Prince, but is wholly unacceptable on American soil.

This administration is consistently underprepared: Bush is in all things reactionary. Americans are forgiving of mistakes in extraordinary, wholly unexpected scenarios like 9-11. But we are tired of seeing its government fall flat on its face in situations suffering from a lack of preparation, from Najaf to New Orleans, for 5 years. Its not unrealistically high expectations for our government that are distorted, its the government's low expectations of itself.

1 comment:

FishingRodLady said...

Although I hate to give any credit to the Bush administration because I believe that they fail more often than they succeed, I feel compelled to ask the following.

Have you taken into account that the federal government's hands were tied until the Governor of Louisiana turned over power? Fema had the letter to relinquish power in front of her within 24 hours of the storm and she refused to sign. Who is to blame for that? Perhaps the local government of Lousiana is more corrupt than the feds.