Friday, September 02, 2005

Department of Homeland Screw-Up

From Slate:
Lt. Gen. Russel Honoré, who is commanding the military component of Washington's response, pleaded for patience from the people of New Orleans, promising that the U.S. Army was "building the capability" to help them.

Building the capability? How is it possible that with the fourth anniversary of 9/11 almost upon us, the federal government doesn't have in hand the capability to prepare for and then manage a large urban disaster, natural or man-made? In terms of the challenge to government, there is little difference between a terrorist attack that wounds many people and renders a significant portion of a city uninhabitable, and the fallout this week from the failure of one of New Orleans' major levees. Indeed, a terrorist could have chosen a levee for his target. Or a dirty-bomb attack in New Orleans could have caused the same sort of forced evacuation we are seeing and the widespread sickness that is likely to follow.
I think that's something that hasn't been mentioned in the media, either. People around the world are seeing how ineffective the federal government is in responding to an "attack" on an American city, so if there are any terrorists left out there, this can be encouraged to attack a medium-sized American city with certain vulnerabilities.

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