Fulcrum Ruminations

Friday, September 09, 2005

Follow-on Forces

Looks like Mister Brown has been removed from service. He's no longer in charge of FEMA's hurricane Katrina relief effort. This should make some people quite happy, tho not as happy as if he'd been sacked from FEMA entirely. Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen will be taking charge of the overall mission now . . . an interesting choice, given that the Coast Guard, alone among armed services, has both a military and a law-enforcement mandate at the national level.

Tho I have a sneaking suspicion that Mr. Brown will be quietly shuffled off the job entirely at some point.

Speaking of the hurricane and its aftermath, this op-ed from the Wall Street Journal points out that the Pentagon was not quite as unprepared as some would have us think. Here's a pertinent quote -

The popular impression left the past week-- that the government was wholly unprepared for Katrina--is not true. Significant U.S. military assistance was on alert throughout the week prior to Katrina's landfall. Why those highly trained and drilled assets did not move into New Orleans sooner is a question that should now sit at the center of a debate over who should have the authority--the states or the federal government--to be the "first mover."

Once again, as after 9/11, the main problem seems to have been jurisdictional quarrels, with no-one quite sure who was supposed to be the tail and who was supposed to be the dog. Maybe if Mayor Nagin had followed his own emergency plan, or Governor Blanco hadn't been busy forgetting to declare a state of emergency . . . here's a quote from the article in the Washington Post I linked a couple words back -

Louisiana did not reach out to a multi-state mutual aid compact for assistance until Wednesday, three state and federal officials said. As of Saturday, Blanco still had not declared a state of emergency, the senior Bush official said.

One has to note how much better the response has been in Mississipi and Alabama, where the state authorities worked a little more smoothly with the feds.

Still, plenty of blame to go around. Since everyone from the New Orleans Mayor to the President screwed the pooch on this one, there should be a good bipartisan effort to find no-one at fault.

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Meanwhile, in another Wall Street Journal op-ed, Mark Helprin notes how nothing much has really changed with the way our government responds to crises and major trends, in a manner eerily similar to something I posted about some months back. Coincidence? You decide.

1 Comments:

Blogger Generik said...

No surprise here, but you appear to be truth-challenged once again.

1:16 PM  

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