The news media has been harping on the Bush Administration for a slow response. Not evacuating people sooner, the several day delay in getting supplies into the area, and in providing civil support.
My general thought is that nothing will be quick enough. The blame game is starting already, but fortunately, politicians on both sides of the aisle are trying to avoid it.
To those who say “America: Sole Superpower can’t save her cities”, I’d like to consider American responses over the years. Our strength is a dramatic industrial response, a level of scale and brutal “can do attitude” that other countries can’t think about. We start off slow, but once started are difficult to stop.
Three weeks ago, if we were stocking the level of supplies, resources and people necessary to be a quick response to a disaster of this size anywhere in the country, it would be a political nightmare as a waste of money. It would have to be a group ready to respond to a “big one” in LA or San Francisco, a megatsunami from the Canary Islands towards the eastern seaboard, or a hurricane anywhere from Texas to Florida.
In five years, we will not be willing to have that level of response either.
There’s no doubt in mind that the Iraq and Afghanistan business has affected the ability of our National Guard in response to events like this. My friend Ed in a CA helicopter guard unit told me today that 40 of the 60 helicopters in the CA Guard are in Iraq, and will probably take 4 to 8 months to be rebuilt once they return from Iraq. Also, that 20,000 out of 25,000 CA Guardsmen in the past 4 years have served in either Iraq or Afghanistan, and that there are. Additionally, most of the vehicles seen on TV are Vietnam era equipment.
I’m not going to say “pull out of Iraq to save New Orleans”. The logistics of that thinking is crazy: by the time even 10% of the American soldiers were returned to US soil, the hardest part of this crisis will be solved. And if you think this is a karma thing, the US being punished for sins against the rest of the world (take your pick, Iraq, global warming, nuclear weapons, ego), I’m sorry, but the universe doesn’t work like that. And if you think it is a divine input to cause it, I’d ask you to question that Being. “God doesn’t like you, so he sent a hurricane” should raise some questions in your own head.