Friday, September 02, 2005

Hurricane Katrina Emergency Response

I have 2 thoughts on the response to the devastation from Hurricane Katrina.

1) Is this the pace of response we would see if there was a large terrorist attack? Presumably it is. Perhaps this is bigger than almost any other nuclear attack - but what about a small nuclear device in NYC? I guess that would be more localized. But it just seems like THIS is what SOMEONE (FEMA? Dept of Homeland Security?) should have been preparing for since 9/11.

I'll admit I am a Democrat (and Proud Of It! Well, maybe proud of being a Liberal/Progressive ...) and I don't like Bush very much - and I don't like him any better for this - but I don't think it would have been any better under a Democratic President - or maybe only a little better. There is something wrong with the way we do things. Item 2 below addresses part of that. Another part is that our politicians, in general, care about their DONORS rather than their CONSTITUENTS. The voters are the pawns - the donors are the ones with the power and weapons and money. And most large donors are business men, who care about their business (and their stockholders - I am not saying they are all greedy) - but not about the PEOPLE.

2) I heard one thing on the radio that was fascinating. I don't know who said it - I don't know where I heard it - but it was pretty enlightening. What this person said was - for our critical problems like this emergency, we need an approach like the Manhattan Project that made the atom bomb during World War II. And specifically, the approach used there was - every schedule you are given is too long and can and must be cut significantly. If someone says it will take 6 weeks, you say we don't have that much time - you 2 weeks. If someone says it will take 2 weeks, you give them 2 days. You just have to shift people's thinking about what is possible, and what is acceptable.

I was listening to the FEMA director today, talking about the table test they did 2 years ago on the potential impact of a major hurricane on New Orleans. And the planning they did 1 year ago on how to reduce the risk and improve the response. And I got the impression that, if we were lucky, they would have IMPLEMENTED something in a couple more years. And I wonder what could have been done if they had that Manhattan Project mentality.

I realize a big part of this is money, and how we allocate it, and how we get it (via taxes). Item 1 above addresses that a little. But that is a topic for another post.


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