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September 02, 2005

Katrina: Some questions
Posted by Suzanne Nossel

How about these:

- What does this say about the status of homeland security preparedness steps taken since 9/11 - plans for "first-responders," command and control, the efficacy of disaster drills, etc.

- If we cannot deal with this, how would we ever cope with, say, a dirty bomb?

- What is the true impact of our obligations in Iraq on our ability to mobilize in response to this disaster?

- Why, as reported this morning, have some troops serving Iraq been flown in and heading straight to duty in New Orleans?  Were these people scheduled to come home?  Were they ordered home?  Are we that short of manpower?

- What will the rest of the world make of this - a grim reminder of America's gaping class and racial divisions?  more evidence that we're not omnipotent?  more gratitude for what we have contributed to the tsunami and other relief efforts?

- How will the hurricane affect already waning public support for the Iraq war effort?  What about the war on terror?

While we ponder and debate, here's a link to liberal blogs for hurricane relief.


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Spot on.

I'm getting the impression that possibly the bulk of the homeland security emphasis is on surveillance and prevention. If you get enough info on everybody possibly you can spot the bad guys before they set off a dirty bomb or whatever.

And if you can't do that then you've failed and have to face a catastrophe.

And then there's a lot of money for equipment for red states.

One pleasant thing about trying to stop terrorists before they actually blow things up is that if there happen not to be any such terrorists you can hardly lose.

If there were terrorists planning further attacks, we might have scared them off with our response to 9/11. We showed them that after their attack we'll go utterly batshit crazy. And we have nukes, and the best weaponized anthrax in the world, and the best nerve gas, and so on. Get us riled up and there's no telling what we'll do.

No sane terrorist would attack a country like that. But it doesn't help us with hurricanes.

Umm, a dirty bomb might take out 10-20 city blocks. This disaster took out 90,000 square miles. Two states are non functioning and an entire major metro area has essentially been obliterated (not to mention tens of minor cities). How in the world can you possibly compare the two?

Of course, if we did not have 100,000+ troops in Europe sitting on their ass, they might also be able to be here to help.

As for class and racial segregation, do you think the rest of the world is a paradise of bourgeoise egalitarianism?

Come on, if you are going to shoot for cheap political points, at least have some strength behind your arguments. I think you'll find the rest of the country is able to make distinctions between the disaster in LA and the war on terror. Unfortunately, liberals in their anger at the administration, seem incapable of doing so and simply seem to be falling all over themselves to see if they can add Katrina to their arsenal along with Mrs. Shehan. Of course, it'll probably be just as effective as the Crawford vigil.

Alex, I get the impression you're thinking about a conventional bomb that spreads some radioactivity.

I'm talking about a nuke with a layer of, say, cobalt around it, that spreads a lot of radioactivity wherever the fallout lands.

We *could* say that a little radioactivity never hurt anybody and people outside the blast zone should just ignore it and won't be allowed to evacuate. But we'd better be ready to evacuate a city.

- How will the hurricane affect already waning public support for the Iraq war effort? What about the war on terror?

Somehow this reminds me of the Jihadists' conclusion recounted here by Whalid Phares, that this was a punishment visited by God on the infidels.

But tell me this, how can Juan Cole are both: 1. that Pat Robertson was wrong about sin being a provocation to Divine Wrath, because New Orleans was spared, but at the same time claim that this was another "turning point" in American attitudes about the war.

It seems that what we have is a dependent variable that never changes. Anything George Bush does is wrong and negative, and anything negative that happens is somehow an indication of George Bush's inadequacy.

Not that he isn't sometimes inadequate, but the lack of modulation on the part of his critics suggests that they've always got both feet pressed firmly on the brakes no matter what the driving conditions happen to be.

And by the way, "waning support for the war" is one of those stock phrases that the left has been using since we contemplated the Afghanistan campaign. If every time someone asks you the time and you always answer "5 O'Clock" then you're bound to eventually be right. It's the trick of the "spiritualist" or the fortune teller. Due to recency people don't remember the 99 times they were wrong--just the one time they were right.

At the very moment that Bill Maher was claiming (after defending the fact that his usual 4 to 1 liberal advantage had been made 5 to 0, which he felt was a "good thing") that the Bush response to Katrina was the turning point that would disillusion the nation about George Bush CNN was interviewing residents and relief officials who praised George Bush for "getting it right," and most of whom tended to blame the Mayor and his staff for slow and no responses.

Do you guys ever open your eyes?

Sorry about the grammatical errors. I've been at that APSA Meeting all day, and I'm read for a nap.

Partisan politics in the US has always been something of a "show," but it's growing increasingly inappropriate. And if you ever want to go beyond just complaining to some semblence of a policy role, then for heaven sake practice a little modulation. You actually had several good points about our unpreparedness to deal with a widescale and "messy" attack. It's clear that we aren't ready. And it's not as though a hurricane hitting New Orleans is something that came right out of the blue. We've known for a long time that it would happen eventually.

What are we to make of the fact that Right-Wing Blogs have donated five times as much money for hurricane relief as Left-Wing Blogs?

What are we to make of the fact that Right-Wing Blogs have donated five times as much money for hurricane relief as Left-Wing Blogs?

Demosophist, when has Bush taken advice from anybody outside his small inner circle?

We can discuss what policy after Bush ought to be, but it's just silly to talk about what Bush ought to do instead of what he will do.

Bush is an unmitigated disaster for the USA, and there's no use in "modulation". Bush is like the little girl with the curl in her forehead. "When he is bad he is very very bad, but the rest of the time he's horrid."

Do you have an argument why modulation might get better results? Something like pumping the brakes when you're skidding, maybe?

There is no bargaining with him, he does not keep his word. There's no meeting eye to eye, he lies. With Bush there is no substitute for impeachment.

Bush says either you're for him or you're against him. He's right. I believed him about the WMDs. He isn't going to fool me twice.

I'm willing to modulate this much: If he and/or Cheney voluntarily resign before the 2006 elections then I'd argue in favor of pardoning them and even letting them keep most of their loot. But if we have to impeach them, I want a treason trial and I want them both in Leavenworth for 30 years minimum.

I'm not willing to compromise on Rove. He should be shot, or get life imprisonment, or else go completely free and unprotected and face whatever mob justice waits for him.

More and more americans are finding that they cannot be neutral, they must be for or against these murdering thieves. The murdering thieves won't allow compromise. They are waging an undeclared war on america and our only possible objective is their unconditional surrender to the restored lawful authorities.

Here's some poll results about Bush's handling of Katrina that don't support the centention that the public holds him in widespread contempt. My observation above is simply a reference to the fact that the public counts on the Social Democrats to blame George Bush for everything, and they've largely discounted the press coverage and criticism.

In addition to the Bill Maher episode I discussed Walid Phares notes that the "left academia" is extracting almost exactly the same "cosmic lesson" from Katrina as Al Qaeda. Maybe what you believe in is Allah?

Demosophist, when has Bush taken advice from anybody outside his small inner circle?

How would I know? For that matter, how would you? I get the impression that it wouldn't matter much who he consulted, you'd just refer to them as part of his "small inner circle," by definition. He certainly doesn't take much advice from the Social Democratic Left, who tend to blame him for everything from the weather to crop yields, calling him a murderer, or worse. Have you ever noticed that pople treat you seriously when you act like that? But, for instance, he read Natan Sharansky's book on democracy and liberal government as a foreign policy. Have you? Maybe you're the one taking all your advice from a small circle?

Do you have an argument why modulation might get better results?

Sure. People would tend to credit criticism more. The fact that he's criticized for everything, and sometimes by arguments that are so patently sophomoric they're laughable, just makes it easier to dismiss even valid criticism. What amazes me is that you guys just don't get this. It goes in one ear and out the other.

Bush isn't wrong about democracy expansion. He's not wrong about a lot of stuff. The fact that you can't sift the good from the bad just marginalizes you. You're, well... "unserious."

More and more americans are finding that they cannot be neutral, they must be for or against these murdering thieves.

How old are you? Twelve? Again with the skyrocketing public opinion trend that never materializes. Do you understand that there are now more Republicans than Democrats in the country, and more independents that vote Republican than Democrat? I'm surprised a Democrat can garner more than 30% of the vote. And I'm not even a Republican. I've never seen such a shameful cut-off-your-nose-to-spite-your-face opposition in my life.

George Bush and Karl Rove aren't your problem. You're your problem.

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