Thursday, September 01, 2005

Late Night Realisation

Hurricane Katrina was a Cat3 hurricane and rising for several days, pointed at New Orleans. At the end, it was clearly a Cat5 storm. Lots of preparation and warning time, if not well utilised since no one really expected it to be this bad. The Mayor of New Orleans issued a belated evacuation order before the strike. Again, lots of warning and lead time.

It's been three days now, almost four, since the landfall and flood. The Federal government's response has been chaotic, hesitant, confused. Lots of troops promised, but few on the scene. Pretty much the New Orleans police (mostly heroic), the Louisiana State Troopers and some National Guard are it right now, carrying a load far beyond their strength.

Ever since 9/11, we've been told repeatedly that America is prepared for the next attack. And yet, even given lots of warning beforehand and plenty of warning scenario rehearsals beforehand, and plans, plans, plans, it's clear we are not. Not at all.

Granted, this catastrophe is far, far larger and worse than anything the terrorists can throw at us -- even dirty bombs and anthrax attacks. Larger and worse than all but a few believed was likely to happen. So why am I not reassured?

I didn't used to worry about it before, but now I'm not so sure. And heaven help us if an attack comes in the next few weeks or months. September 11 is, after all, just two weeks from this Sunday. I'm not up to full-scale worry yet, but....

[Digression: My prediction is to watch closely. You'll begin to see rumors / conspiracy theories that the whole Katrina thing is a plot / excuse by BushRove, Inc. to restart the draft. I'd bet money on this.

DIGRESSION UPDATE: Well, that took less time than I ever dreamed. And from CNN no less.]

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