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Monday, October 03, 2005

Quote Of The Day

The Katrina-inspired idea that the Pentagon should take the lead in disaster relief is bombing among the governors:
Of the 38 governors who responded to a request for reaction to Bush's comments, only two backed the idea: Republicans Mitt Romney of Massachusetts and Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota.
Most governors who opposed the suggestion said they would resist any effort by Washington to usurp state control of disaster relief, even in a devastating event like Hurricane Katrina, in which more than 1,100 people died.

"Whether a governor is a Republican or Democrat, I would expect the response would be, 'Hell no,' " said Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm, a Democrat.

Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, a Republican whose state was pummeled by Katrina, said some federal help might be necessary. "But we don't need them coming in and running things," Barbour spokesman Pete Smith said.
I would think not. Even Jeb Bush apparently was dubious. Via Lucianne.com.
"People in Washington, D.C., can yap all they want," said Montana's Democratic governor, Brian Schweitzer, "but they're not going to undermine the constitution of the state of Montana."
I am sure the Pentagon doesn't want to be involved either. It is a bad idea. Effective disaster relief requires detailed advance planning, which must be done locally. Unless you basically give the Pentagon authority to take over a state they won't be able to marshall the resources to handle things anyway. So much for the Blanco yap.

After all the screaming in the media about the failure of the federal government to immediately provide relief in NOLA, I think this proposal was an attempt to expose the separation that exists between state and federal government. If the governors had come out in favor of the military takeing over the response in NOLA would have looked bad for the feds. Now the governors, Dem and Rep alike, have clearly said it is their responsibility first. Wonder how this will be played in the media.
I don't think it will get much play at all.

Effective disaster planning has to do a lot with state resources. I doubt that the Pentagon could act as a silver bullet. It doesn't have the ability to put into effect the measures and the planning in advance that are needed to deal with most disasters. Are there locations provided for special needs shelters? Are the necessary supplies stockpiled? Have possible escape routes and alternate traffic routing been considered? Are lines of emergency communication established? Has an effective network of responsible people among all the different departments of state been established?

Things like that make a huge difference. Just flying in with helicopters does not. The Pentagon does have the specialized ability to deal with things like chemical and bio attacks, but there is already legal authorization for those special circumstances.

I don't think the press is willing to sit down and do the studying necessary to write boring but well thought-out articles on effective disaster planning and prevention.

I like your blog, Joated. I have always had a sneaking desire for a log home myself.
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