Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Do it Yourself

I want to say a couple things about how our fed intends to take care of us in time of nuclear threat. In Katrina, FEMA's fumble would have been less of a disaster if local people and plans had been stronger than New Orleans' levees.

The reading this week from Quillen explained that nuclear terror, as part of domestic anti-terror operations, is primarily an enforcement operation. That means we are banking on preventing a terror attack. When asked about nuclear terror at home in July Scott McLellan responded simply that fighting terror and nuclear proliferation abroad would hopefully make it a non-issue. FBI at home and DoD et al abroad, preventing a domestic terror attack, that is a grand idea. I like that.

Quillen goes on to argue, however, that DoD should be given more leverage to assist ‘moment-after’ relief efforts, even to the extent of being allowed to declare “National Defense Areas.” I’m wary about that idea. The fed should not be too anxious to insert itself in moment after relief efforts.

We need to implement this lesson from Katrina (bad example) and 9/11 (good example): when disaster strikes, moment after relief is most effective from the local level up. Ted Cieslak asserted this at the Fall Conference by showing us the action plan Katrina relief was meant to have followed. It is dangerous for the fed to set a precedent of co-opting local fire-chiefs in every disaster the nation faces. Community self-sufficiency seems to me the way to go. Homeland security and FEMA under its auspices work through local agencies to help them prepare emergency plans. We don’t need to plan for tossing them out the window just yet.

DoD may need to help, but they are not the only organized people living in America. I say keep it local.

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