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September 02, 2005



Um, yes. I think we can now say that nothing we've done since September 11 has enhanced our disaster response capability in the slightest. Kind of a pity.


I think we all assumed that this administration was doing the best that it could with respect to disaster response. Unfortunately, it turns out we were right.


Could not agree more.


Yes, yes we are. Well and truly and, as we are wont to say, eight ways to Sunday.


I so agree.

I do have some hopes that Houston is going to be a model of organized disaster relief... I think people there will be not only decent on the whole, but will handle it intelligently.

I liked it that Diane Sawyer asked Bush if oil companies would voluntarily cut their profit margin to help with disaster relief.

I wonder too about banks and their eventual profits from people who can't pay their mortgages. People lose their homes or businesses and land, and then tax money goes to rebuild the city and the banks and developers, who have the huge amount of capital necessary to weather that, come out on top.


So if Katrina is the new 9/11, does that mean Bush is gonna invade Cuba?

James Slusher

He won't invade Cuba, but he will be glad to rape Mother Nature as a bit of payback.

Doctor Slack

Armando over at Kos has a pretty comprehensive post up about what seems to have happened with the response to Katrina. (Note in particular the apparent indifference to NO's "low-mobility population.") There are some things there that, under any other Administration, would have been shocking.

Timothy Burke

Houston officials have just decided that the Astrodome can actually only hold 5,000 and are turning away some arriving buses. So much for the hope that Houston would somehow step up to the plate in a way that officials inside the catastrophe couldn't manage.


I have to say that I don't follow all this criticism. Has the reaction been ideal? Obviously not. But the scale of the catastrophe is extraordinary. An area more than half the size of France has been destroyed and one of our cities is apparently in a state of post-apocalyptic chaos. No plan could possibly accomodate these things.

belle waring

raffi, there are people dying of thirst and hunger outside the NO convention center, in an area totally acessable to news media somehow (I have seen many reports filmed there), a place from which buses going to other locations are regularly seen passing by, four days after the storm, and we can't airlift any fucking water in there to save little children? in fucking america? to quote GWB, this is not acceptable.

Doctor Slack

But the scale of the catastrophe is extraordinary.

The US was able to deploy heavy machinery, an aircraft carrier and water purification equipment halfway around the planet within five days of the tsunami disaster. The anemic response to this catastrophe on its own soil is inescapably bizarre, though -- to those of us on the irrational Bush-hating left -- not entire unpredictable.

John Frost

The question everyone should be asking is, what if this was a terrorist attack or a natural disaster with little or no warning (if I still lived near an earthquake zone, I'd be asking if my local planners had a handle on things)? The answer is we would have 1.8 million dead and only 20,000 refugees instead of the other way around. The resounding thud you heard is the ball being dropped up in Washington DC and we should throw them all out because of it. In some countries they would be resigning in shame right now.

I've posted some ideas on what should have been done on my blog.

Another Damned Medievalist

It's fucking appalling. Please let people see that these 'small government, privatize everything, lower taxes, denigrate meritocracy' assholes need to go even more today than they did four years ago.


Am I wrong to conclude that a person would be better off as a survivor of the Asian tsunami in some god-forsaken village in Singapore than they would be as a survivor of Hurricane Katrina in downtown New Orleans?

Andrew John

Er, Abigail, you might want to note that (i) Singapore is a city state and has no villages in the usual sense of the term; (ii) Singapore is one of the richest countries in the world; and (iii) Singapore was unaffected by the tsunami. That said, were you to substitute "Thailand" for "Singapore", the answer is almost certainly yes. Even if you were to substitute "Aceh" or "Sri Lanka" for "Singapore", the answer might well be yes.


Oops. I was thinking about Sri Lanka. That's what I get for commenting at 3 AM.

Randolph Fritz

"I think we had all assumed that in the meantime a lot of wargaming and disaster-mitigation planning and homeland security gearup had been going on."

There's so much evidence of mismanagement at Homeland Security--why did you think this?

Kathryn Cramer

I've sent you a trackback. I think I'm beginning to understand where the HS money went.


Kathryn Cramer Publishes Lies to Harm Relations Between MINUSTAH and Cité-Soliel Residents.

The website kathryncramer.com is being used by an American fiction editor/writer to spread false rumors designed to harm relations between MINUSTAH and the residents of Cité-Soleil. Cramer would like people to believe the UN has hired spies to upset the elections and mercenaries to shoot Haitians from patrol boats waiting in the waters off Cité-Soleil. This is blatantly false. Cramer is lying. To support her claims, Cramer is publishing a set of forged documents and presentations supposedly produced by MINUSTAH. MINUSTAH spokespersons have repeatedly stated these presentations are fakes designed to spread anti-UN propaganda and contribute to the insecurity of the Haitian people struggling to survive in Cité-Soleil. These lies come just in time to do the most harm as the February 7 elections draw near. The story Cramer tells is a lie with no basis in truth. By continuing to publish these false UN documents Cramer is supporting the evil propaganda of the criminal gangs and the ADLN. Cramer has also been claiming that CAG is somehow involved in these nefarious deeds. CAG is not in the business of spying, conducting surveillance or any form of covert “black-ops” as Cramer contends. CAG is an international management consulting firm actively involved and deeply committed to finding enduring solutions for the complex institutional and infrastructure problems of the nation. CAG is neutral regarding all political matters and sincerely desires to continue its support for the Haitian people no matter which candidate wins office.

Doctor Slack

CAG: Funny, until you posted your fervid rant against Cramer, I probably wouldn't have clicked over to her blog and read the full saga there. Good job driving traffic to her site, where there are indeed many interesting questions.

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