|The Early Days of a Better Nation|
Friday, September 09, 2005
Where were the black helicopters?
Caligula made his horse a Senator, but he didn't put the stable boy in charge of the aqueducts. The local, state and federal lack of preparation, the gutting of FEMA (previously capable, even under Bush, of acting with rather more despatch) as it was integrated, if that's the word, into Homeland Security present a record for which Michael Brown's replacement on the scene (not even sacking!) is not even the first installment of retribution.
A proper accounting must investigate FEMA's and Homeland Security's part in the sinister seige of New Orleans, in excluding the Red Cross and other volunteers, while allowing in Blackwater mercenaries.
[Added Saturday 10 Sept.]
Like I said before, the best blogging coverage is going on at Making Light and Lenin's Tomb. I found most of the above links there. The World Socialist Web Site are not my kind of socialists, but their daily analyses and reports have been sharp. Some commentary on the libertarian side can also make you think.
What's happened is a disaster all right, but to say that it's a failure presupposes that the plan was to use all available civil and military forces to deliver relief, and that this plan failed. Evidently there was no such plan. Nor, contrary to what some on the left have argued, was the situation left to the market and other forms of voluntary organization. Time and again, volunteer help from outside and self-help and mutual aid within have been blocked.
What the US authorities at every level appear to have settled on by accident or design is a method with wider application. The priority is to control the population. In the event of disaster, seal off the city until a sufficient military force is in place to take it. Exaggerate the degree of disorder within, relying on racism and rumour. Evacuate the city at gunpoint and don't let people back. Disperse the evacuees, humanely it may be, but firmly, with as much of the burden as possible taken by charity. Turn over the reconstruction to Haliburton and favoured real-estate developers. This is the future of Homeland Security. This is what to expect in the event of another natural disaster or mass-casualty attack.
There's no reason to expect anything substantially different in Britain. Civil disaster management and civil defence are very likely just as riddled with private consultancies, workshopping scenarios to their hearts' content, while the real preparation is for military and police occupation.
The time to prepare citizen self-organization from below is now. Some individual self-preparation wouldn't go amiss either.