Monday, February 18, 2008

One Damning Video

[My old posts keep percolating up in the referrals. This one from Katrina days (October, 2006) helps me remember a political catastrophe at the time resulting in federal inertia as the same administration that had overturned a despot in the Middle East and dropped "daisy cutter" bombs in the hills of Afghanistan sat with hands in their laps, citing...Hell, I don't remember what was the excuse for doing nothing as helpless people in New Orleans remained trapped in the Super Dome for days.

One criticism of Barak Obama is that he might not be able to handle a crisis. I can't speak for anyone else, but looking backward, it's hard for me to imagine the next four years being mismanaged any worse than the last four.]


I will never forget listening to the radio during the first day or two of the Katrina disaster, listening to the Neal Boortz program. A listener called all the way from Australia. He was monitoring the Hurricane story by listening to Boortz show on the Internet. He posed this haunting and unanswered question...

"Where are your amphibious vehicles???"

The question goes to the heart of Washington's inaction during a time of crisis. I sometimes wonder if in retrospect anyone in a position to intervene has had any regrets about his failure to do so.

This YouTube U2 Video spells it out in sad, bleeding irony.
Four thousand comments left so far...
I am not alone.

This is part of what I mused about at the time.

In the absence of leadership on the part of elected officials the role of the military continues to expand in our national affairs. The recent catastrophic damage of Hurricane Katrina begs the question. In the absence of local and state leadership, how and when should the military intervene (or be used - there is a difference, you know) to bring about a speedy and efficient recovery in the aftermath of a natural disaster?After last year's tsunami brought wholesale tragedy to the Indian Ocean, the military response was swift and impressive. This was an example of swords into plowshares in the best sense of the phrase. Following the Katrina disaster with all those people penned up in the Superdome, an Australian caller to a talk show asked an obvious question.

"Where," he asked incredulously, "are your amphibious vehicles???"

Where, indeed? For this observer, watching from the other side of the world, it was a no-brainer. The military has hovercraft capable of delivering tanks and trucks to battlefields with no highways. Amphibious vehicles from World War Two are being used to taxi sight-seers over both water and city streets in Boston, Detroit and other places. Why not load up water, food and other supplies, take them to where they can be used, load up a crowd of people to be evacuated, and keep it up until the situation is safer and better organized?


Abe said...

Geez Hoots, I think our amphibious capabilities were in dry dock after tsunamic diplomacy somewhere around Indonesia and closer to the Aussies than The Big Easy.

Abe said...


I forgot to tell you that The Hippo was shot by a poacher in Zimbabwe for his teeth and has returned after a brief stay in the afterlife as Abe Linkum.

See you around.