Saturday, September 3

Shut Up, A Continuing Feature

Witness at the birth of the Bias of Liberal Technology, John Podhoretz:
So it took the federal government somewhere between 72 and 96 hours to go on full mobilization after the disasters of Katrina. At any time in history before the present moment, that would have been considered lightning-fast. Even as little as five years ago, we wouldn't have gotten the horrifying reports out of New Orleans that we got from Shep Smith and others using light cameras and videophones -- and by the time the extent of the nightmare would have become widely known, the relief operation would have been fully underway.

I've been watching the Corner Kids a bit the last few days, mostly for an idea I'm not quite ready to hatch about the basic human dignity some have displayed vs. their pressing need to design a public relations campaign to pull their president out of the muck while answering emails from people who think the principles of federalism are too important to worry about a few hundred deaths from dehydration or worse. I'm stopping the data collecting right here.

I've been reading and watching the news for forty years, and I have never, ever, seen a response to disaster even approach such criminal tardiness. Yes, even back in the days of land lines and black and white teevees the Guard was mobilized, and generally on the scene, within 24 hours. I say generally, but I don't recall a single instance where that wasn't the case. Hell, most mine cave-ins were resolved before four days had passed, even with moving in equipment to drill new shafts. Because they had to be.

Ultralight cameras are a great thing; one may have saved hundreds of lives at the Convention Center. But that was four fucking days after the event. Nothing, repeat, nothing, will ever excuse that. And, y'know, JPod, you can look this up: other technologies have advanced over the years as well. If we can find someone with a tiny camera we can get to them with large helicopters or amphibious vehicles far beyond anything we had in the days before the microwave oven. That might have been the second part of your brilliant observation, if you weren't engaged in stupidity for the sheer enjoyment of it.


Anonymous said...

God. Yet another example of the wingnuts' Abu Ghraib defense: If I don't see the pictures, nothing happened.
Can't wait for Rush to start flogging t-shirts. Hey, New Orleans is hot in August. Who wouldn't want a swimming pool right outside their door? And inside, okay.

Jim McCulloch said...

If I remember my reading correctly, relief operations, from Houston at least, were underway within a couple of days after the great Galveston hurricane of 1900. Water service and telegraph were restored, I think I remember reading, in 5 days. Maybe I should go check that. But the idea that a situation of nothing happening for 5+ days was once acceptable, but modern technology has merely rendered us unreasonably impatient, is not only wrong but stupid.