Thursday, September 01, 2005

The Imperfect Storm 2

Mark Fischetti warned in a Scientific American article entitled Drowning New Orleans, published in 2001, that the pattern of land use development in Louisiana made a disaster inevitable.

A major hurricane could swamp New Orleans under 20 feet of water, killing thousands. Human activities along the Mississippi River have dramatically increased the risk, and now only massive reengineering of southeastern Louisiana can save the city. ... 

A direct hit is inevitable. Large hurricanes come close every year. In 1965 Hurricane Betsy put parts of the city under eight feet of water. In 1992 monstrous Hurricane Andrew missed the city by only 100 miles. In 1998 Hurricane Georges veered east at the last moment but still caused billions of dollars of damage. At fault are natural processes that have been artificially accelerated by human tinkering--levying rivers, draining wetlands, dredging channels and cutting canals through marshes. Ironically, scientists and engineers say the only hope is more manipulation, although they don't necessarily agree on which proposed projects to pursue. Without intervention, experts at L.S.U. warn, the protective delta will be gone by 2090. The sunken city would sit directly on the sea--at best a troubled Venice, at worst a modern-day Atlantis.

Nor is the problem confined to Lousiana. Fischetti continues.

Fixing the delta would serve as a valuable test case for the country and the world. Coastal marshes are disappearing along the eastern seaboard, the other Gulf Coast states, San Francisco Bay and the Columbia River estuary for many of the same reasons besetting Louisiana. Parts of Houston are sinking faster than New Orleans. Major deltas around the globe--from the Orinoco in Venezuela, to the Nile in Egypt, to the Mekong in Vietnam--are in the same delicate state today that the Mississippi Delta was in 100 to 200 years ago.

The last Belmont Club post, Imperfect Storm, wrote:

One of the reasons that typhoons in the northern Indian Ocean, comprising India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Myanmar, and Pakistan kill the most people year after year is because of population concentrations in the low-lying coastal areas. One of the reasons Katrina was so devastating was the location of Gulf coast cities and oil rigs. This suggests that zoning and resistant architecture and contingency planning might do far more to limit disaster than immense investments in windmills or solar panels.

I had not at the time seen the Scientific American article. But it makes perfect sense. The disaster in Louisiana is the cumulative result of decades of a certain type of land use; land use driven as much by local politics as anything else, crossing all conceivable party lines and ideologies. As I argued in the Imperfect Storm, the evidence suggests that we can only make a limited impact on hurricane power and duration by adjusting fossil fuel consumption. But we can make a major reduction in human tragedy by zoning, protective architecture and contingency planning. Yet it will be hard. The Scientific American article recalls:

Since the late 1980s Louisiana's senators have made various pleas to Congress to fund massive remedial work. But they were not backed by a unified voice. L.S.U. had its surge models, and the Corps had others. Despite agreement on general solutions, competition abounded as to whose specific projects would be most effective. The Corps sometimes painted academics' cries about disaster as veiled pitches for research money. Academia occasionally retorted that the Corps's solution to everything was to bulldoze more dirt and pour more concrete, without scientific rationale. Meanwhile oystermen and shrimpers complained that the proposals from both the scientists and the engineers would ruin their fishing grounds.


Blogger erp said...

All of the above may be debatable, and theories may abound, but what is certain, is that the levees should have been maintained in good rerpair.

Obviously they hadn't even though hundreds and hundreds of million dollars were poured into the area for just that purpose.

9/01/2005 04:30:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

From an information standpoint, this is a repeat of the Bay of Bengal tsunami. The vulnerability of Louisiana was a known problem. Known to the COE, known to local government, known to the academe. With Katrina bearing down, a known scenario was eventuating.

Consider the problem of looting. That was a forseeable problem given the scenario. Et cetera. Well, we are always wiser after the fact.

9/01/2005 04:39:00 PM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

Although I concur with your premise that a better Return On Investment could be realized by creating storm resistant infrastructure, as opposed to converting our dishwashers into windmill power. We in California are very familiar with earth quake building codes and any new buildings require just such earth quake retrofit. In fact several years ago, Cal-Trans initiated a program to retrofit nearly every bridge and overpass in the state of California at a cost of billions. I think the argument that Fischetti makes is that we need to preserve wetlands as a natural buffer to the ravages of extreme weather. This has been done of late, but cities, such as those around San Francisco, are built upon vast land fills.

My parents who grew up in California in the forties said that the coastal areas near LA used to be nearly desolate because nobody wanted to live in and amongst sand dunes. Now a map of US population density shows that population centers are nearly all along one coast or another. It is human nature, both a physical and spiritual need to live near the water.

But whether to preserve wetland or to create new living space, in the end, mother nature will reclaim her own.

9/01/2005 04:40:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

Annoy Mouse,

I don't it is feasible to return things to the status quo ante. To begin with, and as Fischetti points out, undoing what has been done is in itself a massive human intervention. Depopulating the Gulf Coast is not an option. If you moved them inland, imagine the infrastructure from the coast you'd need to support them.

But these are empirical problems which are susceptible to empirical solution. The Imperfect Storm started out as an examination of the contribution of Global Warming to the problem. As it now turns out, that is the least effective return on our investment. It's a drop in the bucket of the planetary heat engine. The main problem, it seems to me, is that we have now built global population centers right in the path of nature's heat machines. We just have to cope.

9/01/2005 04:47:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

This is one area where the enviros have actually preserved something worth preserving.
I remember reading about the vulnerability of oil infrastructure there years and years ago in Popular Science or some such.
For now, would probably make sense to preserve the largely undamaged French Quarter for it's commercial value, and relocate most residences to a safe economical remove.
...but no such thing will happen: We'll just act like 2090 will never come.
Until it does.
. Katrina Relief Blogs - Amazing List

9/01/2005 04:57:00 PM  
Blogger Peter UK said...

This problem isn't confined to estuaries,we have been building on the flood plains of rivers and streams for centuries,we have jammed valley with housing developments and roads.Thousands of square miles of upland drainage have been concreted over,this causes much a faster run off of rainfall which is denied it's old watercourses.
Everyone wants to live in the country,everyone would like a beachfront home.
The slopes of Pompeii were a popular location for the the villas of wealthy Romans,we never learn,nature just doesn't give a damn!

9/01/2005 05:00:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

I wonder how many areas (like Houston?) could benefit from water injection?

9/01/2005 05:01:00 PM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

When a large storm’s a comin’ the gristled sailor doesn’t head to port but instead heads out to sea. He cleaves off of the coast as far as he can muster to leave lee room for ‘running’ before the waves.

This storm has been on the horizon for a long time and liked divorced parents who will not be the one to discipline the child, nobody in government has used the discipline required to mend the problem. As in all acts of nature, the matter has been in Gods hand all along.

9/01/2005 05:09:00 PM  
Blogger ricpic said...

Frankly, the real story here, the story that few will talk about for fear of being branded as bigots, is the debased nature of the population of New Orleans.
Does anyone seriously believe that if a catastrophe of similar dimensions were to hit, say, Salt Lake City, that the level of looting, rape and murder would be anywhere near what it is in New Orleans?
What we are witnessing is the reaction of a debased, degraded population, which happens to be black, to a moment of severe stress. That population, which is without self-respect and which is amoral, immediately crumbles. Civilization crumbles. And that is what we are witnessing.
Given the size and disbursements of such populations throughout our country I tremble for America's future as a civilization.

9/01/2005 05:39:00 PM  
Blogger Vercingetorix said...

Life's untidy, to paraphrase Rumsfeld.

The onus has to be on the local and state government to handle local and state matters. The disaster is on a national level, but national attentions are at the best remedial; fix problems for a while but the healing process is inexorably local, organically grown.

Whatever engineering solutions, even the most brilliant, that can be devised will succumb to time, opportunity and sheer entropy. The story here is New Orleans lack of vitality in the face of disaster; it speaks ill of its ability to recover and of its health before hand.

9/01/2005 05:40:00 PM  
Blogger Vercingetorix said...

ricpic nailed it...damnit, before I did. New Orleans deserved reputation for graft and corruption shows its hollowness behind the veneer. It builds on treacherous ground, is bright and lively, but fragile; the comparison between Katrina and the rest of the Orient is apt...only the amount of corruption in India and elsewhere saps the natural instincts of the population to assume the most robust forms. Instead the city centers on decrepit social structures...the byzantine government intrigues for example, and then promptly collapses when the central pillars fall.

Its all the same problem; strength of a polity is best distributed than concentrated.

9/01/2005 05:48:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

ric and Verc take me back where I started:
The amount of money saved in some of the proposed base closings is really small potatoes, and to act as though we KNOW we won't need those bases for something yet to come is to act w/o humility.
You don't need insurance until you do.
I don't necessarily agree w/Noonan as a rule, but I think she has this one right.

9/01/2005 06:13:00 PM  
Blogger poins said...

I agree with comments about the corruption of New Orleans. Lawlessness has its outcome. I have heard that New Orleans is or was one of the most corrupt cities in the US.

But there is another aspect at work here. That is that disasters are disasters. One thing I find distressing is that people seem to think that everything should be resolved quickly and that there can not be a real disaster that we can not correct quickly.

Is everything okay now in Sri Lanka? We should do all we can but it will take time, probably a considerable amount and things will not all go smoothly. That should not be a surprise.

9/01/2005 06:22:00 PM  
Blogger Super 6 said...

Doug 6:13
I agree,redundancy is a necessary evil in the military. Consilidation makes for tempting targets...Ft Hood - 40000+, Ft Bragg - 40000+, Ft Campbell - 101st Airborne, etc. ..etc...

9/01/2005 06:23:00 PM  
Blogger 49erDweet said...

Well written posts, at least up to here. The "big easy" has made itself an easy target for comments such as these.

And they may eventually be appropriate. But it seems to me cajuns should have a chance to bury their dead before we saute their municipal reputation.

9/01/2005 06:23:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...


I think looting is a more a function of the lack of leadership than ethnic background and once it starts it spreads like a disease. I was just looking at this story of a stampede at a sale of laptops for $50 and there's all kinds of ethnic groups involved. The other night I was reading about the looting that took place when Signapore fell in 1942. There were demoralized British soldiers with the best of the looters. As to the Japanese, well, they looted too.

Those very same ethnic groups who are looting in New Orleans, if enrolled as disciplined troops or simply under some civil authority would behave vastly differently. On a personal note, I was in the top story of a building when a huge earthquake hit. Of the forty people in the office, about four (including some senior managers) went berserk with panic. I mean they fell to the ground babbling and kicking. The rest stood in shock. About three or four kept cool -- we were looking at each other in recognition -- and we bodily herded everyone out, picked up who we had to pick up and lit out. Yet it was a close shave. Without that leadership, it would have been a goat rope.

Leadership has to be provided by local government before the looting gets going or else there's no putting it back in the bottle.

9/01/2005 06:28:00 PM  
Blogger PresbyPoet said...

What astonishes me is the inept "mandatory" evacuation of New Orleans. As far as i can tell, the City did little to actually force people to move out. No going house to house, and if people had no way to get out, forcing them, providing buses. If the police didn't have enough men, then the governor should have mobilized the guard. That seems so clear, why wasn't it done?

We see the danger of being too nice. If the first looters had been shot, you wouldn't have the situation now of gangs who have taken over much of the City. Perhaps this is just what happens when the gossamer thin veneer of civilization peels away.

9/01/2005 07:13:00 PM  
Blogger Rick Ballard said...


You're absolutely correct concerning leadership. Looting is the result of the breakdown of order and NO officials proved incapable of motivating the security forces at their disposal to show up and provide the very minimal amount of discipline necessary to restrain the mob.

It is not a matter of ethnicity, it is a matter of the will to use the force necessary to quell the mob. It is trrue that the cities most susceptible to civil disorder have a heavy concentration of blacks and it is also true that black run cities (Detroit, Philly, DC, NO) tend toward corruption but if simply being black was causal then much of the Carribean would be totally ungovernable.

It doesn't matter how many troops or police are on the streets if the ROE prevent them from initiating violence in order to prevent greater violence. Had the absolutely gutless govenor of LA or mayor of NO announced on Sunday that any civilain carrying a weapon would be shot on sight and that looters would be shot on sight and then actually put two man foot patrols on the street on Tuesday morning and shot a handful of looters, the looting would have stopped.

Lex talonis now rules NO. I'm currently listening to a medical doctor who was in the Superdome and reports three murders and nine rapes in the last 48 hours. He got out and said he is not going back. It's wise to remember that both prey and predator are black in this situation.

9/01/2005 07:13:00 PM  
Blogger Common Cents said...

From NRO's "The Corner"


Mr. Lowry
I teach history at a small liberal arts denominational college in central Louisiana, and spend too much time on NRO every day. Among the classes I teach is one on Louisiana Politics and Government, and thought you mind the following interesting and useful.

Regarding the levee system in New Orleans, one cannot truly understand how lucky the city was just have the system that was in place without understanding the truly Byzantine structure of New Orleans politics, which requires separate governing boards for each levee that is built.

Rather one agency that is in charge of flood prevention, there are scores. Building in redundancies would have required more boards, which would have lessened the political power of those on the existing boards. I seriously doubt that even now, after this catastrophe, that we in Louisiana will see this system change because the structure is mandated by the Louisiana Constitution. Any change requires not just statewide approval, but must also be approved by a majority of voter in Orleans Parish. Given how many local politicians whose fiefdoms would disappear, that will not happen, and so we will see this disaster occur again.

9/01/2005 07:13:00 PM  
Blogger erp said...

The behavior of the looters has nothing go do with their race, it's just that their race makes them easily recognizable. It's the natural end of decades of welfare and social engineering gone mad. Self reliance is a notion that would never occur to them.

Most people who aren't injured and are able bodied, when faced with a disaster immediately start to see what they can to help those in need, start cleaning up, whatever. Assess the situation and start taking measures to ensure their safety, food, water.

These poor wretches can't think for themselves, they were just standing around like cattle in the field waiting for someone to come along and tell them what to do, or they were running wild like unleashed dogs snarling and biting. Sorry for the animal analogies, but it's about time we stopped with the PC nonsense and started looking at what is directly in front of our eyes.

And please trolls, give it a rest. I'm not a racist, but I believe that anyone who is kept in custodial custody for their entire life, the entire life of their grandparents and great grandparents and told they are too incompetent to compete in the greater society have been snookered by the poverty pimps who need a permanent underclass to provide them with a very nice standard of living.

BTW - Anyone else want to know why the levee wasn't kept in good repair and why that particular one ruptured?

9/01/2005 07:18:00 PM  
Blogger Karridine said...

Your experience serves you well. Those people in the earthquake didn't know at the time that they'd chosen the gibbering, dysfunctional response.

And they may have changed their ways, later, thanks to your rescue...

But truth is, MANY people today are irresponsible. They seek help from the Federal Government. They choose victim status. Its not my fault. It was shattering, to be there and experience the (storm, tsunami, earthquake, fire, 9-11, cholera, machete-killing-Hutu).

The near-universal search for a Jesus to step up and take OUR sins on HIS shoulders, is pathetic and crippling. Its made worse by entrenched orthodoxies across the spectrum, urging us to abandon our responsibilities, our birthright, our POWER as humans.

You can know what I say, by remembering that you DID something when the quake struck. I DID something when the tsunami hit, when cars smashed, when stunned people wandered bleeding.

Its a learnable skill, just like dependency. But America calls to our self-reliance, and when we seek for ourselves, we grow the more for it.

THIS, this suicidal urge to give away personal ability to respond, is a linking factor between Sheehan and Katrina.

9/01/2005 07:26:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

comment cents prof's letter reminds me of my thoughts when I looked at the graphics of the walls and canals:
A single, unitized structure along the lake could be built for a fraction of what will be spent on the nightmare of politics past, and could be almost guaranteed not to fail, but that would take something other than fiefdoms, payoffs, and make-work jobs from planning to (semi) execution.
And a leader like Rudy instead of a classic Democrat feelgood granny.

9/01/2005 07:42:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

the comment made cents

9/01/2005 07:42:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Carridine's gone wobbly:
"Dependency is a learned SKILL."
PC Speak indeed!
What's next? "Hard earned?"!

9/01/2005 07:46:00 PM  
Blogger Rick Ballard said...


For those of us lacking a useful skill set for the situation, another means of acting is by picking up pen and checkbook - or credit card. The following organizations all have very good reputations for throughput - they have very low organizational/fundraising costs, unlike the Red Cross which is once again damn near invisible on site three days after the disaster.

My donation went to Catholic Charities - I regard giving in this matter a privilege and a duty. I hope others feel the same way.

B'nai B'rith

Catholic Relief

Southern Baptists

9/01/2005 07:48:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

erp 7:18 PM
"B U S H"

9/01/2005 07:50:00 PM  
Blogger Karridine said...

Look at New Orleans.

If ever you wondered, asked, "How could those Hutus could massacre Tutsis by the hundred thousands," look at New Orleans.

Humans -not whites, not blacks, not asians, not aborigines- HUMANS!

You thought "It can't happen here?" Well, maybe it can't.

The lure of irresponsibility, with its payoff of rape (in the SuperDome), killing (of lesser beings, untermenschen) and aggrandizement (looting and local hero-worship) is HUGE.

Humans respond to it, sadly.

This is going to be a very educational few weeks. Oh, and bin Laden on the back burner.

9/01/2005 07:59:00 PM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

Ballard - Much of the Carribean IS ungovernable, as is true with much of subsaharan Africa.

Wretchard -

I disagree, leadership has a minor role. It is the strength of the culture that matters. In America, we have the culture of the majority that works well, and the animalistic culture of the underclass. In 1995 Japan, there wasn't a single report of looting. Nor in Bam, Iran after their earthquake. Thailand and Sri Lankan looting sprees following the Tsunami? There were none. THe idea that each disaster scene needs a Giuliani (who is overrated) or chaos will ensue, just doesn't jibe with the reality of past disasters.

Some people are barbarians held in check only by the fear of power of punishment. Others are civilized except in wartime (Japanese). In Thailand, bodies of wealthy tourists wearing valuable jewelry washed up in town. Hundreds of Thais far poorer than any of the New Orleans savages walked by them. Their bodies were respected and not stripped. In New Orleans, a dead body found by the mobs with jewelry or a live girl would be violated in seconds.

Stories are emerging that the SuperDome turned into a jungle, a shark feeding frenzy among the 20,000 underclass housed there. A doctor reported 3 murders inside the SuperDome the 1st night, 6 the second, dozens of rapes and stabbings. Racial attacks and murders. Emergency personnel fleeing the inside of the Dome as they were attacked.

Ricpic is right. When did a midwestern town inhabited by whites erupt into savagery and looting when it was destroyed by a tornado? If a plague broke out in Salt Lake City, Beijing, Frankfurt, Hanoi - who doubts the culture would ensure order, leadership aside. On the other hand, let a plague break out in Detroit or Lagos Nigeria and anarchy would be inevitable even if you had the best leader in charge...

America once kept order amongst it's underclass with far more brutal means - lynching rapists in past hurricanes, shooting looters on the spot. We either civilize and educate the underclass or we may have to go back to making laws the ACLU can't fight that immunize property owners and law enforcement from shooting looters on sight.

In Mississippi, at Biloxi, they showed Vietnamese, Filipinos, Whites, and some blacks working together to clear rubble and guard their area against 20-30 looters (all black by their looks)loitering nearby who were watching the potential prey herd like hyenas on an African savanna. Many of the Vietnamese - all immigrants from the 2nd half of the 70s - say they lost much of their property to looters until they got friends with guns together to drive the thugs off.

This of course is unacceptable. As pointed out, unless we get a change in underclass behavior or put an adequate amount of fear in them, authorities can't order people to evacuate if they are unable to protect that evacuated property from the looters.

But what's really important is Natalie Holloway and her pretty blonde mother Beth. It's been 3 days without blanket cable TV coverage of Aruba. Whats up?

9/01/2005 08:06:00 PM  
Blogger Vercingetorix said...

Racist and racialist arguments can be breezily dismissed as being entirely out of context in the current issue. What is not out of context are the communities that are literally washed up from under New Orleans; they are the foul mucky sediment resting at the very bottom of New Orleans’ society, and perhaps under many other American communities. New Orleans evacuated, these ghettoes didn’t. Get a good look, before New Orleans melts over top of them again and they hide in plain view.

All of the problems, the drugs, the crime, the illegitimacy, violence, hatred, and yes, even the very essence of slavery’s heritage, are right there for all of us to see. That is not the black community; it is the nightmare of America hiding in its shadows. We don’t talk about it because if you say the wrong thing, you are vilified as a racist (if you’re white). We don’t do anything about it because if you intercede too strongly you are racist (especially if you are a white cop). Ricpic is right, by and large; that community is the rot of us, dead and dying. We should excise it and tolerance of it, whether of its poverty and especially of its lawlessness, is morally reprehensible.

Corruption is not only legal, but moral and extends to the bone in some places.

9/01/2005 08:14:00 PM  
Blogger Karridine said...

Doug, "Self-dependency" is learned. But while we're on the subject, YES. Dependency IS learned. It is a human trait, acquired by humans. Nothing 'wobbly' in this.

Rick, concur yr analysis. Help via the checkbook is rational.

9/01/2005 08:14:00 PM  
Blogger Charles said...

Cedarford said...
But what's really important is Natalie Holloway and her pretty blonde mother Beth. It's been 3 days without blanket cable TV coverage of Aruba. Whats up?

8:06 PM

so there is a silver lining to the new orleans disaster. No Holloway on the tube.

9/01/2005 08:18:00 PM  
Blogger Karridine said...

C4, I'm duty-bound to rain on your parade. Many of the tourists WERE stripped of watches, rings, necklaces. By Thais.

And Thais did it a few years ago, when an airplane went down in northern Thailand. Thais (like ghouls) gleefully helped themselves to the unneeded material wealth, stripping corpses which would obviously not be needing the wallets, watches and jewelry.

Sorry 'bout dat, Cedarfurd

9/01/2005 08:19:00 PM  
Blogger Karridine said...

C4, why is it so necessary for you to articulate your views of an 'underclass'?

Verc states it very clearly, THIS is America's nightmare. And it doesn't matter WHO criticizes it, they're roundly booed. Witness Dr. Cosby's courageous address to graduating seniors. HE said blacks today are on a self-sabotaging, self-destructive spiral down, and the MSM (after lipservice exposure) promptly buried the story! Me? I respect Cosby. Second his motion.

9/01/2005 08:26:00 PM  
Blogger Rick Ballard said...


C'mon, you didn't relly think it was just Jew bashing, did you?

David Duke has to comment somewhere, we just drew the short straw.

9/01/2005 08:33:00 PM  
Blogger trangbang68 said...

Cedarford,Ricpic,Vercingetorix danced on the head of the pin of truth.They spoke the unspeakable;to wit:in our country is a broken,black(largely) and savage subculture.New Orleans is or was one of the epicenters.What is the anthem of this culture?It's not "Lets Roll" or "God Bless the USA"Its some siren rap song from Hell celebrating deviancy,ho's and gold chains adorning tattooed chests in which beat hearts of darkness.Jim Morrison sang"Take a highway to the end of the line...end of the line"This is what it looks like.
If there is any hope of this dying city getting off the mat;it requires a collective "Screw you" to the sob sisters of the left and send in a brigade of the 101st with lethal force orders.See if these local ghetto allstars have the heart to face real soldiers rather than izing old people.

9/01/2005 08:42:00 PM  
Blogger Red River said...

The situation could have been mitigated or prevented by the application of the following:

1. Constant PM on the pumps.
2. Constant testing of pumps. ( See sumps below )
3. Continuous pump construction of new larger pumps and replacement of older less efficient pumps.
4. Deployment of portable pumps on trailers based on jet aircraft engines.
5. Stockpiling of sandbags and trucks and eartmoving machinery.
6. Training and deployment of berm watchers.
7 Large cadre of sandbaggers and regular "berm emergency" volunteers.
8 Authority of local ward leaders to order all able bodied men to repair the berms.
9. Construction of berms around key facilties and across city sections to comparmentlize flooding - and concomitant creation of "sumps".
10. Raising of key sections and roads in city to guarantee mobility.
11. Command and control to effect this.

Compartmentalization, raised roads, sandbag strike teams, and modern pumps would have allowed NO to ride this out.

They have to, Like the Dutch, see the Sea as the enemy to be feared and planned for.

Its an egregious criminal failure of local political leadership and a failure of imagination of local elites.

LA and NO could have invested small amounts of money every year to deal with this contingency. They don't need the feds to do this - they can do this on their own. Bond money could have been sought and sources of funding could be had. How many times have htey had the Superbowl?

There was no initiative before, during or after by local leadership.

I have spent a lot of time in NO the last three years working with local engineering firms. Many a time key people have shown up in shorts, and then left to go fishing rather than do their job and their duty.

Compare the situation in NO with what Iowa and Illinois went through during the Mississippi floods a few years ago. The farmers and ranchers and city slickers FOUGHT for weeks and saved Many, Many farms. The City of NO cut and ran.

While I sympathize with their plight, and have rooms open for refugees, this WAS and IS preventable with good planning and execution. The Dutch deal with this on a scale 1000 times bigger and endure winter storms like Katrina every year. But they make it.

The Mississippi is the most critical waterway and port in the USA. The City of NO has shirked their duty and their conduct is a disgrace. The Mayor and the COE leaders need to be fired and a FULL audit of activities and monies needs to be conducted.

9/01/2005 09:04:00 PM  
Blogger Karridine said...

Rick Ballard, respectfully Sir, I request clarification of yr comment. I don't get it at all.


9/01/2005 09:14:00 PM  
Blogger Rick Ballard said...


A bit of reflection on how blacks went from the point where they would have been shot out of hand for looting to being a "protected" species might be in order. The cynical purchase of the black bloc through the 'War on Poverty' beginning in the late '60's might be considered causal with relation to what we're seeing today. It's true that the black community has lost it's moral moorings with relation to where it stood in '55 but the cause is not an inherent deficiency. It is the unintended consequence of governmental policies that defied the reality of the human condition.

In order for the rifraff in NO to face regulars, the bloviating gasbags in DC would have to suspend the Posse Commitatus. Ain't gonna happen. Regulars aren't necessary anyway. What is necessary is authorization to use lethal force coupled with a "hold harmless" act covering anyone authorized to bear arms.

The Guardsmen and sworn officers of LA have no desire to face civil or criminal penalties due to their use of force so they are sitting on their hands. I don't blame them one bit. Try and remember that both predators and prey are black. The prey has been judged unworthy of actual protection. Perhaps this will be a lesson to the survivors.


The reference was to your query to C4. He apparently has very strong views concerning minorities other than Jews.

9/01/2005 09:21:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

"If there is any hope of this dying city getting off the mat;it requires a collective "Screw you" to the sob sisters of the left and send in a brigade of the 101st with lethal force orders.See if these local ghetto allstars have the heart to face real soldiers rather than izing old people."

- Trangbang

Posse Comitatus.

Are cities and states finally capable of nothing? Finally responsible for nothing?

New Orleans is one giant cascading failure - aggravated by heaping doses of passivity and predation. The stories are heartbreaking and infuriating - so much so that I'm thankful, for more reasons than just the obvious one, that it's not my city, not my state, not my local government.

9/01/2005 09:32:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...


The less inherently cohesive a society is, the greater the role leadership plays. This is especially true among criminal types, where at any moment, things can always go either way. You might let a close-knit rural community go on autopilot for a while; but you leave an urban poor community in a leadership vacuum at your peril. The population a given. New Orleans isn't Keene, New Hampshire or Thailand. The local authorities should have known how the boys would act. More's the shame.

I don't think we're disagreeing so much as emphasizing different points.

9/01/2005 09:32:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

If it hasn't been posted already, the hands-down best NO blogging, undertaken by a group of tech geeks in a NO high-rise for which they are also providing citizen defense and heavy-duty emergency maintenance, is at:

9/01/2005 09:46:00 PM  
Blogger Karridine said...

Thanks, Rick. All comes together.

I refrain from taking most of the voluminous debate-bait proffered by C4 and IOTM. Unless and until they choose, to agree, to investigate, courteously... No reward, no point.

And kudos to how well Wretchard emphasises that 'we're not disagreeing, as much as NOTING different aspects of the same phenomenon.'

9/01/2005 09:46:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

The same link as provided by Trish with a proper href.

9/01/2005 09:48:00 PM  
Blogger anybudee said...

...for when thy judgements are in the earth, the inhabitants will learn righteousness. Is. 26:9

9/01/2005 09:55:00 PM  
Blogger Anointiata Delenda Est said...

Rimmer from Red Dwarf, when he caught Lister burning books to stay warm:

"They say that every society is only three meals away from revolution. Deprive a culture of food for three meals, and you'll have anarchy."


9/01/2005 09:57:00 PM  
Blogger Jakester said...

Great point, I am glad you are avoiding the ususl rw blog mentality of "they're blaming Bush, boo hoo, we're victims of MSM discrimination crowd". The fact is that the ACOE, under Bush, cut back flood control money and ultimately, as the President and C in C, he bears some responsibility.

9/01/2005 09:58:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...


It's probable that there's plenty of blame to go around. The link I found suggests that folks couldn't agree on what was needed to prevent the flood control system from tanking. Dicker, dicker, dicker. That doesn't excuse anybody but it keeps the problem from being viewed in a partisan way.

The NO is a preview of what could happen in a biostrike or terrorist nuke hit, where unlike 9/11, the infrastructure surrounding an area was degraded, not just locally, but over an area. What's worse is that Katrina's effect was a gamed scenario and the authorities saw, or should have seen, that the scenario was going to happen at least 12 hours before it did. By that standard, you could say, yeah, there are command deficiencies.

9/01/2005 10:11:00 PM  
Blogger Mike H. said...

4,200 National Guard MP's in the next three days. They're from out of state. The ball is in the political folks court. What are your orders sir, who are the targets - us or them.

9/01/2005 10:13:00 PM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

Ballard -

I am not condemning whole races. What NO is showing us is not a situation that only one more technological whizz toy or fix would prevent but the cancer of the black underclass clashing with the civilized world of American society - showing America it has a bigger problem than just levee technology and hurricane cleanup to deal with.

You make the same error when people that have a higher loyalty to Israel than America (like you) are condemned for that view, you universalize that into a "hatred of all Jews".

Carradine -

I had read reports that most tourist bodies brought to mortuaries were not stripped of valuables. If the Thais were not as well-behaved as I presumed, then shame on them. But I do hold that from one end of the Indian Ocean Basin to the other, there was nothing like the thug and looting behavior seen in the black American underclass at work further tearing down the soul and heart of already physically damaged cities like NO and Biloxi.

Wretchard -

When Lincoln Nebraska, Muncie Indiana were ravaged by tornados, the largely white population did not loot or riot.

This awful social problem must be factored into every potential disaster or terrorist attack in the future. Every Emergency Plan will have to account for social disorder disrupting rescue efforts or recovery plans and causing additional deaths after a disaster or terrorist attack. The hospital patients reported dying because mobs of thugs prevented rescuers from reaching them in NO were killed by the thugs as surely as if the savages had knifed them to death.

Either we educate and train the black underclass out of this destructive behavior or we have to consider reverting to laws and use of lethal force options that deter them out of fear. Cops in NO said they couldn't arrest because "jail conditions were legally unsuitable to hold arrestees". The curfew in NO has so far been completely ignored by the wolfpacks out from sundown to sunup looking for prey because they had no fear of arrest or being shot.

Looting is not a purely black phenomenon. William Langeweische noted extensive thievery by the NYFD at Ground Zero and their sense they were entitled to a little loot as a class who had suffered on 9/11 - something that contributed to the divides and friction noted between them and the cops, operating engineers. The NYFD is another reminder of malignant values and cult of victimization leading to a feeling of entitlement to violate the law to satiate unmet material needs. While we grapple with the dysfunctions and pathologies of the black underclass, we must be very, very, wary of excusing or justifying their behavior, since even white firefighters can embrace their mindset that "society owes them and they have a right to take it if it's not given".

And we must be even more wary that the values and culture of the black underclass rotting America from the inside if they are not condemned as bad, but forceably mainstreamed by aggressive marketers.

9/01/2005 10:18:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

"they were just standing around like cattle in the field waiting for someone to come along and tell them what to do"


One reason for the longing to hear stories like that of the renegade New Orleans bus, commandeered by a twenty-year-old resident and packed with fellow refugees - the first to arrive at the (now full) Astrodome.

Neither sheep nor wolf must Man be.

9/01/2005 10:28:00 PM  
Blogger Cutler said...

The comment thread is like kryptonite, I'm almost afraid to even touch it.

"And please trolls, give it a rest. I'm not a racist, but I believe that anyone who is kept in custodial custody for their entire life, the entire life of their grandparents and great grandparents and told they are too incompetent to compete in the greater society have been snookered by the poverty pimps who need a permanent underclass to provide them with a very nice standard of living."

Well said Erp. It's all very similar to the Rodney riots, if you'll forgive me for saying the obvious. An incident that itself proves it isn't about race, but culture and respect for the law. Many, if not most of the rioters were Hispanic, not black, if I remember correctly.

I wouldn't hesitate to say it couldn't happen in Germany, or England, or Middle America - just look at some of the late night TV shows featuring shocking video footage and you can see riots that occur when large groups of angry and energized people go out of control. At the same time, American inner city culture just isn't normal. And it is, unfortunately as many have noted, a problem that is near impossible to address in modern America. Indeed, it has such a good P.R. position that not only is it not eradicated and pressured, it is openly promoted outward as gangster rap.

9/01/2005 10:31:00 PM  
Blogger Cutler said...

Sorry, I accidently said the exact opposite of what I meant:

"I would hesitate to say it couldn't happen in Germany, or England, or Middle America - just look at some of the late night TV shows featuring shocking video footage and you can see riots that occur when large groups of angry and energized people go out of control."

Soccer hooligans anyone?

9/01/2005 10:33:00 PM  
Blogger Red River said...


I think you need to begin with first principles and take a systems viewpoint.

Systems design is well understood and we have to test the NO response within the framework os how systems are measured.

In his book "Normal Accidents" Perrow makes the case that a sufficiently complex system will eventually fail. And that a system that either a lot of people depend on OR whose failure can cause great harm should either not be allowed or be greatly simplified.
Most great failures are the result of a cascade of errors, not just one thing going wrong.

In the case of NO, the evacuation order may be seen as the seminal event that led to the cascade failure. It de-manned critical NO departments. Contributing factors included overly complex command and control and failure to test and little PM on critical systems. Mitigating items such as cross-berms and raised roads that would have been critical damping systems or bought NO time were not there.

We may also find that one department may have been responsible for many critical decision points and information processing and once things fell aprat- it simply entered Boyd Shock.

Why we may think they "wargamed" the system, in reality it was probably canned. No dissident was rewriting the script to really stress the command and control elements.

Another point is that large MSAs may be entering an emergent phase in terms of disaster planning and the ability of political leadership to respond. The Russians have said that quantity has a quality unto itself.

The other critical element that is lacking in Perrow's analysis is the huge multiplier effect of leadership blessed with Fingerspitungefuehl.

If we compare Guliani's response to 9/11 to NO's Mayor, we find the latter wanting indeed. While Guliani was Johnny on the Spot within minutes, the Mayor had to have the Governor call him to prod him into making decisions.

Guliani was making decisions, dealing with the flow of the crisis, whereas the NO Mayor was not. Imagine Guliani in NO - walking the berms, screaming at ward leaders, prodding the COE, organizing people. Critical leadership and critical points. Guliani would have told the police and fire and city departments to hunker down. He would have seen the berms as the weak link as well as the pumps.

9/01/2005 10:39:00 PM  
Blogger Cutler said...

And I gotta feel for them, because I can't imagine trying to raise a kid surrounded by that kind of poverty and environment.

9/01/2005 10:40:00 PM  
Blogger Cutler said...

I wish her luck.

9/01/2005 10:41:00 PM  
Blogger Red River said...

Another way to see how things fell apart would be to identify who the key decision makers were during the crisis and find out where they were during the crisis. Who had the information and what they did with it.

A Tuftian time-information flow-decision maker - event overlay would be eye-popping.

9/01/2005 10:44:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

Red River,

Good point about whether demanning NO caused the cascading failure. Demobilizing or putting your force in transit just you need them to do something. If the same procedure were used following a biostrike or some such, the results might be interesting.

It looks from some of the stuff I've read that the first necessity is to reconstitute the NOPD after it had been scattered to the four winds. (No pun intended) Out of area reinforcements like the National Guard will be short on local knowledge. So the risk of collateral casualties when cracking down on the looters may rise.

But this was the point I was making, perhaps crudely, a little earlier. The important thing is not to let things get away from you, what I called "local leadership" because once you do you are playing catch-up.

9/01/2005 11:05:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...


Reality is the ultimate feedback mechanism. Like 9/11 the problem with the effects of Katrina isn't that it happened, but that it happened where it couldn't be hidden. Before 9/11 people were told a whole lot of things weren't connected. We were at war before 9/11; it simply became impossible to deny it any longer. Katrina likewise makes it impossible to deny that a whole set of problems, previously swept under the carpet, actually exist.

Like 9/11, Katrina is a horse waiting to be ridden, but I think whoever gets on will be in for a ride because it means revisiting a whole lot of places people thought were boarded up with who knows what lurking inside.

9/01/2005 11:07:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

Pundita links to a PBS Interview with Gov. Blanco which kinda bolsters Red River's point. Activity isn't action.

9/01/2005 11:15:00 PM  
Blogger truepeers said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

9/01/2005 11:17:00 PM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

Making good for common benefit is hard to do. It is self-interest that motivates all, the greater of good or the lesser of evils. It is a maternal instinct in nature and is not natural to most creatures, let alone men. We look at the factions and infighting in Iraq and wonder why the common good of a nation will not be considered before the self-interest of incremental personal gain and chaos is concerned.

Abraham Manslow spoke of a hierarchy of needs, first fundamental, second psychological, and third spiritual. The crack addict is forever starved of nourishment, is spiritually vacant, and is perennially crazy. There is no glamour in fulfilling fundamental needs. There is no sanctity in fulfilling spiritual needs, it is an insult to those who know better. It is clear that any person in need of fundamental sustenance will do that which meets theirs and the needs of their love ones, as any down trodden soul would take advantage of the moment when opportunity availed. What would you do if the world and its attendant responsibilities ended?

Anarchy of purpose, hamstrung governmental endeavors, such is the dead-lock created by political hyper-sensitivity. The media has always mau mau’d any political leaders that have acted with purpose and vigor. Until leaders can come forward who will act with a personal sense of morality instead of this “free-to-be-you-and-me-hug-a-tree” abandonment that is now so popular, our governance will be listless and ineffectual. If the unwashed masses cannot be expected to accord to reason then they can only be governed by tyranny or else be cut adrift to fend for themselves, and when reality comes a knockin’, fall down. It is what parents would do when all other forms of guidance fails, they let their offspring go.

No act of preventative vigilance could expect to compete with the 15 minute sound bite and the ‘show me the results now’ mentality of the short attention span theater set. As David has attested, it happened on GWB’s watch…but dad was at fault too.

It is a human tragedy, it is an American tragedy, and if we do not share in its lessons we will reap its effects again and again.

The ol’ man cried a river, the little piggy went to market, and the little Dutch boy got none.

9/02/2005 12:39:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Rick says,
"unlike the Red Cross which is once again damn near invisible on site three days after the disaster. "
So now I know how Amazon and Google made their choice.
Carridine, Just kiddin about the use of the word *Skill* for learned dependency.
How about, trait, habit, etc?
...the word dug.

9/02/2005 01:38:00 AM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

Giuliani the saint might consider that a plane crashing into a building is not the same as an approaching hurricane. It is likened to the plane showing up several times a year and making faints at the tower tempting King Kong into complacence. The pumps, the levee, FEMA, superman, where were you when we needed you? Acts of God are acts of God. We shall endeavor to never find ourselves beneath falling trees, falling mountains, falling skies, and falling governments.

Anarchy makes its own reasons. I horde a years worth of food and several weeks worth of water. I keep my supplies at home, in my RV, on my boat, and in storage. Now I support the 2nd amendment, but for personal reasons I swore off firearm ownership. If anarchy shall prevail I will take a club and get myself a knife. With a knife I will get myself a pistol. With a pistol I will get myself a shotgun. With a shotgun I will get myself a rifle. With a rifle I will get myself an artillery piece. With an artillery piece I will get myself an airplane. With an airplane I will fly away, over the road warrior and beyond.

9/02/2005 01:45:00 AM  
Blogger ledger said...

The Imperfect Storm - Iraq, Oil, and Oil Port of New Orleans

Although we are hurt by a disaster at home there is a war to be won. This war involves oil and terrorism (both are related to the current crisis including military aid to our land - and consequently the Strategic Oil Reserve is being drawn down to compensate for this disaster - which is necessary). Let look at one of the top players of the War.

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld - the man and the machine he's running.

Below is an in-depth piece into Rumsfeld and what it takes to run a huge military machine with many parts. It looks at the State and the Military (as a working partner). Most say takes the ability to wage war (State treasury); the politics behind war and the mechanics combined - to win the war.

The below article peers into a highly complex man who has been in the military; run the military; been in business, and now runs the military (all information is intertwined in these times of trial).

I will say that Mr. Rumsfeld has an astounding background being a navy aviator, drill instructor, a congressman, and philosopher (this is tangential to our national security and national economic well being).

Personally, I can only remember Rumsfeld as a small child watching TV (possibly reruns of his war conferences). I do remembering him answer questions from a hostile press. The question would go as follows. Newsman: "What to you think about the VC's base of attacks on American troops in ..." Rumsfeld would simply answer: "What are the coordance [position] of this base? " This indicated to me he was prepared to strike the base - if the news reporter actually had an idea where the base was positioned. This answer usually silenced the yapping news reporter. Rumsfeld had dark brown hair at that time (as I remember - the film could have been a re-broad cast).

Several things I will note when Rumsfeld was tapped as Sec. of Def. early in the Bush 2 Administration - you could email him (or his office directly). Ater 9/11 I did email his office directly.

One of the few things of interest I can recall off-of-the-top of my head:

1) He filmed air attacks on Talibani caves which resulted in huge secondary explosions. Rumsfeld remarked "...They are not making cookies in there..." [meaning the enemy was not baking snacks but stock piling explosives in the caves]."

2) I remember an incidence where Rumsfeld was angry over a military judge advocate's decision not to allow a rocked attack on vehicle transporting Zahari (or the related terrorist Al-Azhari). I think Barrons Financial said something to the effect "Rumsfeld was chewing on the furniture..." The failure to attack Zahari [sp] would prove to be a huge mistake.

3) I remember a readiness test during the Afghan war of the Aircraft Carrier JFK - where it was found one of the aircraft elevators was inoperable, the other was in-need of repair, the steam aircraft catapults were in-need of repair; many other problems were found including the entire ship was encrusted in rust - this resulted in the commanding officer being reassigned (I believe the commanding officer said when the readiness test was carried out "Big John farted").

Certain news articles indicated Rumsfeld was displeased the readiness of the ship - one of eight major Carriers in the Fleet (Rumsfeld is a Navy Aviator) - the rest is history. One must realize the gravity of having 1/8th of the Navy Carrier fleet impaired in the time of war.


...the terrorist attacks of September 11 would change all that, providing Rumsfeld's means with a very definitive end-the global war on terrorism... When the president wanted the Taliban dislodged in Afghanistan as quickly as possible after 9/11, Rumsfeld backed General Tommy Franks's quick-and-dirty plan using an unprecedented mix of Special Forces, precision bombing, and CIA paramilitaries to exploit the on-the-ground capabilities of the anti-Taliban Afghani warlords and their forces. That experiment proved to be an eye-opener for Rumsfeld regarding the potential of Special Operations Command (SOCOM), and he quickly anointed the Tampa-based command as the lead Combatant Command in the global war on terrorism, taking what had always been a bastard-stepchild command that supported other commands and instantly turning it into one that now receives support from others... In plain English, the Slurg is the venue in which senior civilian officials and military officers have begun to engage in up-front comparisons of each service's acquisition strategies. That means head-to-head competition between programs in a rigorous environment that focuses on capabilities, not service shares. The Slurg makes the JCIDS ( jay -sids) possible by getting all the necessary players around the table and forcing a truly "joint" discussion: joint among the services, joint between the civilian and military sides of the house, and joint between the force provider (Pentagon) and the force consumer (Combatant Commands).

HE IS KNOWN to his personal aides and longtime colleagues as a "deep diver." Confront him with a tough new bureaucratic nut to crack and he goes deep- waaaay down -on the subject... Rumsfeld is working the "gearbox" issues, as he likes to call them. He's gotten way down into the guts of the Pentagon's machinery... he aims to make those changes permanent, because "you can get backsliding, but if you go down deep enough in this institution, where nobody notices and nobody sees it and nobody understands it and it's hard to figure out, and you get those things going right, they're going to go on for a long time. Once they're ingrained, they'll go on that way until somebody spends enough time, enough effort, to go in and readjust them down there. But you can't do it superficially along the top. It just doesn't happen." ... most stunning are Rumsfeld's plans for something he calls the National Security Personnel System, which will radically redefine civilian and military service in the Defense Department, changing from a longevity-based system to a performance-based system. Already, radical new features of this plan have been field-tested in the Navy, where, in the past, so-called detailers told sailors where they were going on their next assignment-with little warning and like it or not. Eager to break that boneheaded tradition, the Navy is experimenting with an eBay-like online auction system in which individual servicemen and -women bid against one another for desired postings. As Admiral Vern Clark told me, "I've learned you can get away with murder if you call it a pilot program." ...Clark is pioneering a system by which, instead of sending people to places they don't want to go on a schedule that plays havoc with their home life, "they're going to negotiate on the Web for jobs. The decision's going to be made by the ship and the guy or gal. You know, we're going to create a whole new world here." the services money and effort by reducing early departures from the ranks by people who just can't take it anymore. The Navy's so-called "slamming" rate, meaning the percentage of job transfers against a person's will, has hovered at 30 to 35 percent in recent years. That means the Navy has been pissing off one third of its personnel on a regular basis. Now, under this program, the slamming rate is down to less than one percent. More profoundly, Clark's pilot program has already spread to the other services, and in turn could well change the very nature of civil service throughout the United States... AFTER CONSIDERABLE time with the top-ranking civilian and military leaders of the Pentagon, a new picture of Donald Rumsfeld has emerged for me, and I now believe something that I would have thought preposterous before: There are no "Rumsfeld wars." Of course, he's integral to how the Pentagon has conducted these operations, and he deserves all the credit and blame any defense secretary naturally receives as a result. But they're not his wars, and they never were... He is a technician, not a warrior; a businessman, not an ideologue. He sees his main job as taking care of every single move made up to the first shots being fired. He wants it lighter, faster, simpler, leaner. And he wants that whether or not you give him wars to wage. It just so happens that in his time there have been wars to wage... war decisions are somebody else's business... Back in room 3-E-880, the old man's got a grip-and-grin with a visiting dignitary to see to and has to be on his way. Before he does, though, Rumsfeld emphatically shrugs off the notion that, despite popular perception, he ever gets frustrated. He is, he says, not the frustratable sort. But he does get surprised. "...the surprise for me is that, I guess the surprise is, in an institution this big-and it is enormous-you can interact with only so many people... All these people are just working their heads off, everyone around me is working their heads off, doing a great job

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For those of you who are interested in the inter-workings of the military command structure during a critical period of war, I would recommend you Read The Whole Article. You will find it Extremely Informative.

9/02/2005 02:13:00 AM  
Blogger dune runner said...

To take a bit of a different track on this, there are some basic things we know about hurricanes:
- some number are going to hit the US each year
- wherever they hit, there is going to be some level of destruction requiring emergency aid
- they are going to hit shoreline communities
- shoreline communities are generally easiest to access from the ocean

So why aren't we prepositioning a few ships on the Atlantic seaboard, and a few more in the Gulf, that are fully loaded with emergency supplies. They could even put to sea as a hurricane approaches, follow it at a safe distance, and be to the affected areas right on its heels.

We already have a rather large maritime reserve fleet. If we didn't want to use that, some of the Navy's mothball fleet could be reactivated and placed under FEMA resposibility.

wretchard is correct, at this point hurricanes and population centers are a fact of life. Seems to me it would have to be cheaper to be proactive than reactive about these things.

Sorry if that's too much off the main topic here.

9/02/2005 02:37:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

From the Interdictor:
Just getting this website up and running-see letter from Maurice Faucheux of Hertz.
At Trish's Link .

. Hertz New Orleans Responds - FAQ .

. Hertz New Orleans Responds .

In case anyone in national security is reading this, get the word to President Bush that we need the military in here NOW. The Active Duty Armed Forces. Mr. President, we are losing this city. I don't care what you're hearing on the news. The city is being lost. It is the law of the jungle down here. The command and control structure here is barely functioning. I'm not sure it's anyone's fault -- I'm not sure it could be any other way at this point. We need the kind of logistical support and infrastructure only the Active Duty military can provide. The hospitals are in dire straights. The police barely have any capabilities at this point. The National Guard is doing their best, but the situation is not being contained. I'm here to help in anyway I can, but my capabilities are limited and dropping. Please get the military here to maintain order before this city is lost.

Doing what we can, this is Outpost Crystal getting back to work.

9/02/2005 02:43:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

(Just what I've been saying since the outset:
Arguments to the contrary aside, this guy should know.)

9/02/2005 02:45:00 AM  
Blogger Heraclitus said...

One must admire the American leadership in its very adroit response to the much larger potential human catastrophe which the natural disaster may have sparked.

One is reminded here of the Spartacus phenomenon during the social wars of Rome during the res publica.

Wonder what Spengler will make of it:

9/02/2005 02:51:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

And the final post of the day is so descriptive, EDUCATIONAL, and chilling, that I am reposting it here so it doesn't get lost in the shuffle.
. Thursday, September 1st, 2005
10:46 pm The Real News
The following is the result of an interview I just conducted via cell phone with a New Orleans citizen stranded at the Convention Center. I don't know what you're hearing in the mainstream media or in the press conferences from the city and state officials, but here is the truth:

"Bigfoot" is a bar manager and DJ on Bourbon Street, and is a local personality and icon in the city. He is a lifelong resident of the city, born and raised. He rode out the storm itself in the Iberville Projects because he knew he would be above any flood waters. Here is his story as told to me moments ago. I took notes while he talked and then I asked some questions:

Three days ago, police and national guard troops told citizens to head toward the Crescent City Connection Bridge to await transportation out of the area. The citizens trekked over to the Convention Center and waited for the buses which they were told would take them to Houston or Alabama or somewhere else, out of this area.
It's been 3 days, and the buses have yet to appear.

Although obviously he has no exact count, he estimates more than 10,000 people are packed into and around and outside the convention center still waiting for the buses. They had no food, no water, and no medicine for the last three days, until today, when the National Guard drove over the bridge above them, and tossed out supplies over the side crashing down to the ground below. Much of the supplies were destroyed from the drop. Many people tried to catch the supplies to protect them before they hit the ground. Some offered to walk all the way around up the bridge and bring the supplies down, but any attempt to approach the police or national guard resulted in weapons being aimed at them.

There are many infants and elderly people among them, as well as many people who were injured jumping out of windows to escape flood water and the like -- all of them in dire straights.
Any attempt to flag down police results in being told to get away at gunpoint. Hour after hour they watch buses pass by filled with people from other areas. Tensions are very high, and there has been at least one murder and several fights. 8 or 9 dead people have been stored in a freezer in the area, and 2 of these dead people are kids.

The people are so desperate that they're doing anything they can think of to impress the authorities enough to bring some buses. These things include standing in single file lines with the eldery in front, women and children next; sweeping up the area and cleaning the windows and anything else that would show the people are not barbarians.
. The buses never stop
Before the supplies were pitched off the bridge today, people had to break into buildings in the area to try to find food and water for their families. There was not enough. This spurred many families to break into cars to try to escape the city. There was no police response to the auto thefts until the mob reached the rich area -- Saulet Condos -- once they tried to get cars from there... well then the whole swat teams began showing up with rifles pointed. Snipers got on the roof and told people to get back.

He reports that the conditions are horrendous. Heat, mosquitoes and utter misery. The smell, he says, is "horrific."
He says it's the slowest mandatory evacuation ever, and he wants to know why they were told to go to the Convention Center area in the first place; furthermore, he reports that many of them with cell phones have contacts willing to come rescue them, but people are not being allowed through to pick them up.
I have "Bigfoot"'s phone number and will gladly give it to any city or state official who would like to tell him how everything is under control.
Addendum: Bigfoot just called to report that "they" (the authorities) are cleaning up the dead bodies at the Convention Center right now.

9/02/2005 02:56:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

dune runner:
Some posters here think free Viagra for the rich and retired is more important than spending on Military/Homeland Defense.

9/02/2005 02:58:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Boy, ricpic really stirred the pot with his simple, entirely reasonable post:
Goes to show how much PC has gotten in the way of honest, straightforward communication.
What I find really pathetic about this whole "race" thing is that Patrick Monihan was writing about this stuff in Life Magazine 40 years ago.
...but dealing with the underclass's problems will be a piece of cake compared to the legions of Parasites, paid for by us, that have grown and fed off them and us in the interim.

And now, to add to the misery, more people are feeding off the illegal/quasi legal amigos from the south that have just added to the misery and nearly impossible barriers facing the native poor.
Not so rich as we think.

9/02/2005 03:21:00 AM  
Blogger wretchard said...

Some interesting grist for the mill.

A video link to a MSNBC video purporting to show cops looting. Here's a Powerline link purporting to be from a Lousiana doctor alleging local government corruption at the bottom of this. (Caution. I checked out the name of the doctor cited and the only doctors with that name are from Shreveport, quite a ways from New Orleans). Finally, here's a thread from the FreeRepublic referring to a radio interview where Mayor Nagin takes Governor Blanco to task, somewhat.

I won't vouch for any of this stuff. But it's safe to say that this disaster is going to have a large political dimension and its anybody's guess who can fling the dirt the fastest. It's almost like the Katrina disaster was some gigantic Rorschach test which let people draw conclusions based on pre-existing information.

9/02/2005 03:38:00 AM  
Blogger Solomon2 said...

I posted a speculation about the flooding here. But I hope I'm proved wrong.

9/02/2005 03:48:00 AM  
Blogger wretchard said...


Check out The Imperfect Storm 3, for a Civil Engineering Magazine article on what the levees were designed to hold back.

9/02/2005 04:17:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

"Cops in NO said they couldn't arrest because "jail conditions were legally unsuitable to hold arrestees".
Better to spend on Feelgood, Medicare type stuff guaranteed to spiral out of any rational ability for us to pay for, than maintain a few military bases that could be used to detain people for the duration of such events.
We should all recognize that none of us have ever faced the *extremely impossible* conditions facing Blanko.
The difficult, yeah, the impossible, no problem, but just TRY extremely impossible sometime and see how you like it.

9/02/2005 04:24:00 AM  
Blogger Peter Boston said...

I also saw the CNN interview with Mayor Nagin. After that it's not too hard to figure out why the situation started in chaos and went downhill from there. This guy takes responsibility for absolutely nothing. He admits that he has no clue about the laws establishing the chain of command for disaster relief, and even says that he doesn't care. That's a pretty amazing statement from the mayor of a city that has always been a leveee breach from disaster.

MSNBC has video of N.O. cops looting with shopping carts. I saw it and these cops were not even concerned they were being photographed. Heard a report on CNN this AM that other N.O. cops were barricaded with their families in their precinct building and were shooting it out with roving gangs. Is this part of Mayor Nagin's disaster plan? First responders hoarding supplies?

I don't care much for the blame game but Nagin set off so many bullshit detectors that he has to be looked at.

9/02/2005 04:35:00 AM  
Blogger MS said...

New Orleans was a tragedy waiting to happen. Now that is has happened it is time to make some vital and very hard decisions on the future.

My opinion is there will ultimately be no protecting any city that is as large as New Orleans was, and that far below sea level from mother nature. As much as I suspect we all would like to roll back the clock, it is not feasible, practical, or financially manageable given the economics of today.

It is a tragedy of enormous porpotions that we will all have to live with. Comprable to the tsunami of last year, that we are all so familar with, we must pick up the pieces and with fond memories and a heavy heart move on into the future.

This will be more difficult for some than others. We are a resourceful people and country. We are generous and understanding and will find our way through. I am sure that as we emerge with our memories and heartaches we will also have our pride of handling this in the right and proper way.

Written with honest sincerity,


9/02/2005 05:20:00 AM  
Blogger Ray said...

How many thousands of times have hurricanes wiped out each 50 mile segment of the Gulf Coast? Nature is telling us that nothing should be there.

It is time for a Gulf Shores National Park. Each time a hurricane hits, the government should relocate the people and take that 50 mile segment into the Gulf Shores National Park. The result will be the return of a magnificent park. Dunes should be constructed to divert and diminish hurricane surge flows from populated areas behind the beaches. No further insurance should be provided for those that insist on building in high risk areas.

9/02/2005 06:43:00 AM  
Blogger trangbang68 said...

I don't know if this thread is finished,but let me throw in my second two cents.
Trish,I understand the concept of posse comitatus,but I would think that a federal declaration of martial law would remove it from being a local law enforcement issue.
If memory serves,regular army soldiers were used in quenching the Detroit and Newark riots in 1965-66.When I was in basic training at Fort Dix,we were prevented from a weekend pass because of the possibility of being deployed due to riots after the King assassination.
While turning the coast into a big national Park is appealing,there are mitigating circumstances like the importance of the port of New Orleans as well as the oil fields.I doubt it will ever get all the way back though.

9/02/2005 06:01:00 PM  

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