Friday, September 09, 2005

Who calls the cavalry when Sacramento floods?

Ever since Katrina destroyed the Gulf Coast, it has become imperative that Sacramento, and other cities protected from massive flooding only by relatively weak and very old levees, be prepared to conduct some serious planning and foresight to prevent it.

The option to preventing it is to try to deal with it, when what surely will eventually happen, as all of the experts tell us will happen, a major flood devastates our city, and then who calls the cavalry, which is what this very provocative and insightful article is about.

Who Calls the Cavalry?
The Pentagon was prepared for Hurricane Katrina.
BY DANIEL HENNINGER Friday, September 9, 2005 12:01 a.m. EDT

"When you fly over the Gulf, it looks like a WMD exploded," Assistant Secretary of Defense Paul McHale told me this week. "Katrina very nearly approached the operational requirements of a WMD event; this was the first test of the high-end capability envisioned by the strategy."

The "strategy" is a three-month-old document called "Strategy for Homeland Defense and Civil Support." It describes the Defense Department's plans to defend the U.S. from a WMD attack or deal with the rubble and mass casualties of such an attack. Traditionally DoD has always helped civil authorities contend with the ruin of natural disasters. That Katrina's massive scale mirrored a WMD attack, obliterating a city, is a coincidence. But it raises the question of whether the states, or relatively vulnerable states like Louisiana, are up to the job of being "first responders" to a WMD attack or its natural equivalent. If they are not, we need to change some laws.

For the rest of the story: