Just heard from a Louisiana source in the
medical industry that New Orleans hospitals were advised after 9/11 to move
their generators from the first floor to the third floor — presumably to
protect them in case terrorists dynamited the levee. Obviously, they didn’t
do this, which is why the hospitals are evacuating now.
It’s interesting to think about the massive recriminations that are going to
take place in the aftermath of this storm. Not a single soul in Louisiana
can say they didn’t see this coming. Like everybody else in south Louisiana,
I grew up hearing about the Big One that was going to hit New Orleans one
day. There has been intense interest in this in recent years, with
scientists at LSU and elsewhere warning precisely what was going to happen
if a storm like Katrina hit the city. All of this was predicted … but
nobody made serious efforts to protect against it by strengthening the
levees. That would have been difficult and expensive.
It is possible, of course, that nothing could have been done to have
prevented this disaster. But the point is, we didn’t really try. And now we
have to pay an unimaginable price. This has got me thinking about terrorism
too. One of these days, we’re going to lose an American city to nuclear
terrorism, and we will wail and gnash our teeth over what happened to us.
NOW is the time to foresee this kind of thing, and to prepare for it as much
as we can. I had in my office today an Israeli security consultant, who,
talking about terrorism, said to me, “Americans are great in figuring out
how to react to things after they happen. But you’re not very good at
preventing them from happening.”