The Corner

Politics & Policy

A Little Less Conversation, a Little More Rigor, Please

CNN runs with a typical headline:

Despite massive death toll, Trump calls Puerto Rico hurricane response “an incredible, unsung success.”

I don’t know if Trump is correct. Maybe FEMA, under his command, seriously messed up in Puerto Rico. But I do know that the critique I’m seeing today is a poor one. That X number of people died as a result of a given event says nothing about the quality of the response to that event, unless 1) those people died during or after that response, and 2) they could have been saved had the response been better. Merely responding “X people died” when someone claims success is not at all instructive. Nor is saying “it took Y months to get the power back on.” That tells us nothing useful. If one can identify a specific problem with the response, fair enough. If one can inject some instructive benchmarks into the conversation, even better. But I’ve seen none of that today.

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