The Corner

Recriminations

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.”

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