Post 9/11 the federal government found new importance to prepare the United States for another domestic attack. We heard the Bush administration preach again and again that we face serious threats, and new funds were made available to cities and towns for preparation purposes. Then Katrina hit and we saw yet again how inept FEMA remained at responding to catastrophes and helping victims. It still boggles my mind at how lousy the response was. The United States, the most wealthy and powerful country in the world, could not deal with the aftermath of a single hurricane. It was nothing short of pathetic. Imagine if it’d be a WMD attack – at multiple locations . . . exactly – sketchy!
Ranger Man asks, “Would it not make more sense to build LOCAL capacity to respond to such incidents?” The federal government is simply too big, too removed, and too cumbersome for a fast, effective response. Viva la Civil Defense!
Very brief history:
In May of 1941 the “Office of Civilian Defense” was established within the Executive Office of the President. When the Soviet Union exploded their first atomic and hydrogen bombs, civil defense took on increased importance. The bombing threat came not from ICBM’s, but from long-range bombers. Thus the method of preparation was to evacuate cities with the few hours warning they’d have. Putting distance between you and ground zero was the goal.
Then ICBM’s came along and the thought of having a few hours warning was tossed out the window. Shelter seeking would have to be expedited, so during the 1960’s there was a large push to build fallout shelters so people could (in theory) survive the initial blast in a building or area stocked with supplies. Kennedy advocated everyone build a fallout shelter, but as more and more nukes were built and the prospect of a massive nuke juice exchange grew with a “nuclear winter” to follow, people began thinking, “if the shit goes down, it’ll be doomsday, ain’t nuttin’ I can do about that.” Folks resigned themselves to donning their sunglasses under such an attack and walking toward the mushroom cloud. Then satellites came in the 1980’s and the U.S. said, “Hey, we’ll be able to tell in advance if the commies are preparing to launch.” Evacuation again became the planned response. The Cold War ultimately ended and the Office of Civil Defense closed its doors in the mid-1990s.
What are the advantages to the old Civil Defense structure? It was the responsibility of LOCAL and state government, and it was NOT a military responsibility. Translation: local people taking care of each other; neighbors helping neighbors.
My question is, given new threats like terrorist attacks, avian flu, etc., is it time to revive Civil Defense? Redefine it to meet modern needs?
– Ranger Man
BTW: Rising food prices has the U.S. decreasing the amount of food aid it is giving out for humanitarian purposes. Read:
USAID officials said that a 41 percent surge in prices for wheat, corn, rice and other cereals over the past six months has generated a $120 million budget shortfall that will force the agency to reduce emergency operations. That deficit is projected to rise to $200 million by year’s end.
Source is here.
BTW x2: Do any of you heat with coal? If so, what’s your set up? Do you like it? Talk to me.