Has the government been hiding under a rock?

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On Monday August 29th, Hurricane Katrina made landfall near New Orleans. Obviously, not much could be done on the ground in the first 24-48 hours after that and many things were unknown. It was a major catastrophe.

I don’t know the protocol in cases like this, but I thought the federal government would have leaped into action within hours of the hurricane hit.

Certainly, they were talking about it on Tuesday – Patrick Rhode from FEMA – the Federal Emergency Management Agency talked to Jim Lehrer.

Perhaps the reason for an initially slow response to the Tsunami was not lack of compassion, but Inertia.

The response seems to have been even slower in this local disaster and I’m struggling to work out why, because several years ago, FEMA listed a direct hurricane hit on New Orleans as the most serious domestic threat of all. How could they not be prepared?

I hope this is not the kind of action we can expect for the next catastrophe.

The U.S. bureaucracy may be so fat and incapable of action that the command structure takes days to get moving. If this is not the type of scenario FEMA and Homeland Security have been preparing for, what are they preparing for?

Katrina, a Category 5 hurricane, came in slowly, pointing directly at New Orleans for days in advance, giving plenty of preparation time.

I think I’m having a flashback – scenes of unpreparedness, people so poor they couldn’t afford to leave, breakdown of law and order, looting, disbelief at the situation, local criminal activity, shooting at soldiers and police.

No, its not Iraq all over again, but it looks like some of the same scenarios. Is this the best we can expect from a democratic capitalist superpower?

Capitalism is a wonderful system, but here, there are problems.

Politicians seem more interested in stuffing pork into barrels and poking sticks into their opponent’s eyes, than running the country, caring for people and getting things done.

Bureaucrats build empires that have massive inertia, controlled by rules and regulations designed to keep them on a path, but not to actually do things that matter.

“The American People” have an incredibly short attention span, like to complain, but don’t bother to vote or push to get things changed.

After the hurrican hit, I was expecting a well-oiled machine to take charge, even with such a huge area of devastation, but nothing obvious happened.

Of course, this is an unusual occurrence, but there should have been much faster and more visible action.

The old adage of an ounce of prevention being better than a pound of cure does not play well with outright capitalism and good old boys clubs. Until recently, the risk of preferring cure to prevention has been small, but that is changing.

Now, through many years of neglect of infrastructure and denial of man’s effect on the environment, nature is taking matters into her own hands. The risk of ignoring warning signs is increasing.

Now would be a great time for our leaders to show some real leadership.

I fear this is wishful thinking. I hope I’m wrong.

Alan Gray is the Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of NewsBlaze Daily News and other online newspapers. He prefers to edit, rather than write, but sometimes an issue rears it’s head and makes him start pounding the keyboard. Alan has a fascination with making video and video editing, so watch out if he points his Canon 7d in your direction.