Friday, September 09, 2005

The way forward

Daniel Henninger of The Wall Street Journal initiates a more level-headed, less politicized, and ultimately forward looking discussion of the Katrina situation than we have seen to date.
The question raised by the Katrina fiasco--and by the Pentagon's new Homeland Defense Strategy to protect against WMD attack--is whether the threat from madmen and nature is now sufficiently huge in its potential horror and unacceptable loss that we should modify existing jurisdictional authority to give the Pentagon functional first-responder status. Should we repeal or modify the Posse Comitatus Act so homicidal thugs have more to fear than the Keystone Kops? Should a governor be able to phone the Defense Secretary direct, creating a kind of "yellow-light authority" and cutting out the Homeland Security or FEMA middleman? Should presidential initiative extend beyond the Insurrection Act?

Instinct says the answer is forever no. Survival suggests we had better talk about it.


Anonymous Mark said...

The problem with bringing the Pentagon/military in is that soldiers are trained to shoot first and ask questions later in armed conflicts, and understandably so when our nation's security is at stake. The better idea for a natural disaster situation is to enable the federalization of the National Guard, which probably would've enabled a quicker response. National Guard troops are trained in the civilian rules of engagement, and are more suited to policing a civilian population. That's the reason they've been called up in Iraq, to help build up the civilian institutions and security apparatus.

Once the National Guard was able to come in to New Orleans, they quickly got the criminal situation under control. They were able to handle it.

9:07 PM  

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