Friday, September 16, 2005

Did you get all warm & fuzzy inside?

President George W. Bush delivers remarks on hurricane recovery efforts during an Address to the Nation in Jackson Square in New Orleans, La., Thursday, Sept. 15, 2005. White House photo by Eric Draper.

Did the President's speech last night make you all warm and fuzzy inside?

Oh, like me, you missed it? Well never fear. You can go here and read the whole thing... all 26 minutes worth.

Or perhaps you'd rather read the short fact-sheet version with just the highlights.

Here's the most important thing he said, at the top of the third paragraph into the speech:

((Don't be content with only a teaser of this post;
read more of this musing.))
These days of sorrow and outrage have also been marked by acts of courage and kindness that make all Americans proud. Coast Guard and other personnel rescued tens of thousands of people from flooded neighborhoods.
Er, he didn't sing the same praises of FEMA.

Later, he noted, (and the emphasis is mine)
Many of the men and women of the Coast Guard, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the United States military, the National Guard, Homeland Security, and state and local governments performed skillfully under the worst conditions. Yet the system, at every level of government, was not well-coordinated, and was overwhelmed in the first few days. It is now clear that a challenge on this scale requires greater federal authority and a broader role for the armed forces -- the institution of our government most capable of massive logistical operations on a moment's notice.
He must have been reading my blog: even though the CG responded appropriately, there was so much more we could have done... had the system been up to it. Even we -- and our leaders in the Coast Guard may not want to hear this -- were overwhelmed in the first few days.

President George W. Bush arrives on the deck of the USS Iwo Jima escorted by General Russ Honore in New Orleans, La., Thursday, Sept. 15, 2005. White House photo by Eric Draper.
Sure, we did better than some others, but... One of our strengths is the bias we have for people onscene to just act.

I've poo-pooed, before, Don Phillips book Character in Action: The U.S. Coast Guard on Leadership. Perhaps, however, I have been too strong on him. We do, indeed, "instill a bias for action."

Anyway, check out what the President had to say. And, then, ask yourself these questions:

1. Is it really a good idea to build a city below sea level? How successful has man been in taming nature's wrath?

2. What amount of money -- in the form of taxes -- are each and every one of us willing to cough up so New Orleans can be rebuilt?

3. Are buildings really the be-all, or is there more that is needed to be done?

4. How long will it be before we forget?

5. Do you still remember 9/11... or has it faded in your memory?

Peace, friends. Peace.

1 comment:

  1. Actually, I did get a warm fuzzy from his speech. I think that it was one of his best. (Granted, he'll never be compared to Churchill's eloquence. He's more in line with Truman.)

    Here are my answers to your 5 questions:
    1. Good idea or not, we need to have a city there. It is the only place we can put a deep water terminal at the end of the Mississippi River. As for taming nature, we've done a pretty fair job of it, ask Holland about their dikes (the earthen type).

    2. This is something that we'll be paying for for a long time. Just like it took 30 years to pay for WWII but I think most will agree it was money well spent.

    3. Buildings, infrastructure and levees are what's needed.

    4. A long time. We still talk about the great fire in Chicago and the San Fran earthquakes.

    5. Oh I remember it well.