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  • US Out of …

    Posted by Jay Manifold on September 11th, 2005 (All posts by )

    Parachuting in again for a rambling but not-too-interminable-I-hope 9/11 anniversary post which cannot begin to compare to James Rummel’s, below — hey, do I know how to sell my stuff, or what? Anyway, over on New World Man – Unit One’s in trouble, Matt Barr, who is definitely not “scared out of [his] wits,” (reference), says it’s time to bring home our troops. Heh.
    Got to this via Gates of Vienna (and to there via, whaddaya know, Instapundit) which notes in its masthead, with reference to 1683: “We are in a new phase of a very old war.” True, but you’ll have to read Chapter XII, “The Tottering World Balance, 1700-1850 AD,” and in particular section C, “Moslem Catalepsy,” of The Rise of the West to appreciate the chain of causation —

    Nothing in the past had prepared the Moslem world for such disasters. Until the end of the seventeenth century, the age-long conflict between Islam and Christendom had generally tended to favor the Moslem cause. Nothing less could be expected by followers of Allah, whose Prophet had declared victory in battle against unbelievers to be clear and distinct evidence of divine favor. Therefore the abrupt reversal of the trend of history [near-simultaneous weakening of the Ottoman empire and collapse of the Mogul and Safavid empires — JDM], setting in so unmistakably and massively with the beginning of the eighteenth century, presented Moslems with a desperate and insoluble puzzle. Had Allah deserted them? And if so, why? And no matter what the shortcomings of the community of the faithful might be, how was it conceivable that God should favor Christian dogs and unbelievers?

    — and to reflect on what a nightmare it would be if the Wahhabi (among the sects which formed in reaction to those events) ever gained money and power. Well, welcome to the 21st century. And in that connection, I commend the latest Bill Tammeus column in the KCStar, Stanch one Saudi flow, which concludes:

    An accurate criticism of American foreign policy is that we haven’t finished the job in Afghanistan.
    But it’s also true that we never really started the job in Saudi Arabia — no, not of bombing and invading it, but of insisting that the Saudis own up to their festering pipelines of faith-based terrorism and stop the flow.

    (I note that over in this Universe, the job is well under way.)
    Back to New Orleans. Watch for a noticeable disappointment on the part of some commentators when the Katrina death toll turns out to be much lower than originally feared, and in particular, lower than 9/11. And while that’s going on, reflect that a hurricane of essentially the maximum possible size and strength hit perhaps the worst-governed city and state in the country while Federal attention was consumed by managing the altogether different risk of terrorism — and yet four-fifths of the population of the affected area escaped entirely, and in all likelihood well over 99% of those who did not escape nonetheless survived the disaster. The worst day in this country is better than the best day in a lot of other places. Your homework assignment on this anniversary is to think of reasons why.

     

    5 Responses to “US Out of …”

    1. Ken Says:

      Because the hurricane missed.

      If the city were flooded by rushing water at the same time as the maximum winds were blasting the city and demolishing most of its homes, the rescue effort would have been much smaller.

    2. Jay Manifold Says:

      But the hurricane’s path pushed more water into Lake Ponchartrain from the east than would otherwise have been the case. So the wind damage was less, but the later flooding may have been worse.

      One thing that doesn’t make managing these risks any easier is that in any given year, the likelihood of a cat-3 or above hurricane hitting New Orleans is 0.5%. And it is arguable that this was a miss, sort of. But the topic of whether/what to rebuild is one for a separate post.

    3. Jim Miller Says:

      Jay – Fascinating post, wherever you rambled. And I fear you may be right about the “disappointment”, as I said in this post.

      In your comment, you said that the likellihood of Cat 3 hurricane hitting New Orleans in any given year is 0.5 percent. Do you have a reference for that?

    4. Alan K. Henderson Says:

      [Y]et four-fifths of the population of the affected area escaped entirely, and in all likelihood well over 99% of those who did not escape nonetheless survived the disaster. The worst day in this country is better than the best day in a lot of other places. Your homework assignment on this anniversary is to think of reasons why.

      Considering that the main survival concern is food and water, I offer this explanation:

      1. Most people are not complete idiots. Some survivors had a supply of food and water already, while others managed to put together a stash at the last minute as the levee broke – it’s not like the city was completely overwhelmed by water in a manner of seconds. (Maybe afterward a few dived underwater to get extra stuff out of the cupboard – not improbable where the flood level was lower than first-story ceiling level.)

      2. The private sector was more prompt at delivering food and water to the immersed city than news accounts suggest.

      (Trivia: I used to live in Metairie, from grades K-3.)

    5. Alan K. Henderson Says:

      Oh, and…

      3. Navy and Coast Guard ships were on the scene for rescue and relief sooner than generally reported.