Part of Kenís point is that failings on various levels made Katrina worse, but they did just that: they made Katrina worse. He notes the difference between nature & man. And nature is likely to fight us harder than man. If civilization reaches the point where a category five hurricane aimed at a populous and wide region is just a minor problem Ė well, that will be good. And technology & planning may indeed reach that point. Even with all the incompetence that we will complain about for years, this was not as bad as 1900 Galveston; it was destroyed and never, not really, came back. The 6000 dead will surely not be topped by Katrina, despite its broader swath and a modern higher population. (The poor, then, in Galveston were the new immigrants; its role as Ellis Island of the south was never regained.) Indeed, apparently New Orleans got a larger percentage of its population out than Ivan would have predicted. And the misery of Mississippi and Alabama appears mitigated by better planning.
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 havenít finished the job in Afghanistan.
But itís also true that we never really started the job in Saudi Arabia ó 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.
Good news: 182,000 rescued.
Bad News: Chris Regan and Bryan Preston, in “Ghost Plans for a Ghost Town,”, compare what happened with plans and predictions from the experience of Ivan and discussions in the November 2004 Natural Hazards Observer. Their grim (and detailed) comparisons conclude:
Not much of a post, some fragments between classes:
Whittle is impassioned and perceptive as he contrasts the “pink” and “grey.”
NPR says this time Bush is not blaming the locals–as he had in his first tour of the hurricane-hit area. Hugh Hewitt saw that first trip quite differently. (Generally, I’d take Hewitt over NPR, but don’t know. If those people want to be taken seriously, they really need to stop treating Daniel Schorr as if he was the last of the great wise men.)