Against All Enemies - Richard Clarke

You might think I'm a bit late in reading Dick Clarke's "Against All Enemies" (2004), the counterterrorism czar's scathing condemnation of Dubya's bungled response of 9/11. Clarke argues, amongst others, that Iraq is unrelated to Al Qaeda, that the Department of Homeland Security sets back counterterrorism efforts, and that Clinton committed more money, expertise and resources than Bush jr ever did, even after 9/11.
However, one excerpt is not only eerily prophetic but also proves that Clarke is not an alarmist with a hidden agenda:

In 2000, I asked DOD and FEMA to determine what units would be needed to deal with a small nuclear weapon going off in a midsize U.S. city. Both agencies said I had to be more specific, so I chose Cincinnati because I had just been there. The kind of federal plan and units needed to help metropolitan Cincinnati officials deal with such a calamity simply did not exist. Nonetheless, many city officials assumed that there were federal units somewhere that would come to help them in an extreme emergency. They also noted that it is the first 24 hours in which the injured can be saved, and most local officials I spoke with doubted that the U.S. Cavalry would appear that fast. In fact, many of the kinds of federal units that city officials assume will help them will never show up. Large MASH-style military field hospitals are no longer in the force structure. Military Police are in short supply and stretched with overseas deployments. (Now, because of Iraq, many National Guard units are also overseas, taking with them mobilized police and fire personnel from cities and towns. The new Northern Command created to assist in homeland emergencies has not developed a single new field unit to meet domestic requirements; it merely has the ability to plan to call on units that already happen to exist and are still in the homeland.)
Hmmm... let's summarize here, shall we? A major U.S. city falls victim to a disaster. Local officials expect federal emergency agencies such as a certain FEMA to step in. Such agencies cannot respond within 24 hours, are dangerously understaffed, have no effective response plan, and have lots of able-bodied personnel fighting overseas in Iraq.
The value of a theory is often said to be found in its predictability. The Katrina disasters -unfortunately- proves Richard Clarke right in his assessment. Makes you wonder what else he's right about...

Posted by cronopio at 01:30 PM, September 19, 2005