A decision by the Bush administration to rewrite in secret the nation’s emergency response blueprint has angered state and local emergency officials, who worry that Washington is repeating a series of mistakes that contributed to its bungled response to Hurricane Katrina nearly two years ago.
State and local officials in charge of responding to disasters say that their input in shaping the National Response Plan was ignored in recent months by senior White House and Department of Homeland Security officials, despite calls by congressional investigators for a shared overhaul of disaster planning in the United States.
“In my 19 years in emergency management, I have never experienced a more polarized environment between state and federal government,” said Albert Ashwood, Oklahoma‘s emergency management chief and president of a national association of state emergency managers.
The national plan is supposed to guide how federal, state and local governments, along with private and nonprofit groups, work together during emergencies. Critics contend that a unilateral approach by Washington produced an ill-advised response plan at the end of 2004 — an unwieldy, 427-page document that emphasized stopping terrorism at the expense of safeguarding against natural disasters.
Daily Archives: August 9, 2007
If U.S. combat forces withdraw from Iraq in the near future, three developments would be likely to unfold. Majority Shiites would drive Sunnis out of ethnically mixed areas west to Anbar province. Southern Iraq would erupt in civil war between Shiite groups. And the Kurdish north would solidify its borders and invite a U.S. troop presence there. In short, Iraq would effectively become three separate nations.
That was the conclusion reached in recent “war games” exercises conducted for the U.S. military by retired Marine Col. Gary Anderson. “I honestly don’t think it will be apocalyptic,” said Anderson, who has served in Iraq and now works for a major defense contractor. But “it will be ugly.”
n making the case for a continued U.S. troop presence, President Bush has offered far more dire forecasts, arguing that al-Qaeda or Iran — or both — would take over Iraq after a “precipitous withdrawal” of U.S. forces. Al-Qaeda, he said recently, would “be able to recruit better and raise more money from which to launch their objectives” of attacking the U.S. homeland. War opponents in Congress counter that Bush’s talk about al-Qaeda is overblown fear-mongering and that nothing could be worse than the present situation.
Al-Hayat reports in Arabic that the Iranians hit back at US charges at the security meeting in Damascus, saying that the US and Iraq were not in a position to lecture others on terrorism as long as they gave refuge in Iraq to the Mojahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO or MEK), which is responsible for numerous bombings and other terrorism in Iran. The US State Department acknowledges that the MEK is a terrorist organization, but the Pentagon is using it against Iran anyway. Turkey likewise chimed in on US/Iraqi hypocrisy, complaining that terrorists of the PKK (Kurdish Workers Party) are being coddled inside the Iraqi border.
Not to mention the guns and money it has placed in the hands of Sunni and Shiites in Iraq, and terrorist groups in Columbia and other parts of Latin America.