Last September, a Category 5 hurricane battered the small island of Cuba with 160-mile-per-hour winds. More than 1.5 million Cubans were evacuated to higher ground ahead of the storm. Although the hurricane destroyed 20,000 houses, no one died. What is Cuban President Fidel Castro's secret? According to Dr. Nelson Valdes, a sociology professor at the University of New Mexico, and specialist in Latin America, "the whole civil defense is embedded in the community to begin with. People know ahead of time where they are to go. Cuba's leaders go on TV and take charge," said Valdes... "Merely sticking people in a stadium is unthinkable.. Shelters all have medical personnel, from the neighborhood. They have family doctors in Cuba, who evacuate together with the neighborhood, and already know, for example, who needs insulin." They also evacuate animals and veterinarians, TV sets and refrigerators, "so that people aren't reluctant to leave because people might steal their stuff," Valdes observed.
While the proverbial road to hell is paved with good intentions, the internal government memos collected in this publication demonstrate that the path to the purgatory that is Guantanamo Bay, or Abu Ghraib, has been paved with decidedly bad intentions. The policies that resulted in rampant abuse of detainees first in Afghanistan, then at Guantanamo Bay, and later in Iraq, were product of three pernicious purposes designed to facilitate the unilateral and unfettered detention, interrogation, abuse, judgment, and punishment of prisoners: (1) the desire to place the detainees beyond the reach of any court or law; (2) the desire to abrogate the Geneva Convention with respect to the treatment of persons seized in the context of armed hostilities; and (3) the desire to absolve those implementing the policies of any liability for war crimes under U.S. and international law.
Preparing for War, Stumbling to Peace The Bush administration planned well and won the war with minimal allied casualties. Now, according to interviews with dozens of administration officials, military leaders and independent analysts, missteps in the planning for the subsequent peace could threaten the lives of soldiers and drain U.S. resources indefinitely and cloud the victory itself. Lonely At The Top Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said last week that he hoped to enlist as many as 30,000 troops from 49 nations. The problem, however, is that many of the recruits the Pentagon has tried to line up so far appear to fall into two categories: the not so willing and the not that able. Report: U.S. May Call National Guard for Iraq Duty - The Pentagon could start a call-up of as many as 10,000 U.S. National Guard soldiers by this winter to bolster forces in Iraq and offset a lack of troops from allies, The Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday. Postwar Window Closing in Iraq, Study Says A team of outside experts dispatched by the Pentagon to assess security and reconstruction operations in Iraq reported yesterday that the window of opportunity for achieving postwar success is closing and requires immediate and dramatic action by U.S. military and civilian personnel. Turning and turning in the widening gyre...
posted by y2karl
on Jul 18, 2003 -
I've written before about the myth of the heartland--roughly speaking, the "red states," which voted for George W. Bush in the 2000 election, as opposed to the "blue states," which voted for Al Gore. The nation's interior is supposedly a place of rugged individualists, unlike the spongers and whiners along the coasts. In reality, of course, rural states are heavily subsidized by urban states. New Jersey pays about $1.50 in federal taxes for every dollar it gets in return; Montana receives about $1.75 in federal spending for every dollar it pays in taxes.
Any sensible program of spending on homeland security would at least partly redress this balance. The most natural targets for terrorism lie in or near great metropolitan areas; surely protecting those areas is the highest priority, right?
Apparently not. Even in the first months after Sept. 11, Republican lawmakers made it clear that they would not support any major effort to rebuild or even secure New York. And now that anti-urban prejudice has taken statistical form: under the formula the Department of Homeland Security has adopted for handing out money, it spends 7 times as much protecting each resident of Wyoming as it does protecting each resident of New York.