Sunday, September 25, 2005

RESIST MILITARY LEADERSHIP FOR NATURAL DISASTERS

ONE CAN ONLY HOPE. I hope for a better, civilian-based comprehensive response plan to natural disasters than our President's idea to assert military authority.

STOP-GAP, NOT IN CHARGE. Most people are grateful the military came to the rescue in the aftermath of Katrina. However, leaders should think very carefully before supporting the idea of a war-making machine co-opting local leadership, authorized civilian agencies, competent volunteer corps, and trained civilian emergency personnel in crises.

NO EXCUSE TO INSTALL MILITARY. The response to Katrina was a mess not because the U.S. military was not in charge. Initial Katrina responses were a mess because it was not clear who was in charge and those charged with directing relief being either incompetent or unwilling to act proactively and immediately in the best interest of the victims.

NOT THE BEST ANSWER. It seems to me that America is already over-militarized. Our leaders should be thinking of ways to strategically downsize the military instead of finding further justifications for its insatiable appetites and expansive drain on the American economy, social well-being, and spiritual health. The military is not the best answer to 99.99% of any problem.

I CAN ONLY IMAGINE. Just imagine Donald Rumsfeld at the helm of a response to a national emergency. Imagine the Defense Department as the vehicle of response to hurricanes, earthquakes or flu outbreaks. Imagine the same minds trained to unhesitatingly kill "bogeys" and view humans as "targets" to be taken out as the personnel processing your displaced loved ones across the country. Military may be called in for support when needed, but its focus and mission is not primarily civilian.

RESIST HIS OVER-REACTION. I hope our leaders and citizens resist the President's call for an increased or leadership roll by the military in natural disaster response. It is simply overkill. And it is typical of this President's pattern of over-reaction and resorting to a military answer to problems. It needs to be resisted. May cooler, wiser heads and hearts prevail.

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