Monday, July 17, 2006

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What's the plan?

July 17, 2006

What's the plan?

By Richard Kuper

The Op Ed Page

The world is getting more dangerous and hotter by the day. The problems in the Middle East are getting worse by the minute, thanks in large measure to the failed policies in Iraq and the terrorist actions of Hezbollah and Hamas on Israel. Then there are the increasing nuclear threats from North Korea and Iran. Here in the USA, the first half of 2006 was the hottest on record.

There was the train bombing in India recently, one in England not that long ago, train bombings in other countries in the recent past. The World Trade Center in NYC was attacked by terrorists twice. The first time with a car bomb in the early 1990s. The second time on 9/11/2001 with jets. In the early 1970's, a terrorist bomb blew up Fraunce's Tavern in lower Manhattan.

Heat waves have caused power outages on the East coast, multiple times since the 1960s. Fires and floods have caused serious problems in other parts of the country.

There are many threats to the safety and security of the people across the United States and elsewhere. But lets take the number one target, the City of New York, and ask: What's the plan?

The Homeland Security Department, clearly misnamed, thinks some goat petting zoo is a more viable terrorist target than the City of New York. The federal government has not laid out a plan for it's citizens in the event of a terrorist attack, a natural disaster (like hurricane Katrina), or a major power outage. The State of New York has not laid out a plan. The City of New York has not laid out a plan. Or if any of them have, they have failed to inform the citizens so the citizens are prepared and know what to do in the event of an emergency. And although NYC is the primary terrorist target, it is far from the only place in need of plans communicated to it's citizens. Have the residents of New Orleans been told what to do in the event of another hurricane? Is that city and it's neighboring cities prepared should it happen again? Are there any cities or towns in the USA that have educated citizens so that they are all calmly prepared for whatever disaster may strike? None that I've heard about.

All the good jobs have moved overseas. The jobs that are getting filled here in the USA are, with rare exceptions, paying less, and a significant number of college educated citizens have been forced to take low wage, sometimes minimum wage jobs just to get by.

We are neither better off, nor more safe, than we were before 9/11. In fact, I would say that we are worse off and less safe. We need leaders and government representatives that care, that do what needs to be done, and that communicate with the citizens of this country and help us stay safe and secure. Sending men and women to die in an unwise occupation of another country that was not a threat the to USA, and by doing so seriously destabilizing a barely stable region of the world, was probably the dumbest action any government could take. Sadly the government that did this was the government of the USA, headed by George W. Bush and Dick Cheney.

So in the event of a real emergency, what's the plan?