Where Is America’s Civil Defense?

Posted: September 23, 2010 in Uncategorized
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From the Washington Post review of the upcoming Bob Woodward book:

A classified exercise in May showed that the government was woefully unprepared to deal with a nuclear terrorist attack in the United States. The scenario involved the detonation of a small, crude nuclear weapon in Indianapolis and the simultaneous threat of a second blast in Los Angeles. Obama, in the interview with Woodward, called a nuclear attack here “a potential game changer.” He said: “When I go down the list of things I have to worry about all the time, that is at the top, because that’s one where you can’t afford any mistakes.”

As a long-time stakeholder in this sort of business, all I can ask is “Why is the government always woefully unprepared?”

This is largely an issue of civil defense, of which the most important part is having citizens take care of themselves and each other following a disaster or terrorist attack.  Do people need tools and training?  Certainly.  Is it expensive?  No, because compared to the cost of not doing it and of then having to deal with the consequences, civil defense has to be the cheapest national security ‘insurance’ there is.

If we are depending on the government to take care of us in a post-nuclear terrorist environment, to include providing for carefully planned and orderly service restorals (food, water, sanitation, medical care, security), we’re almost certain to suffer needlessly.

Is it possible that people in and out of government are so uncomfortable thinking of dealing with such an event that they effectively ignore the most useful way of dealing with the consequences of such an event, that is, through civil defense?


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