More Georgia Stories:

It's now halftime for the season's opening game of the Georgia Bulldogs. It's been too long since I had a chance to sit down and watch the Bulldogs play. And what a game! Six turnovers, 24-0 Bulldogs going into the second half. And that against a team, Boise State, that was the single most top-scoring college football team over the last ten years.

During the game, the press was talking to the father of one of the BSU players, who had flown in from Iraq to see the game. He has been over there training the Iraqi police. Apparently, Georgia fans had taken up a collection to buy his ticket, even though he was related to a BSU and not a Bulldog player. Apparently, the NCAA made him refuse the money for some reason, but he got here anyway.

They took a moment to interview him about the game and how glad he was to be home to see it. Then, the lady doing the interview said, "Since you are just back from Iraq, can I ask you how it's going there?"

You could tell he was taken aback by the question, and it took a minute for him to sort out what she'd asked -- he was obviously focused on the football. But what he said when he had thought about it was this:

"As long as America's sons and daughters are there, we'll be fine. They're doing a great job."

That was all there was time for, because the play clock was running out.

Well, its a problem now, isn't it?

After reading the 'guest author' over at Winds of Change, I can't say that I'm really impressed. It reminds me of one of those late night Art Bell radio show tirades about the end of the world.

The Belmont Club, as usual, is more measured, but there's a lot of turmoil in the comments. People seem to think that a magic wand can be waved and it will all be better. Sorry, it doesn't work like that.

Jason van Steenwyk at his 'Countercolumn' blog has a number of excellent posts on the logistics involved.

Another note: East-West travel across the Gulf coast has been disrupted heavily. Most relief is going to have to come North-South due to so many bridges and roads being wrecked.

The Anchoress, (via American Digest) has an excellent post "100 hours after Stormfall" on what has happened and what is being done. The picture she links to of the drowned school bus motor pool says more about the administration of New Orleans, and its emergency planning, than any 1000 words could. In fact, if the news report that this "Powerline" post points to is correct, then the only reason New Orleans even began to evacuate was because the President begged the Mayor and Governor to order it.

But I suppose dwelling on that would be doing what has Dennis the Peasant mightily annoyed.

He may have a point.


Katrina Analysis:

The best I've seen lies behind these two links:

Winds of Change has this reading on the final scale of the disaster. Minimum projection: forty thousand dead, nine cities lost. If you think that's too high, read up.

The Belmont Club has an analysis of preventative measures taken for the hurricane. They were designed to stop a Cat. 3 hurricane. They were not designed for a Cat. 4 or 5, because the technology needed to save New Orleans from one won't exist for decades.

Both blogs have other impressive pieces on topic. But those two should be required reading.


Contact Info:

Greyhawk sends. Distribute to anyone who might need it.

Official DOD page on contact information for military families displaced by Katrina.

Site for Guard families impacted by Katrina.

Information for getting Guardsmen in touch with lost family members who may have been displaced by the hurricane.



While helping my father clean out a room in the old family house, I noticed a ribboned medal atop one of the pieces of furniture we were moving. When we had shifted it to its new room, I picked the thing up to look at it.

"What's this?" I asked.

He glanced at it, and said, "I'm glad you saw that! I've had these things here for you for years. Your uncle sent them to you."

My uncle, his brother, was the elder of my grandfather's two sons. Unfortunately his own son is a tragic case, and so he has sometimes sent me things that he had intended to give his son when my cousin was old enough to get them.

The ribbon proved to be a World War II Victory Medal. It's interesting in that, on the reverse side, it is engraved with the famous "Four Freedoms," which were so capably illustrated by Norman Rockwell.

There were a few other items.

He had come across several General Officer stars, I couldn't guess where. There have certainly never been any Generals in my immediate family -- although Patton is a distant relative of ours, it is quite a distance. He had also an old Nazi mess-kit utensil. I'm no collector of Nazi things, but I recognized the crest on the back of it.

There was also a pin. It was black, engraved on the back with the number D-22; and on the front it bore a pair of crossed arrows and a dagger, and this motto:

"De Oppresso Liber."

My uncle was in Korea with the Air Force Security Police, who at that time were a very impressive bunch. This was when the Security Police was the last-ditch force for preventing the world's only nuclear weapons from falling into enemy hands, should a base be overrun or infiltrated. These were the early days of the Cold War, when the stakes were high and nowhere on earth seemed safe from covert action. The Security Police were trained in all manner of deadly combat, and understood that they were to die in place if called to do so. I gather from the occasional adventure onto an Air Force Base that the standards have changed since then, but the Security Police of the 1950s were a brave and dangerous band.

I don't know where he got this pin -- the insignia has existed since 1960, so it's possible that it was traded to him by someone he knew in Korea. It's been many years since I've spoken to him, but I'll have to write to ask where he got it.



I warn you that what follows is not pleasant, and you may wish to skip this entry entirely if you do not wish to consider unpleasant thoughts at this time. I will hardly hold it against you, for this is a deeply unhappy time, and we have all had enough misery. Still, it is important to think things through plainly.

Probably what has been shocking people most about the hurricane damage is the chaos in New Orleans. We must remember the state of New Orleans before the disaster: a background crime rate that was one of the highest in the country; police forces, and indeed a political structure, that were notoriously corrupt. It is of no surprise that, having failed on every normal day to achieve their basic tasks, the city's government failed to achieve what would have been a heroic undertaking even for the most disciplined and efficient of governments.

There is another reason, though, that the chaos has been as bad as it has been. Reuters found someone from Sri Lanka to articulate it:

Not a single tourist caught in the tsunami was mugged. Now with all this happening in the U.S. we can easily see where the civilized part of the world's population is.
Well, properly, one can see where it is not. It is not in New Orleans.

The same argument was voiced in a dire prediction from the ground, which was carried by InstaPundit. Law Professor Bill Quigley wrote:
[T]he problem for New Orleans is that everybody who had their health, had money and had a car, they left. Okay, so we have probably 100,000 people trapped in the city right now, maybe 50,000 or 60,000 people in the Superdome who are there without electricity, without flushing toilets, without food, without water. And they are people who had to walk over there or take a bus, because they didn't have a car to get out.

There are people in nursing homes, there's people in these little hospitals all over the place.... So who's left behind in New Orleans right now, you are talking about tens of thousands of people who are left behind, and those are the sickest, the oldest, poorest, the youngest, the people with disabilities and the like, and the plan was that everybody should leave.
That is to say that only two kinds of people remain in New Orleans in any numbers: the underclass, among whom the predatory criminal population is vastly higher than among any other class of people; and those too frail or poor to move, which is to say, those who are naturally easy prey. All the elements of society that normally restrain violence and chaos have been stripped away by the evacuation.

This was not the case in the tsunami, because it fell instantly upon the people. Everyone was there -- militants in their jungles, tourists in their hotels, the poor and the rich and the people of every class. If this had been an earthquake instead of a hurricane, the chaos would be far lower in New Orleans. But we have left the worst predators, in a city where they are already accustomed to running rampant, alone with the most vulnerable possible prey. It is natural, and unavoidable, that hideous things should follow.

Our society does not rely for its order on our police forces, our National Guard, or indeed very much on the government at all. We are not a security state, like China, with uniformed servants of the state posted everywhere to enforce order. By and large, order is kept in America by middle-class Americans. In those parts of the inner cities where poverty is rampant and there is no middle class to speak of, there is always serious disorder -- the background murder rate for New Orleans, say, or the rate in much of Washington, D.C.

But we must institute such a security state in New Orleans for the duration, because American society is no longer there to restrain its criminals. Everyone with a stake in American society and also the power to help enforce its norms has been removed from the city. There will now be no order except by main force.

That would be a tremendous task even if those people given over to instituting that force did not have to deal with flooding, and the engineering challenges that go with it. Yet they do have to deal with it, which means that the application of force must be that much more stern.

That is the only way to protect any of the vulnerable peoples left in the area. The predators have been turned loose, by the evacuation as much as by the disaster. Civilization was packed up and removed from what was once a city, but which is now a jungle as dark and perilous as any in imagination.

Trip down

Down Georgia Way:

I flew down today, passing up my airline's invitation to become a Federal felon. When I went to check in my firearm, I declared it and presented it to security, unloaded and sealed in a locking case. "You want to check this firearm?" the officer of the airline asked me. Misunderstanding her intention, I said politely that yes, I did, and that the regulations for doing so were posted on a large sign right behind her.

"But you don't have to check it," she said. "You can carry it on the plane."

"Um, what?" I asked.

"Yes, we carry on firearms now. If you want to do that, that will be fine."

I insisted on checking it as baggage, because I knew that was legal. It turns out, I realized at the end of the conversation (after the firearm case was already on its way through the TSA scanners, properly declared and sealed) that she had been under the misapprehension that I was a law enforcement officer of some description. Well, I was traveling through Dulles, so it's perfectly sensible she might have thought so. I imagine they come through all the time.

I got to Atlanta in the early afternoon, and found the city unusually quiet. I took MARTA through town. The parking garages at the terminal ends of the line were packed to capacity, which is apparently highly unusual. The gas panic seems to have produced real expectations of shortages here, with the result that there actually were several gas stations that had sold out their tanks to local consumers.

It will be interesting to see whether I can get home, too.

Everywhere I've been, television screens are constantly focused on the hurricane. Even on MARTA -- unlike the D.C. Metro, they've now got televisions on MARTA trains. Great, just what I wanted. Another place where there's a constant TV presence.

Katrina has gotten people's attention in a big way. There's been quite a bit of talk today about how this may change behavior in the long term. We'll see if it plays out, of course. The big question is the refineries, as I see it; we can buy extra oil if we need it, but the refineries are the choke point. We can't make more gas than we can make, and we can make less now with the gulf refineries offline.

Still, it honestly wouldn't take much belt-tightening to overcome the shortage, if it is widespread. I saw that Bush had suggested to all Americans that they should not buy gas if they didn't need to do so. It certainly appears to be the case that the folks in Atlanta are buying all the gas they can get, but also trying to cut down on use of gasoline. Even a small savings in terms of personal use, if it is adopted by millions, will probably ease the shortage enough that it will be just a memory in a little while.

If so, the dire projections I've been hearing and reading about today probably won't ever come to pass. But, at least for the moment, there are people thinking seriously about questions of how far they really want to commute to work; how big a car they need; and how many cars. The sudden spike in gas prices has caused people to reflect on their personal budgets.

This is not to say that the talk today has shown a basic selfishness, or self-interest. People are emotionally involved in the tragedy, of course. But there is nothing that the emotional involvement can accomplish; other than mourning it, and giving to their favored charity, there honestly isn't much to be done. There really does come a point where everything to be said about the tragedy has been said; and then you think of other things, and right now, these other things also weigh heavily on peoples' minds.

I have a few more stories, but it's almost one AM and I've been up since five AM, so they'll have to wait.



I'll be traveling for a week or so, down to Georgia and back. Should make for some good stories. I'll share the best ones with you.


Days of Disaster:

The hurricane has been a terrible blight on the American South, with economic tremblings that are traveling north. My father informs me that the main gasoline pipeline from the gulf to Atlanta was destroyed in the storm, with the result that the entire city will run out of gas in a few days. How long will that last? Who knows?

But I find that my heart goes out instead to the families of Iraqi pilgrims, who have suffered today the greatest tragedy to befall them for several years. I was once in a crowd that got spooked, and remember it well. It was in the early 1990s, the year the Atlanta Braves first got to play in the World Series. There was a parade downtown, and probably the whole city came out to see it. The Braves had been the worst team in baseball for so many years that, in addition to the pleasure of seeing the home team within reach of the top prize, there was a feeling of great wonder and joy at seeing so complete a reversal. I could not guess how many people were packed into those streets, but I know that they overran the barricades and were pressed so tightly together in places that it was impossible to move.

At one point the crowd began to become aware of the peril of that situation, and several drunken fools began to exploit it. They shouted, and shoved, and tried to panic people: and many in the crowd, for some were frail and easily frightened, did panic. They began to scream, and try to get out: but there was nowhere to go. So they shoved, and the crowd began to sway, back and forth, pressing together so tightly that you felt that you would have to lose your feet in the crush, first forward, now backwards.

At last some people near a side street gave way. Then it turned into a rout, with the whole crowd pushing and shoving and exploding into that space. I remember that some folks broke in the door to a parking garage -- wisely! -- and a part of the crowd escaped up into it, avoiding the chaos below.

I don't know if anyone was hurt, but surely they must have been. I remember hearing that someone had been stabbed, though I don't know if it was true. Still, I understand something of what it is like to be caught in a crush, and I pity and mourn for those who have died in Iraq today.

The bitter irony, of course, is that no suicide bomber or team of such bombers could have killed so many people. Nor, in fact, did the enemy have to so much as lift a finger to kill all of these people: the rumor of their coming was enough. Though they could never have killed so many had they set themselves to it with their fullest might, yet the fear of them did it with a terrible ease.

See here, and learn, how very deadly that fear is. It is the true weapon of the enemy. It is what we must all first learn to overcome.

I wish I knew words to comfort the people of Iraq. There are no such words, of course.

King James

King James:

I found this to be a fascinating story. It's about a man, an early Mormon leader, who decided to make himself king of an island in Michigan. The United States sent a boatload of Marines and US Marshals to correct his behavior, but having arrested him, lost the trial! He was acquitted on every charge they could name against him, and ended up... well, see for yourselves.

It's one of those grand old stories from America's history, the sort of things that you almost can't believe really happened. Judge Roy Bean is another of that sort: even after you've filtered out all the legendary material, and have only the plain facts before you, you just have to shake your head in amazement and wonder at the extraordinary stories America has produced.


Maybe They're On To Something...

If it weren't for the fact that I know that Thaksin Shinawatara is a former telecom guy, I would have suspected a hoax in his plan to buy cable television for all coffeeshops in Muslim southern Thailand. Yeah, sure... the kids will be so busy watching soccer that they'll forget to jihad.

Hm. Maybe they're on to something after all:

In the wilds of southern Thailand, where people believe Islam first took root in Southeast Asia, plans to dish out cable TV with free English soccer to quell ethnic Malay unrest have not gone down well.

"The kids will just watch TV and leave the Koran and their school books behind," said Haji Mustafa Bin Haji Abdul Latif of Ban Sawo Hilir in Narathiwat, one of three provinces rocked by 20 months of violence in which more than 800 people have died.

"I don't think it's a good idea," he says, taking a long drag on a hand-rolled cigarette at his run-down tea-shop in the exclusively Muslim village deep in the jungle.

Around him, a handful of customers give similar verdicts on the proposals by Interior Minister Kongsak Wantana to use Thai TV, karaoke stars and European soccer to wean Muslim youths away from violence.

The plans, they say, illustrate clearly the lack of cultural sensibility from Bangkok's Buddhist government which critics say is fuelling resentment in the far south, where 80 percent of the population are Muslim, ethnic Malay and non-Thai speaking.
Well, it may not be "culturally sensible," but as I reflect on it, it does have a certain history behind it. The Romans kept the mob of Rome from rising up against them through a combination of bread and circuses. Free soccer? Every day? Could be just the trick.

Or, as Bill Waterson said, Karl Marx hadn't seen anything yet.


"Yes, sir. Take cover, sir."

An excellent example of how to explain things to general officers.

Hat tip: BlackFive.


Mostly for Military Readers:

Count the ways that this inspection differs from the way that we do it. Better, or worse? Discuss.


Tribalism & Victory:

I have a post on that topic over at the 4th Rail.