The devastating floods in Louisiana and Mississippi are a huge disaster that has caused and will continue to cause enormous human suffering. They are also the biggest breach of homeland security since September 11, 2001. Granted it was nature, not terrorists, that broke our defenses and sent hundreds of thousands of refugees fleeing from urban centers. But the chaotic, uncoordinated response to the disaster — which, unlike terrorists, gave ample advance warning — is not encouraging.
Of course, it’s possible that the initial complaints of poor coordination are simply panicked and misplaced. We’ll have to wait some time to find out just how well or badly authorities handled the crisis. Still, the tens of thousands of refugees trapped in the Superdome do not create an impression of competent emergency management.