In the course of discussing the likeliness of an attack on US soil involving WMD in years to come, J.R. Dunn proposes reliance in emergencies on ordinary people, as the Swiss already do, but recognizes that the direction of intellectual fashion opposes such a policy.
One of the few heartening things about 9/11 was watching people appear from all across the country to aid and assist the city of New York. Firemen, policemen, and ordinary people got into their cars and drove sometimes thousands of miles, simply to lend a hand. That is the response we’d be looking to harness. There is nothing more American than this, and the fact that no effort has been made to take advantage of it is difficult to fathom. Consider what the Katrina farce would have been like with such an organization in place. (A 4th-Generation Warfare enthusiast would call this a “network-centric solution”, by the way; which is fine.)
Of course, it won’t happen. It is straightforward, it’s workable, and it utilizes the American traditions of competence, community, and initiative. But it’s also against the spirit of the age, the rebirth of Big Government, the drift toward centralization and bureaucracy. In this paradigm, the U.S. citizenry is viewed not as a resource, as a reservoir of talent, ability, and good will, but as part of the problem, to be cajoled, hoodwinked, and manipulated into doing what the bureaucrats think is necessary. The results can be seen in Louisiana.
For the foreseeable future, we’ll be stuck with organizations that respond to disasters by sending truckloads of ice from one end of the country to the other. Perhaps at some point such an idea will be considered, after the monster bureaucracies have fumbled the ball another four or five times.