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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Sept. 26, 2005 / 22 Elul, 5765

What slowed down disaster response to Katrina? Let's look for the lawyers

By Jack Kelly

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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | We might have had a faster response to Katrina, and prevented the 9/11 attacks altogether, if only we'd followed the advice of Dick the Butcher. Dick the Butcher is the character in Shakespeare's play Henry VI who says: "The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers."

Dick is a repulsive character. Shakespeare's point is that lawyers are vital to the functioning of civilized society. They are the oil in the gears of commerce, the engine of democracy.

But when we have too many lawyers, and we pay them too much deference, that oil can turn into sand.

New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin reportedly was reluctant to order a mandatory evacuation for fear of lawsuits.

G-d knows why Gov. Kathleen Blanco dragged her feet — dithering seems to be her modus operandi — but I suspect lawyers had a lot to do with it.

My friend Ralph Peters told me his sources in the Pentagon told him lawyers for FEMA and the Department of Homeland Security spent the weekend before Katrina struck arguing about what they could or couldn't do — the emphasis was on couldn't — absent certain permissions from Blanco.

Former members of Able Danger, a military intelligence unit, have claimed they had identified hijack leader Mohamed Atta and the members of his cell more than a year before 9/11, and had tried to pass this information on to the FBI, but were forbidden to do so on the advice of Pentagon lawyers.

There are lawyers who can act promptly and decisively in a crisis (see Giuliani, Rudy). But they are the exception rather than the rule. By training and temperament, lawyers are more likely to flash a yellow light than a green one.

It is this fundamental characteristic, my friend Tom Lipscomb told me, that caused a young Donald Rumsfeld to argue that lawyers should be barred from holding public office. It was probably not helpful that both Michael Brown, the head of FEMA when Katrina struck, and Michael Chertoff, his boss at the Department of Homeland Security, are lawyers.

The pernicious impact lawyers can have in a crisis is compounded by bureaucracy.

Bureaucracies typically move at a torpid pace, and insist on following the rules even when the rules make no sense. So firemen were prevented from rescuing Katrina victims until they had received a lecture on sexual harassment policy.

The more layers of bureaucrats through which a decision must pass, the slower the response. Yet Washington's response to any crisis is to create larger bureaucracies.

Consider the Department of Homeland Security. It was created in response to the intelligence failures of the FBI and CIA leading to 9/11, but did nothing to address the intelligence failures of the FBI and CIA.

It made enormous sense to combine the Immigration and Naturalization Service, the Customs Service, the Border Patrol and the Coast Guard into a single agency to guard our borders. But throwing in FEMA, the Transportation Security Administration and the various other cats and dogs created an unmanageable witches' brew in which there would inevitably be more turf battles than real reform.

Having mucked up DHS, Congress, acting on the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission, proceeded to create a DHS for the Intelligence Community.

The primary purpose of the Director of National Intelligence was not to address the intelligence failures of the FBI and CIA which led to 9/11, but to subject the various defense intelligence agencies (mostly blameless in 9/11) to an additional layer of bureaucratic supervision. We needed more and better spies, analysts and linguists. We got more managers.

Organizations have consequences. There are thousands of good people in FEMA and DHS who are frustrated by the sluggishness the bureaucratic monstrosity they are in imposes.

Leaner, more focused organizations are better. FEMA and the Transportation Security Administration should be withdrawn from DHS.

The only bureaucracy which moves rapidly in a crisis is the military. I think it would be a mistake to make the military a "first responder" in natural disasters, but FEMA should be reorganized along military lines.

And the head of FEMA should always be either a National Guard general or a Coast Guard admiral. There are some jobs which require adult supervision.

Too many of these are held by political hacks.

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JWR contributor Jack Kelly, a former Marine and Green Beret, was a deputy assistant secretary of the Air Force in the Reagan administration. Comment by clicking here.

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