Location: Santa Ana, California, United States

Virginia Bola operated a rehabilitation company for 20 years, developing innovative job search techniques for disabled workers, while serving as a Vocational Expert in Administrative, Civil and Workers' Compensation Courts. She is a licensed clinical psychologist with deep interests in Social Psychology and politics and an admitted diet fanatic. She has performed therapeutic services for more than 20 years and has studied the effects of cultural forces and employment on the individual. The author of two interactive workbooks, The Wolf at the Door: An Unemployment Survival Manual and Diet With An Attitude: A Weight Loss Workbook, she also publishes a monthly ezine, The Worker's Edge and various weight loss mini-courses. She can be reached at,, or

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Katrina: The Lessons Unlearned

For the past year, the administration has been playing catch-up for the fallout of their infamously slow and undeniably inadequate response to the devastation and human suffering caused by Hurricane Katrina. Staff resigned, were transferred, or fired, and we were assured that now all emergency services were coordinated and response time in the future would be immediate for any perceived threat to American citizens.

Less than one year after the Gulf disaster, open warfare broke out in the Middle East. Americans in Lebanon, cowering under artillery shells, rocket attacks, and the loss of basic amenities including electricity, water, food, and medicine screamed for help to make their escape.

Again, the red tape, the lack of willingness to step forward, to take responsibility, to make decisions or to issue orders, prevailed. As Italy, France, and other nations quickly moved to get their people out, the most powerful and rich nation on earth dithered.

Embassy staff had no answers for the frantic incoming calls. Tourists, students, and employees were told "We're working on it." Seven days after hostilities began, a cruise ship started to evacuate, taking out 1400 of the more than 8000 people begging for a route out. Embarking passengers were required to sign an affidavit agreeing to reimburse the government for their travel - rescinded only after a public outcry.

The lessons of Katrina were clear and simple: any response must be expeditious or it is worthless. Despite the hundred of stump speeches and the endless public posturing, the government has again proved to be disorganized and helpless in the face of a humanitarian threat.

The lessons have been ignored. We forget that at our peril.


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