Perhaps the hardest thing to take about the botched federal response to Katrina is that it was largely perpetrated by the Department of Homeland Security. Since 9/11, we've been encouraged to believe that the erosion of privacy rights and civil liberties was part of a trade-off, and in return we would get greater security at home. Yet we see what appears to be a weakened FEMA and a national economy already strained by the "war on terror" abroad. We see no signs of an intelligent response to oil dependency, global warming or Gulf Coast wetlands degredation and land loss. It certainly seems that greater insecurity is likely to be our end of the" bargain."
It's time for all of us to start thinking very hard about what sorts of securities and what sorts of freedoms matter to us, and to formulate, together with our neighbors, the kinds of genuinely civilian defense organizations (friendly societies, cooperatives, etc) it will take to reach those goals.