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Heavy-Handed Politics

"€œGod willing, with the force of God behind it, we shall soon experience a world
without the United States and Zionism."€ -- Iran President Ahmadi-Nejad

Monday, October 03, 2005


"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. God 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."

---Jack Kelly


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