Feel safer now? FEMA is out, and the White House is taking direct charge in case of a catastrophe. A new “National Continuity Director” will be consulting the President’s Security Adviser Stephen Hadley and Vice President Dick Cheney on how to keep the government running.
Signed last month, “the new policy has received little attention,” according to the Boston Globe, but has prompted concerns it “may be written in such a way that makes it too easy to invoke emergency presidential powers such as martial law.”
The new approach assumes terrorist attacks without warning rather than Cold War fear of nuclear missiles, which would have allowed some warning time.
To deal with such instant chaos, the White House would have the power to do anything it deemed necessary, without consulting Congress or anyone else.
If critics, both conservative and liberal, are expressing alarm, it may be because they recall the Administration’s assumption in 2002 that 9/11 gave the President permission to invade Iraq or any other country he deemed necessary to combat terrorism.
They may be having difficulty imagining the kind of attack that would paralyze the entire country unless the White House had dictatorial powers to deal with it. So should we all.