Reporters are busy reporting the story of the day, but often they miss the big picture, preferring to report stories as a race horse betting game.

Example: Michael Steele said that Afghanistan is the President’s war. What will Rush say? Will that make Obama’s popularity poll go up or down?

Time out, fellahs. Because a lot of the blame for the Obama administration (for example, on the oil spill) has more to do with a big bulky government bureaucracy than it does with his competency.

On the other hand, a good burocracy has “contingency plans” for everything.

So maybe you should be aware of this quote:

“Two decades after the end of the Cold War, we face a cruel irony of history — the risk of a nuclear confrontation between nations has gone down, but the risk of nuclear attack has gone up.”
President Barack Obama, Remarks at the Nuclear Security Summit, April 13, 2010

There was actually a conference this spring discussing on how the government needed to prepare to save lives in the event of a nuclear incident,  be it an accident, a terrorist attack, or an attack from a rogue nuclear state.

One of their recommendations? They note that an attack on Washington DC might disrupt government, so contingency plans needed to be made to insure that the government continue to exist.

Hmm…wonder if that’s why Joe Biden is so busy traveling around the world? And I wonder if they are planning to restock the Greenbrier for Congress?

These types of conferences happen all the time. Some are quite scary, but the result are nice finely written plans on what to do if…

Right after 9-11, I was designated by our clinic to be the one to digest and educate our Federal Clinic on a response to a biological attack. There was a very real worry that terrorists might have gotten hold of smallpox and might let it lose.

We were in a clinic in the middle of rural Oklahoma, so why should we have this training? Well, maybe because the “Dark Winter” wargame scenario posited release of small pox from a truck stop in Oklahoma City..

So after 9-11, there was a well written plan already written up. I was amazed: It had instructions on how to set up hospitals in schools or other public facilities, right down to the number of staff and number of toilets needed. More importantly, it gave instructions on isolation and “ring” vaccination.

What is important is that training saves lives, and could be used to stop any type epidemic (e.g. SARS, which was essentially stopped by isolating contacts and preventing those with fevers from flying, because there were no medicines to treat the disease).

For nuclear war, the “good news” is that although the risk of a single nuclear “incident” is higher now than in the past, one doubts that a massive nuclear attack such as people faced in the days of the cold war, would occur. This means that casualties could be evacuated and treated in safe areas. Indeed, one of the reasons for this conference was to make plans, which will then be used to train local EMT’s and first responders.

As for yourself, packing an emergency box and making plans on where to stay in case of emergency is good advice, whether the danger be flash floods, tornadoes, snowstorms or earthquakes.

Nancy Reyes is a retired physician living in the rural Philippines. She blogs at Finest Kind Clinic and Fishmarket

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