Tilting at Windmills

November/ December 2011 Who’s in charge?

By Charles Peters

In case you live in the Washington area and worry what would happen in the event of another event like 9/11 or the Cuban missile crisis—during which the possibility of a nuclear attack on the city rose for a few days from the realm of possibility to the realm of probability—the Washington Post’s Robert McCartney says your concerns are not unfounded. “Ten years after the Sept. 11 attacks, the Washington region still hasn’t decided exactly who’s responsible for ordering an evacuation of the District and its neighbors,” or how to “communicate such decisions to the public.” Who is in charge during an emergency? The answer is unclear. But not to worry: the Post says that “a regional working group is studying the matter.”

Charles Peters is the founding editor of the Washington Monthly and the author of a new book on Lyndon B. Johnson published by Times Books.