September 6th. 2005,
Sent to New York Times but not published

Government does not have a monopoly of incompetence.

It took 15 years or so for the levees of New Orleans to deteriorate. Here in Boston it took just a few months for the first significant breach to appear in the tunnel walls of the "Big Dig." A large number of major flaws have now been discovered in this project managed and undertaken by private enterprise.

It took three months of reports from health inspectors before Halliburton cleaned up a Mess Hall kitchen in Iraq. Their failure added to the perils faced by our troops.

Even today, two hundred years after Semelweiss discovered how germs were transmitted in hospitals, many doctors and nurses do not wash their hands between patients.

It is time for us all to start acting responsibly.