Truth to Power

Katrina

I was all set to post something this morning rather unprecedented for TTP- I was going to cut Bush some slack. After spending two days reading various websites and watching coverage of the disaster in New Orleans, I had come to the conclusion that the left was using this horrible event as yet another occasion to bash Bush. I thought, you know, the guy didn’t steer the hurricane, and he wasn’t standing at 1-10 (when it was still there, that is) with a gun, keeping people from leaving.

I was all ready to do that, and chide those on boards such as DU and DailyKos, until I started reading a bit more. Now, the level of ghoulish voyourism on those sites (as well as those on the right) is unsettling- many posters seem disappointed when things don’t turn out as dire as originally feared, which is just sick. But then I started finding things such as this:

Editor and Publisher points to a series of articles from the Times-Picayune newspaper in Louisiana, which paints an ugly picture:

In early 2004, as the cost of the conflict in Iraq soared, President Bush proposed spending less than 20 percent of what the Corps said was needed for Lake Pontchartrain, according to a Feb. 16, 2004, article, in New Orleans CityBusiness.

On June 8, 2004, Walter Maestri, emergency management chief for Jefferson Parish, Louisiana; told the Times-Picayune: “It appears that the money has been moved in the president’s budget to handle homeland security and the war in Iraq, and I suppose that’s the price we pay. Nobody locally is happy that the levees can’t be finished, and we are doing everything we can to make the case that this is a security issue for us.”</i>

Or this, from Army Times:

Some 6,000 National Guard personnel in Louisiana and Mississippi who would be available to help deal with the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina are in Iraq, highlighting the changing role of America’s part-time soldiers.

“The juxtaposition of the mission to Iraq and the response to Katrina really demonstrates the new and changing character of the National Guard,” Daniel Goure, a military analyst at the private Lexington Institute, said Monday.

The war has forced the Guard into becoming an operational force, a far cry from its historic role as a strategic reserve primarily available to governors for disasters and other duties in their home states.</i>

It goes on to mention that material vital to clean up and rescue operations went to Iraq as well, including high water vehicles (for a f’n desert??). Read more here.

Riding into work this morning I got gas- $2.71 for regular, thank you very the hell much (glad I have a hybrid!), and WSB radio was mentioning that suppliers of gas to metro Atlanta may have to resort to rationing supply to retailers, since pipelines leading out of LA to distribution points have no power, and thus can’t pump. Gas could easily spike to $100 a barrel, say the experts, and that doesn’t bode well for an economy that is built on debt.

They are now calling for a mandatory evacuation of New Orleans- including the thousands in the Superdome- within the next few days. There is nowhere for those people to go. And as horrible as it has been so far, it could get worse. There is a possibility of another storm in the area next week. As someone at a hurricane center in Louisana stated this morning “That would wipe us out. We can’t withstand another storm.”

We can’t prevent acts of nature. What we can do- and must do- is better prepare for them. That means funding the projects that protect people, not slashing budgets. It means having the resources ready to be used where they are needed- not in an optional war in some far off land. The people who made the choice to fund Iraq at the expense of their own citizens should be held accountable. Every inch the water rises on Canal Street should be broadcast as a testament to the criminal greed and incompentence of our unelected government.


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