Saturday, September 03, 2005

The federal government's response to the disaster spawned by Hurricane Katrina is nothing less than shameful. The more one reads about this fiasco the more that kind of conclusion becomes clear. It's not just the matter of delay: one whole day before a single word about it came out of the White House, a few more crucial days before the desperately needed supplies and the people to distribute and coordinate them arrived to the bereaved and besieged.

What is happening now is the direct result of inept policy and misguided priorities, to say the least: the National Guard? A lot of their resources (one estimate places it at half) and about a third of their personnel are in Iraq. Funding for the failed levees? Cuts in the FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) budget, partly due to allocations for 'Homeland Security' - and not homeland security, apparently - as well as the tax cuts. "Just two months ago new evidence emerged that city and its levees were sinking, increasing the risk of a catastrophic flood, even as federal funds to protect the city were being cut," reports the New York Times.

The result is an undeniable disaster, and the refugee situation is both unnecessary and criminal. This does not happen to such a wonderful country. Yes, one must not simply 'point fingers'. But this whole thing embodies the life and death issue of power and responsibility, which for better or worse is being placed on the highest levels of our government. It has failed us: unknown thousands are already dead, 'armed thugs' have taken control of many areas in New Orleans, damage to oil infrastructure has sent gas prices higher and higher, and the utter lack of basic services (water, food, medicine) has created what is perhaps the greatest humanitarian crisis we have ever seen in recent memory.

One day this Administration is going to pay dearly for its shameful (and shameless) lack of foresight and its contempt for the American people.


Anonymous said...

I just want to point out that the part in your rant (no offense intended by that usage) about the "worst humanitarian crisis in recent memory" - or words to that effect - blatantly ignors the very recent and still tragic Tsunami event. Granted, though, the fact that this crisis has occurred in The States as opposed to outside of them does tend to make our in-country responsive efforts stand out as more immediately important. Otherwise, I can only agree, for the most part, wholeheartedly.


Alex said...

Oh, God, I completely apologize for that impression - I must have forgotten to append the words "in our nation's history." Right you are that no offense was intended. (I hope this miscommunication doesn't get me flagged and booted off this network for good.) Again, sorry for the omitted phrase, for it completely changes the meaning of that point. I will continue to be more careful next time, as ... most times.