Some people have been asking me why it is that I have yet to write anything about Hurricane Katrina, and the devastation she left in her wake throughout the south and in New Orleans. To these people I would just like to say that, up until now, I have been left without the adequate vernacular to describe exactly how I feel about everything that has happened there. I guess I was in shock that our government could be so completely heartless as to leave all those innocent people there to starve, die and rot in the streets.
All the questions that have been presented to the government have been met with feeble excuses. The foremost of which was why the people of New Orleans were forced to wait so goddamned long before any semblance of aid took place?
The governments excuse? Inability to access the people in need. No access? Even singer/actor/New Orleans district attorney’s son Harry Connick, Jr. seemed to find a way in, along with anyone else from the media press who so desired.
Where was the National Guard and why weren’t they brought in sooner to help control the situation?
The government’s excuse?
Well, from what I’ve gathered, they still have yet to answer that question. The fact of the matter is, however, that even though there were military personnel in the right areas with the ability to help at a moment’s notice, they were not ordered into action until three days after the flood waters had infiltrated 80% of the Big Easy. Perhaps, and please keep in mind that this is just my opinion about the situation, most of the National Guard’s equipment (including high-water vehicles for some weird reason; they are in a desert, after all) is tied up in Iraq and Afghanistan. A Louisiana Guard officer was recently quoted as saying, “The National Guard needs that equipment back home to support the homeland security mission.” Hmm, no shit?
Another question that people have been asking is why wasn’t more preventative action taken to reduce this disaster in waiting?
In order to answer to that question, you have to look at several factors. In 2003, the Army Corps of Engineers all but stopped its work on flood control, including the levies in New Orleans. According to the New Orleans Times-Picayune newspaper, this slow down was due to the war in Iraq and federal tax cuts. In 2002, the corps’ chief engineer resigned (perhaps before being fired?) after he criticized the administration’s proposed cuts in the corps’ budget, including flood control spending. In mot so many words, the administration essentially told the residents of New Orleans to go fuck themselves.
Last week, Bush made the claim that “nobody expected the breach of the levees.” This is unreservedly false, as a measure to fix the sinking levees has been brought forth for years, yet nothing was ever done about the situation. It wasn’t as though no one understood the sort of catastrophe that was in the making for New Orleans; this flooding has been predicted for years by FEMA, let alone the Louisiana government. In 2000, FEMA reported that the three most likely catastrophic occurrences that could happen inside the Untied States were: a terrorist attack on New York, another major earthquake to hit San Francisco, and a hurricane to hit New Orleans. The Houston Chronicle wrote in 2001 that “the hurricane scenario in New Orleans may be the deadliest of all.” This prediction may prove to be true, as with the receding flood waters, the death toll is expected to rise to ten thousand … let me repeat that: TEN THOUSAND PEOPLE DEAD, DUE TO GOVERNMENT INCOMPETENCE!
I find it wholly appalling that, according to a recent Harper’s Index Poll, 38% of those polled believed that no one is to blame for this disaster; that it was simply an act of nature, and that there was nothing anyone could have done about it. This attitude is a direct result of Bush informing the nation that now isn’t the time to be pointing fingers of blame. Which brings me to another question:
Why is it that Bush has taken it upon himself to lead up an investigative committee to get to the bottom of the ineptitude concerning this disaster? This is like allowing Osama bin Laden to head up the 9/11 investigative commission! It’s Bush’s administration that screwed up, and does anyone truly believe that he will do anything about this commission’s findings? Hell no. He could start right now by way of firing the director of FEMA, Mike Brown, for his gross mismanagement and refusing to do anything about the situation once he learned about it four days after the fact! But, Bush has claimed that nothing of the sort will happen. Does this lend to some overwhelming confidence in America that the investigative committee will do the right thing? Again no, and just like the 9/11 investigations, it will become a mockery of the intelligence of the American people.
We need to start calling the entire debacle for what it really is: This natural disaster was used as an aide to purge the south of one of the worst crime-ridden cities in the nation. The Bush administration knew this hurricane was eventually going to happen, they got lucky in that it happened during their term, and it served to help rid the nation of poor black people. They aren’t part of Bush’s wealthy “base” so what’s the point in having them around at all? Once the rest of the nation wakes up to this fact, perhaps they’ll begin to understand that America is filled with the apparently ineffectual poor, and they could ever-so-easily be next on the Bush administration’s cleansing agenda.
Bush’s presidential popularity rating is currently at an historical low. Most people (yes, Republicans included) are sickened by what has happened with the way this administration has handled (and is continuing to handle) the Iraq situation. One must win the lottery to afford to fill one’s gas tank; the economy is such that people cannot afford to continue to get to work, granting that they have a job in the first place. And, now, this disaster in the south and the way it has been mismanaged. If there was ever a time to pressure W and his entire administration out of office, now is that time. Impeachment is at hand, and it’s about time. What will it take for the American public to finally understand that this “person” sitting in the White House is not, in fact, a democratic president. He is a totalitarian in the making, and that fact is as foreseeable as Hurricane Katrina and the entire ruin of New Orleans.