Friday, September 02, 2005

Elections Have Consequences 

As I discovered yesterday in one of my classes, a number of folks in this country don't realize that the Hurricane Katrina disaster is WORSE than 9/11. There likely was much more property damage (by a longshot) than on 9/11 and, unfortunately, I suspect this disaster very well may have cost more lives than the number who perished on 9/11.

The worst part of it is that this disaster was genuinely preventable. If the administration had simply followed the blueprint of levee improvements proposed by the Corps of Engineers, the disaster might not have happened or at least wouldn't have been as bad. If they had followed James Lee Witt's FEMA disaster plan for a hurricane strike on New Orleans, the government would've at least been able to bring aid to the people there much more quickly. But, no, W and the boys were just too damned busy turning Witt's commendable disaster response agency into a Gilded-Age-style governmental patronage backwater.

Heck, if W and the boys had just gotten off their asses and started sending aid toward New Orleans even before the hurricane went through, many of the losses could've been prevented. Of course, W didn't have time for all of this since he was on vacation for the last five weeks. I mean, you gotta have priorities, right?

The big elephant in the room that the folks in the White House simply don't want to talk about is the fact that the Iraq War has made the loss of life in New Orleans much worse. The fact that personnel and equipment that could've been moved into position much more quickly is now in Iraq has made many realize that W's war of choice may very well have cost as many lives in New Orleans this week as it has soldiers in Iraq in the last two years. (I wonder, should we start adding those deaths to the Iraq War death toll?)

And this, folks, is perhaps the most damning thing. This is the best George W. Bush's government can do to protect you right now. This is apparently the very best they can do. This is a helluva way to take care of "homeland security," huh? The guard units that are supposed to help us all in these situations are thousands of miles away and the agency that is supposed to be in charge of such matters is politicized to the point of incompetence. What happens if there is another disaster in the next few weeks or months? What the heck will happen then? Anything? I shudder at the thought.

I can tell that people in the usually subservient media are beginning to get fed up, whether it's Jack Cafferty or Anderson Cooper or even Rush's girlfriend, Daryn Kagan, who criticized the president's photo op this morning on the air. There are even people now beginning to ask why there were all those helicopters sitting behind Bush in the photo op this morning in Alabama. These folks wonder why those helicopters aren't being used to help pluck people off roofs in New Orleans instead of serving as props for yet another useless damned presidential photo op.

If there is any justice in this world, W will take a helluva hit politically. W has now presided over two major disasters in his presidency, both of which were to some degree preventable (although this one much more so than 9/11). In both cases, he and his administration dropped the ball and thousands died as a result.

And please, please, please, for the love of God stop effing saying things like "voting doesn't matter" or "my vote doesn't count" or believing that elections don't have circumstances because the last four plus years have shown that they most certainly do.

Don't you think we have enough carnage now to definitively prove that to be the case?

UPDATE Jack Cafferty apparently agrees:
Cafferty: Wolf, the war in Iraq is part of the problem in New Orleans. The Boston Globe reporting today that National Guard units across the country have about half their usual equipment. Everything from helicopters, trucks, humvees, weapons available to them. All the rest of the stuff has been sent off to fight the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. There are 78000 National Guard troops who are now deployed in those overseas war zones. Even the hardest hit states have 40% of their National Guard troops in Irraq right now. What happens if there's a terrorist attack tomorrow or a massive eearthquake in southern California? How would the nation respond? It's a frightening thought. The question is this - if we're to stay the course in Iraq should we bring the national guard troops home and institute a draft?
(Link via Atrios)

corrente SBL - New Location
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The Washington Chestnut
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