Thursday, September 01, 2005
New Orleans Empties; The City of Binx and Ignatius Devastated
The picture above was taken in mid-June in the French Quarter section of New Orleans. From what I can gather from the news, the place where I'm standing in the photo is now under an undetermined amount of water, anywhere from 3-6-12 feet of water. I don't know if most of those structures can take prolongued exposure to water. What happens to building materials when they're soaked in water for a month or two? It may take years and years to resurrect the area to the way it was. Also the scenes from the rest of the city are unbelievable. The looting. I'll make the distinction myself: food and water is, in light of the situation in the city, okay with me; taking DVD players and television sets and computers and the like, objects not required for your survival or immediate well-being, or even possible to use for months and months, is straight-up looting and it just looks craven and stupid. When dead bodies are floating a few blocks away and you and your friends are trying to cart out a projection TV, we'll just say it doesn't look good to the viewers at home.
Seems to me the Bush administration, and in fact the entire federal government, really screwed the pooch on this one. New Orleans asked time and time again for federal dollars to help them strengthen their levies. 1.5 billion or so. Each time the federal government saw fit to give them only a fraction of what they asked for. It seems a peculiar set of priorities, and I'll admit, hindsight makes this one pretty easy, but here it is anyway: Bush and the congress thought it was certainly fine to spend upwards of $200 billion to overthrow Saddam Hussein, but the outlay of cash, a fraction of the war costs, to make one of the nation's largest cities safe from almost certain disaster in the face of a hurricane whose arrival was inevitable was what? Too much money to spend? Were the "fiscal conservatives" running the show in D.C. picking and choosing what they were going to be fiscally conservative about?
Anyway, the whole thing is really terrible and once more I'm deeply disappointed in the ability of our elected government to protect its citizenry.