Wednesday, Aug. 31, 2005
How do you mourn a city?
I am haunted by the image of the dazed and shocked man describing his last moments with his wife, her telling him that she knew he could not hold on to her hand any longer, her final words urging him to take care of their children and their grandchildren.
I can't get it out of my head.
I am filled with a searing rage against the current American administration.
The U.S. National Guard exists to deal with domestic emergencies. That is its primary role. The current administration has vacuumed up the National Guard in a back door draft and shipped them off to Iraq. At this moment, at a time of dire domestic need, there are between 6,500 and 7,000 Louisiana and Mississippi National Guardsmen overseas.
Imagine the help these people could be giving at this moment. Would there have been enough manpower to do both search and rescue and temporarily patch failing levees if there had been that much extra manpower?
Wait, it gets worse. The federal government knew that New Orleans' levees were in need of work, had begun to do that work, and then the local newspaper reported that it diverted the money to the war in Iraq.
2004 was one of the worst hurricane seasons ever in the U.S. Did the federal government take that as a warning, prepare the country for the worst?
The Newhouse News Service article published Tuesday night observed, "The Louisiana congressional delegation urged Congress earlier this year to dedicate a stream of federal money to Louisiana's coast, only to be opposed by the White House. ... In its budget, the Bush administration proposed a significant reduction in funding for southeast Louisiana's chief hurricane protection project. Bush proposed $10.4 million, a sixth of what local officials say they need."
Local officials are now saying, the article reported, that had Washington heeded their warnings about the dire need for hurricane protection, including building up levees and repairing barrier islands, "the damage might not have been nearly as bad as it turned out to be."
The United States is only about half way through hurricane season and anyone with two eyes can see that its relief system is already severely strained. Over a year ago the country's governors warned the federal government that the war in Iraq is draining critical state emergency resources. What happens if there is even one more big storm?
It doesn't bear thinking about.
I've sent a donation to the Red Cross in the hopes that it will help in some small way to alleviate the suffering.
But you know, it doesn't help me with the rage.
Goal for 2005: 1,250 miles - 2000 kilometers
Want to delve into my sordid past?
She's mellllllllllllllting - Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2012 - Back off, Buble - Monday, Dec. 19, 2011 - Dispersed - Monday, Nov. 28, 2011 - Nothing comes for free - Monday, Nov. 21, 2011 - None of her business - Friday, Nov. 04, 2011 -
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