Let's take a step back from the crisis a moment and look at some facts:

* It's been known for years how vulnerable New Orleans was to catastrophic flooding, but nothing was done about it. On the contrary, the Bush Administration ignored all warning calls that it was only a matter of time a hurricane would hit and overwhelm the city's levees. Bush, as usual, actually made things worse, by changing the law to allow increased development and land reclaiming along the city's coast, further undermining the city's natural defenses and the levee system. Meanwhile National Guard troops and money were diverted to the war in Iraq and "homeland defense" against terrorism.

*Even before Bush, the problem could have been recognized as a national emergency in waiting and something done about it. There were two possible solutions: 1) Rebuild the levee system on a much vaster scale to provide a strong, if not absolute, guarantee of protection against a category 5 hurricane--even if the final result turned out as unsightly as the Hoover Dam. Or 2) Raze every structure in the city that lies below sea level and relocate the people to other cities. This would involve the virtual gutting of the city, but there wan't any other choice. They knew all along the precisely extent of the flooding. You simply measure the vertical distance at different points in the city from street level to sea level. In some cases over twenty feet of flooding was predicated as inevitable. They could have drawn lines along people's houses indicating where the water would reach and warned them get out now before a hurricane comes, because we can tell you with total certainty that the levee system will fail.

* Inexcusably, not even shortterm precautions, much less any longterm ones, were in place. A lot of people will be discovered dead in their attics. How many might have survived if the city had provided every resident with an axe to chop through the roof of their home? Did they warn people to keep a large supply of drinking water and food at all times? Did they warn people that all communications and electricity would be cut off and the city isolated after the flooding, with no way out? Despite any good intentions, what kind of cruel joke, what kind of bizarre idea was it to tell people to take refuge in the Superdome, which was just as vulnerable as any other structure in the city? The city was sideswept by a category 4 hurricane and it destroyed part of the Superdome's roof. What would have happened to the Superdome had a category 5 hurricane made a direct hit on the city?

* They warned everyone to evacuate the city before the hurricane hit, and now they're saying, as if gloating, "We told you so, but you didn't listen!" Hmm. I gather from a variety of news sources (many of them from outside the US) that NO free public transportation or any kind of emergency bus service was provided to take people who didn't have their own car or couldn't get air or bus tickets, out of the city before the storm. I'm not merely referring to the elderly and disabled, but over 100,000 people, mostly poor and 90% African American. Is it any wonder that some of them are taking the city back for themselves with guns and looting? It's sad that police and medical workers are getting shot at, but with serious planning and foresight, the city would never have gotten into such a situation in the first place! It will be interesting to see how the racial ramifications continue to play out.

What a disgusting and horrifying national disgrace. The American media is now wondering whether Bush can rise to the occasion. But it's largely Bush's fault. He, along with the mayor of New Orleans and the Governor of Lousianna, should resign. Which none of them will do, as they'll shift the blame onto everyone but themselves, and mostly onto the poor people who were trapped in the city, and the media will buy it. Or maybe not. Let's hope that the truth is recognized and that it sinks Bush. The "global-warming-doesn't-exist" president may have met his match.

David Cahill - Beijing, China - 9/1/05
:pullshair :nuts: :mad: :( :eek: :cool:

Emoticons added by David's good friend, "Mad" Miles