Artificially coloured images taken a few days apart show the impact of
flooding in New Orleans, Louisiana. Images: Nasa
Please note that 3 articles follow:
*How New Orleans Was Lost
*Waiting for a Leader
How New Orleans Was Lost
by Paul Craig Roberts
September 1, 2005
Chalk up the city of New Orleans as a cost of Bush's Iraq war.
There were not enough helicopters to repair the breached levees and
rescue people trapped by rising water. Nor are there enough Louisiana
National Guardsmen available to help with rescue efforts and to patrol
The situation is the same in Mississippi.
The National Guard and helicopters are off on a fool's mission in Iraq.
The National Guard is in Iraq because fanatical neoconservatives in
the Bush administration were determined to invade the Middle East and
because incompetent Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld refused to listen to
the generals, who told him there were not enough regular troops
available to do the job.
After the invasion, the arrogant Rumsfeld found out that the generals
were right. The National Guard was called up to fill in the gaping gaps.
Now the Guardsmen, trapped in the Iraqi quagmire, are watching on TV
the families they left behind trapped by rising waters and wondering
if the floating bodies are family members. None know where their
dislocated families are, but, shades of Fallujah, they do see their
The mayor of New Orleans was counting on helicopters to put in place
massive sandbags to repair the levee. However, someone called the few
helicopters away to rescue people from rooftops. The rising water
overwhelmed the massive pumping stations, and New Orleans disappeared
under deep water.
What a terrible casualty of the Iraqi war one of our oldest and most
beautiful cities, a famous city, a historic city.
Distracted by its phony war on terrorism, the U.S. government had made
no preparations in the event Hurricane Katrina brought catastrophe to
New Orleans. No contingency plan existed. Only now after the disaster
are FEMA and the Corps of Engineers trying to assemble the material
and equipment to save New Orleans from the fate of Atlantis.
Even worse, articles in the New Orleans Times-Picayune and public
statements by emergency management chiefs in New Orleans make it clear
that the Bush administration slashed the funding for the Corps of
Engineers' projects to strengthen and raise the New Orleans levees and
diverted the money to the Iraq war.
Walter Maestri, emergency management chief for Jefferson Parish, told
the New Orleans Times-Picayune (June 8, 2004): "It appears that the
money has been moved in the president's budget to handle homeland
security and the war in Iraq, and I suppose that's the price we pay.
Nobody locally is happy that the levees can't be finished, and we are
doing everything we can to make the case that this is a security issue
Why can't the U.S. government focus on America's needs and leave other
countries alone? Why are American troops in Iraq instead of protecting
our own borders from a mass invasion by illegal immigrants? Why are
American helicopters blowing up Iraqi homes instead of saving American
homes in New Orleans?
How can the Bush administration be so incompetent as to expose
Americans at home to dire risks by exhausting American resources in
foolish foreign adventures? What kind of "homeland security" is this?
All Bush has achieved by invading Iraq is to kill and wound thousands
of people while destroying America's reputation. The only
beneficiaries are oil companies capitalizing on a good excuse to jack
up the price of gasoline and Osama bin Laden's recruitment.
What we have is a Republican war for oil company profits while New
Orleans sinks beneath the waters.
* * * * *
On the day Katrina devastated New Orleans, America lost its most
optimistic pundit, Jude Wanniski, who died of a heart attack at age
69. Jude often misplaced his optimism, but he was never without it.
Jude never gave up on anyone and would invest his persuasive talents
on everyone who would listen and even on those who wouldn't. Jude was
not an economist, but he understood long before most economists that
fiscal policy changed incentives and affected aggregate supply in
contrast to the Keynesian emphasis on aggregate demand. Jude rose to
fame as the publicist for supply-side economics. As a journalist, he
was a natural. Robert Bartley, the Wall Street Journal editorial page
editor, once told me that Jude had the best nose for news of any
journalist he had ever known. Those he favored with his missives will
miss his insights.
Waiting for a Leader
New York Times
September 1, 2005
George W. Bush gave one of the worst speeches of his life yesterday,
especially given the level of national distress and the need for words
of consolation and wisdom. In what seems to be a ritual in this
administration, the president appeared a day later than he was needed.
He then read an address of a quality more appropriate for an Arbor Day
celebration: a long laundry list of pounds of ice, generators and
blankets delivered to the stricken Gulf Coast. He advised the public
that anybody who wanted to help should send cash, grinned, and
promised that everything would work out in the end.
We will, of course, endure, and the city of New Orleans must come
back. But looking at the pictures on television yesterday of a place
abandoned to the forces of flood, fire and looting, it was hard not to
wonder exactly how that is going to come to pass. Right now, hundreds
of thousands of American refugees need our national concern and care.
Thousands of people still need to be rescued from imminent peril.
Public health threats must be controlled in New Orleans and throughout
southern Mississippi. Drivers must be given confidence that gasoline
will be available, and profiteering must be brought under control at a
moment when television has been showing long lines at some pumps and
spot prices approaching $4 a gallon have been reported.
Sacrifices may be necessary to make sure that all these things happen
in an orderly, efficient way. But this administration has never been
one to counsel sacrifice. And nothing about the president's demeanor
yesterday - which seemed casual to the point of carelessness -
suggested that he understood the depth of the current crisis.
While our attention must now be on the Gulf Coast's most immediate
needs, the nation will soon ask why New Orleans's levees remained so
inadequate. Publications from the local newspaper to National
Geographic have fulminated about the bad state of flood protection in
this beloved city, which is below sea level. Why were developers
permitted to destroy wetlands and barrier islands that could have held
back the hurricane's surge? Why was Congress, before it wandered off
to vacation, engaged in slashing the budget for correcting some of the
gaping holes in the area's flood protection?
It would be some comfort to think that, as Mr. Bush cheerily
announced, America "will be a stronger place" for enduring this
crisis. Complacency will no longer suffice, especially if experts are
right in warning that global warming may increase the intensity of
future hurricanes. But since this administration won't acknowledge
that global warming exists, the chances of leadership seem minimal.
Biloxi Sun Herald
Wednesday, Aug. 31, 2005
South Mississippi needs your help
The coastal communities of South Mississippi are desperately in need
of an unprecedented relief effort.
We understand that New Orleans also was devastated by Hurricane
Katrina, but surely this nation has the resources to rescue both that
metropolitan and ours.
Whatever plans that were in place to deal with such a natural disaster
have proven inadequate. Perhaps destruction on this scale could not
have been adequately prepared for.
But now that it has taken place, no effort should be spared to
mitigate the hurricane's impact.
The essentials -- ice, gasoline, medicine -- simply are not getting
here fast enough.
We are not calling on the nation and the state to make life more
comfortable in South Mississippi, we are calling on the nation and the
state to make life here possible.
We would bolster our argument with the number of Katrina casualties
confirmed thus far, but if there is such a confirmed number, no one is
releasing it to the public. This lack of faith in the publics' ability
to handle the truth is not sparing anyone's feelings, it is instead
fueling terrifying rumors.
While the flow of information is frustratingly difficult, our
reporters have yet to find evidence of a coordinated approach to
relieve pain and hunger or to secure property and maintain order.
People are hurting and people are being vandalized.
Yet where is the National Guard, why hasn't every able-bodied member
of the armed forces in South Mississippi been pressed into service?
On Wednesday reporters listening to horrific stories of death and
survival at the Biloxi Junior High School shelter looked north across
Irish Hill Road and saw Air Force personnel playing basketball and
Playing basketball and performing calisthenics!
When asked why these young men were not being used to help in the
recovery effort, our reporters were told that it would be pointless to
send military personnel down to the beach to pick up debris.
Litter is the least of our problems. We need the president to back up
his declaration of a disaster with a declaration of every man and
woman under his command will do whatever is necessary to deal with
We need the governor to provide whatever assistance is at his command.
We certainly need our own county and city officials to come together
and identify the most pressing needs of their constituents and then
allocate resources to meet those needs. We appreciate the stress that
theses elected and appointed officials have been under since the
weekend but they must do a better job restoring public confidence in
their ability to meet this challenge.
This editorial represents the view of the Sun-Herald editorial board:
President- Publisher Ricky R. Mathews, Vice President and Executive
Editor Stan Tiner, Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Flora S.
Point, Opinion Page Editor Marie Harris, and Associate Editor Tony