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Waiting for a Leader, NY Times Editorial

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  • mishmisha9
    Editorial Waiting for a Leader Published: September 1, 2005 George W. Bush gave one of the worst speeches of his life yesterday, especially given the level of
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 2, 2005
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      Editorial
      Waiting for a Leader

      Published: 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.
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