9.02.2005

Ashamed in the Wake of Katrina

Things are going to get better in New Orleans, I know that they have to but how many more people will suffer and die for want of a simple rescue?

Here's a link to a LiveJournal being updated by some folks in downtown New Orleans holed up in a building working to keep a server farm running amidst chaos in the streets. His street level reports are harrowing and show just how incredibly bad the government's response has been.

And Think Progress has an excellent running report going on about Katrina, including the disgusting photo-ops our fearless leader is engaging in.

I read an interview with the head of FEMA, Michael Brown, (who's been outed as being a pretty amazingly incompetent dumbfuck) being quoted as saying that they (FEMA) was unaware that people had been gathering at the convention center where there were as many as 20,000 people. Not like it hasn't been ALL OVER THE NEWS but I guess they get their information straight from Mr. Bush's backside or something.

We're now five days after the hurricane passed through and there are still people waiting to be rescued. We've had offers of help from Canada who said they could be on the scene in 24 hours, why didn't we take them up on their offer? I could drive to New Orleans from anywhere in the country in under two days, where is the aid? Why is it taking so long? How many more poor, displaced people will die because of this incompetence? Is this finally enough to wake people up to the incontrovertible fact that this country elected a man wholly unfit to lead the nation?

What was Bush's little speech the other night? Uselessness piled on by tough talk about shooting "looters". Nice. How about promising to do everything possible to rescue people and start the work of cleaning and rebuilding the damned city and NOT focusing on shooting and killing more people?

I have rarely been more ashamed of my country than I am in the wake of this horrible disaster and the government's non-response to it. And Michael Brown should be brought on charges of gross negligence and incompetence.

Part of me wishes I had actually taken the job with FEMA a few years ago when I was between jobs. I started the training to become a disaster housing inspector. Part of me wishes that I could be there to be part of the effort to help but then a very large part is glad that I'm not working for an incompetent moron who sat on his hands while the hurricane approached and then sat on his hands after the hurricane dstroyed most of New Orleans and Biloxi.

And it was very telling to watch Keith Olberman last night, he wrapped his show up with some brief interviews with survivors who'd been evacuated. They were predominantly white, their message was almost always "We're okay, everyone's fine, we lost everything but we're all alive." And then they would show some of the scenes from New Orleans itself and the vast predominance of people are black and they're saying things like "We need help, we need water, we need food, that lady in the wheelchair over there is dead and no one is doing anything for us. I can't find my family, I can't find anything. We need help." And I am truly ashamed for our response to this disaster.

I had someone say to me last night that they'd feel safer in Baghdad than they would in New Orleans right now and that is just truly sad. We're a First World nation and it feels like we've effectively abandoned an entire city.

And then, there are asshats like Dennis Hastert already saying it is a bad idea to rebuild the city. Before the evacuation is complete. Nice. Why don't you go on down there and kick some refugees in the face while you're at it, asshole?
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