Cancerous Neglect

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Our tragic failure to act effectively, quickly, and appropriately in the aftermath of Katrina’s devastation of the South is both a symbolic and physical horror.

I want troops protecting lives on the ground now yesterday. I want food, medicine, water delivered now yesterday.  I want the military to build their instant airports and create refugee camps in safe areas now yesterday.

Responding to a major disaster is an essential duty for government.  It is a major reason to have government in the first place.  This botched, whiny, half-hearted response by the Federal administration is a nightmare act which is costing lives and livelihoods.

There is no excuse for the inaction of our government. Although no one could have predicted the time and location of this particular hurricane, our government has to be prepared to act on a major disaster. If we aren’t ready for a hurricane, are we ready for a terrorist attack on a major city? A dirty bomb in Washington? A San Francisco destroying earthquake?

Apparently not. And, that is not okay.

Moreover, after the platitudes from President Bush about everything having changed after 9-11 and the establishment of the Orwellian-named Department of Homeland Security, you mean to tell me that we are not ready to react speedily to an urban emergency?

  • The lack of adequate physical security is not conscionable. Lawlessness and the potential for riots is a normal, routine, disaster-related evil. There is no reason on God’s green earth for FEMA to react with surprise. None.
  • This is a real-life, real-time tragedy. I am not amused by the military bureaucracy-speak of the generals trotted out and placed in front of cameras. I am completely unimpressed by their statistics and important-sounding statements about them “doubling” the number of National Guard troops or “adding 2,000” soldiers.

    I am not a general or a statistician and if New Orleans is in chaos I am not impressed by your numbers. Just go into the area with enough troops to get the job done. Period.

As for our ineffectual President, it is satisfying but pointless to damn him for his weak command of the response. Yes, he is failing the country in a time of great need.  But, pointing out this failure is not helping the people.

I have a request for President Bush: please go in the field and take command of the army. I don’t mean a fly-by media circus. I mean go in as the Commander-in-Chief reacting to the most serious emergency we’ve faced in 60 years. Set up headquarters in the field.  Command the army from Louisiana.

By getting directly involved, sweating under the Southern sun, the President could show how important the people of Gulf are to the entire country. His presence would guarantee the focus of the Pentagon and all of the Federal agencies. He would be able to make quick decisions based on first-hand knowledge.

It would be the right thing to do.

The response to Katrina is no drill. There is no second chance to get help to our fellow citizens in a reasonable period of time. This government needs to fulfill its duties or we need to replace it.

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