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I Am Appalled

Posted on Monday 5 September 2005

…by the loss of life and property along the Gulf Coast.
…by the callous appropriation of the tragedy by some to promote their political agenda.
…by the abandonment of any semblance of unbiased reporting by most of the broadly read and viewed media such as CNN, The Washington Post, The LA Times, The New York Times, Associated Press etc., in favor of full out assault on the Bush administration and the president personally.

There is no doubt that the myriad commissions, committees and investigations to follow will discover that during the first week of the crisis there were steps which should have been taken, or steps taken which should not have been; steps that would have helped the situation in small or large measure. Fault will be found at the local, state and national levels. That is, after all, the point of reviews: to learn what could have been done better so that we might use that knowledge in the future. Stephen Poe, writing on Dave Farber’s IP list, said it succintly:

So, perhaps, instead of blamestorming as to why this particular project [strengthening the NO levees], in hindsight, was not funded, don’t we move on to something more useful – tactically, helping the survivors pick up the pieces and move on; and strategically, planning how to help the US weather the occasional “once every two centuries” event even as the number and scope of such events increases with our increasing population. These would be far better exercises, IMHO, than more red-vs-blue free-for-alls.

I’ll suggest only a few articles of the many I’ve read over the weekend.

David Frum, writing in NRO, rounds up refutations of a few of the more widely publicized charges:

Now let me declare at the onset: Katrina has obviously not been the finest hour of American emergency management. There may well be fault on the part of the federal government and this administration. I’m certainly open to evidence on that point.

But to review the wild, contradictory, and utterly opportunistic charges from the administration’s critics is to enter a realm of madness. Some patient bloggers are responding to the charges one by one. Here is a post in reply to the charge that the levees were somehow neglected. Here is an accounting for the Louisiana National Guard: 8,000 of whom remain on duty in-state, including the Guard’s most pertinent engineer group, numbering four battalions.

Here is a crushing reply to those who blame the Bush administration for hurricanes – when hurricane activity has in fact dropped since 1940. Here is one of many stories detailing how the notorious New Orleans police force led the breakdown of civic order. (For those who deplore the sharp drop-off in the flow of federal funds to Louisiana since 1999, here is a link to one important explanation: the resignation of former Speaker of the House and Appropriations Committee chairman Bob Livingston [R., La.] after Larry Flynt and Hustler magazine threatened to publish details of Livingston’s marital infidelity, in order to punish Republicans for the then-looming impeachment of Bill Clinton on perjury charges.)

And yet … and yet … is all this really necessary? The time will come, and come very soon, when the great self-critical mechanisms of American society and government will go to work to study what went wrong. Those who deserve blame will get blame in plenty then. But now – with the dead still uncounted and unburied, with the living still struggling for refuge and help, is there not something indecent about the haste with which the American left avidly tries to turn this terrible disaster to political account?

Is there not something bizarre about their willingness to fire off accusation after accusation, each contradicting the last? The disaster was caused by the Bush administration’s failure to protect the environment from global warming …. no, no, it was caused by the administration’s refusal to manipulate the environment by funding more levees to control the Mississippi River …. it’s Iraq, no it’s budget cuts, no it’s wetlands, and on and on and on.

Good God, what is wrong with these people? Will they ever learn to see somebody else’s misfortune as something more than their political opportunity?

This concise piece by Hugh Hewitt: Who Sunk The Titanic

Every serious person knows that the Titanic didn’t sink because the Carpathia was slower than everyone might have wished.

Ben Stein’s quick list on American Spectator, pointing out what should be obvious to anyone with a willingness to think for just a second, including these points:

Why is it that the snipers who shot at emergency rescuers trying to save people in hospitals and shelters are never mentioned except in passing, and Mr. Bush, who is turning over heaven and earth to rescue the victims of the storm, is endlessly vilified?

What church does Rev. Al Sharpton belong to that believes in passing blame and singling out people by race for opprobrium and hate?

What special abilities does the media have for deciding how much blame goes to the federal government as opposed to the city government of New Orleans for the aftereffects of Katrina?

If able-bodied people refuse to obey a mandatory evacuation order for a city, have they not assumed the risk that ill effects will happen to them?

When the city government simply ignores its own sick and hospitalized and elderly people in its evacuation order, is Mr. Bush to blame for that?

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