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New Orleans: Bush's Zero Tolerance for Misery
It's like watching one of those special effects loaded Hollywood disaster movies: destroyed buildings and desperate people flagging down helicopters from rooftops, surrounded by polluted and debris choked water. It is of course illogical to place blame for natural disasters on the government -- but we can certainly squarely place the blame for the wholly ineffective response on the government, particularly the federal government and the Bush administration. "Chalk up the city of New Orleans as a cost of Bush's Iraq war," writes Paul Craig Roberts. "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 against looting."
But it is not simply the fact the neocons hijacked the National Guard and sent them packing to Iraq. In 1995, the Army Corps of Engineers began a project to shore up the New Orleans levees. But in 2003, Bush grabbed the money from that project to pay for his invasion and occupation. As Lorelei Kelly writes for Democracy Arsenal, after Bush invaded Iraq "the flow of federal dollars toward SELA [Southeast Louisiana Urban Flood Control Project] dropped to a trickle" and "the Corps never tried to hide the fact that the spending pressures of the war in Iraq, as well as homeland security -- coming at the same time as federal tax cuts -- was the reason for the strain." In short, the "war" in Iraq, as top Bushites admit was started for the sake of Israel's "security" (and for the Straussian neocon desire to slice and dice the Muslim Middle East), has come home to roost and the poor people of the Gulf coast are paying the price with their lives and property. "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," adds Roberts.
Instead of massive aid, Bush doled out a few condescending remarks. "Nothing in his words, facial expression, or body language indicated that Bush either comprehended or was even concerned about the monumental catastrophe that has struck hundreds of thousands of people in one of the United States' greatest and most historic cities," comments the WSWS Editorial Board. "For the Bush administration, the tragedy of New Orleans is not particularly important and requires no major effort on the part of the United States.... [The] language ... chosen by Bush's handlers ... convey a definite message: the administration will not allow the disaster to entangle the federal government in significant financial commitments." Instead of helping citizens ravaged by natural disater, Bush will spend billions on the "war" in Iraq (and soon elsewhere) and continue his tax breaks for rich people and corporations. Bush expects the American Red Cross, Salvation Army, Catholic Charities, and "all other members of the armies of compassion" to help the poor people of New Orleans and the stricken Gulf coast.
As for the efforts of these poor people to secure water and food (in lieu of sufficient help from Bush and the feds), many of them have taken to looting. "I think there ought to be zero tolerance of people breaking the law during an emergency such as this, whether it be looting, or price-gouging at the gasoline pump or taking advantage of charitable giving, or insurance fraud," Bush said in an interview on ABC's "Good Morning America," reports Reuters. In other words, Bush is encouraging people be shot for stealing food and water, as well as televisions and Nikes (and the latter is nothing more than poor people grabbing useless consumer junk the corporate media incessantly tells them they need or else they are somehow less than human). "If people need water and food, we're going to do everything we can to get them water and food. But it's very important for the citizens in all affected areas to take personal responsibility and assume kind of a civic sense of responsibility so the situation doesn't get out of hand, so people don't exploit the vulnerable," Bush added. Of course, if not for Bush's stealing money from the Southeast Louisiana Urban Flood Control Project, thus undermining the levees, people would not be trapped on rooftops or in attics, slowly dying of thirst and starvation.
Hopefully Americans will get the message with this latest fiasco: Bush and crew don't care about average Americans (unless they are rich Americans) and the people stranded in New Orleans will have to seek "charity" from churches (since compassion is faith-based) or simply die from dehydration, disease, and neglect. If they steal a bag of Doritos, they will risk "zero tolerance," that is to say risk summary execution (since New Orleans is currently under martial law). Americans need to realize Bush and crew are a den of mass murdering vipers and allowing them to control government and roam free (not arrested and sent to The Hague to face prosecution for crimes against humanity) will ultimately result in the destruction of this country.