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September 02, 2005


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The problem is not having what people need, but getting the stuff over flooded roads, debris and collapsed bridges. So as painful as that may be, he's right.


No, he's not. The offer included the loan of choppers, boats and airplanes.


He did WHAT?!

I missed this. I don't know why this should surprise me at this point, but it does.

I have to see one of my dearest friends near tears every day over her missing grandfather, whose nursing home felt they couldn't evacuate, missing because they just can't get to the home yet, and this piece of shit turns down help that could put an end to that waiting?

Pass the word on, since the guy is supposed to work for me and apparently doesn't listen well: We'll take the help, thanks for offering.

I can't even tell her this, if she doesn't already know. It isn't going to take much to send her over the edge. Can you imagine reading about what's going on down there and knowing your ill and incapacitated grandfather was all alone in it, if he's still even alive?


Claudia is right. Helicopters could be lauched from nearby, either from water or land, to help those people. I suspect that in addition to not having a plan on how to save those people themselves the government also doesn't know how to logistically let others help them.


Helicopters and boats would have to be prepared for transport, ferried across an ocean and reassembled in place. The US has more equipment of this kind than anybody in Europe. It would be a waste to make this gesture.


There's Canada, you know. Only half a continent away. And you know what else - in five days, we'd get those choppers over there, easy.



Even if you are right about the US having the most equipment, it's not doing anyone any good if it's not put to use. You also neglect the quick responses of European nations to the tsunami disaster last year.


New Orleans mayor:

"Nagin said he needs military troops to provide security and 500 buses to take people stranded by Hurricane Katrina out of the city.
So far, he said, the promises are unfulfilled.
I keep hearing that it's coming. This is coming. That is coming. My answer to that is B.S. Where is the beef?"

So, what "equipment" are we talking about? This is not West Wing or some other propaganda TV show.


Stefan, I agree with Oliver on that the organization of help seems to be a bigger problem than missing gear. I've just seen a report from N.O. airport and things are looking effective and running there.

I still maintain my original point that turning help down, especially in monetary form, is not a good idea. It'll cost billions to rebuild the city and it'll take years. Any cent should be welcome.

BTW, German organizations are now encouraging people to donate money on American sites. One elegant way to sidestep George, don't you think? ;-)

It also seems like he may have changed his mind. I'm hearing conflicting info on this point. Let's wait another day or so.


Claudia, I agree. I noticed the same lack of organization during the 2003 NYC blackout. The situations can't be compared obviously, considering the human tragedy and loss of life happening right now in New Orleans. But there was no police presence on the streets of Manhattan, where otherwise you hear a siren every 2 minutes. There was no looting though, to the honor of New Yorkers


Hm. There was a police presence in a lot of Brooklyn during the blackout. Hell, there were ice cream trucks out.


Turning down money is always stupid :-). The same is not true of material donations.

I hope to never find out what happens if a million people in Europe have to be evacuated.


I hope to never find out what happens if a million people in Europe have to be evacuated.

Romania -- a country with 1/15 the population of the US -- had to evacuate about 20,000 people from floods this summer. About 60 people died.

That's the equivalent of 300,000 evacuated, 900 dead in US terms. Roughly what would have happened from Katrina, if the levees had held.

Doug M.


Ah. So we're doing as well as Romania. Funny, I said to someone, as we illegally hooked up a generator to a gas line, I think we're doing about as well as El Salvador handled the La Tecla disaster after Hurricane Mitch.

Not a goddamned complement. And all Katrina did here was temporarily flood some streets and knock down some power lines. I suppose that like my father's war, I had a Good Hurricane. Hah hah.

The press has been tough, for a moment. The strange deference given to American politicians seems to be returning. Aargh.

I am tempted to undo a particular bureaucratic change I made a year ago, but there seems no reason if you don't trust the Commander in Chief. Still, there are a lot of good people I know in the ALARNG and CAANG who are doing good work. Better late than never is a true cliche.

Nevertheless. I am horrified at what my country has allowed to pass. I understand that New Orleans is unique in many ways. I am still horrified. I am only temporarily heartened at the political and public reaction, for I suspect that it will fade. The worst thing about it is that I don't understand why it will fade, but I cannot help believing that it will. Call it the pure empiricism left a man whose theory of America has been contradicted by a growing body of evidence since November 2000.

Perhaps I have too much faith in humanity. Perhaps America isn't in a particularly bad way. Gentle readers from elsewhere, I ask you: what would happen in the press and politics if similar events came to pass in your countries?


Allow me to clarify --- I am in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, not the Gulf Coast. A family emergency forced me to fly here the very morning that Katrina hit. It was amusing, somehow, to get off an empty airplane into a packed airport. Well, it was amusing then. And it was amusing after Katrina plowed through Broward and Miami-Dade. Now, not so funny.

I'm still interested in what the press in other countries would be saying, and how the politics would be shaking out, were similar events to occur.


Condi Rice seems to have a different opinion: http://msnbc.msn.com/id/9161198

Pres. Bush, with his typical bronze tongue, attempts to martial American Can-Do spirit in a TV interview with Diane Sawyer: "I'm not expecting much from foreign nations because we haven't asked for it. I do expect a lot of sympathy and perhaps some will send cash dollars. But this country's going to rise up and take care of it. You know, we would love help, but we're going to take care of our own business as well, and there's no doubt in my mind we'll succeed. And there's no doubt in my mind, as I sit here talking to you, that New Orleans is going to rise up again as a great city."

This has all the earmarks of a snopes entry waiting to happen...

Syd Webb

Perhaps I have too much faith in humanity. Perhaps America isn't in a particularly bad way. Gentle readers from elsewhere, I ask you: what would happen in the press and politics if similar events came to pass in your countries?

Noel, the comparable disaster in Australia was Cyclone Tracy in Darwin in Christmas 1974. Darwin is much smaller than New Orleans, but given the two countries populations the relativities are the same.

Peter Pitt draws some analogies.

In fairness, there are some differences. While both the USA and Commonwealth of Australia are federations, at the time the Northern Territory was under direct control of Canberra, so there was no confusion about accountabilities.

Even so, Tracy marked the beginning of 12 months of annus horribilus for Gough Whitlam, which saw him being decisively rejected by the voters of Australia 353 days later. Happily America's head of government is a lame duck and is thus safe from similar censure.

The other point to observe is the US has a two-in-one; a head of government who is also head of state. So while Aussie media does, alas! pour opprobrium on our small-but-perfectly-formed Prime Minister we would no more criticise Her Majesty the Queen than the Washington Times would traduce your Chief Magistrate

Dragan Antulov

Croatian media would take safe and predictable route - right-wing section would blame anything on the sorry state of Yugoslav-era infrastucture, while the left-wing section would blame anything on Tudjman putting incompetent hacks in administration and spending resources on pomp and pageantry; both would avoid telling anything negative about Raan/Sanader crew and the idea of catastrophe being good for Croatian EU entry would be heavily advertised.

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