Friday, September 02, 2005

---New Orleans 

The situation in New Orleans is growing worse by the hour. The presence of flood waters contaminated by sewage, toxic materials, and the unclaimed bodies of the dead, the collapse of civil order, and the lack of food, water, and medical, hygienic, and sanitary facilities have become catastrophic in themselves.
No one has explained in any detail why the relief efforts of government agencies at all levels have apparently collapsed to such a degree. It is as if nobody really has any idea what to do. Civil authorities are overwhelmed to an unprecedented degree. Surely our military logistical systems---trained and equipped to provide for armies of hundreds of thousands under battlefield conditions, could do something to bring this situation under control.
Maybe this situation really is unprecedented in human history. The near-total destruction of transportation, communications, power systems, and civil institutions may truly exceed the capacity of any conceivable relief effort to respond---or maybe, as various experts on news shows tell us, we should have known this would happen years ago. Maybe the support capabilities of the reserve and regular military are needed elsewhere for other contingencies.
It doesn’t matter anymore, guys, because you’re losing the war, right here.
If you let New Orleans defeat you, you may very well not have a country to defend later----because people are watching. Some, to be sure, are watching to see which of our national weaknesses they may exploit next, while others---criminal gangs, for example---want to see what they can get away with. Most importantly, though, many people are watching to see who they can trust.
Stop whatever else you’re doing, and throw everything at your disposal at the relief of New Orleans, the Gulf coast. and other affected areas and their people, or there won’t be much point to defending democracy or free trade---or whatever---elsewhere. The life or death of the American nation is in the resolution of this breach of trust and confidence.

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