Katrina Blame Game

Apparently the damage in New Orleans is President Bush’s fault (HT: Wallo World):

In early 2004, as the cost of the conflict in Iraq soared, President Bush proposed spending less than 20 percent of what the Corps said was needed for Lake Pontchartrain, according to a Feb. 16, 2004, article, in New Orleans CityBusiness.

On June 8, 2004, Walter Maestri, emergency management chief for Jefferson Parish, Louisiana; told the Times-Picayune: It appears that the money has been moved in the president’s budget to handle homeland security and the war in Iraq, and I suppose that’s the price we pay. Nobody locally is happy that the levees can’t be finished, and we are doing everything we can to make the case that this is a security issue for us.

. . .

The Newhouse News Service article published Tuesday night observed, “The Louisiana congressional delegation urged Congress earlier this year to dedicate a stream of federal money to Louisiana’s coast, only to be opposed by the White House….In its budget, the Bush administration proposed a significant reduction in funding for southeast Louisiana’s chief hurricane protection project. Bush proposed $10.4 million, a sixth of what local officials say they need.”

Local officials are now saying, the article reported, that had Washington heeded their warnings about the dire need for hurricane protection, including building up levees and repairing barrier islands, “the damage might not have been nearly as bad as it turned out to be.”

And then there are those who claim Katrina was the judgment of God:

Stan Goodenough, a website columnist, described Katrina as “the fist of God” in a Monday column. “What America is about to experience is the lifting of God’s hand of protection; the implementation of His judgment on the nation most responsible for endangering the land and people of Israel, Goodenough writes. “The Bible talks about Him shaking His fist over bodies of water, and striking them.”

T. S. Eliot reminds us that we shouldn’t so much enjoy locating evil in the other: (from Christianity and Culture p. 75)

It ought not to be necessary for me to insist that the final aims of the churchman, and the aims of the secular reformer, are very different. So far as the aims of the latter are for true social justice, they ought to be comprehended in those of the former. But one reason why the lot of the secular reformer or revolutionist seems to me to be the easier is this: that for the most part he conceives of the evils of the world as something external to himself. They are thought of either as completely impersonal, so that there is nothing to alter but machinery; or if there is evil incarnate, it is always incarnate in the other people—a class, a race, the politicians, the bankers, the armament makers, and so forth—never in oneself. There are individual exceptions: but so far as a man sees the need for converting himself as well as the World, he is approximating to the religious point of view. But for most people, to be able to simplify issues so as to see only the definite external enemy, is extremely exhilarating, and brings about the bright eye and the springy step that go so well with the political uniform. This is an exhilaration the Christian must deny himself. It comes from an artificial stimulant bound to have bad after-effects. It causes pride, either individual or collective, and pride brings its own doom. For only in humility, charity and purity—and most of all perhaps humility—can we be prepared to receive the grace of God without which human operations are in vain.

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