The World Of Majic: The Battle Of New Orleans
(JEJ: It's Majic time)
(The World Of Majic® theme intro)
Welcome to The World Of Majic®. I'm your host, Majic. That's M-A-J-I-C, coming to you via the AboveTopSecret.com Member PODcast network.
On Monday, August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast of the United States. Today, on September 4, 2005 as I record this, thousands of
Americans are probably dead and the city of New Orleans, Louisiana is no longer under government control as armed gangs terrorize the survivors who
cannot get out.
Today, nearly a week after the storm hit, the bloated bodies of U.S. citizens are rotting in the sun, being eaten by maggots and rats. Tens of
thousands of storm victims have now become victims of the relief efforts themselves, and government officials entrusted with rescuing and protecting
my fellow Americans still don't seem to be working together in any sort of competent fashion.
As I witness all this happening from afar, and thanking God I'm not witnessing it firsthand, I just want to know one thing: What the hell is going
I don't intend to go through the list of questions I have, because there aren't enough minutes in a PODcast to do that. Other members of
AboveTopSecret.com have eloquently expressed their own confusion and outrage over what can only be described as the incompetent handling of both
preparations for and responses to the Hurricane Katrina outrage of 2005.
But I still want to know a few things.
Mayor Nagin knew the storm was coming. He knew it would be bad. He ordered a mandatory evacuation, yet apparently hundreds of buses and other
transportation resources that could have been used were not. Many people were left behind because they couldn't get out. Why were they abandoned?
Governor Blanco knew the storm was coming. She could have mobilized the National Guard in anticipation of the storm and prepared them for a swift
relief effort. There are also indications that in addition to being slow to deploy Louisiana National Guard troops, she was slow to respond to offers
of help from other states. If this is true, then why?
There are many other questions the people these politicians serve will need to answer, but I don't wish to dwell on them. Regardless of the reasons,
it is painfully obvious that the state and local governments affected by this disaster have been overwhelmed.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency, FEMA, was created to deal with situations like this. FEMA was allocated a budget of 4.8 billion
dollars for fiscal year 2005. The express purpose of FEMA is to manage disasters like this one.
That's their job. It's all they do, day in and day out, week after week, month after month, year after year. When they go to work each day, that's
what they're supposed to be working on.
A multi-billion-dollar budget and a huge full-time staff devoted to nothing other than preparing for and responding to disasters, and here we are
watching in horror with the rest of the world as Americans die not from the storm, but from the criminal neglect which followed it.
And make no mistake, I don't just see political accountability here, but criminal accountability as well. But I'll leave that to prosecutors to
FEMA has clearly failed to do what we pay it so much money to do, and I and my fellow Americans who are witnessing this travesty are no doubt thinking
the same thing: “What if that were me?”
Speaking as an American, I can say without reservation that in a disaster, FEMA is the last agency I would want to count on. They have earned my
distrust by demonstrating that they cannot be relied upon to do what Americans pay them billions of dollars to do. I have no confidence in them.
Undersecretary Brown, the head of FEMA, has some explaining ahead of him, to be sure, but I doubt anyone is going to be in the mood to hear a bunch of
sorry excuses. On FEMA's website, they ask for patience while searches continue and supplies stream in.
I'm sure the children and elderly dying of dehydration and exposure are being as patient as they can.
I am thoroughly disappointed in the sluggishness of FEMA's response, and FEMA's boss deserves credit for that. But his boss, President Bush,
must also take credit.
The buck stops with him. FEMA's lackluster performance and the entirety of this national disgrace are his responsibility to deal with, and frankly, I
must say I'm not impressed.
This is not a partisan issue. I voted for Bush. Twice. But Mr. President, if by some strange chance you should ever hear these words, I have a message
for you: “Buddy, I expect better than this.”
But regardless of all the attention I and others have and will give to the finger-pointing game, there is one group of people who, despite the
suffering they have endured, still need to take responsibility for what happened in New Orleans.
God bless them, I love their city, I really do, and they cannot know how heartbroken I am at their loss. But the people of New Orleans knew of the
danger. No one who lived in New Orleans couldn't. They knew large parts of their city were below sea level -- heck, many people used to brag about
that. Used to, anyway.
They knew the city could flood if a major storm hit. They knew the levees probably wouldn't hold, and they knew that sooner or later, a major storm
would finally come.
Well, a major storm did indeed finally come, and sure enough, down the Big Easy went. The people of New Orleans played the odds and lost.
The apparent incompetence of federal agencies in handling this disaster and the horror that the people of New Orleans are living through don't change
the fact that they are, as a matter of simple morality, the ones who are ultimately responsible for their own well-being.
They can hate me for saying it, I wish it weren't so, and maybe this is the wrong time for it, but they know in their hearts that it's true.
As I so often say, there are no saints, only sinners. The only ones I can see who are truly blameless in all this are the children who were given no
choice, and who can't understand why any of this is happening at all.
To them, there's nothing I can say, except I'm sorry.
I call this edition of The World Of Majic® “The Battle of New Orleans,” but in truth, it wasn't a battle, but an unconditional surrender, and my
heart, like the heart of my nation, is broken.
For more information on the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, be sure to visit the Katrina Aftermath forum on AboveTopSecret.com.
This has been another edition of The World Of Majic® brought to you by the AboveTopSecret.com Member PODcast network.
Until next time, remember this:
The bad news is that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. The good news is that so many people have good intentions.
Be well, friends.
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