Friday, September 02, 2005

disaster and politics

Reading the news these past few days has been an exercise in compassionate helplessness, and the crisis in New Orleans only seems to be getting worse. I was visiting my Mom and step-dad Barry yesterday, and watching the emotionally wrought anchorwoman on CNN, I found myself saying, "This is almost worse than 9/11." Maybe that will seem like ridiculous exaggeration in another few weeks, but right now the scale of this tragedy is difficult to fathom.

I hate to indulge in what has become a sort of knee-jerk response, and blame this all on the Bush administration - disasters like this inevitably happen, Iraq didn't cause Katrina - still, the vast majority of deaths and suffering come in the aftermath of the storm, and depend critically on the federal government's response. There seems to be a pattern in the Bush approach to problem-solving - wishful thinking, ignored warnings, lack of preparation, followed by a lot of rhetorical posturing and very few substantive solutions. The news coverage of chaos on the streets of New Orleans, juxtaposed against similar horrors in Baghdad, suggests a common lack of sensible policies, and a pressing need for more effective leadership.

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