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New Orleans - The beginning of the end?


Guest Eugene B. Connolly
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Guest Eugene B. Connolly

Reports on the New Orleans disaster

seem apocalyptic.

Is the world's richest and most powerful nation

on the brink?

How was this natural disaster allowed to turn

one of America's most famous cities

into a moonscape?

Escape from New York?

Escape from New Orleans?

Can America escape?

God bless New Orleans and God bless America!

EBC

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Guest Stephen Turner

Eugene, Here in England we are getting hourly updates on the situation, as per usual it appears the poor are paying the price. Lets hope some major relief gets though soon, and Dr Doolittle (Bush) gets his act together,If this was happening in Beverly Hills you can bet all the stops would have been pulled. All best wishes to the "Big Easy".

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Re Stephen's post above, I was just thinking how ironic the nickname of New Orleans is now.

Life is not easy there now, alas.

As you probably know, Katrina briefly brushed Key West (or at least its outerbands did) before it entered the Gulf and, unfortunately, gathered strength.

I am sure many will find this ironic but Key West is sometimes saved from the full wrath of hurricanes by Cuba.

Edited by Tim Gratz
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I have been watching the hourly updates on the situation in New Orleans. I thought America would cope with something like this. The scenes are apocalyptic, how could the 'great' country of America be suffering like this. Being the richest country in the world, and the most powerful you would think that aid would be sent to the people in need ASAP. As you have all said, If this was an area such as Beverley Hills or New York, aid would be send immediately. 10,000 National Guard troops have finally been deployed to the area, on orders to shoot and kill trouble makers. There are still thousands in the super dome, slowly starving and dehydrating to death, and disease is starting to spread. What will happen to New Orleans now, will the US decide to rebuilt the city, or leave it as a ghost town? George Bush really needs to get off his arse and do something about the situation before it becomes more serious than it already is.

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I have been watching the hourly updates on the situation in New Orleans. I thought America would cope with something like this. The scenes are apocalyptic, how could the 'great' country of America be suffering like this. Being the richest country in the world, and the most powerful you would think that aid would be sent to the people in need ASAP. As you have all said, If this was an area such as Beverley Hills or New York, aid would be send immediately. 10,000 National Guard troops have finally been deployed to the area, on orders to shoot and kill trouble makers. There are still thousands in the super dome, slowly starving and dehydrating to death, and disease is starting to spread. What will happen to New Orleans now, will the US decide to rebuilt the city, or leave it as a ghost town? George Bush really needs to get off his arse and do something about the situation before it becomes more serious than it already is.

I have always been struck by the vast disparity of wealth in the USA. On a recent visit it was being reported that working class families were being reduced to visiting soup kitchens because of the 40% hike in gas prices.

I agree that George Bush needs to act quickly in New Orleans but not just in the field of disaster relief.

In any country with such massive divisions between rich and poor social stability will be extremely fragile - isn't that part of what we are witnessing in New Orleans now?

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Guest Stephen Turner

Its called the class war, as Marx said most of the time its hidden but every now and again it is plainly visible, for those with eyes to see. The people suffering in New Orleans, are the same people who's Sons and Daughters are paying the price for Bush's folly in Iraq. they are not rich or powerful or a "celeb"this makes them expendable. As one poor woman said on TV this morning," We cant afford to just leave the city, We exist from paycheck to paycheck."Welcome to the new world order...........

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I am amazed at the lack of federal assistance. Maybe I'm being naive, or maybe I don't fully understand the problem, but it seems like a leader (GWB or anyone else) would mobilze the military to assist our citizens. There is no entity on earth more equipped, more capable of going in there with boats, amphibious vehicles, troops, trucks, helicopters, bulldozers, engineers, heavy equipment, etc. in massive numbers and getting things done. I mean, the military has NO trouble setting up shop on the other side of the globe and conducting massive operations, but we can't do anything significant to help our own citizens? What a sign of the times. It's interesting that, although I put most of the responsibility for this on GWB, I don't hear any democrats speaking out either. Sad, strange, disturbing, and embarrassing. For all the politics and nastiness that goes on between the right and the left here, you'd think that something like this would appeal to leaders on both sides of the aisle on a human level. We seem to have plenty of "leaders" when its time to raise money, campaign, or attack the other party. If there was ever a time someone needed to step up and lead, it's now. But all we get are boxes of food, fly overs, and bold statements. And silence. Tragic and embarrassing.

Hopefully, that changes soon.

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I am amazed at the lack of federal assistance. Maybe I'm being naive, or maybe I don't fully understand the problem, but it seems like a leader (GWB or anyone else) would mobilze the military to assist our citizens. There is no entity on earth more equipped, more capable of going in there with boats, amphibious vehicles, troops, trucks, helicopters, bulldozers, engineers, heavy equipment, etc. in massive numbers and getting things done. I mean, the military has NO trouble setting up shop on the other side of the globe and conducting massive operations, but we can't do anything significant to help our own citizens? What a sign of the times. It's interesting that, although I put most of the responsibility for this on GWB, I don't hear any democrats speaking out either. Sad, strange, disturbing, and embarrassing. For all the politics and nastiness that goes on between the right and the left here, you'd think that something like this would appeal to leaders on both sides of the aisle on a human level. We seem to have plenty of "leaders" when its time to raise money, campaign, or attack the other party. If there was ever a time someone needed to step up and lead, it's now. But all we get are boxes of food, fly overs, and bold statements. And silence. Tragic and embarrassing.

Hopefully, that changes soon.

Hi all

I am sure one of the reasons for the slowness of deploying troops is the reason that the troops are fully stretched because of the deployment in Iraq. On the other hand, the scale of the disaster was unanticipated and the federal government, particularly under Mr Bush, has put disaster preparation and environmental concerns on the back burner.

Chris

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It is embarrassing, not only embarrassing, but disgusting. Disgusting that the government can spend billions of dollars on killing in Iraq, but cannot spend an equal amount on saving their own citizens within their own country. If the situation does not change within the next 24 hours, the government will have a lot to answer for.

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Guest Stephen Turner

Sorry to keep butting in here, but the situation makes my blood boil,Just a thought perhaps in memory of the poor souls who have lost everything, and to refocus that grissle that serves as bush's brain, the disaster should be re-named as Hurricane Kyoto. How long before we are told it was all Bid Ladens doing, that would rank right up there with Blair's assertion that the London bombs had nothing to do with our little iraqi adventure. Politicians huh...

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It is embarrassing, not only embarrassing, but disgusting. Disgusting that the government can spend billions of dollars on killing in Iraq, but cannot spend an equal amount on saving their own citizens within their own country. If the situation does not change within the next 24 hours, the government will have a lot to answer for.

This only helps to prove how foolish the Iraq adventure was. That and the fact that the government seems unable to intervene to prevent gas price gouging. Bush's presidency is probably going to sink even further in terms of how it is percieved.

Chris

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Like millions of people from all over the world I have viewed with horror the impact of Hurricane Katrina on television. I have just seen a BBC news report where survivors in New Orleans have told their story. Several claimed that they did not have the money to leave the city. Others seemed to be unaware of the dangers posed by the hurricane. This seemed strange as in the UK we have been told for several days about the damage that Katrina was going to cause. The most prosperous members of society have clearly got out in time. The BBC have carried out plenty of interviews with those who escaped. The news footage shows that the vast majority of those left behind were black.

The people are understandably very angry. It seems that many will die over the next few days. They are clearly desperate people and this is reflected by scenes of looting by armed gangs. This morning it was announced that the National Guard were being ordered to direct their efforts to guarding stores rather than in rescuing the people dying in New Orleans. News has just come through that the military is abandoning attempts to pick up survivors as their helicopters having been coming under fire from those being rescued. Yet, this is all happening in the richest country in the world.

According to a report in my newspaper, the American Society of Civil Enginners have been warning the government for years that this disaster was likely to happen. They pointed out that over the last 50 years over 1,500 square miles of natural coastal barriers in the area has been eroded.

The US Corps of Army Engineers have been arguing that they needed to strengthen some of the levees but last year they were refused funding by the White House, which ordered the money to be used for homeland security against terrorism.

It seems that the city of New Orleans had no thought-out plans of evacuation. This includes organizing transport for poorer people who don’t have the means to move themselves. It seems the US government have not learnt anything from the government of Cuba who regularly move large numbers of people out of the path of hurricanes by using a system of buses and trucks.

Another problem seems to be that the local air, navy and army units and the National Guard, had been depleted as a result of the Iraq War. I imagine that American citizens watching these events unfold will start to ask serious questions of their government. It seems a strange sort of government that spends billions trying to sort out the problems of people living in the Middle East, and yet is incapable of protecting its own people.

The image I am left with is of a deeply divided society where the prosperous survive and the poor are left to their own devices. No wonder law and order appears to have broken down in New Orleans? It is clear that they have got the message. It is every man for himself.

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My prayers are with those who suffer. I hope Tom's doing OK.

I've been scouring the net trying to find out what Kennedy might have done. It seems the history of disater relief in the US has for 60 odd years been a see saw between a 'pick up the pieces' response and a proactive one. The Kennedy years appears to have been a period when the federal government through Kennedys influence took a more responsibility oriented approach. Johnson short circuited that approach and it was resumed under Carter, then a swing again and back to a mitigating response under Clinton. The history I was following doesn't go beyond the Clinton years, but perhaps once again it has swung to a 'pick up the pieces' response?

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I'm reading lots of stories about how NO (New Orleans) disaster preparedness money has all been divirted to the military after 9/11. There have been dozens of warnings about how vulnerable NO was to a hurricane, all of which were ignored by the Feds. FEMA looks like a bunch of impotent idiots about now.

Looks like 2 less Red states in the next election?

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Guest Stephen Turner

Here's the thing I dont get, what is Clinton playing at, going to bat for Bush, doesn't he realise these are the guy's that spent eight years trying to shaft him?Can you imagine if the boot was on the other foot, GHW giving Kerry his support, never going to happen. The Democrats should be dancing on Shrub's grave.....

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