There are plenty of Philippine-centric things I’ve been meaning to write about on this blog — like President Arroyo’s impeachment hearings, which, as AP so aptly put it, “degenerated to chaos.” But I’d like to take a moment to comment on what’s going on in New Orleans, and the U.S. government’s absolutely disgraceful response to the situation.
With reports of food shortages, unsanitary conditionsn at refugee sites and sniper fire at relief crews, I have one question: What the hell is President Bush doing right now?
The comments of the New Orleans director for homeland security in a New York Times article were probably the most blunt.
Col. Terry Ebbert, director of homeland security for New Orleans, concurred and he was particularly pungent in his criticism. Asserting that the whole recovery operation had been “carried on the backs of the little guys for four goddamn days,” he said “the rest of the goddamn nation can’t get us any resources for security.”
“We are like little birds with our mouths open and you don’t have to be very smart to know where to drop the worm,” Colonel Ebbert said. “It’s criminal within the confines of the United States that within one hour of the hurricane they weren’t force-feeding us. It’s like FEMA has never been to a hurricane.” FEMA is the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
With all the resources in the United States, why are people dying at refugee camps? Why are people going four days without food and water? Why can’t the National Guard fly into the hospital where private rescue crews have been trying to deliver medical supplies, but haven’t been able to because every time they approach, they’re shot at?
After President Bush’s response to 9/11, I guess it doesn’t surprise me that he would show his face a day too late and give an unsatisfactory report, saying that this devastation will only make America stronger. I can’t help but agree with this editorial, and ask, where is a leader when the U.S. really needs one?
Do we even have any National Guard left in the U.S.? It’s too bad most of them are “defending the world against terrorism” in Iraq, otherwise we might be able to take care of our own folks at home. Ugh.