That said, I've tried to stay away from TV news for the past few days, and I'm trying to not read every article about Katrina's aftermath online. Story ofter story of absolute suffering, and it will get worse.
This leads to another question.
In a situation like this, the primary concern should be to save as many lives as possible, and then see to shelter, food, clothing and other needs.
But somewhere in that list of priorities should be a concerted effort to discover WHY this happened the way it did. We're starting to see reports of levees being breached rather than overtopped, and conflicting stories of slashed or diverted funds for their repair. There's National Guardsmen and equipment that's overseas, even though we're being told we have enough.
The question is, when is the right time to ask these sorts of questions? The popular liberal/progressive blog Daily Kos weighs in, and in response James Wolcott fires back:
I don't mean to pick on Armando, but has he learned nothing under Bush? There is
no "next week" when it comes to getting answers and fixing accountability for
failure under this president. Next week never comes.
Look at 9/11. There were tough questions about the breakdown of communications at Ground Zero, the lateness in scrambling fighter jets once the hijacked planes were heading toward NY and DC, Bush's strange behavior on that day, etc., and in the aftermath those questions were considered inappropriate, "divisive." We needed to grieve first, heal; and then the tough questions could be raised.
But they weren't. As months passed, the focus was on overthrowing the Taliban and avenging 9/11, and tough questions were taken off the table as the drumbeat was about the Nation Moving Forward. The media fell into zombie lockstep behind the invigorated Bush agenda. It took the 9/11 widows and esp the "Jersey Girls" to push and shame the Congress, the media, and the administration into launching a proper
investigation, otherwise it would have all slid into the memory hole apart from
the iconic images of the smoking towers before their collapse.
I don't know who's right here. This administration has done such a masterful job of turning all criticism back onto the critic, even the most rational and reasoned argument can be deflected. On the other hand, unless these questions are asked soon, history shows us they can fade away.
Politics aside, there are people in dire need of help out there. Please keep a good thought or prayer for them, and maybe kick in a few bucks to the agencies I've linked to below. Fans of PayPal can make a donation to the United Way by visiting this page.