Tuesday, September 06, 2005

The blame game

Hey George W - stop playing the blame game and just get on and sort out the Katrina mess. It's amazing how the self-proclaimed world leaders and moral arbiters for the planet absolutely go to pieces when the mess is in their own back yard.

As the hurricane neared the gulf coast, I was able to sit in the UK and watch a thousand satellite images, maps and indeed live pictures on my PC screen. The local TV news stations all knew that Katerina was coming and where it was going to hit - disaster as news was happening all around them. Yet the politicians seemed to have their heads stuck firmly in the levees - perhaps that's why they were breached.

And with seemingly everything in the 'land of the free' it all came down to money. "Get in your cars and head for high ground." Now there's a plan - but a pretty shitty one if you haven't got a car. and when it was all over and the underfunded coastal defgences were in pieces what happened? Dubya flew over in his plane. Days went by while the local, state, and federal authorities all passed the buck and meanwhile the poor, the sick and the elderly died.

The images of bloated corpses floating in the streets, the dehydrated and starving babies, the predominantly black faces of the bewildered and abandoned could have come from Darfour, or Eritrea, or Rwanda. But they don't. They come from the world's richest country. They come from a country where the middle classes and the rich got the escape card and the disenfranchised have literally been left to rot.

The maggot infested underbelly of American society has floated to the surface and it's ugly in every sense. Ugly in the easy access to guns that have led to crazed lawlessness on the streets. Ugly in the greed that has so graphically divided the US into haves and have nots. Ugly in the 'I'm all right - it's them that's the problem' attitude that places corporate power as King.

Maybe the hurricane will shake Bush's convictions. But if he has a conscience, it's still not particularly explicit. Maybe it will change attitudes to the poor - but I doubt it. Maybe it will change attitudes to the environment and indeed America's role on this planet. But again I doubt it.

More Americans will die in iraq and Afghanistan today - with billions of $ of funding behind them. Many more will die in Louisiana, in Alambama and in Mississippi today because the funding they needed and they still need wasn't in the right place at the right time. So stop with the blame and concentrate on your own people George.

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