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09/01/2005 Archived Entry: "New Orleans and National Guard"

I grew up in a river city subject to frequent floods, with an extensive levee and floodwall system. Nothing as grand as that of the former city of New Orleans. But before each flood, the national guard would be called out. They would shore up the weakest floodwalls and levees with sandbags. In those days, they used the little ones, the kind one person can barely move, and they would fill and stack thousands. They would assist the crews manning the huge pumping stations with fuel, generators, food and water for the crews. They would patrol the streets and prevent looting.

But not this time. Over 1/3 of the Louisiana National Guard is stuck in Iraq, ordered there by a strutting madman so cowardly he can't face a single grieving mother. They took their high water vehicles, humvees, refuelers and generators with them, last October, and who knows when, or if, those men and those machines will ever return?

Instead we got 3,000 lb sandbags so heavy that only large helicopters can move them - but the helicopters were sent elsewhere, in one more sad example of the inevitable failure of central planning. The remaining National Guard were busy shaming themselves and the nation, searching the poorest refugees for booze and nail clippers before admitting them to a false promise of shelter. Those people are now virtual prisoners, being bused to an abandoned stadium in Houston, and who knows when, or if, they will ever return.

We'll never know if New Orleans could have withstood what may turn out to be a mortal blow. We do know that she faced her darkest hour with both hands tied behind her back, crippled by an uncaring, unaccountable empire of liars, cowards, murderers, and thieves. Instead of a triumphant city arising battered and bruised from a once-in-a-century challenge, we have the image of a body floating prostate, face down in floodwaters.


Posted by Silver @ 03:50 AM CST

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