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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

folly and surreality in New Orleans « Previous | |Next »
September 8, 2005

New Orleans may well be Bush's anti-9/11, the point when the glossy images and myths around the imperial war president begin to splinter and crack and the incompetence and callousness is disclosed. When the people of New Orleans needed help most that help was not there.

Of course, the Republicans (GOP) are in 'protect Bush at all costs' mode. They are shoring up the myth by spinning the idea of the 'can do' president who solves problems for his people. Tony Parkinson, our homegrown neo-con writing in The Age, swings into action on cue as a good cultural warrior fighting the enemy. He says:

As happened after September 11, the blame game is under way, with Bush cited as the reason for every ill visited upon his nation. The Jonah of the White House. On any calm analysis of cause and effect, of course, much of this hyperventilating is ludicrous, the product of anger, panic or hysteria. Some of it can be put down to partisan point-scoring.

Parkinson forgets to mention that the Rovian strategy is to play the blame game by pointing the finger at the state and local government. Has Parkinson been reading the onground reports of Kathleen Blanco the Lousiana Governor, Ray Nagin, the Mayor of New Orleans, local authorities or Republican senators about the slow federal reaction?

Or reading about the FEMA blocking local efforts to help people? Is he reading about the questioning coming from the American media. Where were the buses, the planes, the food, the police, the promised troops? Where was the planning for a catastrophe that news organizations had been warning about for years?

Nope. Our homegrown neocon is talking about the 'anger, panic or hysteria' of 'the international left' and the

'fanatics, whether green, anti-war or Islamist, who will never allow observable reality to intrude on their anti-Bush, anti-American narrative. For them, the fact of Katrina as force majeure - a freak of nature - is something to be wilfully ignored.'

In contrast, Tony Parkinson inhabits a rational universe and he understands that human civilisation has been struck cruelly by nature's fury.

Okay, stuff happens. A city has gone. Parkinson, as a cultural warrior, is trying to block the climate change account that 'global warming will make - and possibly already is making - those hurricanes that form more destructive than they otherwise would have been.' More debate on this issue can be found over at Jennifer Marohasy.

I reckon that Leunig has a much better grasp of the incompetence, folly and surreality around New Orleans:


An example is provided by this article about firefighters voluntering to help save and help people. They were used as FEMA community relations specialists and then, when a team was finally sent to the region, this happened:

As specific orders began arriving to the firefighters in Atlanta, a team of 50 Monday morning quickly was ushered onto a flight headed for Louisiana. The crew's first assignment: to stand beside President Bush as he tours devastated areas.

What we have is a devastated New Orleans full of human suffering being used as a stage for a political performance for the television cameras.It is what the Americans call showbiz: firefighters forced to act as human props as Bush walked around pretending to do his problem solving stuff.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 8:18 AM | | Comments (3)


1. The mass majority of people who remained in New Orleans were blacks. Who cares for them!
2. The Helicopters, soldiers and money were in Iraq or for Iraq. Who and how can they help the people in New Orleans?
3. American soldiers are good fighters, they know how to kill the enemies but they do not know how to save people!
4. Do you thing Bush, who did not care or can not manage to save his own people, do you thing he cares or can really help Iraqis? No he will create to them very big problems!
5. The problem caused by the climate change. Do you thing Bush can understand or can change his environment policy?
6. I understand American people are responsible for their president, they elected him. Why do all other nations, all other people have to suffer from the Bush policy?
7. Do American people understand that their country must sign the Kyoto protocol and the International Criminal court?
8. At the end american people will pay the cost for the wrong policy of their country!
Antonios Symeonakis

Now the Administration is faced with the more long-term responsibility of providing for the evacuees until New Orleans can be made fit to live in. This experience will affect the middle class as much as the poor. I suspect there is no plan, and analogy with the situation in Iraq is suggested.

Antonios, that is ridiculous and typical knee-jerk liberalism with no founding in fact. Tow the line, dude - spew the crap they teach you to spew.

Here are some stupid answers for your stupid statements:

1. Sarcasm will get you nowhere.
2. We have plenty of helicopters.
3. Bullshit. American soldiers are usally poor boys and in need of work, and by and large they are good kids.
4. What?
5. Now, I know you're just a hack. Climate change caused Katrina? Prove it.
6. Only one half elected him. People were suffering long before Bush arrived - but yes - often as a result of America.
7. Failure to sign Kyoto didn't cause Katrina - this is a cycle repeated every few decades, that of more intense hurricanes.
8. I agree with you here 100% But what policy? It is years of policies that have caused us the grief we now suffer, not the least of which is our very recent helping to create a Palestinian state.

Wanna freak on something? You won't like it - but check this out:

Now, tell me why Katrina hit us just on the heels of Gaza....and I will call you willfully blind when you tell me "coincidence."

Bush behaved quite well post 9/11 because he had an enemy. He can't lash out at anyone here and was slow to respond. Guess why.....he's now fighting his own God. Had a terrosrist struck New Orleans, Bush would've been down there in a heartbeat, whether all the victims were black or not. Right now I guarantee he is really wondering what he did to deserve this.

Folly indeed. Surreality for sure.