[percy-l] hurricanes

Karey karey at kareyperkins.com
Thu Sep 8 18:41:36 EDT 2005

MessageWe need to examine what went wrong, where, with whom, and why, despite any feelings that may be hurt in the process or any ill will this might engender to those involved, those in power, or those anywhere:  

"Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it."  (George Santayana)

A document a few years ago:  "Osama bin Laden determined to attack within the United States"  didn't get the attention or action it deserved from the administration, with tragic results.  The reasons it was ignored were never explored at length or rectified.  And now, despite a plethora of evidence and articles that the devastation of New Orleans would be inevitable if a category 5 hurricane hit, this didn't get the attention or action it deserved either.  As a friend of mine says, this information - widely available to the public as well as the administration for many years - might as well have been entitled:  "Hurricane Katrina determined to attack New Orleans."  History is repeated.

Why did FEMA fail?  Why did the Bush administration claim no state of emergency was declared by the governor of Louisiana when the PDF copy of her Aug 26 declaration and the Aug 28 memo is actually available to the American public on the web?  Why did the Washington Post and Newsweek reporters report from an "anonymous White House source") that no state of emergency was declared (when even piddling uninformed citizens such as myself saw that memo contradicting their reports? Why do WP and Newsweek feel compelled to protect an anonymous source that feeds them lies?  Why has a group of FEMA medical personnel from Atlanta been moved all over the country, a different state each night, to help evacuees - but have yet to find or reach a single evacuee?  Are they that hard to find? What are the answers to Teresa's questions? These are questions that deserve to be investigated and answered - that absolutely MUST be investigated and answered for the safety and well-being of the American people - not just our physical safety, but our economic well-being.  The cornucopia of incompetencies (if that's all they were) is endless - and Teresa's questions are just the starting point - or perhaps, the answers to those particular questions are at the bottom of the investigation.

The problem isn't that the city didn't have an evacuation plan to get carless or poor people out - many would have stayed anyway, as we are seeing now on the news: they won't even leave NOW for a variety of reasons.  And people were actually safe in the Superdome and convention center during the hurricane.  It's how it was dealt with afterwards; it's much bigger than that.  Or rather - it was how it was dealt with YEARS before it happened.

Here's a question that is just one answer to these questions, but by no means the complete answer:  Why does George W. Bush fire or drive away every competent person who works for and advises him (Colin Powell; former FEMA director, James Lee Witt; ambassador/diplomat/expert Robert Wilson, husband of ousted CIA spy Valerie Plume, who investigated the African/Iraqi WMD issues) to surround himself with "yes" men - no matter how incompetent they may be?  Does anyone wonder why this administration is incompetent?

  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Tommy Armstrong 
  To: 'Percy-L: Literary and Philosophical Discussion' 
  Sent: Thursday, September 08, 2005 9:16 AM
  Subject: Re: [percy-l] hurricanes

  Agreement = 100% 

  Tommy Armstrong
  PO Box 484 
  Lillington, NC   27546

  ...with the method of science one beholds what is generally true about individuals, but art beholds what is uniquely true.

  Walker Percy
  Signposts in a Strange Land

  From: percy-l-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org [mailto:percy-l-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org] On Behalf Of Robert_Pauley at oxy.com
  Sent: Thursday, September 08, 2005 12:55 AM
  To: juliorivas at gmail.com; percy-l at lists.ibiblio.org
  Subject: Re: [percy-l] hurricanes

  You have seen through my clever and condescending manipulations of surnames, Mr. Rivas-Pita. Hat's off. Or may I call you Julio? I don't wish to exclude you from the "fraternity." 

  But really you may be assured these surnames you find so troubling are either an excess formality on my part, ignorance or uncertainty about what to call people I've never met. So I admit to inconsistency. In any case, you may call me Robert. 

  "Third-world" was used as a synonym for inefficiency and corruption, not as a defamation of unnamed countries. I agree that such conditions may obtain anywhere, including the United States, as we have seen in New Orleans. This is to be deplored. What may be even worse here, however, beyond the breakdown of efficiency and transparency, is a "first-world" phenomenon involving a sick collusion between the media and those skilled and audacious enough to exploit it, that is to say, when the corrupt make preemptive attention-grabbing attacks in order to distract from their own corruptions and derelictions, and the media lap it up. They lap it up because it serves their need for antagonism and controversy as a "substantive" narrative to their ghoulish and pandering images (a narrative they're perfectly happy to see degenerate a la Maury Povich). Once this narrative departs from the course they would like to see it follow, they lose interest. This collusive spectacle serves the ulterior political agenda of both. 

  Mostly I lament the slow death of Good Faith. I mean the spirit to unite in the aftermath of a disaster, the resolve and stamina to examine thoroughly and fairly, but at the proper time, what went wrong and who failed their civic charge, and the collectively apolitical determination to make things right no matter the public relations consequences. I think this did exist once, to some extent. The reason this should exist is because corruption and incompetence are very bad for free society, far worse than any storm. 

  Unfortunately, I don't see a return of good faith for now. Instead I have a dismal vision of how this all will play out: a deepening mire of recrimination, with shrill charges and counter-charges, each citing one or another "official report" as evidence of their own righteousness and the other's malfeasance. Meanwhile, corruption and incompetence will whistle merrily along. 

  , OSB, 1924-1996) 


  An archive of all list discussion is available at http://lists.ibiblio.org/pipermail/percy-l/

  Visit the Walker Percy Project at http://www.ibiblio.org/wpercy
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