Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Hurricane Katrina's Anniversary

Suggested readings to help reflect on the 1 year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina:

  • New York Post Editorial: STORM, SOUND & FURY (emphasis added):
    ...No one can deny the horrific loss of life or the tens of billions in property damage. One of America's most treasured urban gems, New Orleans, was deluged and all but destroyed. As Bush said yesterday, the damage was "unimaginable."

    Yet the response - by residents and the government - was hardly the cataclysmic failure that it was made out to be. And that news outlets, and Democrats, continue to insist it was.

    Take those breathless early reports of snipers, roving gangs, rapes and mass deaths. They set a tone that endures still.

    But guess what?

    Most of it never happened.

    Likewise, Bush team efforts were (and still are) portrayed as an unmitigated disaster, proof that Bush & Co. aren't just incompetent, but also lack compassion, particularly for poor blacks. A photo of Bush surveying damage from his plane rather than the ground fuels such claims.

    "If the bungled federal response to Hurricane Katrina called into question the president's competence," The New York Times wrote yesterday in a front-page editorial disguised as a news story, "that Air Force One snapshot, coupled with scenes on the ground of victims who were largely poor and black, called into question something equally important to Mr. Bush: his compassion."

    Democrats are milking the theme: "We know the storm was a tragedy," Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid said last week, "but a bigger tragedy is how the federal government responded." New York Sen. Chuck Schumer readily admits that Democratic candidates for the Senate cite the storm every chance they get.

    The truth? As former reporter Lou Dolinar wrote on these pages Sunday [ed. see MEDIA MISSED A WILDLY SUCCESSFUL NEW ORLEANS RESCUE DRIVE ], the response "may have been the largest, most successful aerial search-and-rescue operation in history."

    The Coast Guard, state Department of Wildlife and Fisheries and National Guard rescued 70,000 people. They pre-positioned food and supplies and set up medical facilities that treated 5,000 victims (and delivered seven babies).

    Sure, mistakes were made: New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, for example, didn't have an evacuation plan. But Katrina's enduring narrative - that Bush blew it - is nearly as destructive to the picture of what happened as the storm itself.

    Officials have much to learn from Katrina about how better to prepare for disasters, both natural and man-made.

    But the critics - and the media - also have much to learn.

    Question is: Will they?

  • Coyote Blog: Katrina was Government Revealed

  • USA Today: Katrina cost continues to swell (HT: BizzyBlog via email)

    The fiscal impact of Hurricane Katrina, the most costly natural disaster in U.S. history, shows no sign of ending.

    Congress has already approved $122 billion in spending, and is now paving the way for Gulf Coast states to get billions more. As much as $20 billion for coastal restoration could come from offshore-drilling royalties in the next few decades. Louisiana has been seeking $14 billion for that purpose...
  • WSJ.com Opinion Journal: The Tragedy of New Orleans (HT: BizzyBlog):



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