September 04, 2005
Sunday floodgate of unholy water
It's Sunday morning, and as is so often the case, I find myself subjected to morality sermons I didn't ask for -- for the simple reason that I didn't go to church. But these days (at least in larger urban areas like Philadelphia), there's a huge class of guilt-infected, self-hating people who don't go to church. With no one to minister to their need for a good Sunday scolding (and there's no need needier than a need which dare not speak its name), naturally other moralists have stepped in.
To fill the breach in the moral levee, perhaps? Right now, they're yelling and screaming about the breach in the physical levee in New Orleans, and it's really important to make it -- and the flooding, and the devastation and the racism -- all Bush's fault. Above all, it must be tied to Iraq. Especially on Sunday.
To many critics, it's self apparent that the break in the levee (which is responsible for the disastrous flooding) should have been anticipated, that federal money to repair the levee was withheld (presumably because of racism) and that all of this Bush's fault. Here's Sidney Blumenthal:
With its main levee broken, the evacuated city of New Orleans has become part of the Gulf of Mexico. But the damage wrought by the hurricane may not entirely be the result of an act of nature.The problem with this argument (as even the New York Times grudgingly acknowledges) is that the area where the breach occurred was recently upgraded:
No one expected that weak spot to be on a canal that, if anything, had received more attention and shoring up than many other spots in the region. It did not have broad berms, but it did have strong concrete walls.According to Factcheck.org, the Army Corps of Engineers confirms that even if all the upgrades had been done, this only would have provided protection for a Category 3 hurricane -- a fact that the breach occurring in one of the recently upgraded areas would seem to confirm.
Nevertheless, that hasn't stopped today's relentless Sunday scoldfest. Trudy Rubin (and many others) are using the strongest possible editorial language (well, not as strong as Steve Gilliard) to make the tie-in to Iraq:
There's something ghoulishly fitting about talking by phone to Baghdad while watching the chaos in New Orleans.Wow. Such a well-deserved Sunday scolding! I damned near wet my pew! Really I almost feel like I raped and murdered and drowned people myself! (At least the kindly Castro might take pity on my victims....)
If I didn't know any better, I'd almost think Ms. Rubin fancied herself Philadelphia's Moralist-In-Chief. Anyway, she blames Bush, and particularly the Iraq war, which she's had on her brain for so long that it cannot but infect her analysis of whatever issue might cross her journalistic path.
Bush is a liar, of course, and his statement that the breach in the levee hadn't been anticipated is being attacked by many as a lie of astounding proportions.
Again, according to the Corps of Engineers, flooding was anticipated, but not the breach:
In an interview on ABC’s "Good Morning America" on September 1, President Bush said:A Category 5 hurricane certainly could have been (and was) anticipated, and of course there had been warnings for decades. (Hurricane Betsy flooded the city for three weeks in 1965.) But had there been no budget cuts, no one has shown how the proposed upgrades would have been prevented a break "along a section that was just upgraded."
Even assuming Al Gore had been elected in 2000.
Or Kerry in 2004.
These endless, emotionally overwrought attempts to make tenuous connections are getting really tedious, but I'm sure they'll get steadily worse, because those who beat the drums against the war have been beating on them for a long time now, and now they've got a perfect new issue fitting right into the old meme of "people died while Bush lied." Because now, Americans have died!
The opportunity is too irresistible. I can't say I blame them.
Again, Trudy Rubin:
There's something ghoulishly fitting about talking by phone to Baghdad while watching the chaos in New Orleans.I'm tempted to agree, but it might be taken as an insult.
posted by Eric on 09.04.05 at 09:27 AM
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