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Friday, September 02, 2005

The Long-term Effetcs of Being Shortsighted: Katrina and the Bush Administration

The past few days have brought a great deal of sorrow and tragedy to the folks down in the bayou. New Orleans, our southern mecca for jazz and a cultural flower, was destroyed by the wrath of hurricane Katrina and ultimately 80% of the city was flooded by the waters of lake Ponchatrain. New Orleans lies, on average, about 7 feet below sea level. Surrounded by water on three sides, the city was kept from flooding by a system of levees that were built to keep the water out. These levees gave way on Tuesday allowing the waters to ravage the city. As death, violence and destruction gripped the flooded city, bits and pieces of information trickled on to the front page of major newspapers across the country. The stories are more and more focused on the government's inability to properly protect the city, the slow response to the catastrophe that is costing lives every day, the fact that Bush as recently as February proposed cutting funding for pet projects in the Army Corps. of Engineers which included evaluation of New Orleans levees and flood protection, and most notably that the city has descended into anarchy because there is not enough law enforcement to keep the place in order. This last criticism is probably the most significant because it ties the Iraq war directly with the aftermath of Katrina. The United States National Guard, which composes a large percentage of the troops in Iraq, was created to protect the homeland, i.e. NATIONAL GUARD. The fact that our guard is picking up the slack for an Army that is falling short on recruiting to fight a man-made disaster has left us vulnerable to a natural disaster's aftermath. Those boys fighting boldly in Iraq are better served to help here, our homeland where they are needed direly today, than to fight in a country where most citizens do not even want us there. The lack of resources in New Orleans is reaching desperation levels and although troops are being mobilized, the chaos has escalated to such levels that it will be difficult to contain the violence.

The lack of preparation before Katrina and the slow reaction after it is symptomatic of what I like to call the Bush Administration's shortsighted approach to reality. We have seen this before: 1)with the intelligence memos that crossed the White House desks entitled "Bin Laden determined to strike U.S.", 2) with the assertions that our troops would be welcomed with flowers and cheers in Baghdad, 3) with statements that the war would last a few weeks, at the most six months (as Rumsfeld so foolishly said). These are just a few of the consequences of the White House's approach to governing. They do not seem to understand that short term actions have long term effects. They fail to see that their decisions might aid in achieving their goals in the short term, but might ultimately have a much higher price in the future when they are not responsible for the direction of the country. It is like patching a flat tire and selling the car with it. Eventually the new owner will have to deal with the problem caused by the old owner. One of the points being raised by Democrats and the press is that Bush proposed cutting the funding for the Army Corps. of Engineers as I mentioned earlier. Lets be clear, I doubt very much that the issue of the funding would have had much effect in stopping Katrina's rampage. But what it does show is that the Bush Administration does not concern itself with what might happen in the future, they fail to see warning signs and they practice reactive measures as opposed to preventive measures. Would reinforcing the levees or maybe improving New Orleans flood protection have stopped Katrina? Maybe not, but what if it could have lessened the damage?

Some people will counter my short-sightedness argument by saying that the Bush Administration is undertaking a long-term task in Iraq, thereby invalidating my argument. I say to you, when Bush invaded Iraq he did not expect it to be a long struggle. There are records everywhere you look that prove how the administration failed to see the aftermath of the invasion. The President declared an end to combat after THREE WEEKS!!! Thay failed to see that the real war started when the he declared victory. Once again, short-sighted. Then again, this administration functions in very much the same way that our society does, instant gratification. Passing bills that are half-assed (excuse my language), wheeling and dealing behind the scenes to appoint nominees, pressuring party members to support the White House policy, etc... all done to make it seem as if there is a lot being done. Instant gratification, what does it do for you after the high ends? You pay the price for your impulsiveness (in the people's case debt, in the government's case a floodgate of problems that arise in the future such as a skyrocketing federal deficit after Bush leaves in 2009, an explosion in the cost of Medicare, again after he leaves). The Administrations policies and actions are all designed to provide an instantly palpable result, regardless of the cost later. But even that has become increasingly difficult for them, and Katrina and 9/11 are examples of the consequences of being shortsighted. Could they have been prevented? Who knows? One thing is for sure, we would have had a better chance to protect ourselves if our governtment would have been aware.

2 Comments:

Anonymous long term goals said...

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Read anything that really sets your mind on fire with a passion to do good?

How about doing something important for yourself?

Have you?

Do you know without a doubt where life is taking you?

Got a Plan?

Know how to get there?

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A new year is coming. It's time to start thinking about your New Years Resolution and really start planning your life don't you think. Follow through on some of those old goals you had years ago.

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Are you one of those?

Need a little refresher and some FREE goal setting tips?

Spend a few minutes at measurable goals and take away life changing information.

Happy New Year!

4:21 PM  
Anonymous measurable goals said...

I was going to leave a little tip on New Years Resolutions and how to make the best of them.

Unfortunately, I would not be able to keep it brief.

Goal setting takes effort and you really have to know how to do it to do it well. Especially the follow-up.

That's why I've included a lot of FREE goal setting information on my website, to help folks like you be more successful.

In fact, you can start now, and get a head start on the new year - and the rest of your life.

Think goal setting isn't important? Spend a little time at measurable goals and you'll change your mind.

Have a GREAT day!

11:52 PM  

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