More astute criticism of the government’s failure to act in NOLA…

Andrew Sullivan opines in the Time of London thusly:

Where was the urgency to get these soldiers to rescue the poor and drowning in nearby New Orleans, or the dying and dead in devastated Mississippi? The vice-president was nowhere to be seen. The secretary of state was observed shopping for shoes in New York City. The president had barely returned to Washington; and had already opined that nobody had foreseen the breaching of New Orleans’ levees.

Earth to Bush: the breaching of the levees had been foreseen for decades. If anyone wanted evidence that this president was completely divorced from reality, that statement was Exhibit A. It didn’t help coming after a five-week vacation, when most Americans are lucky to get two.

And I’ll opine in my own way –

This is likely to be a pretty unpopular sentiment, both with so-called liberals and so-called conservatives (although I’m more likely to find support in their ranks for it):

Our government is too concerned with the world outside of our borders and too few resources are expended on people in need right in our own backyard. The Katrina disaster would have been far less tragic if a third of the population of New Orleans wasn’t living in abject poverty. Dare I say it? Third World-style poverty.

I remember keenly my first visit to New Orleans a little over ten years ago. I was smitten with the city and started to wonder what it would be like to live there. I bought a paper and took a look at the apartments for rent. I was stoked at the low rents (especially compared to San Francisco, where I lived at the time). I started to think, “I could do this.” Then I looked at the help wanted ads in the same paper. There was nary a job listed that paid more than minimum wage. Suddenly those rents didn’t look so reasonable.

New Orleans is viewed by most of America as a tourist destination. Most people are unaware that it’s one of the most crime-riddled cities in the US. They’re equally unaware that the entire gulf-coast region is economically impoverished in the extreme. The question begs – if the US government had focused its considerable resources and energies at alleviating such squalor and poverty would over 100,000 people have found themselves virtually trapped when Katrina hit town?

Here’s the really unpopular bit – One simply has to ask, if our government wasn’t utterly committed to deep involvement in the affairs of other nations would the 9/11/01 attacks have even happened? How about the Oklahoma City bombing?

I concede that we live in a world in which throwing up the barricades and shutting out the rest of the world is simply impractical. But why does the United States Government need to be as deeply involved in the affairs of other nations? I’m not being facetious. I’m serious and I’d really like to see if anyone has a valid answer.

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