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Nothing to See Here, Move Along

Nothing to See Here, Move Along

In today's NY Times editorial, the point is made that Bush-led investigations have led to essentially nothing and the 'investigation' into Iraqi prisoner abuse and torture is given as an example. Now, there's another parallel between the occupation of Iraq and Hurricane Katrina: FEMA orders no photos to be taken of the dead from the Hurricane Katrina. Deja vu all over again.

Read: My Virgin Eyes from the Adventures of the Smart Patrol.

Daily Pepper reports FEMA may think it can boss around journalists, but just let them try to stop Oprah.

// posted by cali dem @ 11:01 AM



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I am starting to see an undercover spin unfolding right before are eyes. The Republicans are saying: they acted too slow to this disaster, but they would not like to hear or see the result of what they have done. This move to not play the "blame game" is just a way of getting the other side to do nothing, in the spirit of recovery, while the Republican spin machine develop their attack to be delivered via Fox and CNN. I Know this because it's being done as we speak.


The parallels are quite striking. Ted Rall, the editorial cartoonist, has written an article under the title Hurricane Victims Get a Taste of Life in Occupied Iraq. It's not very long; so here's the whole item:

Taps run dry. Food rots when the power goes out. Toilets overflow with waste. Looters strip homes, businesses and public buildings. Armed bandits run wild in the streets. Fires rage out of control. Terrified policemen abandon their posts. Flies buzz over bloated corpses. People wave signs at passing helicopters. "Please help us," they read.

"Help is on the way," their head of state assures them. But the government sends soldiers instead of relief workers. The troops treat the victims, who are taxpayers and citizens, as if they were prisoners. Aiming weapons at the sick and dying, they herd thousands into sports arenas where they receive neither water, nor food, nor safe harbor. While indifferent soldiers man checkpoints to prevent the detainees from leaving, babies starve, the elderly die from lack of medicine and children are raped and murdered. They set up checkpoints to prevent anyone from leaving.

Reuters reports from inside a convention-center-cum-refugee camp:

"Sitting with her daughter and other relatives, Trolkyn Joseph, 37, said men had wandered the cavernous convention center in recent nights raping and murdering children. She said she found a dead 14-year old girl at 5 a.m. on Friday morning, four hours after the young girl went missing from her parents inside the convention center. 'She was raped for four hours until she was dead,' Joseph said through tears. 'Another child, a seven-year old boy was found raped and murdered in the kitchen freezer last night.'"

The horror of the aftermath is so extreme that it nearly erases the memory of the initial disaster.

Water, food, housing, electricity: in the modern era, society collapses without them. However, as I found while reporting on the invasion of Afghanistan, they are not equally essential.

I was surprised to discover that I hardly missed food. On the other hand, thirst turns people mean within hours. Water, orange cola and a rusty case of mid-'90s Qatari Pepsi got me through for over a week. The lack of electricity, conversely, proved inconvenient in unexpected ways. Laptops and even satellite phones--essential technology whether writing from a war zone or organizing rescue operations in a flooded American city--rely on rechargeable batteries. Generators are expensive and cumbersome, and they run on gas. But without electricity you can't pump out the fuel.

Shelter took a back seat to hygiene. Absent rain (a safe bet in Afghanistan), I would have picked a hot shower over housing. That had to go double for the newly homeless who have been wading through filthy floodwaters in New Orleans. Whether for drinking or bathing, clean water comes first.

American politicians and bureaucrats neither know life without the basics nor talk to those who do, which is why they failed to respond coherently to the humanitarian crisis caused by Hurricane Katrina. Airlifting bottled water ought to have been FEMA's first priority. Refugee centers ought to have featured rows of portable showers. It is inexcusable that hospitals weren't outfitted with backup generators and fuel reserves to run them. Police, firefighters and other first-responders ought to be equipped with satellite phones powered by disposable batteries.

Of course, the government's biggest mistake was its decision to privatize the evacuation. Those who owned cars fled. 100,000 poor people, who ride New Orleans' streetcar system, were left behind to die. Greyhound's nearly 2,000 buses could have gotten them all out--but commandeering private property is the act of a civilized nation, not the leaner, meaner, tough-break United States. Similarly, storeowners should have distributed water and other emergency supplies under a FEMA guarantee of reimbursement.

It only took a few days for New Orleans to descend into anarchy, for the survivors of Katrina to lose hope, for disgusted Americans to conclude that their leaders are too staggeringly stupid, incompetent and uncaring to protect them from bad weather, much less a terrorist attack. Now think about this: the citizens of cities under U.S. occupation in Iraq and Afghanistan have been suffering under similar conditions, exacerbated by an identical lack of planning by the same U.S. officials, for nearly 900 days. New Orleans is Baghdad plus water minus two and a half years.

Still wondering why they hate us?

Only an opinion. Where is the proof?

Go have a look for yourself. Your local recruiter will be happy to make all of the transportation and other arrangements for you.

Hey Arvy-

While others resort to insults to make a point, your comments are always respectful and enlightened.

However, I would also like to see more proof of the "dire" situation in Iraq. The vast majority of U.S. soldiers give a much different report than the article presented here. I will get back to you with some "proof," but I suppose you may say they are only following the "party line."

No, I wouldn't say that soldiers are necesarily following any particular "party line" on the situation in Iraq, but it is almost inevitably a one-sided position. Even in relaying what armed occupiers may be told by Iraqis themselves, they're not likely going to get a truly representative response.

Let's face it, anything other than one's own first-hand observation is always subject to some doubt -- and even that may be influenced by personal perspectives.

You've made excellent points.

I would say reality is heavily influenced by personal experience and perception. And, "proof" may only exist in the eyes of the beholder.

Let me get this straight first the government screws up then they say "we the people" can't see what happened.They will tell us what happened.Hummm
kind of reminds me of Russia when I was growing up.I say its time to take this country back from the radical right wingnuts who now run it!

More "compassion" from the NEO CON Eugenicists . . . anyone seen this quote from Republican Representative Richard H. Baker (6th District-Baton Rouge, LA)?

""We finally cleaned up public housing in New Orleans. We couldn't do it, but God did."

(full story)

I guess we can see what to expect from the PNAC NEO CONs with their
FEMA/Homeland Security "rescue responses" of the New World Order.

1. Get the rich people out
2. Get the useful "wage slaves" out
3. Disarm & starve the poor (especially those damn non-whites that won't work)
4. Shoot or "relocate" to secret FEMA "Roach Motel" bases . . . "poor folks check in but they don't check out." (well, they may let them out with a smart-chip implant for tracking)
5. repeat until all the cities have been properly "cleansed". . .
you know like they did with the Native Americans under "Manifest Destiny."

Hey Condi Rice and Colin Powell . . . how much longer you think the "Masters" are going to let you keep coming in the "big house?"
In a Fascist system, EVERYONE is expendable!!!

Is the Government Trying to Stem the Tide of Images From New Orleans by Threatening Journalists?

Journalists covering New Orleans in the aftermath of hurricane Katrina report that militarization in and around the city has hindered their work and threatened their physical safety. We hear from two journalists who were reporting in New Orleans recently.

Watch The Video


As I've said before, there is more than enough blame to go around (federal, state and city governments). And, let's not forget Democrats had a hand in allowing Michael Brown to slip by Senate confirmation.

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