Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Serving up humble pie.

Caught an Horizon programme today (BBC) looking at how New Orleans is trying to pull itself together again after hurricane Katrina devastated much of the city. The over riding attitude that came from the folk interviewed is that man cannot take on nature and win. This is from the nation that espouses the 'American Dream', with the world's richest economy, that put the man on the moon, that won the last world war. Yet, one hurricane destroyed one major US city in 24hrs. The people of New Orleans know what that means. They have had to eat humble pie. It's not fair that they have had to do that but, nature doesn't pick and choose.

US Army engineers, scientists, town planning consultants and many citizens said time and again that there is no point in taking on nature because you cannot win. There are now plans to redraw the map of New Orleans to take account of the need for natural flood defences along the coast and rivers. This will involve the loss of 30,000 homes, affecting well over 100,000 people. The reclamation projects will take decades and billions of dollars.

There is just one problem. The funds needed for such works are slow in coming. Why? We can only guess but, 'Iraq' is a word that may be central to the answer. Billions upon billions are being swallowed up by that war. Sure, it goes into the US economy for military hardware and support services. Dick Cheney will know something about that. In the meantime 'protecting' New Orleans is just not important to the Bush administration. Bush would rather serve up humble pie to his citizens over thanks giving. That way he keeps them at his feet. And when he's ready........ he'll kick 'em in the guts again.


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