Katrina Disaster: Where is the Military?

September 1st, 2005

I just got back from vacation and am catching up on the terrible aftermath of Katrina. I find it unbelievable that with our enormous military budget, it has been 3 days and we are still unable to provide even basic food, water, shelter, medical care, and security to the stranded people of New Orleans. It appears that there has been a complete breakdown of our Homeland Security and FEMA response system, or at least total incompentence and negligence. Given the billions of dollars the nation has been spending to prepare for large-scale disasters and terrorist attacks, it is incredible that the system is performing so poorly for the people of New Orleans.

Why have we not started dropping emergency food and water supplies to these stranded people? Why has the military not started parachuting in thousands of soldiers to keep the peace? Where are the Navy, Air Force, Army and the Marines in all this? It appears that we are literally leaving thousands of men, women and children to fend for themselves against the elements, disease, and violence. Is it simply because the scale of the disaster was so unexpected? Is it because our Homeland Security and FEMA infrastructure are completely dysfunctional? Or is it because many of the people affected by this disaster are from the poorest segments of our society and simply don’t matter to the political establishment?

Amazingly, our response to last year’s Tsunami in Asia was far more organized and effective than our response to this disaster in our own backyard. Considering that we launched a world war over a few thousand people dying in New York on 911, I would think that this disaster in New Orleans (which is likely to have a much larger death toll) should merit a much larger response.

Frankly I am furious, horrified and ashamed at what is taking place in New Orleans — America can and should do much better in times of national crisis.