The Story Of The Hurricane Cowboy Who Fiddled While New Orleans Drowned

By Amanda Lang, PhD 

09/02/05 "ICH" -- -- Why did Bush vacation – cut wood, clear brush, bike, and read -- for days while the world watched Katrina develop, then slam as a category 4 hurricane into the Gulf Coast?  Just as he did on September 11, 2001, he froze.  They don’t have cable or telephones in Crawford?  The unfolding catastrophe has Bush leadership skills, or lack thereof, written all over it.  He treats his own citizens with the same contempt and callousness as he does the Iraqi civilians – as “collateral damage.”  If a category 4 hurricane is not a “bomb” dropping on American soil, what is?  Bush remained on vacation one whole day after Katrina hit, WAITING FOR WHAT?  The federal government was ‘missing in action’ and has failed its citizens abysmally.  And Congress... where the hell are they?  They rushed back to Washington over night for one woman’s feeding tube, but can’t seem to find the way back for a destructive hurricane that most likely killed thousands.  Are these Americans too poor or not expounding the right religion to garner attention the Trade Tower victims received?  They all sat and watched this train wreck, now they are screwing up the rescue and salvage, probably busy searching for the ‘scapegoat’ du jour.  Did the Bush administration and Congress want to create a situation where they could declare martial law?  Looks like it. 

New Orleans has become a war zone.  Martial law declared.  Since when is a policy of "you loot, we shoot" appropriate for people just trying to survive until help arrives?  THEY ARE DYING.  So are they ‘looters’ or ‘survivors’ (like the TV show “Survivor” Americans loves to love)?  So what if in addition to food, water, diapers, and medical supplies, they take some jeans?  They’ve been wearing oil, chemical and sewer-soaked clothes for days.  They’re wading through floating, decaying dead bodies.  New Orleans is and will be uninhabitable for three to six months at least, so the merchandise is already a write-off.  Think about it?  Would you want this merchandise?  Let good come from it while it can. 

The ‘survivors’ have obtained weapons and are using them.  Escaped prisoners riot and hold hostages.  People go ‘feral’ displaying ‘pack’ and/or ‘mob’ behaviors when threatened their lives are in ‘great peril.  Unfortunately, in America you can find a gun anywhere in virtually any caliber, so chaos reigns.  A "loot-shoot" policy only exacerbates the problem.  Relief workers received orders to divert efforts from ‘saving people’ to ‘crime fighting’.  Why choose ‘property’ over ‘life’?  The policy lacks common sense, compassion, or understanding of the survival instinct.  CNN has images of people dead and dying on camera.  Their reporters are watching people – children and elderly – die before their eyes.  The sick, injured, dehydrated, starving, and scared feel abandoned.  In the hot, stinking Superdome, where 25,000 refugees await evacuation, fires and fighting are breaking out.  Fear, anger, and hopelessness will push conditions to a boil, and more people than necessary will die – mostly the innocent victims of this horrible disaster.

Do we need to request U.N Aid and Peace Keeping Forces?  It appears we lack the expertise and leadership to prevent or deal with a major national crisis.  Why aren't these convoys and helicopters dropping in water, food, and medicine to these trapped individuals?  Yes, conditions are deteriorating, but our National Guard soldiers fly helicopters through Iraq every day taking gunfire for a far less legitimate cause.  Is the relief work necessary beyond the Bush administration's capabilities?  We do not posses the numbers of National Guard soldiers and relief workers necessary to get this situation under control.  Just like Iraq – not enough bodies on the ground to do the job.  Bush cut funding to New Orleans hurricane preparations by $72.1 million and gave eight jets to Pakistan – FREE – valued at $36 million each = $288 million.  Get the picture.  ‘Survivors’ of this crisis sure could use that $288 million and the $5.6 billion per month [this breaks down to almost $186 million a day] or $672 BILLION PER YEAR the Neocons are throwing at Iraq, plus the billions in pork given to corporations this year alone. 

Even worse, image you’re a National Guard soldier in Iraq that has family, friends, and property in ‘harm’s way,  but are stuck policing the streets of Iraq.  The irony of the situation is macabre.  You were sent to fight an urban guerilla war based on a 'buffet' of evolving lies and rationales -- perhaps on your second or third tour -- and your family is back home dealing with this mess alone -- homeless, injured, starving, drowning, or dying -- and you are not there and you don't have a clue what their condition is because no one else does.  Tragic irony.  They face an uncertain future and still may die themselves on a street or road in Iraq.  In the news, they hear of over-the-top CEO salaries, while Florida hotels evict refugee families so fans can attend a football game.  How would you feel to discover your loved ones where not evacuated, even though it was known a category 4 or 5 hurricane was approaching?  Or even worse, they still stuck in the disaster area because at your pay scale, they just couldn’t afford to leave.

A reckoning time is here.  The ‘Hurricane Cowboy’ has a lot to answer for, as do the ‘knuckled-headed’ Neocons and the ‘do-nothing’ Congress.  This tragedy should have been prevented.  Hundreds of thousands of Americans lives completely destroyed while Bush fiddled with a guitar, went on a two-day speaking jaunt/fund-raiser to California and Arizona, and ‘read’ a speech, ironically to a group of sailors and WWII veterans:

"This morning, our hearts and prayers are with our fellow citizens along the Gulf Coast," Bush said. "We know that many are anxious to return to their homes. It's not possible at this moment."

His heart and prayers may have been there, but his ass sure wasn’t. 

Amanda Lang, PhD < > conducts research in Organizational and Technological Innovation primarily in the area of New and Strategic Business Development.  A former professor, Amanda retired to Georgia and restores and fabricates replicas of vintage, classic, antique wooden boats, such as the '34 Garwood "Gentlemen's Racer" with her husband, while serving as a news editor at  She is a US Army Veteran, honorably discharged in '79.  Her motto: "Hysteria is always one frame of mind away...why not keep it there?"

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