It would seem that Bush doesn’t get it — the NY Times (and many oth­ers) reports that he went to New Orleans to wax his­toric about Helping Rebuid:

I have returned to make it clear to peo­ple that I under­stand we’re mark­ing the first anniver­sary of the storm,’’ he said, “but this anniver­sary is not an end. And so I come back to say that we will stand with the peo­ple of south­ern Louisiana and south­ern Mississippi until the job is done.”

I’m sure it galled him that he couldn’t some­how invoke the spec­tre of “nahn-​​elevin” as well. It would be utterly spec­tac­u­lar, from the White House’s point of view, to be able to con­flate “tur’rism” with nat­ural disasters.*

And as for “mark­ing the first anniver­sary” — sheeyut, he didn’t mark the orig­i­nal event, so what right has he to grand­stand now?

Meanwhile we’re reminded from time to time about the “courage” of NewOla res­i­dents in choos­ing to rebuild. I don’t think courage is the adjec­tive we need; I think fool­ish­ness is more appro­pri­ate. I’m reminded of Swamp Castle from Monty Python and the Holy Grail, the cas­tle that kept sink­ing into the swamp on which it was built — until the fourth con­struc­tion attempt. Can we afford to rebuild NewOla three more times, or should we per­haps con­cede that:

  1. Since the city is below sea level; and
  2. Since the city is in a hurricane-​​prone area; and
  3. Since the delib­er­ate rerout­ing of the Mississippi River (and its impend­ing self-​​rerouting) is bad for the river itself, the gulf coast and, obvi­ously, the city

…it makes more sense to aban­don the site — or at least large por­tions of it — and real­ize that there is no way we’re ever going to win in the match against nature?

Or would that be “let­ting the storm win”?** Am I sug­gest­ing “appease­ment” here? Am I (as Rummy might have it) using the same lan­guage of apolo­get­ics that was employed prior to WWII to excuse the encroach­ment of the Nazis?

Look, there are some places where it’s just stu­pid to place a city. On the side of a vol­cano is one. On top of a major fault line is another. Anywhere on any coast below sea level is a third. It really doesn’t take much intel­li­gence or fore­sight to pre­dict out­comes from such deci­sions — so what kind of men­tal­ity per­mits this sort of moronic behav­ior? Is it the same kind of think­ing that allows idiots to own SUVs and eat food they know is going to kill them?

Should we have any sym­pa­thy at all for the out­ra­geously cretinous?

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* That such dis­as­ters are fre­quently referred to as being “acts of God” should sober believ­ers, but of course facts can’t pos­si­bly out­weigh The Truth, now can they?

** And before any­one wants to try to accuse me of an –ism or two, let me point out I’m sug­gest­ing shut­ting down the entire damned city, not just the places where poverty and eth­nic­ity met in a truly dis­as­trous coincidence.

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