Monday, September 04, 2006

new orleans or baghdad?

"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed."
-President Dwight D. Eisenhower
April 16, 1953

i saw spike lee's documentary "when the levees fell: a requiem in four parts" this weekend, and it is a film that should be distributed from every library, not limited to those who can afford hbo. each section of the film addresses an aspect of the hurricane's process, starting on august 26, 2005- the day the evacuation was ordered, moving through the damage of the following week up to the discouragement set toward those of lower income who should only move back to the city "at their own risk" a full six months after the storm left. there are a few points that were made that i would like to discuss here, though for lack of enough time in one sitting, i will make a list of bullet points now, and address each point in its own post at some point.

1. the hurricane did not actually hit new orleans. the flooding was caused by a series of mistakes made by the us army core of engineers
2. the damages in new orleans: Estimates for damages for Hurricane Katrina are still extremely preliminary and properly assessing losses will take many months. However, the total losses as a result of Katrina is estimated to exceed $100 billion with over $34 billion in insured loss- what really gets me about this is that iraq spending is set to reach $318.5 billion September 30, 2006, the end of fiscal year 2006. The Cost of Iraq War calculator is occasionally reset based on new information and new allocations of funding. The numbers include military and non-military spending, such as reconstruction. Spending only includes incremental costs, additional funds that are expended due to the war. For example, soldiers' regular pay is not included, but combat pay is included. Potential future costs, such as future medical care for soldiers and veterans wounded in the war, are not included. It is also not clear whether the current funding will cover all military wear and tear. It also does not account for the Iraq War being deficit-financed and that taxpayers will need to make additional interest payments on the national debt due to those deficits.
3. industry wants to buy land in the lower ninth ward and have tried to dissuade homeowners from coming back- these lands are owned by african-american residents- this would in effect turn new orleans into an elitist, white town.
....there may be more, i just am out of time right now

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