The War on Hurricanes

The White House has requested $10 billion from Congress for the Katrina disaster.

The cost of the war in Iraq so far has been $186 billion.

Both sums represent responses to major disasters. Which disaster was more costly, which expense most fitting, I leave up to you.

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7 thoughts on “The War on Hurricanes

  1. Ronan-I’m not sure I understand your point… is it that we should spend more on Katrina? Less on the war? I think they are difficult things to compare.What would have been the cost in human misery and lives had we left Saddam alone? I don’t think anyone knows. At present, it doesn’t appear he had any WMD, however he had been known to poison and gas his own people, fire missiles at Israel, and nothing was stopping him from doing these things again. Are you saying it wasn’t worth $186 billion, or even $186 trillion to free an oppressed people from the grasp of a brutal dictator, his debauched sons who revelled in rape and torture, and the secret police that terrorized the Iraqi people? Perhaps we should have stayed out of WWII and left Europe to Hitler because it was too expensive?Yes, the cost in dollars and human lives in Iraq has been tremendous and devastating. But some things are worth dying (and spending some money) for. Freedom is one of them.It is isolationist to imply that we should ignore the plight of the Iraqis to save money for our own potential natural disasters. And though you might argue that the UN was making progress in Iraq prior to the invasion, I maintain that the rape, pillage, and plunder continued unabated despite innumerable inspections, no-fly zones, and “slap-on-the-wrist” resolutions. Saddam and Sons were not leaving until they were forced to.Back to Katrina… If I go and build my house on top of the San Andreas fault, and then an earthquake destroys my house, why exactly am I entitled to a taxpayer-funded rescue and bail-out? People have known for YEARS that New Orleans was a disaster waiting to happen. Practically the whole city is below sea level! And it’s not like hurricanes in the gulf are rare. It’s been a miracle, frankly, that the Big Easy hasn’t been hit ten times in the past century.I’m not arguing that we should withhold our help because they should have known better. What I am arguing is that we have two situations: First a people that had no way to help themselves (the Iraqis), they required our help, and we gave it. Second, a city of people that had years of warning, and that had plenty of opportunity to get out, and chose not to. Both deserve our compassion, but which moreso?

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  2. When I turned on the TV today I thought I was watching something happening in Africa. Americans should think long and hard about what they spend their money on. You appear to have done that, and to be confident that the White House’s priorities are straight. I don’t think they are. But we will have to disagree.

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  3. <>plenty of opportunity to get out<>This, by the way, is crap. The people who are in N.O. righ now are mostly the poor with no cars and with nowhere to go. They did what they were told to do: they went to the Superdome and the Convention Center. I am amazed, AMAZED, at your callous attitude to your compatriots’ suffering. I cannot understand why so many Americans (usually white, usually middle class) have so little compassion for their own urban poor.

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  4. OK, so you’ll be welcoming all the poor of New Orleans to your neighbourhood will you? And any poor people anywhere in the US where natural disaster is possible. You are living on another planet, man.As for Iraq, I will agree with you as to the war’s “justice” when we can be sure that we haven’t traded them civil war for a dictator. I pray things work out over there. Time will tell.A lot of people in America live under the “dictatorship” of gangs and drug lords and the spiral of poverty, homelessness, unemployment, and poor healthcare. Sort that out first. They are your people, man. They need your help first.

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  5. Compassion- <>Deep awareness of the suffering of another coupled with the wish to relieve it<>Ronan, I apologize, I didn’t represent myself well. It’s not that we shouldn’t help these people. I believe I stated that the stranded and suffering residents of the Gulf Coast DO deserve our compassion, my point was that so do the Iraqis, and thus the Iraq war was a just and necessary expense.As to opportunity to get out, perhaps those still in New Orleans didn’t have sufficient resources to evacuate when they were ordered to. But you can’t tell me that there has been no opportunity in the last 20 years to leave. My point was, anyone with a brain could have seen this coming. How many times has New Orleans had near-misses with hurricanes? All of the Gulf Coast for that matter. Yes, many of those left are poor (and black, although that was irrelevant to me, and I am saddened that you think that somehow affects my opinion). It’s not easy to pick up and leave town when you’re poor. I know, I’ve been there, food stamps, Medicaid, the whole nine yards. But I also believe that anyone can budget out enough money to buy a bus ticket or two over the course of a year, so yes, I believe there was opportunity to get out if they so chose. I don’t believe we should withhold aid if they chose to stay; but the point was… they had a choice, and the Iraqis did not. I’m saying that in your implied argument that the money would be better spent in New Orleans than in Iraq, I think the Iraqi people are at least as deserving, if not more so.And the statements I made about Saddam and his sadistic regime are pretty much accepted facts, not White House propaganda. I doubt any leading Democrat would dispute them. They might dispute whether it was worth risking British and American lives (and money) to end the situation, but the situation itself is pretty much a matter of record.

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  6. <>A lot of people in America live under the “dictatorship” of gangs and drug lords and the spiral of poverty, homelessness, unemployment, and poor healthcare. Sort that out first. They are your people, man. They need your help first.<>Sadly, in 1939 and 1940 a lot of Americans used this same argument with FDR, and it delayed our entry into WWII, leaving the British at the mercy of the Luftwaffe. Are you honestly suggesting that we suspend all foreign aid until we have created a utopian society here in the states? No Tsunami aid, No famine aid?<>As for Iraq, I will agree with you as to the war’s “justice” when we can be sure that we haven’t traded them civil war for a dictator. I pray things work out over there. Time will tell.<>I pray it will work out, too. Here in America, we traded a despot (George III) for a civil war a little less than 90 years later. And while no one would argue the Civil War was a good thing, at least we chose it ourselves, and it wasn’t chosen for us. Liberty always comes at a heavy price; Jefferson said that price was the blood of patriots. One of the marks of a patriot is that he would rather die free than live a slave. I sincerely believe that the war liberated these people from a form of slavery to an evil despotic ruler.<>You are living on another planet, man.<>Well, perhaps. This wasn’t intended to be any sort of an attack, Ronan. I just think the Idea that the Orleanites are somehow more deserving of our help than the Iraqis is misguided. And I believe that handing them self-rule, even if it results in more bloodshed, is in fact helping them.

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  7. Well, Rob, your opinion is noted and I thank-you for it.You make a good point about the historical dangers of isolationism.For the record: I certainly think that the US should offer aid and assistance beyond its borders.

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