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Letters to the Editor

Goverment's relief efforts were disaster

I thought the purpose of the massive and costly reorganization of the federal government for homeland security was to actually prepare us for disasters of biblical proportions, exactly like the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. That planning clearly would include rapid deployment of troops to assist in restoring order, re-establishing communication, rescuing survivors and rapid evacuation of an entire city. Merging FEMA into the Department of Homeland Security should have provided access to all available disaster relief resources to produce a coordinated and effective response.

The grade so far for our response to Hurricane Katrina is an F.

Responses from this administration - including President Bush saying that no one could have foreseen the levee breaking - are understandable from an administration that botched planning for the aftermath of the Iraq invasion. But they are of little comfort to the victims of Hurricane Katrina. How many times have we heard plan for the worst and hope for the best? For a president and an administration of former CEOs to fail in planning for the worst-case scenario in matters of emergency preparedness is inexcusable.

And although repeatedly denied by those in charge, one has to wonder if the deployment of so many of our National Guard personnel and equipment to Iraq is contributing to the slow response to Katrina.

Rather than hold press briefings to tell people that have no way of hearing you that hope is on the way, wait until hope has arrived and tell them to their faces that hope is here. Now is obviously not the time to examine why we were so unprepared. Nor to offer excuses. Now is the time for action to save the people devastated by Hurricane Katrina.

- Allan Burns

Lawrenceville

Federal failure not caused by racism

It really is too bad that accusations of racism had to rear their ugly head in the aftermath of Katrina's devastation. Unfortunately, the media concentration was mainly in the heavily populated downtown areas of New Orleans, which are dominated by poor blacks and where the government's initially inept response was most obvious.

In the more rural areas where whites predominated, the situation was just as bad. That isn't to say there were no racist incidents, but I don't really believe there was any intentional acts of neglect aimed at any specific group. It was a question of equal-opportunity failure of prompt government response.

I'll bet a lot of Americans were surprised to learn how many of our fellow citizens live in such poverty in the land of milk and honey. They appeared to emerge like ants from every nook and cranny of the city.

Andrew Young, when asked by a reporter if he thought that blacks were targets of neglect in receiving aid, pointed out that whites in outlying areas of New Orleans and other affected areas didn't seem to fare much better.

I believe it would be better for all concerned to withhold too much finger pointing until the smoke clears and all the facts are in. The poor victims of this tragic event would be better served with positive reforms and attitude changes than endless rounds of bitter recriminations.

- George Morin

Auburn

Liberals blame all problems on Bush

The blaming of the Bush administration for everything related to Hurricane Katrina is being trumpeted, unchallenged, from almost every media outlet and program imaginable. While the scrutiny of the feds' response to the tragedy is certainly warranted, the media and liberals both black and white have already placed all the blame. You name it - and it's George W. Bush's fault.

If you're a liberal, here are your talking points: The lack of an escape route for New Orleans' poor and depressed? It's all Bush's fault. They're poor because Bush cut the taxes of the rich. The flooding occurred because Bush's tax cuts spent money meant to bolster the levees. Spending on the war in Iraq, spending on the war on terror and the environmental policies of the Bush administration are all to blame for the devastation left by Katrina. And because Bush didn't sign the Kyoto Treaty, the storm that would become Hurricane Katrina was created.

To summarize, this whole thing is the fault of the Bush administration, and oh yeah, the officials in New Orleans and Louisiana might have made a mistake, but their attempts to do good were thwarted by the policies of George Bush.

Folks, here's your dose of reality and truth: First and foremost, it's the officials in New Orleans and the state of Louisiana who are to blame for the flooding in New Orleans. Their poor planning and execution of whatever plan they had resulted in what we've seen so far. We wouldn't even be playing this blame game were it not for a decidedly liberal press to blame Bush for anything and everything wrong or bad.

- Stephen Edwards

Suwanee