Past columns ignore others’ role in tragedy

In the first few minutes that I read the “Katrina” columns, before I threw the perspective page into the trash, I realized the intense fervor that these columnists have held toward this president since he placed his hand on the Bible and repeated the oath of office.

Several columns focused around the actions of the president, and then completely ignored the inactions of New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin and Louisiana Governor Mary Blanco, both Democrats.

In one column, Nagin stated that FEMA red tape was responsible for this disaster. How could FEMA be responsible for not evacuating the residents of New Orleans before the hurricane even hit? Nagin failed to implement the city disaster plan, leaving over 250 buses in a flooded parking lot. How come the president and National Hurricane Center director Max Mayfield had to call the mayor to tell him to use city resources to evacuate the city? How can the press allow for such malfeasance to go unnoticed in its columns?

The president was correct to state that no one had expected this to happen.

The center of this storm veered to the right of the city, taking much of the real destruction to the coast of Mississippi. Had New Orleans sustained a direct hit, the entire city would have been destroyed by a rushing torrent of water. Even the headline of the Rockford Register Star on the day after the hurricane landfall read, “New Orleans spared from biblical disaster.”

I suppose that they’re also somehow responsible for failing to see this.

In as much of a vortex as a hurricane, the column tries to spin the disaster into an Iraqi war criticism. Although it fails to reach that conclusion, it does criticize the administration for taking money from FEMA to use in the creation of the Department of Homeland Security. It’s unfortunate that the attention span among some columnists is so small that they fail to realize Congressional Democrats had used the proposed creation of Homeland Security as a political football before their losses in the 2002 mid-term election.

The column also fails to mention that three New York Times’ editorials over the last decade criticized attempts to prepare the New Orleans infrastructure for a Katrina-like disaster.

In yet another column, a conspiracy theory between energy companies and the president is emphasized. It’s easy to say that the energy companies are all evil when you don’t write about the harm that the Kyoto treaty would cause to many lower- and middle-income Americans. If you like the way gas prices have gone over the past several months, then you’ll just be wild about Kyoto when your home heating and tuition bills soar through the roof.

If we were held hostage by Kyoto, millions of more blue-collar jobs along with the economic advantage of millions of Americans would be exported to those 70 other nations, which have not ratified Kyoto. As illogical as the ratification of the Kyoto treaty would be for this nation, so is the belief that this hurricane was somehow spawned from greenhouse gas. As paranoid as people may become because of the destruction from this hurricane, I would hope that they would place this hurricane season in perspective with the past. The Atlantic hurricane season doesn’t change from year to year, but from decades to decades. We are in a cycle that shifts between several decades of relatively inactive seasons and several decades of very active seasons. We are now at the beginning of the very active cycle and we can expect many more hurricanes and hurricanes with biblical strength.

Just like the hurricane, I can imagine all of the false thoughts of the perspective page sweeping through the heads of the many readers of this paper. A quick suggestion would be for you to appoint a conservative token to your editorial board. However, some readers would quickly realize the only real reason why you would appoint a real conservative.

Aaron M. Funfsinn

Junior, Political Science