Even as Chancellor Schröder sent a letter of condolence to President Bush about the hurricane disaster, there were critical voices being heard in Berlin about the policies of the Bush administration that have exacerbated global warming: environmental Juergen Tritten started the process with a harsh assessment in the Frankfurter Rundschau.
Der amerikanische Präsident verschließt die Augen vor den wirtschaftlichen und menschlichen Schäden, die seinem Land und der Weltwirtschaft durch Naturkatastrophen wie "Katrina", also durch unterlassenen Klimaschutz, zugefügt werden. Welchem Nutzen, muss man sich fragen, dient eine derart kurzsichtige Politik?
Whether the ferocity of Katrina was a consequence of global warming can never be ascertained for sure, and the Bush-Blogs such as Medienkritik are predictably furious that their fearless leader is criticized. But Americans watched as Bush continued his summer vacation at his ranch in Crawford, Texas, even as the worst natural catastophe in modern times began to unfold. American's - according to poll numbers in today's Washington Post - are frustrated and angry with the lack of leadership on a number of fronts, including Iraq and energy prices. But the magnitude of the adminstration's incompetence will become apparent over the next few weeks as it begins to sink into public consciousness that the destruction of New Orleans did not have to happen. Today's Editor and Publisher explains:
Newhouse News Service, in an article posted late Tuesday night at The Times-Picayune web site, reported: "No one can say they didn't see it coming....Now in the wake of one of the worst storms ever, serious questions are being asked about the lack of preparation."
In early 2004, as the cost of the conflict in Iraq soared, President Bush proposed spending less than 20 percent of what the Corps said was needed for Lake Pontchartrain, according to a Feb. 16, 2004, article, in New Orleans CityBusiness.
On June 8, 2004, Walter Maestri, emergency management chief for Jefferson Parish, Louisiana; told the Times-Picayune: “It appears that the money has been moved in the president’s budget to handle homeland security and the war in Iraq, and I suppose that’s the price we pay. Nobody locally is happy that the levees can’t be finished, and we are doing everything we can to make the case that this is a security issue for us.”
There you have it: a tax cut for wealthy Americans and the funding of a disasterous war of choice took precedence over protecting one of America's great cities.