GW arrives in Mobile midday to board a helicopter that will fly him over the devastated remains of the Crescent City. Even as the President pledges to restore order, chaos of Third-World proportions reigns. FOXNews reporter Steve Harrigan: "I feel like I'm in an abandoned city where two sides are fighting it out. It's not very reassuring." Meanwhile, throughout the morning and early afternoon, waves of convoys -- National Guard troops, military personnel, firefighters and others -- stream into the city Cavalry style.
"I always wondered what would take the place of 9/11 in my nightmares, and now I know what it is," writes Varifrank [via The Anchoress -- see below -- via Roger L. Simon, who quips "I think CNN would turn Noah's flood into a partisan attack on George Bush"]. Varifrank continues:
I have my issues with the way this was handled, but for now I’m keeping it to my self. None of this half assed Monday-morning quarterbacking is going to do a damn thing to get those people out of there, but the corrosive effect it will have on our government serves no one.
Stop looking for someone to blame, and start looking for a way to help.
Monday-morning quarterbacking? "That’s the easiest thing in the world to do, and also the most useless, so let’s not do it," writes The Anchoress : "Let’s focus on what actually happened, for a little bit longer," which she proceeds to do in a link-rich tour de force that covers all the bases. Be sure to read the whole thing. Meanwhile, the question hangs in the air. Should the nation spend billions to rebuild a city seven feet under sea level and sinking, even as the cumulative effects of human intervention precipitate a cascading breakdown of the Mississippi River Delta? Mother Nature and common sense would say no, but human nature -- proud and sentimental -- will always reach for the stars. "Taming nature is part of America's Founding Myth. Such devastation as we have seen in New Orleans runs counter to American achievement and triumph," writes Tunku Varadarajan in Opinion Journal. More specifically, as former New Orleans Mayor Marc Morial said the other day:
A great American city is fighting for its life. We must rebuild New Orleans, the city that gave us jazz and music and multiculturalism,
Rebuild, perhaps, but can we -- will politics allow us to -- learn from our mistakes? Hurricanes will always taunt the Gulf Coast, and the Mississippi will rise every spring. If we would rebuild New Orleans, we must listen to the living history of natural systems. Or maybe we should listen to blogfriend Richard Lawrence Cohen, who paints a vision of New Orleans, 2025. Simulated reality trumps reality, and his future tourist, a youngster traveling with his family, takes it all in stride:
This is the greatest city! Our hotel room is on the 40th floor, right on Bourbon Street, and I can look down over the whole French Quarter and see what’s going on without even going down there. We have in-room VR, so this morning I put on the helmet and there I was, back in old New Orleans the way it was before this flood or something that they had about twenty years ago. It was okay, but it was small and dirty and nothing much interesting was happening, just a lot of people eating seafood and getting drunk and watching other people take off their clothes.
We think Richard's definitely onto something. They've already got stuff like that at the Grand Canyon, where most tourists just say no to the real-life adventure and relative discomfort of a muleride to the bottom, opting instead for the wide-screen video version in air-conditioned, couch-potato comfort at the top.
Update: In a brilliant understatement, The Commissar of The Politburo Diktat lets leading bloggers of the left and right speak for themselves.