How New Orleans Was Lost

Chalk up the city of New Orleans as
a cost of Bush`s Iraq war.

There were not enough helicopters
to repair the breeched levees and rescue people trapped
by rising water. Nor are there enough Louisiana National
Guards available to help with rescue efforts and to
patrol against looting.

The situation is the same in

The National Guard and helicopters
are off on a fool`s mission in Iraq.

The National Guard is in Iraq
because fanatical
neoconservatives in the Bush
administration were determined to invade the Middle East
and because the incompetent Secretary of Defense
Rumsfeld refused to listen to the

, who told him there were not enough regular
troops available to do the job.

After the invasion, the arrogant
Rumsfeld found out that the generals were right. The
National Guard was called up to fill in the gaping gaps.

Now the Guardsmen, trapped in the
Iraqi quagmire, are

watching on TV
the families they left behind trapped
by rising waters and wondering if the floating bodies
are family members. None know where their dislocated
families are, but, shades of Fallujah, they do see their
destroyed homes.

The mayor of New Orleans was
counting on helicopters to put in place massive sandbags
to repair the levee. However, someone called the few
helicopters away to rescue people from rooftops. The
rising water overwhelmed the massive pumping stations,
and New Orleans disappeared under deep water.

What a terrible casualty of the
Iraqi war—one of our oldest and most beautiful cities, a
famous city, a historic city. The World Trade Towers
count as little compared to the loss of New Orleans.

Distracted by its phony war on
terrorism, the US government had made no preparations in
the event Hurricane Katarina brought catastrophe to New
Orleans. No contingency plan existed. Only now after the
disaster are FEMA and the Corp of Engineers trying to
assemble the material and equipment to save New Orleans
from the fate of Atlantis.

Even worse, articles in the New
Orleans Times-Picayune and public statements by
emergency management chiefs in New Orleans make it clear
that the Bush administration slashed the funding for the
Corp of Engineers` projects to strengthen and raise the
New Orleans levees and diverted the money to the Iraq

Walter Maestri,
emergency management chief for
Jefferson Parish, told the

New Orleans Times-Picayune
(June 8, 2004):
"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."

Why can`t the US government focus
on America`s needs and leave other countries alone? Why
are American troops in Iraq instead of protecting our
own borders from a mass invasion by illegal immigrants?
Why are American helicopters blowing up Iraqi homes
instead of saving American homes in New Orleans?

How can the Bush administration be
so incompetent as to expose Americans at home to dire
risks by exhausting American resources in foolish
foreign adventures? What kind of "homeland security" is

All Bush has achieved by invading
Iraq is to kill and wound thousands of people while
destroying America`s reputation. The only beneficiaries
are oil companies capitalizing on a good excuse to jack
up the price of gasoline and Osama bin Laden`s

What we have is a Republican war
for oil company profits while New Orleans sinks beneath
the waters.

 *  *  *  *  *

On the day Katrina devastated New
Orleans, America lost its most optimistic pundit,

Jude Wanniski,
who died of a heart attack at age 69.
Jude often misplaced his optimism, but he was

never without it
. Jude never gave up on anyone and
would invest his persuasive talents on everyone who
would listen and even on those who wouldn`t. Jude was
not an economist, but he understood long before most
economists that fiscal policy changed incentives and
affected aggregate supply in contrast to the Keynesian
emphasis on aggregate demand. Jude rose to fame as the
publicist for supply-side economics. As a journalist, he
was a natural.

Robert Bartley
, the

Wall St. Journal
editorial page editor,
once told me that Jude had the best

nose for news
of any journalist he had ever known.
Those he favored with his missives will miss his

Roberts, [
him] a former Associate Editor of the

Wall Street Journal and a
former Contributing Editor of
National Review
was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury during the
Reagan administration. He  is
the author of

The Supply-Side Revolution

and, with Lawrence M. Stratton, of

The Tyranny of Good Intentions : How Prosecutors and
Bureaucrats Are Trampling the Constitution in the Name
of Justice

for Peter
Magazine interview with Roberts about the recent
epidemic of prosecutorial misconduct.