Hitchens on Katrina
Christopher Hitchens was interviewed by the Australian Broadcasting System today. He is not minimizing the extent of the Federal culpability. He is not defending Bush. In fact he points out that there were abundant resources which were not employed. He points out that the USS Bataan(video) is on station in the Gulf, capable of desalinating seawater to produce 50k gallons/day of drinking water. We all know about the acres of empty school buses, unused and unprotected. Hitchens thinks this is all very bad for the President.
CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS: Well, in terms of political psyche, shall we say, it's good for the Democrats in about five different ways. One, it reminds people of the existence of the underclass, which tends to be downplayed, shall we say, by the Republican Party. Second it reminds people of the importance of government spending and government services, again, I think the same intuitive or subliminal point applies. Third it makes it at a populous level anyway harder to make a solid case for Iraq, though it doesn't really alter the case about whether you think the war is a just or necessary one. And then fourthly, it reflects very badly on the personality of the President himself. So this is not, I think, a transient story. This is not something that is going to be confined to the Weather Channel, shall we say. I think it will be remembered as a hinge event in the second term.
I'm inclined to think that when the enormity of the disaster becomes more widely understood, the blame will be widely distributed and the failures will be largely forgiven.
9/9/2005 1:31 PM
UPDATE: Michael Totten points to this Hitchens piece on Katrina. 5:21 Michael Totten, himself, is pretty ticked off, mostly at FEMA. This BBC analysis says that there is more than enough blame to spread around.