05 September 2005

"a thousand leagues away from reality..."

Too bad the Europeans didn't get to vote in our last two presidential elections, no doubt, they would have done a much better job than we did...


Press Critical of Authorities' Response
From: Agence France-Presse

September 04, 2005

MEDIA coverage of the US Government's response to the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina has been highly critical of delays in rescuing survivors and sending in emergency supplies.
US newspapers said the scale of the disaster requires a change of policy and more leadership from President George W Bush.

"One thing is certain: if President Bush and his Republican Congressional leaders want to deal responsibly with a historic disaster of this scale, they must finally try the path of honestly shared national sacrifice," The New York Times said.

"If they respond by passing a few emergency measures and then falling back on their plans to enact more tax cuts, America will have to confront the fact that it is stuck with leaders who neither know, nor care, how to lead," the influential daily said.

"The annihilation in New Orleans is an irrefutable sign that the national tax-cut party is over. So is the idea that American voters cannot be required to accept sacrifice or inconvenience, no matter how great the crisis. This country is better than that."

Newspapers also pointed out that many of the victims of Hurricane Katrina are the poorest Americans who need help now more than ever.
"If blame is to be laid and lessons are to be drawn, one point stands out as irrefutable: Emergency planners must focus much more on the fate of that part of the population that -- for reasons of poverty, infirmity, distrust of officialdom, lack of transportation or lack of information -- cannot be counted on to leave their homes after an evacuation order," said The Washington Post.

The Boston Globe said it was time for the US to renew the "war on poverty", noting that images of the disaster showed that the poor in flooded and chaotic New Orleans "were long overlooked".

The European press panned what it called a lack of leadership by Bush and the government in their anaemic response to the disaster.

Accusing the administration of providing "a cruel lack of leadership", the daily Liberation in Paris said Bush had been slow to react to the 9/11 attacks and no quicker to respond to the tragedy of New Orleans, while presiding over an administration in which both poverty and the anger of the dispossessed were on the increase.

"On September 11, America found a common cause for pride in the bravery of its heroic firefighters," it said. "This time, there is no heroism and nothing left to see but the dark side of the empire -- that of a country gnawed away by money and segregation, in which those shipwrecked in the system are left behind, abandoned to the elements."

The disaster, said The Guardian in London, has "exposed the United States government, with George Bush at the head of it, to charges of badly mishandling one of the country's worst ever natural disasters".

The London Daily Telegraph headline described flooded New Orleans as "An American Pompeii caused by idiocy."

The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung in Germany said the handling of the crisis seemed "incredibly unprofessional" in a country that on other occasions is capable of deploying the transportation means of a superpower.

The Berliner Zeitung in the German capital said Louisiana was the same picture of devastation as parts of Asia after the tsunami, the one big difference being "the images of brutal combat that one has seen in New Orleans".

The Dutch newspaper Trouw said "the disorder, the incompetence and the violence had stripped away the varnish of self-importance" of the US. The daily Volkskrant said the chaos of New Orleans was a reflection of the execrable social tissue in America.
The Flemish daily De Standaard slammed Bush's performance. "Rather than being a leader capable of feeling the pulse of the nation, George Bush gives his fellow citizens the impression of being a thousand leagues away from reality and of not believing even in his own speeches," it said."


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