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Four years on: Politicians still don't get it
Manchester Union Leader ^ | September 11, 2005 | Editorial

Posted on 09/11/2005 4:53:58 AM PDT by billorites

FOUR YEARS after terrorists took down the Twin Towers, smashed a hole in the Pentagon and met their match in an airliner over the fields of Pennsylvania, our government has failed to protect us from another disaster that was forseen by the experts. What can be done to break this pattern?

The Bush administration’s domestic response to 9/11 — to consolidate federal emergency avoidance and preparedness services into a giant bureaucracy staffed with politically loyal but not necessarily expert hands — has proven a dismal failure. The administration that had preached smaller, more efficient government did not take its own rhetoric seriously. And now we have an even larger and less nimble bureaucracy to fix.

Though the Bush administration shares some blame for the terrible response to Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans still would have flooded under the administration of a President Gore or Kerry, and residents still would have died waiting for the state’s flawed rescue plan to be implemented. The failure goes much deeper than the patronage jobs at FEMA and the refusal to give the Army Corps of Engineers every dime requested.

The root of the problem is that the political game in America remains geared toward bread and circuses. Politicians get elected and re-elected by handing out favors, frills and government entitlements, not by building flood walls and capturing terrorists few Americans have ever heard of. (See James Pinkerton’s column on the opposite page for more on this.)

Despite constant warning signs, federal officials in several administrations ignored the growing threat from militant Islam in general and al-Qaida in particular. Similarly, neither the state of Louisiana nor the Army Corps of Engineers had any real plan to shield New Orleans from a Category 5 Hurricane until the late 1990s, even though experts knew of the city’s vulnerability since at least the 1960s.

Even if the Bush administration had fully funded the Army’s flood protection plan for New Orleans, which it should have, the work would not have been completed for decades. Furthermore, the administration and Congress easily could have funded both the War on Terror and the levee project. They just had to cut the pork. But the pork was their real priority, as it has been for political leaders of both parties for decades.

As Congress and multiple administrations showered federal funds on agribusinesses, midnight basketball, local arts centers, bridges to nowhere and suburban bike paths, Louisiana politicians built sports stadiums, convention centers and unnecessary canals. All the while, radical Islam spread and the flood walls and levees of New Orleans remained insufficiently protective.

What most politicians in Washington and throughout the country still have not perceived is that government cannot function as needed while the bulk of its resources and attention are devoted to the next election.

Until it is in politicians’ best interests to see that the people are well protected, they won’t. Americans can change this only if they stop demanding handouts from their government and start demanding core services. Until the voters insist that politicians fulfill their essential duty to provide for public safety and national security, we will never have government that focuses more on its primary responsibilities than on frills designed to win votes.


TOPICS: News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: 4thanniversary; 911; fourthanniversary

1 posted on 09/11/2005 4:53:58 AM PDT by billorites
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To: billorites

"Until it is in politicians’ best interests to see that the people are well protected, they won’t. "

Uh, it's called 'voting them out of office'. Too bad that is a concept unknown in American government and political culture. Politicians use our money to bribe people who vote for them, plain and simple.


2 posted on 09/11/2005 5:01:48 AM PDT by txzman (Jer 23:29)
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Comment #3 Removed by Moderator

To: billorites
Until it is in politicians’ best interests to see that the people are well protected,......

IMPOSSIBLE TASK FOR ANYONE OR ANY GOVERNMENT!

People must do whatever is necessary to first protect themselves.... But No governemnt can assure that everyone is "well protected" at all times and in every situation.

4 posted on 09/11/2005 5:07:04 AM PDT by squirt-gun
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To: dc-seabee
"One must wonder what would have happened if Flight 93 had hit it's intended target instead of going down in a field in Pennsylvania."

Several lawyer jokes come to mind.

5 posted on 09/11/2005 5:07:41 AM PDT by billorites (freepo ergo sum)
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To: txzman
Actually, this is one of the more accurate editorials I have seen about this whole mess. I read somewhere---maybe someone can remind me where--about the city of NO using money intended for flood protection for a couple of nice boats and a plane instead for city officials to use. Do I have that story correct or is it rumor?
6 posted on 09/11/2005 5:08:14 AM PDT by June Cleaver (in here, Ward . . .)
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To: billorites
Actually I'm not too keen on giving the army corp of engineers whatever they want out of my pocket.

San Francisco and LA are likely going to be significantly wiped out by earthquakes one of these days. Perhaps the army corp of engineers should get trillions of dollars to shore up the tectonic plates on the west coast... After all, government is a failure if it fails to protect me (from my own choices)...
7 posted on 09/11/2005 5:09:44 AM PDT by DB ()
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To: billorites
Had La and NO had governments well known for corruption
or had simply listened to the Prez...

Had the individuals prepared for such a disaster...

The human toll would have been substantially less...

To lay this terrible storms damage at the feet of GW is
from lying mouths who will use any opportunity and anyone
to seize power and stay in power..

One thing Katrina did for America and that was to further reveal the depth of depravity many of our so called leaders have sunk to.

imo
8 posted on 09/11/2005 5:12:33 AM PDT by joesnuffy
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To: billorites
Had La and NO had governments well known for corruption
or had simply listened to the Prez...

Had the individuals prepared for such a disaster...

The human toll would have been substantially less...

To lay this terrible storms damage at the feet of GW is
from lying mouths who will use any opportunity and anyone
to seize power and stay in power..

One thing Katrina did for America and that was to further reveal the depth of depravity many of our so called leaders have sunk to.

imo
9 posted on 09/11/2005 5:12:48 AM PDT by joesnuffy
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To: dc-seabee
Flight 93 had hit it's intended target instead

Per numerous reports, flight 93 was heading for the white house.

10 posted on 09/11/2005 5:15:19 AM PDT by va4me ("Government isn't the solution to the problem, it is the problem" - Ronald Reagan)
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To: billorites
They just had to cut the pork. But the pork was their real priority, as it has been for political leaders of both parties for decades.

Republicans have been just as bad, if not worse than the Dems. A recent "highway bill" comes to mind ...

11 posted on 09/11/2005 5:20:28 AM PDT by manwiththehands
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To: billorites
"The Bush administration’s domestic response to 9/11 — to consolidate federal emergency avoidance and preparedness services into a giant bureaucracy staffed with politically loyal but not necessarily expert hands — has proven a dismal failure. "


has proven a dismal failure?


With this statement the editor of the Manchester Union Leader proves himself to be
a gigantic ASS!

12 posted on 09/11/2005 5:22:20 AM PDT by Zacs Mom (Proud wife of a Marine! ... and purveyor of "rampant, unedited dialogue")
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To: txzman

Problem is, we did vote "them" out of office and replaced them with people who promised to reduce spending and to make the government more financially responsible.

And we got more of the same.


13 posted on 09/11/2005 5:23:02 AM PDT by thoughtomator (Gentlemen may cry, "Peace! Peace!" -- but there is no peace. - Patrick Henry)
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To: dc-seabee
>> The root of all that is wrong with American politics is the 535 idiots on Capitol Hill.

The same sentiments (though the numbers differed) were expressed about the first Congress (1789-1791) and every Congress up to and including this 109th.

It is a sign of the health of our system; the worst in the world, except for all the others.
14 posted on 09/11/2005 5:36:27 AM PDT by mmercier
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To: billorites
The Bush administration’s domestic response to 9/11 — to consolidate federal emergency avoidance and preparedness services into a giant bureaucracy staffed with politically loyal but not necessarily expert hands — has proven a dismal failure.

Uh...forgive me if I'm wrong, but didn't Congress mandate the consolidation of all of those agencies into the new Department of Homeland Security against strong Bush Administration opposition. How is that President Bush's fault?????

15 posted on 09/11/2005 5:37:08 AM PDT by Virginia Ridgerunner ("Si vis pacem para bellum")
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Comment #16 Removed by Moderator

To: billorites

1) Bush doesn't preach small government.

2) The administration went along with it, but the choice to expand the government was that of Congress.

3) Congress allocates money.

4) The people of LA could have protected themselves from incompetant corrupt politicians by not voting for welfare handouts and along party (D) lines.

5) It was a damn Hurricane you fools! Now Bush controls the weather I take it.


17 posted on 09/11/2005 5:38:03 AM PDT by Soul Seeker (Barbour/Honore in '08)
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To: billorites

There are crucial differences between political parties for the discerning eye. The obvious clear and present danger is The Democratic Crime Syndicate. We VOTE them into extinction. That shot heard around the world will be a warning to all.


18 posted on 09/11/2005 5:41:43 AM PDT by PGalt
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To: billorites
I doubt that anything will change. The response to Katrina is designed to buy votes. Will it address the underlying problems? Our political system is designed to favor handouts over core services. It makes politicians' lives a whole lot easier to bear even if its not so good for the country's future.

(Denny Crane: "Sometimes you can only look for answers from God and failing that... and Fox News".)
19 posted on 09/11/2005 5:45:11 AM PDT by goldstategop (In Memory Of A Dearly Beloved Friend Who Lives On In My Heart Forever)
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To: billorites

Putin 2008!!!


20 posted on 09/11/2005 5:46:21 AM PDT by wildcatf4f3 (Purge the land of Leftists and deadbeats)
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To: billorites

Great editorial!


21 posted on 09/11/2005 5:53:27 AM PDT by Gritty ("America's root problem is the political game remains geared toward bread and circuses -Union-Leader)
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To: manwiththehands
Republicans have been just as bad, if not worse than the Dems. A recent "highway bill" comes to mind ...

A lot of things are just business as usual no matter who is in charge. The highway bill could be better described as highway robbery.

22 posted on 09/11/2005 6:41:35 AM PDT by Wilhelm Tell (True or False? This is not a tagline.)
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To: Zacs Mom

Many conservatives just don't understand that the Union Leader...a once great conservative (read honest) newspaper...has degenerated and now is not much better than the NYT.


23 posted on 09/11/2005 10:05:05 AM PDT by squirt-gun
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