Friday, October 14, 2005

The Iraqification Of New Orleans

My radical tree-hugging dirt-worshipping hippie comrades in the Green Party are sounding the alarm about the "Iraqification" of disaster areas.

This excerpt from their press release lists the specific bits of concern:

  • Incursion by Blackwater and other private security forces, which already have contracts to provide security in Iraq; such firms are not held to the same standards of accountability as service members of the U.S. Armed Forces.

  • The cruel neglect of prisoners in Louisiana, documented by Human Rights Watch and the ACLU , during the hurricane and its aftermath, with inmates locked in cells as floodwaters rose, deaths, and inmates still missing -- recalling official toleration and encouragement of prisoner abuses in Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo Bay, and Afghanistan.

  • No-bid rebuilding contracts for companies like Halliburton/KBR, which have already profiteered to the tune of billions off the Iraq invasion and occupation, with similar no-bid contracts; award of federal contracts to favored white-owned firms and disregard by FEMA for requirements that contracts go to some minority businesses. According to The Wall Street Journal on September 23, Democratic Rep. Bennie Thompson said that "his staff has been unable to locate any federal contracts for Mississippi that went to minority firms".... "During a recent New Orleans City Council hearing... a half-dozen minority business owners said they were being left out of the rebuilding effort, and Council President Oliver Thomas told Mayor Ray Nagin that he was living in 'Neverland' for thinking black businessmen would receive a significant number of government contracts."

  • President Bush's appointment of White House advisor Karl Rove -- an administration 'crony' with no known expertise in urban policy or engineering (and who has been implicated in the Valerie Plame scandal) -- to supervise the rebuilding of New Orleans.

  • Cuts proposed by Republicans, eliminating as much as $40 billion from Medicare and other social spending to pay for clean-up -- just as they diverted funding from social programs for the military venture in Iraq. "Elderly people who lost their homes and health care providers as a result of the hurricane will bear the brunt of the Medicare cuts," said Leenie Halbert, acting co-chair of the Green Party of Louisiana. "The failure to protect and care for people whose lives have been devastated by the hurricane the repeats to failure to protect and care for soldiers and their families most affected by the war "

  • Proposed suspension of environmental protections, with a waiver of EPA rules, in areas hit by Katrina, comparable to the disregard of the environment in war zones.

  • Click through and read the whole press release. Feel free to get on the horn and chew out your representatives.

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