Wednesday, August 31, 2005

We WILL rebuild New Orleans.

We will rebuild. Not only New Orleans, but also the Mississippi coast, and the many smaller cities and towns which people still call home.

Today though, unfortunately, I heard from at least two conservatives that they are against rebuilding. They don't want to spend the money. First a caller on Phoenix talk radio, and then from a right wing blogger that we should abandon New Orleans and other devastated areas to the sea, and one said to let the market determine where people would settle, the other to build it 100 miles inland. Of course, if we give up this fast, will we then abandon Los Angeles after the next really big earthquake? Florida and other low lying areas when they get flooded by hurricanes in the future? Kansas and Oklahoma next time there is a spate of tornadoes?

In contrast, President Bush (one of the few times I agree with him) echoed the words of Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco and pledged to rebuild the city.

And we should. To simply accept the sacrifice of a major city is ridiculous (would these conservatives have been as quick to say this if, say, terrorists had destroyed a city with a nuclear weapon?)

Now, those who say that New Orleans will never be the same are correct. Let's build it better. Better, and safer. It has been done before.

The Dutch, most of whom live on land that was once the bottom of the sea, know just a little bit about flood control and living below sea level. The first dikes were built as early as 1300, and today, millions of people live below sea level. The Netherlands is the most densely populated country in Europe, and many live in a densely packed mass around Amsterdam and Rotterdam, much farther below sea level than New Orleans is.

In this century, large areas of Holland have flooded twice. Once during World War II, when some dikes were breached both by collateral bombing, and in some cases intentionally by both sides as defensive positions. The second time in 1953, during a major storm.

So, did the Dutch give up and move to the higher areas of the country? No, they did not.

But they did rebuild smarter. Now, they have giant hydraulic seawalls which are designed much like a ship's watertight doors. If one area floods, the seawalls will confine the flood to that part of the country. They also have state of the art pumps, (most of those in New Orleans are years or decades old) and a plan in place, with all necessary equipment, to quickly evacuate the entire population of areas that could be at risk if it becomes necessary.

Putting a plan like what the Dutch have done together, especially the seawalls, would be expensive compared to the meager budgets that the New Orleans district of the Corps of Engineers has been receiving (see my post from three days ago). But compared to the price we will now be paying for not having done something like this, the price is quite cheap. And it should certainly be put into the rebuilding plan. If there is one benefit to be found, it certainly won't be hard to obtain the land to put the seawalls on.

But, I commend President Bush for his statement today that, 'We will rebuild the great city of New Orleans.' And he is right. A far cry from the comment in the link above that:

You will rebuild? No, you won't. At least not if you are smart....I will raise holy hell with my Representatives if they talk about spending federal tax dollars to rebuild...

Oh, and if you personally want to contribute, follow the link on the left side of my page to the DNC site, they have a place there to donate to the Red Cross.


Eli Blake said...

Well, at least that puts you a step up from the talk radio guy in Phoenix. He didn't want to rebuild at all.

The fact is, with proper planning and design, it doesn't have to be disaster-prone, anymore than Amsterdam, for example, is.

Further, in planning where to put the city, consider that 1) they keep saying 80% is underwater; therefore 20% is not. 2) the city has certain industries, primarily its port, and secondarily refineries, that make economic sense to build it where it is. You would have to restructure its economy if you put it elsewhere, and at that point, you'd have to ask why people would even want to move to some area in upstate Louisiana just to live in a New New Orleans.

Anonymous said...

I am with you on this one ELI... This is why we have government, to serve and to protect. This is where Dems and Reps should agree, rebuild smarter, stronger, richer, and more prosperous than ever.

I am only sorry that we are so split on the Iraq issue when we should be solidly together supporting whatever president is in authority making the tough... tough decisions.

Eli Blake said...

Well, Mark,

we just will have to continue to disagree on Iraq. I wish the troops all the success in the world with their mission (whatever that is, it seems to change every few months-- with the pending creation of an Islamic Republic and the London bombings making people question how having our army in Iraq will protect us from terrorists, we are now back to Bush saying it is about oil). I hope our troops stay out of harms way.

But we never should have gone there in the first place, and if the President and his advisors hadn't rushed us into war then, other issues aside, we would today have 3000 Louisiana National Guard members who are now in Iraq, doing what they should be doing where they should be doing it, and we would have a quarter trillion dollars not squandered in Iraq available to fix this mess.

Anonymous said...

Eli... An Islamic Republic, hum. You mean like Turkey, Indonesia and others? Or are you referring to Islamic Republic like in Iran? It all depends on how the government is set up and how the people respond.

What you mean to say is that you don't think that democracy or the term "free country" can ever, ever be applied to a country with an Islamic majority. You may be right, but I hope not.

I agree with you Eli that it looks bad for Bush. He has tried to do something that others would not have tried. Others would never try to do the risky thing.

I also agree with you that the main objective in going into Iraq was about weapons of mass destruction. The idea was to find out where the weapons were, and to destroy the weapons, and secondary to that was the regime change that we are involved in now, and thirdly was the fear that the money and weapons that Saddam was supplying to Hamas in palestine would fall into even worse hands (Al Quaeda).

(Saddam was sending Iraqi government paychecks to families of suicide bombers against Israel, that fact is well known. I don't think that I would have trusted him.)

Well we found out that we can't find any. Saddam had already destroyed them, hidden them or gave them away. It doesn't matter. The invasion answered our questions that Saddam couldn't be trusted to answer honestly.

My point is that after such an effective attack on the US as 9/11 was, any president would have had to consider taking action against Iraq. It would have been a tough decision for any president. If Pres. Clinton had been in power during 9/11. He would have had to deal with Iraq question. A decision to invade would be unpopular, but what if Iraq did have the weapons and did use them, that president would go down in history as a do-nothing who could have taken action to protect us but didn't.

I support President Bush's decisions realizing that both he and President Clinton had tough decisions during their presidency. Clinton had Bosnia, the 93 Trade tower attacks, the embassy attacks in Africa, the USS Cole and others.

I support presidents (and the Congress who approves it) if they make the decision to commit troops. When the troops come home, then we ask questions. I believe it is wrong to question the morality of a war when you have troops in the line of fire. You cannot question the morality of the war without demoralizing the troops in action. If I were a soldier with a gun in my hand and obeying my orders, but the news back home was saying that the people think the war is morally wrong, it would be hard for me to follow those orders.

When President Clinton visited the White House by invitation from President Bush for Mr. Clintons birthday. President Clinton said the smartest and most open minded thing I've ever heard from a Democrat. He simply said that in his years of public service, everyone he ever met were honest people trying to do what they think is right for America. That is a good attitude for us all to have. We may disagree, but lets agree to respect the authority of each office and to debate when the time is right.

My parents were both Democrats until the Democratic party aligned itself with the complainers, the protesters, and the generally angry. I remember that neither of my parents voted for Nixon but both were sad for the division, hate, and distrust that began during that time. They were sad when he resigned because of the dishonor that we as a country had brought on ourself, let alone the fact the the president had dishonored his office. They looked at it as a lose-lose situation.

The rhetoric on the left and many times on the right about our leaders, has been destructive. The Reps were wrong to give Pres Clinton such a hard time about his womanizing. The Dems are wrong to call Bush a liar and a thief (stole the election.. come on).

I know Eli that you will say but.. but.. but..... But, the fact is that blaming Bush for the 3000 national guard from LA being in Iraq when this awful hurricane struck is not a logical or constructive comment. But, this is probably the type of thing that the Dems will use in the next election. I predict at least for now a Democratic win for the presidency. I hope that that person too will be someone doing what they believe to be the best thing for America.

If the LA national guard had been in Baton Rouge picking up supplies, or even in New Orleans in bed with their wives, it still would have still been tough to get help in to the people.

This is way too long.. Talk to you soon my Dem Friend.

dorsano said...

let the market determine where people would settle

The current GOP has (or intends to) delegate most if not all the repsonsiblity for governing to the invisible hand that moves the market.

When we elect people who think government can't do much good, we shouldn't be surprised when they don't do much good while governing.

dorsano said...

we should be solidly together supporting whatever president is in authority making the tough.

I can't think of much worse than to send soldiers off to war while telling them and their families something less than truth.

If I don't do my part to demand the truth from this administration, I may as well spit on the grave of any soldier who thought it worth his or her life to protect me and my family.

We should be impeaching this president not supporting him.

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