Letters to the Editor

Iraq policy worsens problems with Katrina

The law of unintended consequences, often named but rarely defined, is that actions of people – and especially of government – always have effects that are unanticipated or “unintended.” Economists and social scientists have heeded its dominion for eons. Of course politicians and the public have mostly ignored it. In other words, the world is interdependent and complex and what I do here and now may very well negatively effect what happens to you someplace else. Nowhere else has this law shown itself more prevalently than in the Gulf(s).

Most people believe that Bush 41 (George H. W. Bush) did not finish the job in Iraq. The story was left open-ended, with Saddam still in power. Bush 43 (George W. Bush) was left with an incomplete narrative, and found himself in that incomplete story, with the opportunity to finish it. The unintended consequence of Bush 41’s decision was 43’s felt need to finish the story. To finish the story, the White House made up new stories: the WMD threat, faking the links between Saddam and terrorists. These helped convince most of the public that the narrative needed to be completed as well. So we went into Iraq, took out Saddam and thought we’d close the book. That, obviously, is not what happened.

Katrina is an unmitigated disaster. Our country has suffered many others. When these horrific natural occurrences happen, we call in the National Guard. The Guard was here in Florida during last year’s hurricanes. They were activated for the monstrous 1999 floods in New Jersey. They worked hard in Missouri and Illinois during the Great Flood of 1993. Go back to San Fran’s 1906 quake, and the Guard was there too. That is the Guard’s job. Unfortunately approximately 10,000 guardsmen vanished from the Gulf Coast. They are in Iraq as another unintended consequence of our supposed need to “finish the Iraq story.”

There’s lawlessness. There’s no food or water. There’s no medication. Bodies are stacked in piles. It looks like Sudan or Haiti, not America. The slow response by our government is partly because the manpower is not there. They went to finish the made-up story in Iraq.

If there was ever proof that the president’s Iraq policy is ignorant, we clearly see it now. The law of unintended consequences is related to a proverb: The road to hell is paved with good intentions.

Welcome to hell.

Andrew F. Herrmannis pursuing a doctoratedegree in communication.

President Bushhad no other optionsRe: “Above it all,” opinion column Sept. 1

In response to your recent criticism of the president’s actions concerning the damage caused by Hurricane Katrina, I would like to ask what you would have done had you been president? Yes, going on the air prior to the impact may have encouraged a few more citizens to evacuate the city – only for them to be stuck in traffic on I-10 with several thousand other individuals. However, due to the liberal leanings of the city it seems more likely they would have just ignored his warnings and done as they planned. They believed themselves to be more intelligent than the experts, so they ignored all advice and decided to stay, having no idea of the consequences of that decision.

Now that Katrina has passed you say the president should do something. Perhaps he should have followed your advice and been seen consoling the victims of the hurricane in New Orleans where several shootings, rapes and lootings have occurred. One man even began to fire at evacuees from Charity Hospital.

In times as stressful as these we should most certainly endanger our commander-in-chief for mere photo opportunities. I believe his choice was the best decision he could make. He flew over the city, assessed the damage and then proceeded to Washington to meet with emergency help coordinators who are better trained to handle such situations and could advise him on the best course of actions to take.

You are correct that cutting funding to the levee system was a mistake. However, powerful hurricanes have hit the area in the past and done minor damage; the unpredictability of weather is what caused this disaster, not a decision by the president.

A president cannot just stand up and issue a command that a hurricane turn aside simply because its turning aside would be more beneficial to his people. A president needs to believe that his citizens are capable of thinking and taking care of themselves to a certain degree. Unfortunately, they did not heed the warnings of Mother Nature or of the meteorologists whose job it is to predict and forewarn concerning these things.

A government that is always telling citizens what to do is not a democracy, but rather a dictatorship or socialism, neither of which are systems I wish to live under. Bush acted in a manner consistent with allowing people to make their own decisions then helping them as much as possible once they realized the horrible bounty those decisions had reaped.

Matthew Robinsonis a junior majoring in English.

Katrina cause for reflection on nation

Nearly four years ago, Americans watched in horror as two landmark buildings in New York went down. Life in America stopped and we reflected on how if affected us. Over those same four years Americans have been outraged at terrorists, especially those led by Osama Bin Laden. Some Americans have been protesting the use of force that even they probably applauded in the first place. Earlier this year, there were impassioned debates and the government was a hotbed of debate over the life of one woman, Terri Schiavo, who was incapacitated for years.

However, last year our own state was affected by hurricanes. Tampa was spared, while our neighbors in Arcadia were ruined. In the last week, as we were starting school, a city of a half-million people, a little over 1.3 million people in it’s metropolitan area, was inundated. New Orleans is virtually gone; people in Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana outside of New Orleans and some parts of Florida will never be the same again. Keep in mind, those affected in New Orleans and other areas aren’t just the inner-city working poor or otherwise impoverished, they are people like you and me, from all different walks of life. The rich, the poor, the middle class, from all different stripes of political, racial and religious backgrounds, lost their homes and businesses, not to mention the many lives that were lost.

Locally, we have it pretty easy; we have food, shelter and water. While we can’t bear to pay another 50 cents of whatever the gasoline price per gallon will be, we are alive and well. We have clothing, most of us have family and we have an opportunity to be educated. Schools along the Gulf Coast, including a college in New Orleans, are devastated.

The Sept. 11 tragedy, the War on Terror and Terri Schiavo captivated the nation, including President Bush. The hurricanes of last year, the tsunami in South Asia and Hurricane Katrina don’t seem to makes as big an imprint on us. While we are thinking of Katrina now, what will the bigger story be: New Orleans or Iraq? Gas prices or the devastated? We will all have our daily problems, but before you get overly upset or depressed, think of your fellow human beings who would love to have what you have.

Alex Wilhelmsen is a junior majoring in mass communications.