Oh, yawn. Apparently, fellow progressive blogger Joe is all up in arms over my apparent lack of compassion for the good folks of the Gulf coast, given that Hurricane Katrina seems about ready to redesign their landscape big time. To which I can, with a perfectly clear conscience, say, when it comes to things American, I've pretty much run out of said sympathy, natural disasters or otherwise.
From the ballistic missile defense program, to wanting to inflict their "no-fly" list on us, to banning Canadian beef, to illegal tariffs on softwood lumber, to Marc Emery, there's been an overwhelming attitude of pure thuggishness rolling up from the States lately, not just from the administration but from a lot of the media and even more of its citizens. Soviet Canuckistan, indeed.
Is the Gulf Coast in for a pounding? By all accounts, you bet. But at least its citizens had the freedom to, way ahead of time, jump in their gaz-guzzling land yachts and head for higher/dryer ground, unlike the citizens of, say, Fallujah in Iraq, many of whom were forced to hunker down in their bombed-out houses while American bombs and missiles rained down around them. If you're keeping score, I'd say the residents of Louisiana won that little comparison, no?
This piece over at CNN describes the potential looming devastation, writing:
Flooding expected from Hurricane Katrina could wreak catastrophe on New Orleans, overwhelming its water and sewage systems, damaging its structures and leaving survivors in a bowl of toxic soup, a top hurricane expert said Sunday.
Well, gosh, comparatively speaking, I wonder if that would be more or less toxic than, say, having your country's landscape saturated with depleted uranium from unceasing military strikes? Just asking.
And there's no doubt any rebuilding job is going to be that much harder, given that the normal manpower for this -- the Reserves and the National Guard -- have been stretched painfully thin, what with so many of them having been shipped off to Iraq. There's some irony for you -- "I'm sorry, we'd love to help with the emergency rescue work but we're kind of busy occupying this country, killing its citizens and destroying its entire infrastructure." I'll bet no one saw that coming.
Will there be suffering? Sure, but I'm betting it's not a "Maher Arar, shipped to Syria and tortured for months in a prison cell" kind of suffering.
It's also amusing that that previous CNN link was titled "Katrina may be 'our Asian tsunami'", given that the U.S.'s pathetic first response to the actual Asian tsunami was an embarrassing $35 million, while the cost of Commander Chimpy's inauguration was estimated at some $40 million. If the United States was looking for sympathy, they might not have wanted to remind everyone of their own miserly attitude towards other countries' disaster victims.
Of course, it's quite possible the rest of the world may chip in and help out. The Bush administration can always get their man at the U.N., John Bolton, to put out a call for assistance. I mean, given the friends he's made so far, how could any of those countries refuse? (That was sarcasm, for the current events-impaired.)
And if Katrina does even a fraction of the potential damage that's been predicted, fer shure, there's going to be a massive rebuilding effort needed, which would include, one would think, lots and lots of wood. To which the Canadian government should announce, "Well, we'd like to help but with these softwood lumber negotiations being as delicate as they are, I think the proper response is to roll up our sleeves, get back into that meeting room and hammer out an agreement, no matter how long it takes. And we, of course, should try to avoid any emotional tirades like, 'For God's sake, help us, please!!!'"
Do I feel any sympathy for the unfortunate citizens of the Gulf Coast? Sure, to some extent. But then I remind myself of how, when the chips are down, Canada is always willing to open its arms in an emergency and how, in return, we get slagged at every opportunity by so many assholes to the south of us.
So I'm just not wasting any more sympathy. If the Americans want help, let them pray for it. Like I said before, I'm sure Pat Robertson would be happy to help.
P.S. And, by the way, feel free to get your cheap drugs elsewhere.
P.P.S. And having grown up in Manitoba, don't think I haven't noticed this little indignity.