It has been heart-rending to watch our fellow citizens amidst the devastation, the scope of Katrina's destruction making it much more so. In response, Americans have looked to do what we can — giving money, clothes, food for the relief effort, with hundreds of volunteers offering time, hard labor, and expertise. Many of us far away have been touched by the disaster, worried about friends and relatives. This is a human tragedy of vast proportions that has left only the heartless untouched.
Enter the politicians. For far too many obsessed with politics, the hurricane proved just another opportunity to point fingers at old enemies and score cheap political points in the never-ending jostling for power.
The Washington Post ran a 30-column-inch story on Friday in which congressional Democrats condemned the big-spending Mr. Bush as heartless and/or ignorant for not supporting every dollar that the Army Corps of Engineers requested for work on New Orleans's levees.
The Democrats all admit, according to the Post, that even at the highest levels of proposed funding, none of these projects would have been completed in time to have prevented New Orleans from being under water today. Still, the smears of Bush went blithely on. The Post's chosen headline, "Critics Say Bush Undercut New Orleans Flood Control" beat out the more accurate alternative: "No Government Plan Would Have Prevented Flood, Democrats Still Blame Bush."
Jürgen Tritton, Germany's environmental minister, argued in the Frankfurt Rundschau that Katrina was caused by "neglected climate protection" — meaning, of course, that it was brought on by Bush's opposition to international global warming agreements. Tritton wrote, "When reason finally reaches the headquarters of the climate polluters [guess where], the international community will need to be able to extend a hand with an elaborate proposal for the future of international climate protection."