Friday, August 29, 2008

Book Excerpt Of The Week, "The Assault On Reason" By: Al Gore

Here's Al Gore's take on the Hurricane Katrina tragedy:
"The one event in recent years that probably did more than anything else to convince Americans to look differently at the climate crisis was the catastrophic damage inflicted by Hurricane Katrina. As we all watched the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina unfold, we all had a lot of different thoughts and feelings. But all those feelings were mixed in with puzzlement at why there was no immediate response, and why there was not an adequate plan in place.

We were told that this was not a time to point fingers, even as some of those saying 'Don't point fingers' were themselves pointing fingers at the victims of the tragedy, who did not- many of whom could not- evacuate the City of New Orleans because they didn't have automobiles and they did not have adequate public transportation.

We were told this was not a time to hold our national government accountable because there were more important matters that confronted us. But this is not an either/or choice. They are linked together.

As our nation belatedly found effective ways to help those who were so hard hit by Hurricane Katrina, it was important to learn the right lessons from what happened, lest we were spoon fed the wrong lessons. After all, if we do not absorb the right lessons from history, we are, in the historian's phrase, doomed to repeat the mistakes that have already been made.

All of us know that our nation failed the people of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast.

When the corpses of American citizens are floating in toxic flood waters five days after a hurricane strikes, it is time not only to respond directly to the victims of the catastrophe, but to hold the processes of our nation accountable, and the leaders of our nation accountable, for the failures that have taken place...

There were dire warnings, three days before Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, that if it followed the path it was then on, the levees would break, and the City of New Orleans would drown, and thousands of people would be at risk...What happened was not only knowable, it was known- in advance, in great and pain staking detail. Emergency management officials had even done table top planning exercises and identified exactly what would take place, according to the scientific evidence. But members of the administration ignored all of that. Where there is no vision, the people perish. It's not only that there was no vision; it's that there has been a misguided vision. The Bush administration has appeared to diminish the ability of the federal government to do its job." -From, "The Assault On Reason" By: Al Gore

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