U.S. not living up to ideal in Katrina response efforts

What others say

Posted: Monday, September 12, 2005

"That we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain; that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom; and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."

These stirring words were uttered by Abraham Lincoln, the United States' 16th president, at Gettysburg in 1863. But is America living up to this ideal?

In the wake of the death and destruction wrought by Hurricane Katrina — the worst natural disaster to hit the U.S. in recent times — many around the world are asking this question. The devastation is a sight to behold; a ''humbling experience'', according to President George Bush.

But the symbolism of some of the images is even more stark. Who would have thought that over a million American citizens would become ''refugees'' in their own country and flay their government for its failure to come to their aid timeously? Or that in the most advanced society in the world, which gave us ER, the badly injured would be left for dead because of a lack of assistance?

The mayor of New Orleans was shown on television pleading for help as looters rampaged in his city. The starving survivors pleaded for food and water. Yet Washington, in a bizarre display of uncaring aloofness in their hour of need, appeared unable to respond to the crisis until days later. ...

— The Star, Johannesburg, South Africa

Sept. 6

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