Look Toto, we're in Baghdad again

It's official. We're at war again. San Francisco Chronicle hits the nail on the head today:

Every major disaster has someone standing in the rubble saying, "This looks like a war zone." But last week the comparison finally seemed apt, as the nation witnessed, live, the rage of survivors, the National Guard marching in, and death and destruction all along the Gulf Coast.
How this crisis is being dealt with offers the country a rare glimpse into our core character -- and the view is often appalling. It cuts to the issues of failure in the face of disaster, the limits of compassion, racial volatility, and the harsh realities of the American system that renders some of its communities -- like the marginalized people stranded and furious in New Orleans -- only as strong as they are able to make themselves.
It's like watching a form of war. Among our own people, on our own land. [LINK]
It seems the parallels with Iraq keep coming thick and fast. First the scenes of looting that reminded so many of us of Donald Rumsfeld shrugging off the chaos in Baghdad with his now infamous quote: "Freedom is messy." Well, so is the yawning gap between the haves and the have-nots in our lovely democracy.

And what's that Dubya said repeatedly about the Iraqi police: "As the Iraqis stand up, we will stand down." Turns out things may not be all that different right here at home for the National Guard. Now we have the New Orleans police officers abandoning their jobs in despair at the growing anarchy in the city. The estimates of desertions are as high as 200, and who can blame them. The same Washington Post article also includes this intriguing quote:
On top of the burdens of law enforcement, officers have had to forage for food and water and even for places to relieve themselves."Our officers have been urinating and defecating in the basement of Harrah's Casino," Police Superintendent Eddie Compass said last week. "They have been going in stores to feed themselves." [ LINK]
"Forage" is such a lovely word -- but wait, didn't Louisiana Attorney General Burton Guidry insist on MSNBC that he will not differentiate between those who steal for survival and those who do so out of greed?

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