Friday, September 02, 2005

Rush to Judgment

For some people, opinions are like crack. Such people don't let their ignorance about a topic deprive them of their rush. In the unfathomable aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, in the absence of evidence, these people have been eager to opine about who is (or who is not) to blame and what the government should (or should not) be doing differently.

Yet, the thing about the unfathomable is that it is unfathomable. And, where we are unable to fathom, we are unable to judge. There is no understanding on which to base judgment. It may turn out that we discover that human error has exacerbated the hurricane's damage. But, at this stage no one knows.

Here is one man's response to those who have been quick to opine and second-guess . . .

The people in the Superdome are in a special position. And let me say, I've been going to New Orleans for over 50 years. There's no place on earth I love more. They went into the Superdome, not because of the flooding, but because we thought the hurricane was going to hit New Orleans smack dab and they'd be safe in there if they didn't leave town.

What happened was, when the levee broke and the town flooded, what did it do? It knocked out the electricity and it knocked out the sewage. They're living in hellacious conditions. They would be better off under a tree than being stuck there. You can't even breathe in that place now.

So I understand why they're so anxiety-ridden. But they have to understand, by the time it became obvious that they were in the fix they were in, there were a lot of other problems, too . . .

And you and I are not in a position to make any judgment because we weren't there . . .

When you say that they should have done this, that or the other thing first, you can look at that problem in isolation, and you can say that. But look at all the other things they had to deal with. I'm telling you, nobody thought this was going to happen like this. But what happened here is they escaped -- New Orleans escaped Katrina. But it brought all the water up the Mississippi River and all in the Pontchartrain, and then when it started running and that levee broke, they had problems they never could have foreseen. And so I just think that we need to recognize right now there's a confident effort under way. People are doing the best they can. And I just don't think it's the time to worry about that. We need to keep people alive and get them back to life -- normal life.

Former President Bill Clinton.

2 Comments:

Blogger American by Choice said...

Three cheers for Bill Clinton. No, seriously, as Simon might say.

But I wish he'd get the message to some of his erstwhile supporters. The depths to which many mediacrats have sunk in the last few days is a far, far bigger disgrace than even the worst of looters and shooters in poor, beleagured New Orleans.

Not only do we not know enough to understand what happened let alone cast blame, as Simon says. But, WHO CARES? WHO, THIS WEEK, BLOODY CARES?

We've just seen the tragedy of a mayor forced to divert police from rescue operations to restoring a semblance of order. For that the looters and shooters bear the blame.

But, if those trying to respond, from all levels of government, are forced also to divert energy to defend themselves - as well they might if public confidence starts to be affected - then a much larger blame will lie with the pundits and politicians, who think a catastrophy is just one more good opportunity for partisan point making.

10:55 AM  
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