** Looking Back on How President Bush Helped Save Thousands of Lives **
With just hours to act before the wrath of Hurricane Katrina was about to devastate the city of New Orleans, President Bush had the knowledge, foresight and concern to call Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco and persuade her to evacuate Louisiana’s largest city and one of America’s historic jewels. If if weren’t for this call, the death and destruction in this once beautiful city and throughout the Gulf Coast region would certainly have been far worse.
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But, President Bush in his grand leadership style, set aside the other matters of the day, set aside the business of winning a War on Terror; of helping the Iraqis with their first Constitution since their freedom from Saddam Hussein, the Butcher of Baghdad; and his rebuilding of today’s booming economy; to help the mostly minority residents of New Orleans.
On Saturday the president had already declared a state of emergency in Louisiana and neighboring states well aware of the building strength of this killer hurricane. His spokesman urged residents along the coast to heed authorities’ advice to evacuate. Katrina had already made a mark in Florida leaving three dead in its wake. President Bush was going to have the supply channels open and in motion even before the killer Katrina hit land again on the Gulf Coast. His steady leadership surely saved thousands upon thousands of lives in the Gulf Coast Region.
For the second time in two days, President Bush rushed yesterday to assess the hurricane’s destruction. He flew over just two days earlier, empathetic to those suffering, he vowed he would help those hurting most. On Friday he met with Mayor Nagin of New Orleans, a man distraught and still without a visible emergency plan. The city is already known for its violence and high murder rates. What followed Katrina was no shock to those familiar its history. The looters, rapists, and murderers who have terrorized New Orleans since Monday began their post-Katrina reign of terror a full day before the situation grew truly desperate; and it was their increasingly lawless behavior that kept willing but unarmed professional and volunteer rescue workers away from the city and from the poor people who needed saving. What happened is the predictable civil deterioration of a city whose fragile civil infrastructure could not control or contain its core criminal class in peacetime.
But, only after President Bush came to the city to meet with the young overwhelmed mayor did we see the first sign of hope in Nagin. Mayor Nagin, did not sound as beaten and desperate after the meeting. Still he has no plan on evacuation procedures, and no clear communication network in the city, but at least his pleas of “Send in More help!” sounded more hopeful.
Only after spreading calm, giving hope, and hugging those suffering from this horrible disaster did President Bush get whisked back to Washington to deal with the other pertinent issues of the day including the War in Iraq. But President Bush, always a man of his word, vowed to ensure that relief efforts continue to pour into the region.
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Let’s hope that the Mayor of New Orleans and the president are able to continue their discussions some day on how best cut down on the violence and murder in the city of New Orleans. President Bush would be a good one to talk to. After all, under his remarkable leadership, the country’s casualties in Iraq have been historically low. In fact it may be safer to walk down the streets of Baghdad or Fallujah today than to walk outside of the French Quarters, before the hurricane! Total losses from the War in Iraq, a country more than twice the size of Idaho, will be only slightly higher than the number of murders in the “Big Easy” this year.