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War in Iraq and natural disaster
Wchao  Updated: 2005-09-29 15:57

With limitless financial resources and scientific know-how to predict all kinds of natural disasters, why was the United States still left with many reported instances of homicides, rapes, robberies and thousands of casualties during the Katrina flooding? That was not just a matter of governmental incompetence: It was a demonstration of just how fragile the social fabric of much of America is today.

Imagine what could happen in an even larger city like Philadelphia, Chicago or Los Angeles if there was a breakdown in law and order caused by a disruptive natural calamity like Katrina, causing a major shortfall in basic amenities such as fresh water?

The authorities have frankly admitted they were incapable of dealing with such problems in view of what happened with the frantic exodus from Texas.

There would be a major breakdown of law and order because social cohesion such as that which exists in the three major East Asian nations, Japan, Korea and China, is simply non-existent in many parts of the United States.

I know, because I have been everywhere except the New England states north of Boston. Racism is an omnipresent endemic disease in all the US states, waiting to raise its ugly head during major civil disturbances such as that which occurred during the Los Angeles riots of 1992, and now a natural calamity in New Orleans in 2005.

There is no excuse for it. It is a social-racial problem because that kind of negligence is not likely to happen to eclectic areas in Long Island, New York; or Thousand Oaks, California or Chappaquidick, Massachusetts; or in San Franciso or Reston, Virginia if a comparable event occurred.

If the US performance is so miserable in an expected natural disaster, where plenty of warning was given, what would Americans do in a real terrorist attack aimed at inflicting maximum damage to key urban infrastructures such as the water and electricity supplies of major Western cities?

Prevention of terrorist attacks is very expensive these days. For instance, the New York Subway System has been learning from the London attacks and is projected to spend $US9 billion on personnel, electronic surveillance and other preventative means. How many billions more is US President George W. Bush prepared to dish out for such stop-gap measures in other metropolitan areas?

Unless equality -- in which everyone in the world is given equal justice in redressing grievances -- is allowed to prevail, no amount of prevention is going to make a crucial difference. There will always be loopholes and countermeasures available to dedicated foes.

Ours is indeed a different world even from that at the time of the Kosovo War just a few years ago. Advanced weaponry is not the decisive factor in wars these days because the Iraqi War has shown that car and roadside bomb attacks are effective measures against an occupying army in urban warfare.

Coordinated worldwide anti-Iraq war demonstrations in Rome, London, Washington DC are gaining momentum because of the tangible and intangible costs of the Iraqi quagmire.

The US treasury is not a bottomless pit. The Chinese have a saying that if you sit around and consume a mountain of food without replenishing it, there will come a day when even that mountain disappears for good.

It is very un-American to inflict such pain on its own people, let alone the people of the entire world as they watch every step.

Don't tell me that there was no money allocated to repair those levees (one pre-disaster estimate placed the repair costs for the New Orleans levees at a mere $US 23 million).

Now. Billions must be paid to make up for the folly of not planning for the disaster that followed from doing nothing.

The above content represents the view of the author only.
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