An Open Letter to Michael Moore
Dear Mr. Moore,
The purpose for my writing this to you is to answer some things you said and didn’t say in a letter immediately following Hurricane Katrina slamming into the Gulf Coast. Considering all I've been through this month and what your gross opportunism represents to my fellow citizens and myself, you're lucky I'm even willing to attempt to be civil with you. However, you wanted to make this tragedy suit your political aims, and I feel I am honor bound to reply point-for-point.
First, Mr. Moore, you compare “lost” military helicopters to you losing your car in a Sears lot once. Not sure what one has to do with the other, but I have a suggestion - try looking for the car with the serious front-end suspension damage (that's a joke). But I digress from your real point. You ask where the helicopters were. Here's the answer: They were on their way. Anyone with the slightest understanding of military logistics, understands that roughly every soldier in the field has 10-20 supporting him in the supply areas. Perhaps a soldier of your considerable, ahem, well, you know, might require a slightly higher number, but you get my point. So, when the soldiers were called for, which by most reports was on Wednesday after Katrina hit, they started moving. The faster units, such as 82nd Airborne, got there quickly, while more cumbersome units, e.g., Air Cavalry, got there a little later.
Your letter to the President shows that you, to put it as mildly as possible, are ignorant on a very fine point of law; I would like to enlighten you. The President, any President, can't send Federal troops in to any state, unless invited by the Governor of said state. It's called the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878, which effectively ended Reconstruction. It's very important, though apparently not important enough for Gov. Blanco or her staff to understand, or for you to consider in your open rant.
Second, Mr. Moore, you ask where the Louisiana National Guard (LANG) is, or was given the time that has elapsed. Well, that, too, should be asked of Gov. Blanco. Those are her forces to command. Two units were headed back from Iraq in October before Katrina; in fact, because of the storm, they're return was expedited thanks to the Defense Department. Though that doesn't seem to be your point, rather you really wish to say that LANG soldiers don't take the same oath all other soldiers take. Furthermore, they aren’t trained to be combat soldiers, but instead were tricked and only signed up to be relief workers and get free college tuition. Please, before you disparage their honorable service, bother asking a representative sample of these fine young men and women what they believe their duty is.
Third, no weather personnel stated that the storm was headed to New Orleans on Thursday. This is an outright lie, Mr. Moore, and I defy you to prove this point. In fact, as of Friday night, no one thought the storm would head any further East than Mobile. You should know your timeline a little better.
Fourth, you state Bush was in San Diego on Tuesday. So what? He already planned to visit, and NO ONE knew what was about to unfold in New Orleans. A better question would be to ask where Mayor Nagin was during the same timeframe. Rumors are that he may have been anywhere from Baton Rouge to Dallas, but unlike you, I don't have to deal in rumor and innuendo to make my point. Please state for the record what role during the formative moments of such a crisis do you really think the Federal government plays. Obviously, you expect your readers to fall for your trap that the Feds are responsible for being everywhere at all times.
Fifth, no level of funding for the Army Corps, whether increased or not, would have made a difference in this storm. Have you ever visited New Orleans? I’m not referring to the touristy parts, but the residential areas to the North and East of the French Quarter closest to Lake Pontchartrain. If you have, you would be familiar with the size of our levees and might begin to fathom how long it would take to raise them to the necessary levels. Also, the 17th Street Canal breach, something near and dear to my family and friends, was recently enhanced. However, according to some at LSU, these levees may not have been topped at all; instead they may have buckled due to faulty construction. Explain how more money would solve this. Also, last I saw, the Army Corps had plenty of personnel in their New Orleans office, despite your insinuation that they’re all busy rebuilding Iraq.
Sixth, on Day Three, where do you propose that the President land Air Force One? Debris, looters, snipers in the area, and more vital assets being needed in the area, and you think the President should stop for a visit. I wouldn't even suggest that Hillary Clinton, were she to become President, do such a foolhardy thing. Get a little perspective here.
Seventh, I believe, when you compare Katrina to an F4 tornado stretching from New York to Cleveland, Mr. Moore, you could only honestly be referring to the far western edge of New York state. The hurricane force winds, which spanned roughly 120 miles, a wide distance for sure, were nowhere near the hundreds of miles between NYC and Cleveland, which you seem to be deftly implying. If that wasn’t your intent, you should be clearer for those who may be geographically challenged or use a less confusing example. Also, an F4 tornado has winds above 200MPH; so again, Mr. Moore, you are either ignorant of facts which are readily available on the Internet or you purposely exaggerate to bolster your point; in other words, you lie… again.
Eighth, do you realize that, despite relying upon a theory about global warming, you misapply accepted science within this very same field, that, were it to become true, would lead to LOWER temperatures in the Gulf, not higher? Also, those pesky scientists and a few public officials, not to be confused with Leftist environmentalists and their fellow traveler Communists, predicted this storm for 40 years, ever since Betsy in 1965. Those of us who grew up here were fed a steady Summer diet of warnings about what would happen when the “Big One” hit; some were crazy-sounding, some more plausible, but all bad, so there's plenty of blame to go around, not just for Bush and the GOP.
Ninth, Mr. Moore, you claim that others will politicize this catastrophe, while you politicize it yourself. Let me state for the record - I'm a New Orleanian, first, and a Republican, second, and that span is daily increasing. Mr. Moore, you and everyone else who finds political advantage to my, my family's, and my friends' losses are nothing better than vultures preying upon our misfortune. If you really care, you can help out and shut the hell up, in that order.
Tenth, Mr. Moore, the poor of New Orleans have only liberal welfare policies and local corruption and incompetence (almost all Democrat, btw) to thank for their endemic poverty. Those who chose to stay home, not just the poor, stayed home out of ignorance of and desensitization to the dangers of such a storm. My wife and I had reservations at the Pelham hotel downtown along with several friends. I thank God everyday that we changed our minds Sunday morning; I do not think my .38 with three full clips would have been sufficient (and I wouldn’t have returned the ammo to Kmart). If what LSU is surmising, my fellow citizens may have needed evacuation because of incompetence and/or mismanagement on a grand and, possibly, criminal scale by the Army Corps, Levee Board, and building contractors. If you needed to see white folk, Mr. Moore, why didn't you take a look to Lakeview, Gentilly, or Chalmette? Oh, wait, that would require basic curiosity, intellectual honesty, and the testicular fortitude to come down here to help those you claim to champion.
Finally, I wish you the best in your future endeavors. Despite almost completely disagreeing with your politics, I feel those such as yourself can play a vital role in our politics. However, please refrain from using our misfortune to advance your goals; I'm positive you're capable of making your case without our help.