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September 3, 2005

Welcome to your dystopian future
Posted by Patrick at 08:41 PM * 70 comments

Via BoingBoing: The Army Times is now referring to certain Americans in New Orleans as “the insurgency.”

The observation that the United States is best understood as a third world country that happens to have a lot of money has never seemed more correct.

Comments on Welcome to your dystopian future:
#1 ::: Herbert Walker ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2005, 08:53 PM:

HAHAHAHAHA let chaos reign! Our own american's are the insurgency and we must smite them! I bet you the army will strip them naked and put them in a human pyramid!

#2 ::: Jesse ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2005, 08:56 PM:

Isn't that more of a failure of a writer and editor at the Army Times than a sign of dystopia? It's one thing if a government official said it, it's another for it to pop up in a newspaper article.

#3 ::: punkrockhockeymom ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2005, 09:08 PM:

I wrote a little about this being our "dystopian future" in my live journal yesterday, before this little gem was reported, though.

Patrick and Teresa, your services as editors are officially no longer needed. Who in the hell needs science fiction and fantasy books now? We have it live on CNN.

Disney's probably chomping at the bit to convince the government NOT to rebuild and then turn the whole region into a reality show-slash-amusement park. They can give ferry boat rides from one end of the now-decimated Gulf Coast to the other ("And on your right, ladies and gentlemen, you'll see the gallons of oil still pouring into the Mississippi River. That burning water in the distance, northerly? Oh, that used to be New Orleans. Those gunshots? Oh, that's just the insurgency. President says they'll be under control any day now. Mission Accomplished, he said, just last April. Oh, I know it's been a few years, but you can't rush these things. Them there insurgents are very persistent, and they hate America, to boot.")

#4 ::: adamsj ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2005, 09:09 PM:

You had this story first, right here on Making Light! I think.

Anyway, I took the direct quote from the commanding general--“This place is going to look like Little Somalia”--to be the context for the writer's use of insurgency. I'm guessing he heard that word used, if not by the general, then by some of the other interviewees. It'd be consistent--that's not proof--but it's enough to give me the creeps.

But perhaps the better angels of our nature will win out.

#5 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2005, 09:10 PM:

Yes, of course. How the police and military talk about the rest of us is of no conceivable interest.

#6 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2005, 09:12 PM:

adamsj, you're right, we should have followed your link. Hard to keep up.

#7 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2005, 09:14 PM:

And a third-world country with nukes, too. I hope they don't decide to have a 'accident' in the Katrina-hit area.

#8 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2005, 09:25 PM:

Boy, this sure puts Monica giving Bill a knobber in perspective, doesn't it?

If that was a high crime or misdemeanor what the hey is this?

#9 ::: Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2005, 09:26 PM:

I used to be frightened for the people I know in the United States.

I'm now frightened for me.

#10 ::: Anna Feruglio Dal Dan ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2005, 09:27 PM:

You know, reading the Scalzi entry on Whatever yesterday I was pretty shaken. I come from a fairly well-off family, and I'm ashamed to say that I have no idea if many of my friends in Italy have had any of those experiences.

My guess, however, is that the American people, a trifle more than most of us in Europe, has been left behind to swim or drown long ago. Left behind in poverty, without health care, without food, without housing, without shelter. It's always been claimed that this was how Nature intended things to be.

It's no surprise really given this picture that the Army is starting to talk in these terms. It wouldn't be the first time anger from the citizenry has been put down with force of arms. Nor in the history of the world, nor, really, in America.

#11 ::: DonBoy ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2005, 09:32 PM:

You know what's probably going to be real interesting? The already-scheduled anti-war rally in DC, September 24th. If it had been today, it would have turned into a riot, followed by tear gas and shootings. I'm not confident that tempers will have cooled a whole lot in the next three weeks, either.

That's assuming it's not just cancelled under some pretext, I guess.

#12 ::: Dave Klecha ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2005, 09:43 PM:

What else do you call what is happening down there? Precisely like Somalia, those with the guns are trying to drive off the relief or hijack it for themselves, and deprive the innocent and those truly in need. As much as a military solution was required there, one is required here. Those that take up arms to rise "in revolt against established authority, especially a government," are insurgents, by dictionary definition.

Yes, the word carries quite a bit of baggage, given the Iraq war, but let's not jump on someone for calling an apple an apple.

#13 ::: Bill Humphries ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2005, 10:12 PM:

Hey Dave, last time I checked, New Orleans was not at war with the United States (hell, the city fathers wisely surrendered when the Union Navy showed up during the Civil War.)

And, by the way, the reports of shooting, may be over-reported.

#15 ::: Tina ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2005, 10:16 PM:

Quite aside from the fact that the whole shooting incident (singular, not plural) may not have even happened, can you tell me what people in New Orleans aren't "truly in need"?

#16 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2005, 10:30 PM:

Anyone who thinks conditions in New Orleans over the last few days have been "precisely like Somalia"--well. It's a wonder that they still know how to breathe.

But this will be the line. A few violent incidents, in a town long plagued by violence--thanks partly to one of the most corrupt police departments in America--will be used to build a narrative in which wilful cruelty to tens of thousands of suffering people is justified.

There is a streak in the American character of profound discomfort with the suffering of others. It could have been us; we know it and we desperately don't want to know it. We have to shout, point, condemn, justify, act and talk like utter louts to drive the discomfort away.

The "acting and talking like utter louts" part of the program is now in progress. As we see.

#17 ::: Kip Manley ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2005, 10:38 PM:
“They killed a man here last night,” Steve Banka, 28, told Reuters. “A young lady was being raped and stabbed. And the sounds of her screaming got to this man and so he ran out into the street to get help from troops, to try to flag down a passing truck of them, and he jumped up on the truck’s windshield and they shot him dead.”

We are all insurgents now.

#18 ::: bellatrys ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2005, 10:47 PM:

You know what, Anna? Until I saw them all laid out like that, things I took/take for *granted* in some cases, I hadn't thought of a lot of those things as being in any way-shape-form abnormal. I never do, until I meet someone who says things like "You should buy an X/Y/Z it would make your life easier" or "You should go to Spain, flights are so cheap now" and thinks I'm just being a miser when I say I can't afford to. And this being someone who I thought, and the feeling was mutual, lived in the same world.

--Graydon, I heard a very sketchy as yet unconfirmed or even repeated but *not* incredible rumour that the NG troops from Louisiana and Mississippi and Alabama who are stuck in Iraq have been rioting in the Green Zone.

The light at the end of the tunnel is the tunnel on fire and *blocked* with another train wreck.

#20 ::: adamsj ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2005, 11:01 PM:

I never thought of it before, but I guess when you cross the heart attack machine and the idiot wind, you do get Fox News, the Wall Street Journal, and Rush Limbaugh, don't you?

#21 ::: Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2005, 11:06 PM:

bellatrys --

Wouldn't surprise me. Morale over there could not be good, even with exceptional leadership, and they haven't got that.

I wish I knew where Dick Cheney was, and how functional; the continuing total leadership vacuum makes me think he is incapacitated, and that leaves me thinking, hey, these bozos go for the big distraction, which slides straight into 'and Cheney's no longer holding Rumsfeld's leash.'

Can't decide if that makes nuking Iran more or less likely.

Hate that feeling.

#22 ::: Lara Unnerstall ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2005, 11:08 PM:

There is a streak in the American character of profound discomfort with the suffering of others. It could have been us; we know it and we desperately don't want to know it. We have to shout, point, condemn, justify, act and talk like utter louts to drive the discomfort away.

I couldn't phrase it better myself; I could cite several examples just amongst people I know. Hell, I could link livejournal posts. It frightens me how situations like this bring out the foaming-at-the-mouth-and-falling-over-backwards instinct in many people; "you know what, fuck the people in New Orleans, people die senselessly every day" is one quote from an acquaintance that springs to mind.

I'm deeply disgusted at this point... completely in awe, really. I'm sure there are people down there with guns, but using terms like "the insurgency" is a conscious and loaded choice. It ups the level of tension and hostility in an area where hostility NEEDS to be downplayed if they're going to make any progress. Whoever is making such statements, they shouldn't villanize more than is necessary at this point. It can't possibly be helping.

#24 ::: Georgiana ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2005, 11:20 PM:

I saw someone say "let me put this in perspective. Thousands drown in Bangladesh every year from flooding."

What does that even mean? I don't know but it makes me hate them. I don't understand how people can be so heartless. I'm so distraught that I am barely functioning.

adamsj - the LA Times article is encouraging. thanks.

#25 ::: Saucyworchester ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2005, 11:26 PM:

Chief Justice Dead

#26 ::: j h woodyatt ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 12:02 AM:

May I suggest that it might be time for some of us to re-read this classic bit of speculative fiction published in Parameters, the U.S. Army War College Quarterly Journal.

#27 ::: Dawn O ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 12:48 AM:

In general I think adamsj is right about FOX news but even they have their moments.

#28 ::: Neil Rest ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 01:15 AM:

I googled that hare-brained National Guard Brig. Gen. in the forlorn hope of finding a communication channel . . . it appears taht in civilian life, he's the superintendant of the Schools . . .

I guess it always CAN getr worse . . .

(p.s. see URL; we need it)

#29 ::: Bob Oldendorf ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 01:21 AM:

All week, this business of herding the opposition's supporters into a sports stadium and keeping them there to die has had me thinking of the Emperor Justinian.

#30 ::: Adam Selene ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 01:57 AM:

I do believe the scoop was here, though over the course of a day it's hard to keep track. And to think that when we were kids the notion of a catastrophic event unfolding via text scrolling across a video screen, of obsorbing information in real time, moving from page to page of information in an exponential pursuit of answers, was thought to be fiction.

[my second amendment is behind the seat of the pickup]

#31 ::: Randolph Fritz ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 02:02 AM:

"Who in the hell needs science fiction and fantasy books now?"
More than ever, because tomorrow is coming, and if it is to be worth living we must imagine a future worth living.

#32 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 02:09 AM:

j h woodyatt:

The US Army War College website seems to be down (one reason why "read this link" can be a useless message). Which SF story are you pointing to?

#33 ::: Matt McIrvin ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 02:26 AM:

Science fiction has always been about now.

#34 ::: windypoint ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 02:52 AM:

Hmmmm. I've been holding off posting this because it isn't directly relevant, but the longer this all goes on, the more interesting a comparison this becomes.

How Australia handled a cyclone in 1974.

#35 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 04:13 AM:

"You know what's probably going to be real interesting? The already-scheduled anti-war rally in DC, September 24th."
yeah, uh. wasn't there supposed to be a special "commemoration" of how noble and heroic Bush was on Sept. 11?

#36 ::: Tina ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 04:38 AM:

Ex-Officials Say Weakened FEMA Botched Response (via Yahoo, from the Chicago Tribune).

I don't know if this is really news to anyone, though...

[As a side note: the Tribune is noted for leaning towards the conservative side, though in Chicago that doesn't necessarily mean pro-Republican I suppose.]

#37 ::: cd ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 06:39 AM:

Dave Bell: http://carlisle-www.army.mil/usawc/Parameters/1992/dunlap.htm, titled "The Origins of the American Military Coup of 2012". A short story cum paper in, as j h woodyatt said, the U.S. Army War College Quarterly Journal (published in 1992).

#38 ::: Laurie Mann ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 08:19 AM:

Every once in a while, I save a whole newspaper.

I'm saving today's New York Times because its reporting on the problems in New Orleans was particularly good. Ironically, there's also a major article in the magazine section on the politicization of science under the Bush administration.

We went to see Constant Gardner yesterday, a somewhat flawed movie (it has major point-of-view problems), but it's scary how much the scenes in poverty-stricken Africa are reminiscent of New Orleans.

Uptopic, few people have talked about America's status as a "Third World nation." That's not really true - the reality is worse.

We're a Third World nation only to our most vulnerable citizens. The rich are getting richer, the poor are getting poorer. A civilized country should care for its citizens better. We just aren't so civilized, and that came out in many depressing ways this week.

Societies collapse when the differences between rich and poor become ever more obvious and the government is only caring for the rich.

#39 ::: punkrockhockeymom ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 08:44 AM:

Randolph Fritz:

"Who in the hell needs science fiction and fantasy books now?"
More than ever, because tomorrow is coming, and if it is to be worth living we must imagine a future worth living.

I was only being snarky. :) You're right, of course.

But since the stuff I generally like to read and write is by and large not hopeful, but dystopian, and doesn't really imagine a future worth living in, but rather explores how normal people manage to live in the future they're stuck with...[sigh]

Maybe I should try to grow a new brain, one that's more optimistic, so I can do that hopeful future SF thing...

#40 ::: Jo Walton ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 08:47 AM:

The irony is making me queasy.

I wonder how fanatical second-amendment-rights people like seeing these people called an insurgency?

#41 ::: Vicki ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 08:56 AM:

That divide between rich and poor--with the government working for the rich--is one of the hallmarks of third world nations.

#42 ::: Barry ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 09:07 AM:

Jo, the 2nd-amendment types probably love it. Because (for the most part) they aren't against tyranny, they like it. Notice that the right-wingers haven't had much objection to the administration declaring itself above the law, for the duration of the war on terror. Note that there are exceptions as there are to almost any statement about people, but not enough to matter.

#43 ::: John Lansford ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 09:09 AM:

Troops have been sent into US cities in the past, but I've never heard their mission described by the troops as "combat operations". Calling the few looters who have guns an "insurgency" is just using post-9/11 phrases to justify a militaristic response to a disaster.

The 82nd Airborne has sent about 3000 troops down to NO yesterday. A local TV station interviewed the commander, who said "we're going down there to help. I'm not taking a helmet; I'm not taking a rifle. I'm an American helping other Americans and I don't need them there."

He said they were being sent for crowd control but when they arrived, the TV reporters with them showed them passing out supplies and making sure people were being cared for properly. There was no need for 'crowd control' or "insurgency supporession", so they helped out as they saw fit.

#44 ::: Carlos ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 09:10 AM:

"We're a Third World nation only to our most vulnerable citizens. The rich are getting richer, the poor are getting poorer."

Um. That's what the Third World is like. If you've got the money, living in the Third World can be sweet indeed. If you don't...

#45 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 09:32 AM:

Graydon, back when you were saying that Americans were obligated to stand in a shieldwall (I think it was when Bush got his second term), it occurred to me that if America went bad, there is no way that Canada would be safe, and you had as much obligation to be in a shieldwall as anyone else does--I understand such obligations to be based on the importance of defense, not responsibility for the need for defense.

I didn't have the nerve to say it, and it may be just as well that you had extra year and a half of not worrying.

#46 ::: Laurie Mann ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 10:47 AM:

Chertoff is on Meet the Press and he said "We evacuated the city of New Orleans."

Oh really? Most people LEFT ON THEIR OWN. It was just the poor, the sick and the really stubborn people who were stuck there.

And now he's apologizing for the president's infamous levee comment. Oh geesh...

And now he's talking about pre-staging. He's claiming the supplies were pre-staged but the levee flooding prevented getting supplies in. What about all those people with all those boats who voluteered to bring stuff in - but were told they'd have to pay for their own gas!!!???

Even Tim Russert is pointing out that there was no food or water at either the Superdome or the Convention Center, and is reading the Times Pickayune article about what would happen after a hurricane broke the levees (these articles started in 2002).

I love the way the classic Republican apologists (like Tim Russert) are no longer apologizing for them.

#47 ::: Laurie Mann ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 10:51 AM:

Carlos - the point is, in a "First World Country" is supposed to have a safety net. New Orleans didn't have one.

(And now, Chertoff is blaming local authorities for the failure of not evacuating the poor people from New Orleans.)

#48 ::: Carlos ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 12:35 PM:

Um, LM, I'm agreeing with you. I'm taking your analogy even further. For the rich, it's also like living in a Third World nation. Sweet! You can always buy or fly.

#49 ::: Daniel Boone ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 12:46 PM:

Laurie, I'm probably a right-winger by the standards of this forum, since I don't really believe in government safety nets. But America traditionally has been so rich in both compassion and wealth that we didn't absolutely need safety nets to deal with disasters. We'd just respond on the fly out of stuff-on-hand. Not the best approach, especially during the early stages of a disaster, but effective once things got moving.

I was born in an America that still remembered feeding (and coaling!) half the city of Berlin with a fleet of freakin' DC-6 propeller airplanes, whose flight crews went above-and-beyond by tying Hershey bars to makeshift parachutes and throwing them out the windows for the kiddies lining the runway approaches. I don't understand why sealed 16oz water bottles aren't floating down out of the sky by the MILLIONS and drifting so numerously on the canals and floodwaters of New Orleans that anybody can collect half a dozen with a long stick. And a half-dozen MREs to go with 'em.

I don't really care if it's a government effort or not, but I know this country could afford to blanket the hurricane zone with airdropped supplies, starting in 24 hours and not stopping until the relief stuff was piled in drifts that would need an eventual army of volunteers months to clean up again. Instead, I hear stories that U.S. uniforms are turning away Red Cross relief at gunpoint. I'm baffled, to put it mildly, and feel like I don't know where I live anymore.

#50 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 01:38 PM:

Daniel, precisely. I don't care if you're a "right-winger" in the terms of some other argument we're not having at the moment. Your basic response to what we've seen is the basic sensible and human one.

#51 ::: bellatrys ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 01:59 PM:

bryan, it's still on - the Partei rally I mean. At least as of 2 days ago. While we were screaming our heads off, the DOD and other departments were sending letters around telling their employees to be sure to go...

I think Americablog had them, I'm really not sure just this second. But the emails were posted - somehow I don't think the staffers who leaked them were all that in favor of it.

#52 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 02:13 PM:

Well if the rally is still on I can't imagine that large numbers of people would not want to attend. wearing black, the traditional color of mourning.

A new orleans jazz funeral for the GOP would be nice.

#53 ::: Daniel Boone ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 02:49 PM:

Yeah, Patrick, this is not about politics at all, or shouldn't be. Some of the problems in New Orleans can't be fixed quickly or easily or at all, because some things money can't buy. But food and water should have been a solved problem at the block level within thirty six hours. How many C-130 transports equipped for palleted parachuted airdrops do we have? And if the government has gone rogue (as seems to be the case these years) why isn't the Red Cross calling for a private airforce of civilian aircraft?

#54 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 03:12 PM:

Daniel Boone: And if the government has gone rogue (as seems to be the case these years) why isn't the Red Cross calling for a private airforce of civilian aircraft?

Probably because Bush would order them shot down as "terrorists." Or for interfering with the delivery of aid.

#55 ::: Laurie Mann ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 03:35 PM:

Daniel, regardless of your politics, we're in pretty much violent agreement some things.

I do have this idea, natually one labelled "socialist" by some, that a modern, civilized government ought to help out its all of its citizens and not just the richest, most connected few. I freely admit we've made enough money the last few years to have really benefitted from Bush's tax cuts. An awful lot of our "lower tax" money has gone to try to elect Democratic candidate (mostly not successfully, I must add) and for various diaster relief funds (9/11, tsunami, Katrina...) I want responsible taxation. I want taxation to not be treated like a swear word.

To rebuild our crumbling infrastructure, we're going to need more taxation, and those of us making more money should be prepared to pay more taxes. Cheerfully even!

#56 ::: Daniel Boone ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 03:37 PM:

You know, Larry, I considered that scenario before I posted. I tried to imagine the video. A borrowed cargo plane showing Fed-Ex colors plus huge Red Cross decals, flying low-and-slow with securely-tethered volunteers pitching water-bottle-parachute-packages out the emergency exits, being shot down on live television as the news copters swarm.

I don't say this often, because mostly, it's not true anymore. But in this case, I think it's still safe to say: They. Wouldn't. Dare.

And I, for one, wouldn't want to be the prosecutor trying to get a conviction against the president of the American Red Cross for delivering food and water. I don't have much faith in the system, but that's a tough sell to a jury.

#57 ::: Daniel Boone ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 03:55 PM:

Laurie, I'm quite heartened when I can find myself in agreement with someone whose politics are as diverse from my own as yours. As an anarchist to whom "civilized governement" rings as a near-oxymoron, I'm sure that there would be precious little overlap between our respective roadmaps for seeing that folks in New Orleans are appropriately succored. But, as the man in the airplane said, that's not important now. I'm confident we agree that in a country flush with wealth, there's never a good reason for people to go hungry and thirsty.

And here's what is, for me, the critical point: if the fastest way, today, to get those folks fed and watered is goverment action, then (by gum!) let's see some government action. Plenty time enough later to argue about whether my anarchist distopia would be better than your socialist one at delivering water bottles after the next hurricane. As long as neither one of us would point guns at Red Cross workers, I think we are as simpatico as we need to be.

#58 ::: J Thomas ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 08:31 PM:

But since the stuff I generally like to read and write is by and large not hopeful, but dystopian, and doesn't really imagine a future worth living in, but rather explores how normal people manage to live in the future they're stuck with...[sigh]

I think maybe people have a need to experience a full range of feelings. So readers find novels that help them experience what's missing in their lives. Too simple, but maybe part of the truth.

Maybe when it didn't feel like you were living in a dystopia you needed to read dystopias. Maybe now you'll have a use for optimistic novels.

#59 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 08:42 PM:

Larry Brennan ::
Daniel Boone: And if the government has gone rogue (as seems to be the case these years) why isn't the Red Cross calling for a private airforce of civilian aircraft?

Probably because Bush would order them shot down as "terrorists." Or for interfering with the delivery of aid.

I keep thinking of Shockwave Rider where that's just about the level the government is working at. I wish I didn't think that criminals are now running the country. Because it can get a lot worse.

#60 ::: punkrockhockeymom ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 09:52 PM:

J Thomas:

Maybe when it didn't feel like you were living in a dystopia you needed to read dystopias. Maybe now you'll have a use for optimistic novels.

Maybe that's the case. I guess we'll see. I'll keep you posted on the state of my notoriously un-sunny tastes in fiction.

Daniel:

I don't say this often, because mostly, it's not true anymore. But in this case, I think it's still safe to say: They. Wouldn't. Dare.

I wish I thought you were right about that. I think you're absolutely right about the unlikelihood of ever convicting a rogue Red Cross pilot, or, say, a Jabbor Gibson. But an attempt to convict is after the fact and necessitates, as you wisely noted, the use of a jury. An attempt to avoid responsibility by shifting the blame for an horrific act of violence? They've done it already.

Even then: I would love to agree with you in the case of a U.S. charity helping U.S. citizens when the populace is so outraged already. But up until these past few days, I thought there were a lot more lines this Evil Empire wouldn't dare to cross. I was wrong.

#61 ::: colin roald ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2005, 12:13 AM:

People who don't want to leave (one says, "Some people became animals -- we became more civilized", and another, "They may have to shoot me to get me out of here. I'm much better off here than anyplace they might take me."):

French Quarter Holdouts Create 'Tribes'

...
Yes, wealthy people feasted on steak and quaffed warm champagne in the days after the storm. But many who stayed behind were the working poor -- residents of the cramped spaces above the restaurants and shops.

Tired of waiting for trucks to come with food and water, residents turned to each other.

Johnny White's is famous for never closing, even during a hurricane. The doors don't even have locks.

Since the storm, it has become more than a bar. Along with the warm beer and shots, the bartenders passed out scrounged military Meals Ready to Eat and bottled water to the people who drive the mule carts, bus the tables and hawk the T-shirts that keep the Quarter's economy humming.

"It's our community center," said Marcie Ramsey, 33, whom Katrina promoted from graveyard shift bartender to acting manager. ...



#62 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2005, 03:19 AM:

when your society is a criminal society it becomes absurd to obey its laws.

#63 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2005, 05:51 AM:

If Bruce Sterling is listening:

Sterling, you magnificent bastard! I read your books!

(Just finished 'Heavy Weather' and 'Distraction'. Boy, are those two a bit close to the news right now.)

#64 ::: Jo Walton ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2005, 08:59 AM:

Ajay: Some people here might remember how much I hated John Barnes Mother of Storms. This is worse. Oh, the storm isn't worse, the storm isn't anything like as bad, but the people are worse.

Been having a lot of "never thought I'd say that" moments this past couple of years.

#65 ::: adamsj ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2005, 11:58 AM:

Jo,

Are you saying you hated it because it was too realistic? (I have that reaction to film and video--can barely watch infra-violence, let alone the regular and ultra varieties--but seldom text.)

One of the things I recall about that book was how decently so many people behaved--the girl riding out the wind with the children while the wall dissolved above them, for instance.

The organized were a different case, but the average Joes and Jolenes were okay.

#66 ::: j h woodyatt ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2005, 10:00 PM:

Dave Bell writes: The US Army War College website seems to be down

Well, it seems to be back up now. If it's down again when you try again next, look for The Origins of the American Military Coup of 2012 by Charles Dunlap, Jr. in the Winter 1992-1993 quarterly issue of Parameters.

#67 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2005, 10:04 PM:

Well, it seems to be back up now. If it's down again when you try again next, look for The Origins of the American Military Coup of 2012 by Charles Dunlap, Jr. in the Winter 1992-1993 quarterly issue of Parameters.

And I pulled it in to my computer.

#68 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2005, 06:14 PM:

Speaking at the White House Friday afternoon, Bush said that although rebuilding the Gulf Coast would be expensive, he was "confident we can handle it and our other priorities." He said the government will "have to cut unnecessary spending" and should not raise taxes.

He declined to give an estimate for how much the rebuilding would cost or suggest where the money might come from.

Coming from: Possibly from the same places that are funding the war in Iraq: the middle and lower-income taxpayers.

Going to: Halliburton and the high-income taxpayers (or should I say 'tax avoiders'?).

Tax cuts: More of the trickle-down economic magical thinking. They've done four tax cuts and it still ahsn't worked, so they're going to try it again in hopes that this time the magic will happen and we'll all become rich.

Excuse me, I think I'm going to be seriously ill.

#69 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2005, 01:52 PM:

Dave Bell: http://carlisle-www.army.mil/usawc/Parameters/1992/dunlap.htm, titled "The Origins of the American Military Coup of 2012". A short story cum paper in, as j h woodyatt said, the U.S. Army War College Quarterly Journal (published in 1992).

Now this:
Bush Mulls More Work for the Troops The President begins asking for a greater role for the military in domestic disasters

Are we on schedule for that coup?

#70 ::: Xopher finds comment spam ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2005, 04:16 PM:

Ick.

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