.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Unpopular Ideas

Ramblings and Digressions from out of left field, and beyond....

Location: Piedmont of Virginia, United States

All human history, and just about everything else as well, consists of a never-ending struggle against ignorance.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

The Battles of New Orleans

The 2005 Battle of New Orleans goes on apace, this time not between the British and the Americans but between the locals and the Feds. The Mayor, Ray Nagin, says that many thousands of the evacuees can return to their homes in little more than a week. The Feds, under the command of Vice Admiral Thad Allen, a Coast Guard officer, say hold up. Among other things, the water is still unfit for drinking, plus the levees are still weak, and another hurricane could come along at any time and drop enough water to necessitate evacuations all over again.

From this distance it's hard to know the true state of things. But I think that the hundreds of thousands of the New Orleans displaced have become pieces that may or may not take their places on a fouled chessboard, with their future moves being mulled over in the minds of the players.

That 1812 battle turned out to be completely unnecessary, because a peaceful end to the war had already been agreed upon. But that had happened far to the north and in those days of poor communications it was another month before the news finally reached New Orleans, too late for a great many men whose lives had therefore been needlessly terminated.

Today the speed of communications has increased millions of times over, but the same sort of improvement can't be said about the meeting of minds. People still see things as differently as they did in 1812, and that sometimes nullifies all the advances in technology.

The mayor is undoubtedly interested in as quick a return of the evacuated part of his constituency as possible. The Feds ostensibly want that return to be as safe as possible. But it may be a while before the water is completely safe, and the levees may never make things completely safe, because it turns out that there is little correlation between the force of a hurricane and the amount of flood waters that it produces, and New Orleans has just been lucky ...till three weeks ago.

It would be interesting to watch all the maneuvering regarding the evacuees as parts of a mental game battle being waged on an empty playing board ...if the pieces were made of wood. I guess that being kept off the board and confined instead inside a widely scattered bunch of boxes keeps the pieces largely from being heard from ...for now.


Post a Comment

<< Home