this sounds about right

...from this article.
The initial federal and local reactions to Hurricane Katrina, however, have sent the opposite message. The images seen around the world communicated a lack of competence and considerable chaos and suffering. The dominant overseas reaction has been sympathy mixed with shock and horror at what was seen by many as evidence of racism and a reminder of the extreme poverty in which many Americans live. America's enemies indulged in schadenfreude. Hugo Chavez [the guy Robertsen said we should "take out"] could not resist the chance to taunt President Bush; North Korea radio linked the U.S. "defeat" in Iraq with its "defeat" by Katrina; jihadists celebrated what had happened and the possibility the price of oil would soar even higher. The world's only remaining superpower appeared to be anything but. In an era of 24-hour satellite television and the Internet, public diplomacy is about who Americans are and what they do, not just what they say. Unlike Las Vegas, what happens here does not stay here. The global impact goes beyond impressions. A priority of this administration's foreign policy is to promote democracy around the world. But the attractiveness of the American model, and the ability of the United States to be an effective advocate for more democratic, capitalist societies, which had already been weakened by the disarray in Iraq, is now weaker still as a result of the disarray at home. It will be more difficult to make the case for free markets and more open societies if the results of such reforms come to be associated with the disorder seen in New Orleans.
I hope no one takes this as "partisan bickering"--which seems to be the initial reaction of all conservatives to this issue. This is not 9/11. This is not about pulling together in support of any political party or issue. This is about people and what happens when the gap between the richest and the poorest becomes so glaring that...well, I'm not sure what to say, what illustration would adequately describe what has happened. Suffice it to say that those who are looking in at the US from the outside are shocked and dismayed at the repercussions of (as they see it) free-market capitalism. Let's get honest: it's not like this situation was created overnight by Republicans or Democrats. Both sides of the autocracy have worked together to allow such a calamity.


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