Sunday, September 11, 2005

A couple of things worth reading this morning

From the NYT.

First, Andrei Coudreascu may well be right: The best way to deal with it is to fry eggs for refugees.

Do you think New Orleans will eventually be rebuilt?
No. New Orleans had a great period, and now it is going to sink into some kind of glorious mess, like Venice, and become just a tourist spot. People will come to gamble in the casinos and feel the grandeur of what was once there, which the tourist bureau will do its best to recreate.

Must you be so defeatist?
I am sure the city will be re-engineered, but I am afraid that in the process it will lose its soul - the people who sing the blues will be gone. A lot of writers and artists won't return to New Orleans. They have no houses. They will go all over the country, back to where they came from.

And yet the greatest problem is not even the loss of an entire culture, as much as the creation of a class of impoverished refugees.

In the New Orleans area, tens of thousands have been displaced. Most of them have lost absolutely everything. There hasn't been another situation that puts the social problems into such stark relief since the Civil War.
The brass bands of New Orleans have reportedly relocated to Houston, because their "market" is here. The people who supported the musicians are now scattered; many of them have ended up here, and may well stay. Will the bands return to the Quarter? Maybe as animatronics. But will the musical soul be divided, half where it takes new root, half back in New Orleans in...what, 5 years or so? That's hard to envision.

And, on a completely different note:

A terrorist leader four years ago, Osama bin Laden is now an ideology as well — and a viral movement.Terrorist attacks worldwide are on the rise. Iraq could well end up a "failed" state. Maybe it's time to stop fighting on their terms.
Gee, d'ya think? D'ya think this war has presented us with Hobson's Choice?

Yup, apparently so:

As the Iraq war grows increasingly unpopular in the United States - scarcely a third of Americans now approve of the president's handling of the war, and 4 in 10 think it was worth fighting - and as more and more American leaders demand that the administration "start figuring out how we get out of there" (in the words of Senator Chuck Hagel, a Republican), Americans confront a stark choice: whether to go on indefinitely fighting a politically self-destructive counterinsurgency war that keeps the jihadists increasingly well supplied with volunteers or to withdraw from a post-Saddam Hussein Iraq that remains chaotic and unstable and beset with civil strife and thereby hand Al Qaeda and its allies a major victory in the war on terror's "central front."

Four years after we watched the towers fall, Americans have not succeeded in "ridding the world of evil." We have managed to show ourselves, our friends and most of all our enemies the limits of American power. Instead of fighting the real war that was thrust upon us on that incomprehensible morning four years ago, we stubbornly insisted on fighting a war of the imagination, an ideological struggle that we defined not by frankly appraising the real enemy before us but by focusing on the mirror of our own obsessions. And we have finished - as the escalating numbers of terrorist attacks, the grinding Iraq insurgency, the overstretched American military and the increasing political dissatisfaction at home show - by fighting precisely the kind of war they wanted us to fight.

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