Saturday, September 03, 2005

On Katrina, Europeans extend help, criticism

From AP Press
Updated: 9:25 p.m. ET Sept. 2, 2005
VIENNA, Austria - "As the enormity of Hurricane Katrina’s aftermath sinks in, Europeans have been moved to help in ways great and small: from an Austrian university proposing to take in 500 students from New Orleans, to nations agreeing to tap into strategic oil reserves.
Amid the compassion, there was also surprise that America was so vulnerable and unprepared, and dismay the Bush administration plays down the global warming threat that so many Europeans link to the force and frequency of such storms.
Across the continent, the media and governments focused on the tragedy, with newspapers running photos of victims wading chest-deep in water and television screens filled with fires.
The French daily Liberation described the scenes of devastation as a cruel spectacle for President Bush, “the champion of security.” Criticizing the disorder in the evacuation of hospitals, the editorial called Hurricane Katrina a “natural disaster with political implications.” Terror mastermind Osama bin Laden “must be dying of laughter,” it said.
Astonishment at ‘anarchy and chaos’In Italy, several newspapers said mounting criticism of Bush’s handling of the relief effort was damaging his credibility. And Germany’s Die Tageszeitung said the world was “seeing scenes otherwise only known in African capitals. The forces of order are absent. Anarchy and chaos reign. Supermarkets are plundered, helicopters shot at.”
Some said perceived U.S. indifference to global warming was coming home to roost.
“What’s absent is a debate over the climate, over Kyoto, over the human-caused warming of the earth,” said an editorial in the Sueddeutsche Zeitung, a Munich-based daily. “But the oil shortage caused by the disaster will hurt Bush more than gaps in climate policy will.”
Concrete offers of help, though, were louder than the criticism. The governments of 26 countries agreed Friday to release the equivalent of 2 million barrels of oil per day from strategic fuel reserves to cope with the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the International Energy Agency said. 'No offer ... will be refused'With offers from the four corners of the globe pouring in, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has decided “no offer that can help alleviate the suffering of the people in the afflicted area will be refused,” State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said Thursday.
However, in Moscow, a Russian official said the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency had rejected a Russian offer to dispatch rescue teams and other aid.
Spurred by images of people huddled on curbs begging for clean water and chaotic rescue efforts from rooftops, Europe also offered brainpower — specialists in coordinating disaster relief, experts in rebuilding devastated communities and rescue workers familiar with risky maneuvers."

This about says it all. I don't think Bush could get elected dogcatcher at this point.


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