Time to focus on basic needs of people | TheUnion.com

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Time to focus on basic needs of people

Our country is looking at a disaster that measures up to anything that weapons of mass destruction could have done. For the last four years our federal government has spent billions of our tax dollars on Homeland Security and the war to protect Iraq oil for the military-industrial complex that President Eisenhower warned us about. The Bush administration claimed to be protecting us from terrorists and possible disasters caused by terrorist cells. After four years this administration is facing its first real massive disaster that is causing thousands of deaths and leaving thousands of panicked survivors.

September 1st is four days after Hurricane Katrina hit the gulf coast of the USA. Old people are dying in the streets of New Orleans. Babies are going without food and water and are forced along with their mothers to wait on the water soaked, filthy, dangerous streets. People who had little have been left with nothing. They quickly lose hope as the delay in real help weighs on them and social conventions break down.

I have full confidence in the generosity of Americans and the Red Cross and Rescue Workers and volunteers who are speeding to help the people who need our help. The responsibility we feel to our fellow citizens was deepened by our shock at the 9/11 attacks by foreign terrorists. Now a natural disaster has dwarfed anything that has happened in this country to date.

Why isn’t our federal government able to respond with immediate food, water, medicine, medical personnel, law enforcement and National Guard troops, ships, boats, planes? With days of hurricane warnings of potentially massive force, wouldn’t you think that local, state and federal agencies would do a “heads up” on supplies and emergency personnel available, just in case? Did Homeland Security look at the port cities of Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi and provide training and emergency evacuation plans? Where did the federal emergency planning funds go?

When are the Bush administration and our elected Senators and Representatives going to focus on the basic needs of our democracy, our safety, and our people? Money for the destruction and rebuilding of Iraq has been taken from all of us to benefit the few. Most Americans will give help to others in great need-Please do this now. And hold our elected officials responsible for fiddling with phony issues while our citizens are hurting and our National Guard soldiers are not here to protect and defend them.

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Joan Field lives in Nevada City.