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The Tentacle

November 21, 2008

Katrina's Official Murderers

Roy Meachum

A good friend from New Orleans called the other day; he works for Holy Cross where I started as a boarding student when I was nine years old. The dormitories were ripped up more than 20 years ago by Hurricane Betsy; nobody lives there these days.


Our conversation was on the latest big blow that caused the Order of Holy Cross to vacate entirely the former plantation.


You'd have to go back to the 19th century fever epidemics to find anything approaching the disaster dealt by Katrina. Bravado forms a substantial segment of personalities that choose to live in South Louisiana. Until differing ages, "coonasses," as we have been termed, know absolutely we will live forever.


The miracle of Katrina's approach was not the number evacuated, but by the masses of people who chose to stay behind. I understand the syndrome: fate, destiny or the German Schicksahl – by any name. You don't have to be Presbyterian to accept the principle of Predestination. It comes easily to the subtropical mentality. It doesn't apply, however, when dark, human forces come into play.


In their CD "City that Care Forgot," Dr. John and the lower 911 describe Hurricane Katrina conditions American media ignored:


"They tell me forgive, they tell me forget


Ain't nobody charged for the murders yet


Half the story ain't never been told


All these "drowning victims"


Full of bullet holes"


My Holy Cross friend on the phone the other day repeated what citizens had been told: Federal military and private contractors employed the hurricane to eliminate drug lords. He had been given no official explanation for why so many women, children and young males had been shot down.


"Blackwater rollin' like they're in Iraq


Shooting women and children in the back


Putting in the I-10 guess it wasn't enough


All down Claiborne dead bodies all lined up"


Blackwater and their mercenaries were the most significant name among Iraqis, private and governmental, that want to shovel American armed forces out of their country. They have proven to be the guns that most frequently shoot civilians down. Blackwater and the other private security companies operate under a blanket agreement; they answered to no one. Whereas U.S. military operated under rules and regulations with the supervision of superior officers, Blackwater thumbed its corporate nose at all laws and principles of humanity.


"Four days, four nights, no water no food


Mama's crying, babies dying


And you call that good


Say it's a job well done


Then you giggled like a bitch


Hopped back on Air Force One"


The musicians' direct reference to President George W. Bush may be unfair – particular the words "Then you giggled like a bitch." There has not been an investigation, nor is one likely. Who ordered the official killers in? Presumably he occupied high office. Instead of Mr. Bush, why could it not be Vice President Richard Cheney, or then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld? Stories about their close connections to several security outfits were well known, early and late.


The song's writers obviously wanted to put the blame for U.S. American casualties in Iraq on someone: why not pin it on Mr. Bush's lapels – they didn't like him from the get-go. I have read the relevant background books on what really happened. No one seems to really know. They could have instead slapped the crime on a subordinate officer; there are so many.


"City that Care Forgot' at least approaches the problem from the same direction; the writers chose the universally anonymous "they."


"This ain't over, don't close the door


There's a whole lot of (blank) to be answered for


They tell me forgive, they tell me forget


But nobody's been charged for these murders yet"


Maybe under the new administration that had nothing to do with Hurricane Katrina's relief, nor law and order, there may be a serious investigation into what really happened in "The City that Care Forgot," as the billboard in the Missouri Pacific train station said in my childhood.


There were so many murders, outright assassinations of American citizens whose chief crime was they were black. Simple justice demands something be done. Burying the truth, together with so many victims is not a choice, not in the new America that starts next January 20.


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