More than a tragedy — a scandal

This terrible tragedy has now become a scandal.

Aaron Brown just asked a correspondent whether he thought he’d ever stand on the soil of the United States of America and report what he is reporting from New Orleans.

Through a lack of quick action and resources and any semblance of planning, the people left in New Orleans have been condemned to thirst, hunger, filth, disease, fear, crime, danger, and in too many cases death.

The convention center in New Orleans is a symbol of shame. How can we not figure out how to get water there? Babies are starving. People are dying. There is no authority; police have pulled back to defend their own stations or, according to CNN, deserted their posts.

Authorities — from Bush down to cabinet officials down to legislators down to state officials down to the soon-to-be-former-mayor down to those police — have failed these people. No one would argue that this was going to be smooth or easy. But the basics — water, food, safety, goals — are abandoned.

Political careers at every level will end because of this failure.

That is to say nothing of the storm’s terrible toll or the economic crisis that is building. This is about the failure of authority and thus civilization in the heart of New Orleans. This is a scandal.

: LATER: Angelos adds in the comments: “This is America, and this is the best we could do.”