2005 September 08 Thursday
Baghdad Prepared US Soldiers For New Orleans

Battle hardened veterans from battles in Iraq see parallels between Iraq and New Orleans.

NEW ORLEANS, Sept. 5 -- Spec. Frank Atkinson, wearing his tan desert fatigues from his recent deployment in Iraq, alternately drove a Humvee through downtown New Orleans streets littered with debris and putrid garbage and held suspected looters at gunpoint with his M-4 rifle.

"It's just so much like Iraq, it's not funny," said Atkinson, of Woodlawn, Ark., "except for all the water, and they speak English."

For a year ending this spring, Atkinson's infantry company of the Arkansas National Guard patrolled Baghdad's deadly Haifa Street, and scores of its members were awarded Purple Heart medals after fighting insurgents. Those war-zone images and instincts came flooding back Friday when Atkinson and 300 other Arkansas guardsmen, wearing helmets and full body armor, rolled into the chaos of central New Orleans.

"It's like Baghdad on a bad day," said Spec. Brian McKay, 19, of Mount Ida, Ark.

The whole article is worth reading.

Gun battles in New Orleans.

"We're having some pretty intense gun battles breaking out around the city," said Capt. Jeff Winn of the New Orleans police SWAT team. "Armed gangs of from eight to 15 young men are riding around in pickup trucks, looting and raping," he said. Residents fearful of looters often shout to passing Humvees to alert the soldiers to crimes in progress.

Some government officials were claiming that order had been restored to New Orleans two or three days ago. You don't suppose they were lying do you? I figure quite a few criminals will need to get captured or killed before that happens. But eventually New Orleans will be so deserted that it will be safer than it has been for centuries. That is what we call progress.

These soldiers are still better off than the soldiers in Baghdad. The looters will break a lot faster than Iraq's mujahedeen.

There's an obvious parallel between Iraq and Baghdad that has been missed: Democracy failed in New Orleans just as it failed in Baghdad. New Orleans is part of a nation with a population literally 600 times bigger than New Orleans and that nation imposes some amount of order on New Orleans. So the democracy failure is less apparent to those who want to avert their gaze from unpleasantness. But New Orleans has been part of the United States since the Louisiana Purchase. Though it almost was lost to the British in 1815 and was part of the Confederacy during the US Civil War. Still, it has been part of the United States for a long time and yet it is corrupt and dysfunctional as recent events have underscored. Democracy did not produce good government in New Orleans.

The failure of New Orleans government is predictable for those who have studied the accumulated body of evidence accumulated from psychometric research (PDF format).

Update: My sympathy goes out to all the towns and cities that are getting New Orleans refugees.

A Hurricane Katrina evacuee staying with a Plano family was arrested Tuesday and accused of sexually assaulting a 13-year-old girl, police said.

Freddie Murray, 48, of New Orleans was charged with aggravated sexual assault of a child. Mr. Murray is a distant relative of the girl, police said. Police didn't know the exact relationship.

The difference here with Iraq is that in Iraq sex with relatives is done within the confines of marriage.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2005 September 08 09:49 AM  Human Nature

John S Bolton said at September 8, 2005 10:25 AM:

General MacArthur said the cause of war is undefended wealth; so, we can expect some more warfare til the last of them are flushed out. The problem also is that the city government is a RICO. The media is setting up the republicans to take the blame for this debacle in the city, when they should be investigating and reporting the atrocities. How many arrests were processed in the last ten days? They need to put down the city government and cashier all its employees. Legalizing murder is not constitutional. Meanwhile the media is trying to portray the city employees as victims who can do no wrong. They did almost everything wrong. They need a fast RICO investigation, and dissolution of the organization.

Derek Copold said at September 8, 2005 11:19 AM:

Friends from Louisiana say that New Orleans' most efficient government was General Benjamin Franklin Butler's occupation regime.

Marvin said at September 8, 2005 6:44 PM:

Judging by Senator Landrieu's comments, and those of her fellow democratic party congressmen, the workers in the governments of Louisiana and New Orleans will be granted sainthood soon, as soon as Bush can finally be saddled with a media propelled scandal that actually sticks. That evil genius Karl Rove simply has to be stopped! Bush McChimphitler must be seen for the compleat villain that he is! Iraq, National Guard memoes, 9/11, Katrina, Cindy Sheehan, the economy and lack of jobs, high fuel prices, global warming, the disfavor of Europe, the disfavor of African Americans, the disfavor of good communists everywhere--what's a loyal opposition media to do? If such a profound chain of world-shaking crises can't bring this mountain of evildoing down, the entire universe is doomed.

Randall Parker said at September 8, 2005 6:54 PM:


As much as I dislike Bush I see the biggest failures here were local and state level. Even more profoundly, the biggest failure was with all the people who insisted upon living below sea level and insisted to subsidzed levees to help them do this.

Still, the FEMA response does not exactly fill me with confidence that the federal government would respond well to a terrorist attack or some less foreseeable disaster.

FriendlyFire said at September 9, 2005 2:44 AM:

The media is setting up the republicans to take the blame for this debacle in the city,

Yeah its the "media's" fault

FriendlyFire said at September 9, 2005 2:52 AM:


I ened up posting a hostile reply to a comment instead of posting something in relation to the article.

Very soon those who have choosen to stay behind especially those crimminal element will be facing "immiant" death as the water which is already dangerous will turn into something utterly toxic. With rew sewage, human remains and oil is mixed and brewed into a deadly mix. The level of this can be realised when it has been forcast that this posion will rended fishing and argiulture for the next two years unsafe.

Instead of fighting to take back the city, evacuate all those who are not crimminals and leave the rest to their fate.

Stuka said at September 9, 2005 7:29 AM:

Non-white looters, rapists, and murderers running rampant in our streets? White security forces patrolling our neighborhoods? This is multiracialism & multiculturalism in action. Welcome to the New America, folks.

Worse is better. :)

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