Billions for New Orleans, Not a Penny for War!

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editorial / September 2005 issue Socialist Action

The hurricane on the Gulf Coast brought the effects of the Iraq War home in a catastrophic way. The collapse of flood protection and emergency relief was an immediate result of the diversion of resources to the U.S. rulers’ Iraq adventure.

Since coming to office, Bush has essentially frozen spending on the Corps of Engineers, which is responsible for protecting the coastlines, waterways,
and other areas susceptible to natural disaster, at around $4.7 billion. These cuts parallel enormous spending on the war in Iraq and the so-called war
against terrorism.

One third of the National Guard from states involved in the disaster is in Iraq. The Washington Post of Aug. 31 quoted one local National Guard commander: “‘Missing the personnel is the big thing in this particular event. We need our people,’ said Lt. Andy Thaggard, a spokesman for the Mississippi National Guard, which has a brigade of more than 4000 troops in
central Iraq.” Furthermore, a large number of local emergency workers are National Guard members and in Iraq.

Hurricane Katrina has blown away the facade of the U.S. rulers and exposed their ruthless drive for profit focused on cornering the world’s supply of oil.
The Gulf Coast disaster is one more reason to mobilize for the Sept. 24 protests against the Iraq War.

We must demand that funds now used for the military and for war operations in Iraq be used instead for aid and reconstruction in the Gulf of Mexico region. The U.S. government must immediately return all National Guard units from the region to their home states, so they can be demilitarized and employed in relief and rebuilding. Bring the troops home now from Iraq! Billions for New Orleans and the Gulf Coast; not a penny for war! — The Editors

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