“Occupied New Orleans”

Watch for “occupied/militarized New Orleans” to become a popular meme of the antiwar far Left in the coming days and weeks.

As I wrote last month, I feel more sympathy for Cindy Sheehan than I do with those who have latched on to her obvious pain to advance their political agendas.

But what started out as a symbolically-powerful one-woman protest against the war (albeit a protest with which I disagreed) has turned into something of a farce.

When Sheehan calls on President Bush to “pull our troops out of occupied New Orleans and Iraq,” it’s obvious that (whether on her own or with encouragement from others) she has become a caricature of herself and her cause.

On Democracy Now, the radio show hosted by Amy Goodman (who did a rather poor job of moderating the Hitchens-Galloway debate), correspondent Jeremy Scahill reported a “real increase in the militarization of the city.”

As I’ve noted, and as I’ll continue to note, I’m far from pleased with many aspects of the response to Hurricane Katrina. But Scahill seems determined to put the most sinister possible spin on the presence of armed soldiers in the streets of New Orleans.

Not so strangely, Scahill had nothing to report about some of the other things those soldiers have been doing– including a unit of the Oregon National Guard:

Despite [the] conditions, despite the fact that they are again away from their families and civilian lives, despite the fact that they just got back from Iraq only a few months ago, these men have taken to their new task with professionalism and dedication. House-by-house, they walk the neighborhoods looking for survivors. One soldier from the battalion scout platoon helped save the life of an elderly woman who had been trapped in her waterlogged house for over a week. Other men have rescued animals— starving dogs and cats riddle the area— and have assisted local police and rescue agencies on other missions.

Compare Scahill’s dark portrait of a militarized New Orleans with his virtually uncritical reporting from pre-invasion Iraq on the Saddam Hussein regime.