Well, here's a reason for hope. George W. Bush vowed last night that the rebuilding of the Gulf Coast will go just as well as ... the rebuilding of Iraq. Bush didn't make the comparison explicitly, but, as Think Progress notes, the president's language on the Gulf Coast sounded awfully familiar.
Discussing the work needed in New Orleans, Bush said last night: "We will do what it takes. We will stay as long as it takes." Discussing the work needed in Iraq, Bush said in November 2003: "We will do what it takes. We will not leave until the job is done."
The choice of words isn't the only similarity, of course. As we've noted, the Bush administration has imported the worst of its contracting practices from Iraq straight into the hurricane relief efforts back home. The overall costs of the efforts are likely to be the same, too. The federal government's share of Katrina-related costs is now estimated at about $200 billion. The Iraq war has cost about $195 billion so far.
And there's one more similarity, too. The president said last night that "all Americans are needed" in the "common effort" to rebuild the Gulf Coast. What's apparently not needed, however, is their tax dollars. The Bush administration and its allies in Congress refused to roll back tax cuts for even the richest Americans to pay for the war in Iraq. Now, as David Sirota notes today, no one in Washington is even talking about the idea of raising taxes to help pay for Katrina. For the war, for the hurricane, our kids will get the bill -- unless, of course, Gulf Coast oil revenues will pay for the rebuilding of New Orleans just like Iraqi oil revenues were supposed to pay for the reconstruction of Iraq.