GOP Lawmakers Call for Invasion of Atlantic Ocean
WASHINGTON -- As the nation tries to recover from the shock and heartbreak of Hurricane Katrina's deadly attack on the Gulf Coast, several Republicans on Capitol Hill are calling for the U.S. to go on the offensive against the powerful storms.
In an interview Saturday, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) suggested that he would support an invasion of the Atlantic Ocean, where Katrina started and which Coburn condemned as "a breeding ground for violent storms that hate America."
"Look, it's time we stopped being politically correct and faced the facts," Coburn told a reporter for the Washington Post. "Where did Hurricane Ivan come from last year? The Atlantic Ocean. Where did Hurricane Dennis come from? The Atlantic Ocean. Where did Katrina come from? The Atlantic Ocean. It's high time we took some sort of military action against the Atlantic so that we don't have to face this kind of disaster again."
Later, Coburn backtracked on his comment, saying, "I never called for military action against the Atlantic Ocean. My comments were misinterpreted."
Standing firm in his support for an Atlantic invasion, however, was Rep. Tom DeLay (R-Texas), who said, "We need to start fighting hurricanes over there so that we don't have to fight them over here."
DeLay also expressed optimism that a liberated, hurricane-free Atlantic would "serve as a beacon of calmness and clear weather to other oceans" such as the Pacific and Indian, who would then take the initiatives to force out their own deadly storms.
The growing calls for military action face opposition, however, from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle who are concerned that an Atlantic invasion would draw vital resources from the U.S. presence in Iraq, though sources within the Bush administration said that the money to pay for the invasion could be diverted out of FEMA and the Department of Homeland Security.
On NBC's "Meet the Press" Sunday morning, Vice President Dick Cheney attempted to dispel fears that such an invasion could be a long and deadly struggle for American sailors.
"The marine wildlife and peace-loving weather systems of the Atlantic have suffered from these hurricanes just as much as we have," Cheney said. "We're confident that they will see our troops not as occupiers but as liberators and welcome them with open arms, or fins, or flippers, or whatever. With their support we figure we can put down the hurricanes and get our troops out of there in two, three weeks tops."
And this one:
Bush to Propose Sweeping Anti-Hurricane Legislation
WASHINGTON -- Stung by vocal criticisms of a slow and inadequate federal response to Hurricane Katrina last week, the Bush administration will introduce one of the biggest packages of anti-hurricane legislation in the nation's history, sources revealed Saturday.
Collectively dubbed the USA PATSIES Act, for Providing Appropriate Tools to Stop the Incursion of Extreme Storms, the new laws will reinforce the U.S. border patrol and customs agencies to keep hurricanes out of the country, and step up the federal government's ability to acquire information on hurricanes and keep track of their movements.
"Our thinking is that the best offense is a good defense," said a high-ranking administration official who spoke on condition of anonymity. "We are confident that through these measures, we will be able to keep hurricanes like Katrina from entering our country and terrorizing our citizens."
The measures, though, are almost certain to face an uphill battle in Congress, where questions over the feasibility and constitutionality of the USA PATSIES Act were raised almost as soon as news of the proposal surfaced.
Coming in for particular scrutiny were provisions that would allow the federal government to bypass search warrants and other due-process laws in placing wiretaps on hurricanes' phone calls. The act would also give federal agents the ability to monitor purchases, financial transactions, and even library checkouts by hurricanes inside the United States.
The most vocal opposition to the act seems to be building in Miami and Tulsa, Okla., where students at the cities' respective universities are expressing fear that they could be lumped in with the targeted storms.
"We already have a bad enough reputation for all the stuff we did while Dennis Erickson was the coach in the 1980s," said Miami Hurricanes defensive end Javon Nanton. "How am I going to be able to show my face in public when everyone knows my phone is being tapped and my library books are being monitored?"
Spokesmen for the American Hurricane Anti-Defamation League stated their intention to issue a statement Monday but would not otherwise comment.
Elected officials and civic leaders from the Gulf Coast region decried the proposals, calling them "a pathetic attempt to divert attention from the deplorable inaction and mismanagement on the part of the government's relief efforts," but administration sources said these criticisms were misguided.
"Now is not the time to be looking into the past and learning from mistakes," one said. "It is time to be looking forward and figuring out new ways to keep hurricanes away from America and stop them from threatening our way of life."