Hurricane Katrina seems to have blown away Sept. 11 this year-indeed, the hurricane and the attack have become almost bookends in the public discussion.   

“If an act of war is like a hurricane — freak of nature, get over it,” writes Mark Steyn, “it’s evidently no great leap to believe that a hurricane is an act of war. Katrina was thus ‘allowed’ to happen because Bush ‘hates black people.’ The Army Corps of Engineers was instructed to blow up New Orleans’ 17th Street levee so that the flood would kill the poor people rather than destroy the valuable tourist real estate.”

For those who want to forget Sept. 11, the hurricane was a godsend. Steyn sets them straight on what Sept. 11 was:

“It wasn’t a ‘tragic event’ or even one of a series of unfortunate events. It was an ‘attack,’ an ‘act of war.’ I sat at the lunch counter with a guy who’d tuned out the same station on the grounds that ‘I never heard my grampa talk about ‘the tragedy of Pearl Harbor.’ ‘ But, consciously or otherwise, a serious effort was under way to transform the nature of the event, to soften it into a touchy-feely, huggy-weepy one-off. As I wrote last year: ‘The president believes there’s a war on. The Dems think 9/11 is like the 1998 ice storm or a Florida hurricane — just one of those things.'”

People who hate Bush have fastened onto the hurricane and politicized it. But here is the real lesson of Katrina: no matter who is in the White House, no matter what kind of planning we do, no matter how many times we reorganize the bureaucracy, a disaster is a disaster. You can’t snap you fingers and have it rectified in ten minutes.

That is why we must win the war on terror.

We must protect America by keeping terrorists busy abroad, by winning in Iraq, by changing the Middle East.

But that is not the lesson the left wants to take from the hurricane. That is the lesson of Sept. 11.