Originally appeared in GOOD magazine.
Every year, the United States suffers attacks on American soil so brutal, our military can do little more than rebuild our wrecked cities, and console the wounded once the enemy has withdrawn.
This enemy is the Atlantic hurricane system, and the price of its damage, in dollars spent and in lives lost, rivals that of man-made war. Hurricane Katrina, which totaled nearly $100 billion and 1,800 dead in 2005, cost only slightly less than a year of the occupation of Iraq, and killed more Americans in a day than the Iraq war claimed in over two years. Last year, Hurricane Ike claimed only 177 lives, but still wreaked $31 billion of damage.