Brigadier General Matthew E. Broderick, the now-retired director of the Homeland Security Operations Center, repeatedly failed to communicate to his superiors reports of breached levees and widespread flooding in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. As explained by the authors of Disaster: Hurricane Katrina and the Faiure of Homeland Security, the Marine general’s mentality was that of a commander reluctant to unecessarily risk the lives of his troops in battle, rather than one considering relatively non-hazardous rescue efforts. But for Broderick’s refusal to acknowledge and stress the dire situation in New Orleans for nearly 30 thiry hours after the flood walls breached, in spite of plenty of evidence of the debacle, the federal response would have been, well, there might have been a response.

With that background, Green Day and U2’s video for “The Saints are Coming” presents a utopian version of what should have happened: