Monday, September 12, 2005

To the “Plenty of Blame to Go Around” Folks

Dear Apologists for George W. Bush: The incontrovertible facts are these: Katrina was declared a category 5 Hurricane on Sunday, August 28. Everyone in the United States knew the magnitude of the hurricane’s destruction on New Orleans. However, the President of the United States did not know until he was forced to know on Friday September 2nd that Katrina had destroyed New Orleans. The September 19th issue of Newsweek reports that, “Bush knew the storm and its consequences had been bad; but he didn't quite realize how bad”. The article (“How Bush Blew It”) goes on to say that on Thursday night (September 1), “some White House staffers were watching the evening news and thought the president needed to see the horrific reports coming out of New Orleans. (GWB’s) Counselor (Dan) Bartlett made up a DVD of the newscasts so Bush could see them in their entirety as he flew down to the Gulf Coast the next morning on Air Force One.” There aren’t enough rosepetals in the world to cover up the fact that George W. Bush is isolated and out of touch by his own personal decision to be out of touch and isolated. It’s unimaginable that the President of the United States would need a flunky to make up a DVD of newscasts about Katrina so that he would understand the magnitude of the worst natural disaster (enabled by federal inaction and cutback policies) to ever hit the United States. But that is what happened and those are the facts. We can ponder Why? We can wonder, Is GWB insane or just disinterested? We can ask, What on earth is wrong with the man? But the facts are the facts: President George W. Bush did not know because he chose not to know and had to be forced to know that a major section of the United States had been destroyed. As the Newsweek article says, “How this could be—how the president of the United States could have even less ‘situational awareness,’ as they say in the military, than the average American about the worst natural disaster in a century—is one of the more perplexing and troubling chapters in a story that, despite moments of heroism and acts of great generosity, ranks as a national disgrace.” However, perhaps an even more horrifying fact is that, according to Newsweek, “After five years in office, he (President Bush) is surrounded largely by people who agree with him.” So there you have it. We have a President, the President’s Cabinet and the President’s advisors who view themselves as royalty above the fray. And they view the citizens of the United States as subjects whose reason for being is to honor and defend the royals. The myriad governmental failures during the Katrina catastrophe is not about bureaucrcy, or the difficulty of coordinating unwieldy government agencies during times of disaster. It's about the fact that the men and women in the top positions in our government believe that royalty such as they are, have the right to vacation, shop and ignore the plight of the real world. It's about the fact that the Bush administration just doesn't give a fuck.

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