Where the U.S. Went Wrong

“Why did all those poor people stay in Katrina's path? Why didn't they just load up their SUVs and head for their summer homes?”

Fact: Between January 20, 2001 and August 31, 2005,
George W. Bush has taken 352 days of vacation — as of September 3, 2005, 21 percent of his time in office. Fact: Every “working” day for Bush includes a minimum of two hours of exercise and recreation.

Fact: In June 2005, George W. Bush slashed 44 percent
from the budget of the New Orleans office of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, fundamentally crippling it.

On September 2, 2005, George W. Bush told Diane Sawyer, “No one could have anticipated the breach of the levees.”

Fact: In 2001, FEMA published its opinion that the three likeliest disasters to happen in the United States were another attack on the level of 9/11; another high-magnitude earthquake in San Francisco; and a category 3 or higher hurricane striking New Orleans that would cause the levees to burst. FEMA said, during Bush's first term, that New Orleans was “a major disaster waiting to happen.” The Bush League's response was to fold FEMA into the Department of Homeland Security, putting it under the leadership of a political hack who never in his life had to address a natural disaster, and removing from FEMA its named task of preparing for and managing national emergencies. On Thursday, September 1, 2005, the Bush League head of FEMA didn't even know there were refugees in the Superdome. And Bush still told him he was doing “a heck of a job.” Hellish would be a better adjective.

On the day the levees burst in New Orleans, Bush delivered a speech in Colorado comparing the Iraq war to World War II and himself to Franklin D. Roosevelt: "And [Roosevelt] knew that the best way to bring peace and stability to the region was by bringing freedom to Japan." Now Bush has his very own Streetcar Named Desire. . . .

Civil works programs were initially assigned to the Department of the Army not as pork, not as welfare, not as some strange theory of the Roosevelt administration, but to protect areas of strategic importance to the United States of America. Not merely because of the oil and gas that passed through it, but also because of the U.S. agricultural exports and international trade that passed through what until late August was our nation's second-largest port, New Orleans and its surroundings were arguably the most strategically important area of the United States — as you will soon be discovering at your gas pump. An ethical commander in chief cannot abandon a vitally important area of the nation to divert the money for its support to such pet projects as further enriching the already wealthy, a war of choice and self-aggrandizement, establishing far-right fundamentalism as the nation's official religion, and enriching Halliburton and Bechtel.
George W. Bush has utterly failed in his duty as commander in chief to protect probably the most strategically important area of the United States, and it is obvious that his ignorance, his provincialism, and his habit of valuing ideology over fact are and have been shared by the rest of his administration and his lapdog Congress.

George W. Bush: “Let them eat Tasti-Kake.”
As Bill Maker pointed out on September 2, at least the poor of 18th‑century France had theoretical access to cake. . . .


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