Thursday, March 02, 2006

What did he know, and when did he know it?

"Despite the president's claims, the federal government was clearly not 'fully prepared' for this disaster. The administration was told what Louisiana already knew: that our federally constructed levees could certainly fail. But these concerns, and others made by disaster relief experts, fell on deaf ears," she said in a statement. "This is further evidence of the dysfunctional federal leadership that occurred before, during and after hurricanes Katrina and Rita hit the Gulf Coast."

Sen. Mary Lanrieu (D) LA.

I am not a knee-jerk defender of the Bush administration. I am currently reserving judgement on this whole UAE managed ports situation, which strikes me as at least fishy on the face of it. That being said, I have to jump into the fray when it comes to this continuing effort to blame the president for Hurricane Katrina.

The recently released tape showing the president in a pre-Katrina briefing about the potential devastation the storm might cause is being touted by administration critics as evidence of Bush's ineptitude. "He knew it was coming and did nothing" seems to be the talking point du jour in response to the tape's contents.

Indeed, the tape shows Bush discussing preparations for the storm with then FEMA director Michael Brown, and Brown warning Bush that there might not be enough disaster teams to help Superdome evacuees.

The sad thing about all of this discussion and finger pointing is that it further conditions citizens to the notion that ultimately, someone or something else is responsible for their well-being. The great big "Nanny 911" failed to protect New Orleans.

What good did it do for the president to learn hours before the storm hit that it might breach levees? I myself have been aware of New Orleans' precarious position with regard to potential damage in the wake of a hurricane for years, and I don't even live there. The idea that "federally constructed levees" are going to protect you when a category five storm makes a direct hit is a fantasy, and anyone who really believed so must have been educated in public schools. It is these same people that advance the idea that something can be, and must be done about the threat of a 2 mile wide asteroid that might impact the earth.

Let's update the tally of things the president is responsible for:

- An attack on New York and Washington via airliners that was in the planning for years before he even took office
- Massive rain and resulting mudslides which ravaged the west coast (due to his refusal to sign and abide by Kyoto)
- Drought and wind-driven fires which ravaged the west coast (due to his refusal to sign and abide by Kyoto)
- Hatred of the U.S. by Islamic extremists and the French (they all loved us before he took office)
The worst economy since the great depression - oh wait...the economy is humming along pretty good, so we have to start saying he inherited the Clinton economy
- Hurricanes which have battered the gulf states (due to his refusal to sign and abide by Kyoto)
Cindy Sheehan's son's death (even though he joined the armed forces willingly, she dishonors his heroic sacrifice every time she opens her mouth)
Bode Miller's dismal performance in the Olympics (due to his refusal to sign and abide by Kyoto)

Need I go on?

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