Friday, September 02, 2005

Bush's Emergency Responses

Jonathan Larsen's blog on

Bush's Emergency Responses

Bush says no one could have predicted that the levees would break.

Not only COULD his administration predict it -- his administration DID predict it. So did Republican members of Congress.

FEMA itself predicted in 2001 that the three most likely, most catastrophic disasters facing America were a terrorist attack on New York (check), a New Orleans flood (check) and a major San Francisco earthquake.

We've seen how Pres. Bush responded. (A quick look at how Pres. Bush responded to the earthquake threat can be found here.)

The point is that his response to these warnings has been a political response. That's not a slur, that's a valueless, definitional label. Of course it's politics, it's in the realm of politicians. So, his decision to use national resources to wage war on Iraq was also a political decision. His mortgaging of America's future to fund tax cuts and shortchange current funding levels was a political decision. So when the right-wing accuses us of politicizing his response, don't believe it.

His response is entirely political. Preparing for a disaster is the JOB of politicians. Responding to a disaster is the JOB of politicians. This is inherently political and we're both entitled and patriotic to criticize the politicians involved.

If you still think that's a leftie position to take, check out what the notoriously conservative Manchester Union-Leader had to say about it:

Bush and Katrina:
A time for action, not aloofness

AS THE EXTENT of Hurricane Katrina’s devastation became clearer on Tuesday — millions without power, tens of thousands homeless, a death toll unknowable because rescue crews can’t reach some regions — President Bush carried on with his plans to speak in San Diego, as if nothing important had happened the day before.

Katrina already is measured as one of the worst storms in American history. And yet, President Bush decided that his plans to commemorate the 60th anniversary of VJ Day with a speech were more pressing than responding to the carnage.

A better leader would have flown straight to the disaster zone and announced the immediate mobilization of every available resource to rescue the stranded, find and bury the dead, and keep the survivors fed, clothed, sheltered and free of disease.

The cool, confident, intuitive leadership Bush exhibited in his first term, particularly in the months immediately following Sept. 11, 2001, has vanished. In its place is a diffident detachment unsuitable for the leader of a nation facing war, natural disaster and economic uncertainty.

Wherever the old George W. Bush went, we sure wish we had him back.