Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Bush, Katrina, incompetence

That bears repeating: incompetence. I was harping on this issue back in August. Where was the planning? Where was the assistance while people were suffering and dying? Sure, Brownie was to blame in large part, but so was Chertoff who as we now know failed to respond properly as well. Chertoff still has a job, but Brownie doesn't. Shortly after the Katrina disaster began to unfold, Bush used what I fondly call the Condi excuse: "I don't think anyone could have predicted the breach of the levies."

Well, thanks to the AP, we now have video evidence that members of the administration including Brownie and Bush were warned about a possible breach of the levies 19 hours before the storm hit. On top of that, Brownie anticipated the Superdome disaster which begs the question of how it could have gone so poorly. Crooks and Liars has the video.

Some friends of mine suggested that I calm down when I was practically screaming about this. Lessons will be learned, they said, and adjustments made and it will get better, I was assured. Well, now we do know for certain the goddamn lesson and I was right - incompetence and indifference. The people of that region of the U.S. got screwed because the top levels of government were not truly interested in doing their jobs. They paid lip service but as the old saying goes, actions speak louder than words. What's worse is that they were warned and still did nothing.


Scott said...

They've lied so many times I suspect people are saying, "It's just his way." Meaning our president is so amoral any further documentation showing his stunning lack of ethics and integrity are considered to be no more than his good old quirks. When will this country wake up?

B.D. said...

There's merit in your position that the country has numbed to this behavior. While I think that these actions are appalling and the lying only makes it worse, the Democrats who are calling for impeachment over this issue are off base as well. It would be difficult to make a case that Bush's actions after Katrina added up to law breaking that would pass muster for articles of impeachment. We should be clear: these lies and this incompetence resulted in bodily harm and, possibly, death. However, was it criminal negligence? That's a tougher standard to meet.

Rather, I'd call on Democrats to focus on actual breaking of the law, which was the standard allegedly applied to Clinton. The case against Bush is MUCH stronger than it was against Clinton. Fabrication of intelligence (an oxymoronic term) as outline by John Conyers should account for several articles of impeachment. Several more could be added for illegal wiretapping.

In both instances the White House will argue that they received bad advice and that it wasn't their fault. However, from a Constitutional standpoint, that's not necessary - the buck stops with the president, not her appointees, for the appointees serve at the will of the president. Congress should pursue this course because it is the right thing to do. Have a trial for these serious charges and either exonerate him (thereby justifying the extreme executive powers) or convict him just to clear the air and right the balance of power.

If anything, this country has become numb to the lack of responsibility taken by this president. Even Clinton only admitted his behavior after he was confronted with evidence. Clinton was also evasive on the witness stand and that did not sit well with the public. In some ways, Clinton set us up for being number about the more atrocious and criminal behavior by Bush. If one were to categorize the biggest failure of the Clinton legacy, I'd have to say that sits far higher than his perjury charge.

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