Thursday, September 01, 2005

The Path is Clear

George W. Bush gave one of the worst speeches of his life yesterday, especially given the level of national distress and the need for words of consolation and wisdom.

In what seems to be a ritual in this administration, the president appeared a day later than he was needed. He then read an address of a quality more appropriate for an Arbor Day celebration: a long laundry list of pounds of ice, generators and blankets delivered to the stricken Gulf Coast. He advised the public that anybody who wanted to help should send cash, grinned, and promised that everything would work out in the end.

We will, of course, endure, and the City of New Orleans must come back. But looking at the pictures on television yesterday of a place abandoned to the forces of flood, fire and looting, it was hard not to wonder exactly how that is going to come to pass.

Right now, hundreds of thousands of American refugees need our national concern and care. Thousands of people still need to be rescued from imminent peril. Public health threats must be controlled in New Orleans and throughout southern Mississippi.

Sacrifices may be necessary to make sure that all these things happen in an orderly, efficient way. But this administration has never been one to counsel sacrifice. And nothing about the president's demeanor yesterday - which seemed casual to the point of carelessness - suggested that he understood the depth of the current crisis.

While our attention must now be on the Gulf Coast's most immediate needs, the nation will soon ask why New Orleans's levees remained so inadequate. Publications from the local newspaper to National Geographic have fulminated about the bad state of flood protection in this beloved city, which is below sea level.

Why were developers permitted to destroy wetlands and barrier islands that could have held back the hurricane's surge?

Why was Congress, before it wandered off to vacation, engaged in slashing the budget for correcting some of the gaping holes in the area's flood protection?

It would be some comfort to think that, as Mr. Bush cheerily announced, America "will be a stronger place" for enduring this crisis. Complacency will no longer suffice, especially if experts are right in warning that global warming may increase the intensity of future hurricanes. But since this administration won't acknowledge that global warming exists, the chances of leadership seem minimal. "

My words?

No, these words come from today's editorial in the New York Times.

And the conservative New Hamshire Union Leader opined this:

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. "

This afternoon, I heard Cindy Sheehan talk to several thousand demonstrators for peace. She was larger than I imagined. The Veteran who was there with her was even larger. The slam poet was hard and right on. The Flatlanders sang with their souls and without instruments. Eliza Gilkyson sang from her heart. There were others.

This unlikely spokesman of the peace movement, with the little chain tattoo around her ankle, said that the POTUS had finally said that the noble cause for which her son was sacrificed was in fact,


I looked unbelievingly at the stranger next to me.

She looked at me as if we both just had the same aural hallucination.

Here it is.

Bush: U.S. Must Protect Iraq From Terror
The Associated Press

President Bush on Tuesday answered growing anti-war protests with a fresh reason for American troops to continue fighting in Iraq: protection of the country's vast oil fields that he said would otherwise fall under the control of terrorist extremists.

Bush, standing against a backdrop of the imposing USS Ronald Reagan, the newest aircraft carrier in the Navy's fleet, said terrorists will be denied their goal."We will defeat the terrorists," Bush said. "We will build a free Iraq that will fight terrorists instead of giving them aid and sanctuary."

"If Zarqawi and bin Laden gain control of Iraq, they would create a new training ground for future terrorist attacks," Bush said. "They'd seize oil fields to fund their ambitions. They could recruit more terrorists by claiming a historic victory over the United States and our coalition."

This is our new noble cause?

In the meantime, 950 Iraquis die on a bridge in panic.

Oil goes up.

We lose our first great city to climate change.

If you connect the dots.

The Path is Clear .


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Anonymous Anonymous said...

The overall dearth of leadership in our country is appalling. How long have I been reading about New Orleans precarious fate should a major hurricane strike? Years. What's been done to prevent or ameloriate the possibility? Beats me. How long have we been reading and worrying about pollution, global warming, traffic problems, contamination of our waterways? Years. Yet the solution is to build more roads??? Send troops and money to fight an illegitimate war??? Our so-called leadership is so compromised by money and special interests, the general welfare of the country has been relegated to the back of the bus. KICK THE BUMS OUT!

5:59 AM  
Blogger Charlie Loving said...

When all is lost. The country needs someone to take the standard and lead. W couldn't lead if he wanted to. The speech was amazing and that stupid smirk made me want to vomit.

In New Orleans the population has nothing. No water or food and only in some cases rudimentary shelter. So they have reverted to the base instinct of survival. People are as we know animals and when pushed hard a lot will be like animals. They need water and food so stores will be looted.

At some point they will just have to hunker and wait for the help to come. Help run by helpers stressed to the limit.

Then as john Q. Public sits in a half foot of water he gets his Visa bill and his house payment and car payment bill. He has no job and won't have for months to come and now he is going insolvent. An interesting part of the great disaster of 2005. This is a real mess that goes beyond imagination.

6:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The carelessness and callousness of this administration is inexcusable.

Perhaps the New York Times editorial is just the beginning of torrent of criticism that needs to flow from the media.

The administration's slip is showing.

7:56 AM  
Blogger Step Back said...

No. The "noble cause" is Jenna and Barbara.

Nobility do not go to war to make those "ultimate scarifices" for which *their* country will always honor them.

Nobility stay at home and do "compassionate" fly overs from 3,000 feet above, benevolently waving their royal King Gearge palms at the wretched below.

He died for them. Casey died for Jenna and Barbara.

(I'm not picking on them personally. They didn't ask to be born into the Bush clan. It's more the mentality of Bushism, the idea that there are those born to go to Vietnam/ Iraq and make ultimate sacrifices; and those that are born to go to debutant dances and Yale without ever stretching a brain muscle.)

8:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yesterday I felt like we should all wear black and grieve and mourn. I know. You already do. Your message today was powerful. I am sending it on.

12:44 AM  

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