The Columbia Critic

A place to debate anything we want to. We'll talk Columbia campus issues. We'll talk up the homosexual problem. We'll talk China. And we'll talk without resorting to partisan rhetoric. We may be left. We may be right. But we aren't going to be quoting any party line. We're leading the discussion. But feel free to chime in. Hannity and Colmes this is not.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

How to take a kidney punch

Professional boxers will throw a light jab that he hopes will fake out his opponent and then deliver a crushing blow as the opponent stumbles. Sometimes though, this leaves his body open and his opponent deals him a bone crunching hook into his kidney or ribcage. [ok. I made that entire thing up, the only thing I know about boxing is Punch Out! for Nintendo and that one Dreamcast game].

The Bush administration has been extremely adept and I'll give them credit, famous for (at least to those paying attention) dodging blows and making the American public think one thing while they are doing another. You're really doing something right when a big enough percentage of the American populace actually believes that Saddam Hussein, given the evidence, was responsible for 9-11 and not Al-Qaeda. That's a scary thought that the propaganda machine works so well or that the American people are so easily mislead.

After 9-11, George W. Bush sat in an elementary school classroom frozen by the news of the terrorist attack on our nation. He continued to read to the children, the response to the crisis was delayed, he had no idea what to do, no idea what initiative to take. He was scared and lost.

After Katrina devastated New Orleans, George W. Bush said:

"I don't think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees. They did anticipate a serious storm. But these levees got breached. And as a result, much of New Orleans is flooded. And now we have to deal with it and will."

"[Katrina] exposed serious problems in our response capability at all levels of government".

"And to the extent the federal government didn't fully do its job right, I take responsibility... I want to know what went wrong or what went right ... It's in our national interest that we find out exactly what went on so we can better respond."

Hindsight. It is easy to be a strong leader after you contemplate what has happened after it sinks in for a few days. It is easy to roll up your sleeves and be the macho guy that America is looking towards in its days of and after crises. Today the damning news came out. There is now video evidence of presidential briefings where George W. Bush, FEMA chief Michael Brown, and Homeland Security secretary Michael Chertoff and other federal and local officials met to discuss the hurricane and were warned about levees breaking, not enough resources etc.

In Florida we know what category 5 hurricane does. Hurricane Andrew in '92 wasn't even the strongest hurricane from the Atlantic Ocean, but we got... to be blunt, fucked.

It's not like the damage done to New Orleans wasn't something that people had predicted for years prior to Katrina. Bush steadfastly said, we're fully prepared. In the past months, former FEMA chief Michael Brown was getting dumped on, people called him stupid, incompetent, and a litany of other salacious things. Just earlier during the actual Hurricane we heard from Bush, "you're doing a heckuva job Brownie", and not the support from the White House was silent.

Sorry guy.

You can only get dumped on for so long though, and because of spite or for moral whistle blowing reasons, the private video made its way to the Associated Press. I bet "Brownie" is giving himself a little chuckle right now.

The video almost vindicates him.

"A top hurricane expert voiced "grave concerns" about the levees and then-
Federal Emergency Management Agency chief Michael Brown told the president and
Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff that he feared there weren't enough disaster teams to help evacuees at the Superdome."
"I'm concerned about ... their ability to respond to a catastrophe within a catastrophe,"
"We're going to need everything that we can possibly muster, not only in this state and in the region, but the nation, to respond to this event," Brown warned. He called the storm "a bad one, a big one" and implored federal agencies to cut through red tape to help people, bending rules if necessary.

"Go ahead and do it," Brown said. "I'll figure out some way to justify it. ... Just let them yell at me."

All on video.

What did Bush do? He sat silently. He assured everyone that the government would do everything in its power to help. He assured everyone things would be fine.

As of today, about 1300 people are dead due to Katrina. You could almost say that Bush's optimism and lack of action increased their probability of death about ten-fold.

After 9-11. Inaction. After being warned about Katrina's potential for destruction. Inaction. Heroic after people have died, our President is not supposed to be a hand waving queen figure. History will remember you Mr. Bush, mourning families will as well.

"We are fully prepared."- George W. Bush.


  • At 3:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I agree that the fed's could have done more, but I adamantly disagree that the 1300 dead figure is on the shoulders of President Bush (even if he does take responsibility). He is not responsible for New Orlean's evacuation. He did issue a state of Emergency and did urge residents to leave. He certainly could have done more (although a mandatory evacuation and/or sending in the military may have been considered unconstitutional). Mayor Ray Nagin could have done something...anything. He barely suggested evacuation, and he failed to implement the city's evacuation plan that would have saved a great percentage of the victims.

    The tape is damning evidence, but I think it only tells a fraction of the mismanagement. The Federal response is only a small portion of the action that was necessary to avoid this catastrophe.


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