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Saturday, September 10, 2005

Spinning in the Hurricane

All the Administration apologists and spin-doctors (including the illustrious Senate Majority Leader Frist) are out on the talk circuits trying to convince you that the New Orleans disaster is due largely to a failure of state and local government to take proper and timely action. Do not believe them; they are lying to you. The Friday (8/26/05) before hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans, the Governor of the State of Louisiana declared a state of emergency. Even if he had not, the US Secretary of Homeland Security had statutory authority to declare the Gulf Coast region the site of an Incident of National Significance, and immediately begin to move federal troops and equipment, and preposition supplies of medicines, food, and water to staging areas near the endangered region. He failed to do so until almost a week later.

The very next day (8/27/05), the President of the United States declared the Gulf Coast a disaster area. Had there been any prior doubt about who was in charge, it was resolved that Saturday before hurricane Katrina struck. It was then already past time for the federal government to move. As nearly we can tell, Secretary of Homeland Security, Michael Chertoff, and FEMA Director Michael Brown, who were now at the helm, sat on their collective hands. The President, his cabinet level assistant, and the FEMA Director remained below deck while the ship of state drifted without a captain into the teeth of the hurricane. Can any of these men now claim that he was unaware of the pending disaster or misinformed about its magnitude?

Not that either the Mayor of New Orleans or the Governor of the State performed well in preparation for or in response to Katrina. Apparently neither of them could pour piss out of a boot if the instructions were printed on the heel. Nevertheless, the lion's share of the blame for the drowning of New Orleans lies squarely on the shoulders of the federal government which almost four years after 9-11 remains asleep at the switch and incapable of protecting the country from disasters of any kind.

Standby, folks. Coming soon to national TV near you will be a scene transmitted from the White House in which our esteemed President will present Medals of Freedom to his disgraced FEMA Director "Brownie" and his impotent Secretary of Homeland Security "Chertie" for their actions in preparing for and coping with hurricane Katrina, just as he rewarded CIA director Tenet for his slam dunk analysis of the pre-war Iraq WMD intelligence, and Ambassador Paul Bremer for his spectacularly successful conduct of the Iraq occupation.

William's Whimsical Words:

Is "Brownie" still doing a "heck of a job," Mr. President?

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