September 01, 2005

Holding Bush Accountable

"Casual", "carelessness", "complacency" -- these are words used by the New York Times in describing George Bush's response to the national catastrophe known as Katrina.

The conservative Manchester Union-Leader, in describing Bush's response, uses words like "diffident detachment", and "unsuitable." One of their conclusions is: "One of the problems Katrina has exposed is not just the vulnerability of the Gulf's energy supplies but the need for a comprehensive energy plan that relies on more varied sources of energy."

Michael Chertoff, this morning on CNN, answered Soledad O'Brien's question about why the Department of Homeland Security has not set up some kind of registry of refugees so that families and friends could contact each other by saying it would happen eventually but that the government is busy rescuing people. But somehow, the Times-Picayune newspaper, based in ravaged New Orleans has been able to start a missing persons section on its website.

Haley Barbour, King of Mississippi, sloughed off pointed questions from Miles O'Brien of CNN about the slow government response, basically responded by saying that this is all "hard work." Sounds familiar, huh? Barbour also said he was not about to criticize the government. Barbour, the Governor of Mississippi, is never referred to as the former head of the Republican National Committee.

It is probably true that this is not the time to concentrate on what went wrong, but rather on what needs to be done to save the people who need to be saved, support the people who need to be supported, and recover the bodies of those who have died. But, at the same time, we must keep a clear record of how utterly unprepared the Bush government appears to have been for this disaster. The time has come to hold this government accountable and responsible for its ongoing awful policies and its stupid mistakes.

The right-wing is going to try to deflect this criticism by saying that liberals and progressives are blaming Bush for Katrina. That, of course, is idiotic. But we can hold Bush accountable for his incompetence and his inability to protect the American people here at home.

Here is a prime example:

Editor & Publisher has a piece which asks the question "Did New Orleans Catastrophe Have to Happen? 'Times-Picayune' Had Repeatedly Raised Federal Spending Issues." The basic conclusion is that the money that was needed to strengthen the levees went to Iraq instead. The Bush government did not do what was necessary to make Americans secure here at home.

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