Real Americans are paying with their lives, and all of us are paying from our wallets, while Pres. Bush and his production team are busy tinkering with the lights for his next disaster scene photo shoots
|For several years we have argued in these columns that the Bush administration hyped the so-called war on terror for political ends. Not that terrorists don’t pose a real threat. |
However, Pres. George W. Bush’s political handlers saw in 9/11 an opportunity to redeem his fledgling presidency, which started out without broad legitimacy as a result of the disputed 2000 elections. The country required strategically calculated responses to the terrorist attacks on 9/11. Instead the Bush administration whipped up mass hysteria, xenophobia and scare tactics to leverage the tragedy for partisan political advantage.
It worked. Bush’s popularity sky-rocketed thanks to the phony persona fabricated by Bush’s public relations machine of a war-time president leading a round-the-clock charge against an ubiquitous, lethal and shadowy enemy.
Bush’s shameful political shenanigans exploiting a genuine American tragedy have cost Americans hundreds of billions of dollars in wasteful expenditures and even more in lost productivity. His reckless and unjustified war in Iraq has cost tens of thousands of innocent Iraqi lives as well as those of almost 2,000 American soldiers – and still counting.
Hurricane Katrina has ripped the lid off the underground sewer down which the country’s precious resources have been poured these past four years. The fatal failures of the federal government’s response and the utter callousness of Pres. Bush and members of his administrations to the wrenching tragedy are now too well known for us to belabor.
For years, the American public has been deluded into thinking that the Bush team was aggressively at work, supposedly in secret, because the nature of the terrorist threat, we were constantly told, required covert planning. Now we know that they have simply been partying in the dark with the money bilked from the public trough. Billions and billions of dollars have been squandered in wasteful expenditures. Billions more have been awarded in sweetheart, no bid contracts to politically connected businesses, such as Vice President Dick Cheney’s old firm Halliburton, a pattern that is tragically reappearing in contracts for Katrina relief.
Katrina has also unveiled the utter incompetence of the Bush administration. It is appalling, even incomprehensible, that the richest and the most powerful country in the world was helpless for almost a week to rescue tens of thousands of people stranded in New Orleans. Four years after 9/11, the Department of Homeland Security and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) clearly have no plans to respond to real disaster.
Although the country is understandably focused on the response to Hurricane Katrina, the federal government’s failures were equally stark three weeks later in Hurricane Rita. The country fortuitously dodged a bullet only because Rita weakened before landfall. But chaotic images of 2.5 million Texans stranded in choked highways, dehydrated and out of fuel, after following the government’s wrong-headed advice to evacuate is testimony to the abysmal state of emergency preparedness in the country.
The ineptitude of this administration knows no bounds. It lurches scared and panic-stricken from crisis to crisis and has exacerbated the problem by political cronyism that has elevated unqualified and incompetent political hucksters to critical positions, including the disastrous FEMA director, whose chief qualification for the job was his stint as head of the International Arabian Horse Association.
Real Americans are paying with their lives, and all of us are paying from our wallets, while Pres. Bush and his production team are busy tinkering with the lights for his next disaster scene photo shoots. Just how much more wretched and pathetic can it get?