Yesterday Bush delivered what may be his very first apology of his presidency. It wasn't anything to write home about, of course. "To the extent that the federal government ...ahh... didn't fully do it's job right, I take responsibility." Watch the pathetic video here. What ever happened to "the buck stops here"? Don't get me wrong, I'm glad to hear Mr. Bush finally apologize for something, especially for mishandling a disaster of this magnitude. The tragedy across the Gulf Coast has unfolded as it has over the past few weeks for one reason alone: there was no directive from the top of the chain of command to deal with it. I'm glad to hear Bush taking responsibility, because he is responsible, and he, Cheney, Chertoff, and others in his administration will have a lot to answer for. |
Firing the headless horseman (Arabian horses no less? Does Tony Blankley think this guy should be interrogated?) was a step in the right direction, but the fact that Bush hired him for that position in the first place is an incredible failure of leadership. Bush may be able to recover from this politically -- former Clinton aide and latex-boot-polishing pundit Dick Morris seems to think Bush will come out of this smelling sweeter than ever -- but the polls don't look good, and many, even some conservatives, are now calling for his impeachment.
Former CIA officer Larry Johnson reminds us that the legal grounds for criminal negligence are crystal clear: the Bush Administration failed to implement the National Response Plan, which lays down explicit protocols and chains of command for "Proactive Federal Response to Catastrophic Events." These protocols seem to have been ignored, with Bush, Cheney, and Chertoff all looking around sheepishly with their hands in their pockets. "Who, me?"
This really bodes ill for the Bush Administration's ability to deal with a potential terrorist attack. Bush's insistence that tying our troops down in Iraq will ensure that we don't have to fight terrorism at home may not be enough to keep would-be attackers at bay. Hurricane Katrina has shown the consequences of crippling our national guard. While Bush may portray himself as a steadfast warrior against terrorism, it is clear that his administration is incapable of handling disaster when it strikes. His response to September 11th came only after a few days of hiding -- whether he was ducking terrorists or the press at the time was a matter of debate. His response after Katrina was painfully slow in coming, and perhaps thousands have died in the interim. And if you don't think our enemies are paying attention, check out what Mas'ud Jazayeri, spokesman for Iran's Republican Guard, has been telling the press:
When the White House is [too] miserable to deal with a natural disaster, how can it enter into military confrontation with a [powerful] country like the Islamic Republic of Iran?.... A small mistake by America will turn each of its states into a crisis zone. Mismanagement and severe psychological problems that occurred during Hurricane Katrina openly explain that other countries have the power to turn different parts of America into war-hit zones at any point of time.... Insider information reveals a lack of coordination among military, security and political bodies of America. This information can help others deliver a blow against the US and cause many damages. Therefore, predictions of the collapse of America and its turning into a number of smaller states is completely realistic and possible from practical and logical points of view.... Never forget one thing about that incident [September 11, 2001], and
that is the fact that the US president and other official fled and took a
Pat Lang has the lowdown here. The issue isn't whether Jazayeri is right that the U.S. is a paper tiger, or even whether they believe it themselves. And it is certainly the case that Iranians are well aware that, paper tiger or no, the technological superiority of the U.S. military would guarantee at least a crushing aerial campaign against the regime if our countries ever came to open hostilities. But it is profoundly discomfiting to hear an enemy boast like this when you know he got one thing right -- the U.S. government, which is now badly bungling the war against Iran's former enemy (and soon-to-be client state), was incapable of delivering food and water to its own people until a week after a natural disaster.