FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

A Simple Test for Bush

by MAXINE CONANT

This is a multiple-choice test.

You are the President of the United States. You talk a great deal about homeland security and keeping Americans safe.

1. You learn that an immense category five hurricane is bearing relentlessly toward the Gulf Coast.

(a) You immediately cut short your vacation and put all federal relief agencies on high alert. You monitor the progress of the storm. You coordinate with governors and mayors in the Gulf states. Together you put the National Guard (those few left who aren’t in Iraq) and the military on standby to move at the earliest possible moment if necessary. You mobilize helicopters, airplanes, boats, trucks, and buses to ferry survivors to safety if necessary. You make sure shelters are stocked with provisions and medical assistance and are prepared to receive hurricane victims if necessary. In other words, you step up and take charge because IT’S YOUR JOB. You are our LEADER. It happened on YOUR WATCH.

(b) You yawn as though it’s no big deal and continue your vacation. Being The President is very tiring. Sometimes it’s not as much fun as Karl promised it would be.

2. You learn that the hurricane actually went where it was headed.

(a) You immediately put into effect the relief effort you set in place when you learned the storm was imminent.

(b) You decide to fly over the area and confirm for yourself that the rumors of a killer storm are really true and not just more bleeding-heart, liberal-media whining. You look out the window of Air Force One and mutter, “Huh. Where’d Mississippi go?”

3. Experts have long predicted that “the big one” would eventually hit New Orleans. It was a matter of when, not if. These same experts have warned that if the levees failed, the city would be inundated. Therefore, the Army Corps of Engineers studied the levee system, determined the weakest spots in the flood walls of the canals, and began shoring them up.

(a) You make sure, for the safety and security of American citizens, that the flood-wall repairs are completed. Also, you understand that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, that it is more fiscally sound to spend millions protecting New Orleans than billions rebuilding it.

(b) Experts? You don’t need no stinking experts. You’re The President. You’re so obsessed with terrorists that you’re blind to any other kind of danger. You and the Republicans in Congress decide to slash funding for the Corps of Engineers and instead squander that money, and billions more, invading a distant, non-threatening land in the name of “homeland security.” Consequently, the flood walls are never repaired.

4. Hurricane Katrina tosses Lake Pontchartrain violently against Orleans and Jefferson Parishes. Flood walls on three canals are breached at the predicted points. Thousands of residents of New Orleans who did not have the resources to evacuate the city are struggling through waist-high, polluted water; drowning, starving, dehydrated, frustrated, angry, dying in the streets and in attics; dying from heat stroke, and now, thanks to widespread looting, well armed.

(a) You send Homeland Security and FEMA (Federal EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT Agency) to establish order, and the Army and National Guard to help the beleaguered NOPD maintain order. You send food and water — by air drop if necessary. You find a way to get those people out of there immediately and take them someplace safe. That’s why we pay you the big bucks.

(b) You are asleep at the wheel. When you wake up, you stumble and stutter and mutter about how complicated, unexpected, unanticipated, unprecedented . . . You sit glaze-eyed and complacent with a taxpayer-funded roof over your head and advise people who have lost everything — who have no food, no drinking water, no baby formula, no dry clothes, no sanitation, no medicine, and no homes — to be patient. You allow that perhaps mistakes were made. The passive voice: classic refuge of those trying to escape accountability.

If you answered (b) to all of the above, your names is George W. Bush, and you are not qualified to run a Laundromat, much less the greatest nation on earth. (No offense to Laundromat managers.) The only thing you are good at is spin; you and your minions spin like spiders on amphetamines. You deserve nothing so much as to be immediately impeached for your bungled handling of the hurricane relief effort and your general gross incompetence.

Of course, even the President cannot prevent a hurricane. But you could have responded faster and more decisively. You could have taken the security of New Orleans more seriously in 2003 when you effectively ended work on the flood walls. And, of course, the unanswered question will always hang in the air: If the majority of people overflowing the Superdome and the Morial Convention Center had been white . . .?

New Orleans was known as “the city that care forgot”; you will be remembered as “the President that forgot to care.” One of America’s great cities, a unique national treasure that was my second home, may never again be the same vibrant and gracious place that I knew and loved so well. But, hey, that’s cool. At least people in Iraq are now free to vote for the theocracy of their choice. I don’t know about the rest of the country, but that makes me feel a whole lot more secure.

MAXINE CONANT, a Belen native, and former resident of New Orleans.

 

 

 

 

 

 

CLARIFICATION

ALEXANDER COCKBURN, JEFFREY ST CLAIR, BECKY GRANT AND THE INSTITUTE FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF JOURNALISTIC CLARITY, COUNTERPUNCH

We published an article entitled “A Saudiless Arabia” by Wayne Madsen dated October 22, 2002 (the “Article”), on the website of the Institute for the Advancement of Journalistic Clarity, CounterPunch, www.counterpunch.org (the “Website”).

Although it was not our intention, counsel for Mohammed Hussein Al Amoudi has advised us the Article suggests, or could be read as suggesting, that Mr Al Amoudi has funded, supported, or is in some way associated with, the terrorist activities of Osama bin Laden and the Al Qaeda terrorist network.

We do not have any evidence connecting Mr Al Amoudi with terrorism.

As a result of an exchange of communications with Mr Al Amoudi’s lawyers, we have removed the Article from the Website.

We are pleased to clarify the position.

August 17, 2005

 

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

January 19, 2017
Melvin Goodman
America’s Russian Problem
Dave Lindorff
Right a Terrible Wrong: Why Obama Should Reverse Himself and Pardon Leonard Peltier
Laura Carlsen
Bringing Mexico to Its Knees Will Not “Make America Great Again”
John W. Whitehead
Nothing is Real: When Reality TV Programming Masquerades as Politics
Yoav Litvin
Time to Diss Obey: the Failure of Identity Politics and Protest
Mike Whitney
The Trump Speech That No One Heard 
Conn Hallinan
Is Europe Heading for a “Lexit”?
Stephen Cooper
Truth or Twitter? Why Donald Trump Is No John Steinbeck
Binoy Kampmark
Scoundrels of Patriotism: The Freeing of Chelsea Manning
Ramzy Baroud
The Balancing Act is Over: What Elor Azaria Taught Us about Israel
Josh Hoxie
Why Health Care Repeal is a Stealth Tax Break for Millionaires
Kim C. Domenico
It’s High Time for a Politics of Desire
Shamus Cooke
Inauguration Day and Beyond
Clark T. Scott
More and More Lousy
David Swanson
Samantha Power Can See Russia from Her Padded Cell
Kevin Carson
Right to Work and the Apartheid State
Malaika H. Kambon
Resisting the Lynching of Haitian Liberty!
January 18, 2017
Gary Leupp
The Extraordinary Array of Those Questioning Trump’s Legitimacy (and Their Various Reasons)
Charles Pierson
Drone Proliferation Ramps Up
Ajamu Baraka
Celebrating Dr. King with the Departure of Barack Obama
David Underhill
Trumpology With a Twist
Chris Floyd
Infinite Jest: Liberals Laughing All the Way to Hell
Stansfield Smith
Obama’s Hidden Role in Worsening Climate Change
Ron Leighton
Trump is Not Hitler: How the Misuse of History Distorts the Present as Well as the Past
Ralph Nader
An Open Letter to President-Elect Donald Trump
Binoy Kampmark
NATO and Obsolescence: Donald Trump and the History of an Alliance
Zarefah Baroud
‘The Power to Create a New World’: Trump and the Environmental Challenge Ahead
Julian Vigo
Obama Must Pardon the Black Panthers in Prison or in Exile
Alfredo Lopez
The Whattsapp Scandal
Clancy Sigal
Russian Hacking and the Smell Test
Terry Simons
The Truth About Ethics and Condoms
January 17, 2017
John Pilger
The Issue is Not Trump, It is Us
John K. White
Is Equality Overrated, Too?
Michael J. Sainato
The DNC Hands the Democratic Party Over to David Brock and Billionaire Donors
John Davis
Landscapes of Shame: America’s National Parks
Andrew Smolski
Third Coast Pillory: Politicians and Rhetorical Tricks
Chris Busby
The Scientific Hero of Chernobyl: Alexey V. Yablokov, the Man Who Dared to Speak the Truth
David Macaray
Four Reasons Trump Will Quit
Chet Richards
The Vicissitudes of the Rural South
Clancy Sigal
“You Don’t Care About Jobs”: Why the Democrats Lost
Robert Dodge
Martin Luther King and U.S. Politics: Time for a U.S. Truth and Reconciliation Commission
Jack Sadat Lee
I Dream of Justice for All the Animal Kingdom
James McEnteer
Mourning Again in America
January 16, 2017
Paul Street
How Pure is Your Hate?
Jeffrey St. Clair - Alexander Cockburn
Did the Elites Have Martin Luther King Jr. Killed?
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail