Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
Keep CounterPunch ad free. Support our annual fund drive today!

A Simple Test for Bush


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.









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, (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:

2016 Fund Drive
Smart. Fierce. Uncompromised. Support CounterPunch Now!

  • cp-store
  • donate paypal

CounterPunch Magazine


October 26, 2016
John W. Whitehead
A Deep State of Mind: America’s Shadow Government and Its Silent Coup
Eric Draitser
Dear Liberals: Trump is Right
Anthony Tarrant
On the Unbearable Lightness of Whiteness
Mark Weisbrot
The Most Dangerous Place in the World: US Pours in Money, as Blood Flows in Honduras
Chris Welzenbach
The Establishment and the Chattering Hack: a Response to Nicholas Lemann
Luke O'Brien
The Churchill Thing: Some Big Words About Trump and Some Other Chap
Sabia Rigby
In the “Jungle:” Report from the Refugee Camp in Calais, France
Linn Washington Jr.
Pot Decriminalization Yields $9-million in Savings for Philadelphia
Pepe Escobar
“America has lost” in the Philippines
Pauline Murphy
Political Feminism: the Legacy of Victoria Woodhull
Lizzie Maldonado
The Burdens of World War III
David Swanson
Slavery Was Abolished
Thomas Mountain
Preventing Cultural Genocide with the Mother Tongue Policy in Eritrea
Colin Todhunter
Agrochemicals And The Cesspool Of Corruption: Dr. Mason Writes To The US EPA
October 25, 2016
David Swanson
Halloween Is Coming, Vladimir Putin Isn’t
Hiroyuki Hamada
Fear Laundering: an Elaborate Psychological Diversion and Bid for Power
Priti Gulati Cox
President Obama: Before the Empire Falls, Free Leonard Peltier and Mumia Abu-Jamal
Kathy Deacon
Plus ça Change: Regime Change 1917-1920
Robin Goodman
Appetite for Destruction: America’s War Against Itself
Richard Moser
On Power, Privilege, and Passage: a Letter to My Nephew
Rev. William Alberts
The Epicenter of the Moral Universe is Our Common Humanity, Not Religion
Dan Bacher
Inspector General says Reclamation Wasted $32.2 Million on Klamath irrigators
David Mattson
A Recipe for Killing: the “Trust Us” Argument of State Grizzly Bear Managers
Derek Royden
The Tragedy in Yemen
Ralph Nader
Breaking Through Power: It’s Easier Than We Think
Norman Pollack
Centrist Fascism: Lurching Forward
Guillermo R. Gil
Cell to Cell Communication: On How to Become Governor of Puerto Rico
Mateo Pimentel
You, Me, and the Trolley Make Three
Cathy Breen
“Today Is One of the Heaviest Days of My Life”
October 24, 2016
John Steppling
The Unwoke: Sleepwalking into the Nightmare
Oscar Ortega
Clinton’s Troubling Silence on the Dakota Access Pipeline
Patrick Cockburn
Aleppo vs. Mosul: Media Biases
John Grant
Humanizing Our Militarized Border
Franklin Lamb
US-led Sanctions Targeting Syria Risk Adjudication as War Crimes
Paul Bentley
There Must Be Some Way Out of Here: the Silence of Dylan
Norman Pollack
Militarism: The Elephant in the Room
Patrick Bosold
Dakota Access Oil Pipeline: Invite CEO to Lunch, Go to Jail
Paul Craig Roberts
Was Russia’s Hesitation in Syria a Strategic Mistake?
David Swanson
Of All the Opinions I’ve Heard on Syria
Weekend Edition
October 21, 2016
Friday - Sunday
John Wight
Hillary Clinton and the Brutal Murder of Gaddafi
Diana Johnstone
Hillary Clinton’s Strategic Ambition in a Nutshell
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Trump’s Naked and Hillary’s Dead
John W. Whitehead
American Psycho: Sex, Lies and Politics Add Up to a Terrifying Election Season
Stephen Cooper
Hell on Earth in Alabama: Inside Holman Prison
Patrick Cockburn
13 Years of War: Mosul’s Frightening and Uncertain Future