FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Bush Should Have Wiretapped FEMA and Chertoff

While the Bush Administration spends time listening in on our phone and e-mail conversations, it would do well to read the memos and reports of its own employees. Setting the stage with its failure to protect the American people on September 11th, and then with its rush to war in Iraq with forged documents, no matter what the facts were, the Bush Administration has shown for the third time, with Hurricane Katrina, that when it really matters and US lives are on the line, it is at best confused and negligent.

On Monday, we will turn in our report to the Special Katrina Panel chaired by Congressman Tom Davis of Virginia. I have not been reticent with my words at that panel and I will not be reticent in our report.

While New Orleans was flooding and the Gulf States were being decimated, President Bush was on vacation at the Texas ranch; Vice President Cheney was fly-fishing in Wyoming; Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was booed as she took in a Broadway play and afterwards was spotted buying a reported $7,000 worth of Ferragamo shoes in New York City; Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld took in a San Diego Padres baseball game; Secretary of Homeland Security Chertoff, the principal man in charge of such disasters decided to stay home.

On Friday, August 26, Mayor Blanco declares a state of emergency Saturday, August 27, Blanco asks Bush to declare a federal state of emergency; that was done on the same day, giving the Department of Homeland Security and FEMA full authority to respond to Katrina–two full days before landfall Sunday, August 28, Mayor Nagin issues first ever mandatory evacuation and Secretary Chertoff is warned by the National Weather Service that the levees could be topped; Louisiana National Guard requests 700 buses from FEMA Monday, August 29, Katrina makes landfall as President Bush flies to Phoenix to share birthday cake with Senator John McCain; Governor Blanco again asks President Bush for assistance. She says, “We need everything you’ve got.”

Tuesday, August 30, Chertoff becomes aware that the levees have failed and New Orleans is flooding Wednesday, August 31, According to a DHS press statement, Chertoff is “extremely pleased with the response” of the government as thousands of New Orleans residents are stranded at the Convention Center, tens of thousands are trapped in deteriorating conditions in the Superdome, Thursday, September 1, Reminiscent of his remarks after September 11th, Bush claims no one expected the levees to fail, while his Secretary of State, in New York to visit the US Open, hits a few balls with Monica Seles at a NYC tennis club. Meanwhile, Mayor Nagin issues a desperate SOS for buses and supplies Friday, September 2, Officials from NIH, DoL, EPA made “frantic calls to the Department of Homeland Security” demanding that the worker-safety portion of the national response plan be activated, according to the Wall Street Journal. Saturday, September 3, According to the Wall Street Journal, FEMA finalizes the bus request.

Money for Louisiana levees was siphoned off for the war in Iraq. Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama all had at least one quarter of their National Guard stationed in Iraq. They took high water vehicles, humvees, and generators with them. The Pentagon admitted that the War in Iraq contributed to the federal government’s pitiful response.

Republican Mississippi governor, Haley Barbour, delivered an impassioned plea before our Panel for Congress and the feds to deliver to the people of Mississippi and the Gulf States. He said the uncertainty being created by federal inaction “is taking the starch out of people.”

On our site visit to the region, the Department of Homeland Security continues to take the starch out of people in the Gulf States, as well as here in Georgia, and everywhere that Katrina survivors find themselves. Not sure where they can rebuild, whether they can rebuild, or if they should even try to go back home. As Haley Barbour said, “uncertainty” is having “very negative effects on [the] recovery and rebuilding.”

The President took responsibility for the debacle that has become the story of Katrina survivors and is reported to soon ask Congress for another $18 billion in Katrina aid. Even Michael Brown has taken responsibility. But nowhere have I heard even the slightest peep of a mea culpa from Secretary Chertoff whose Department continues to wreak havoc on the lives of people who survived America’s fiercest storm. Many of the problems described by Governor Barbour stop in Chertoff’s shop. It is Secretary Chertoff who contracted with the mercenary outfit, Blackwater, to patrol New Orleans streets when Katrina survivors needed food, water, and rescue. It is Secretary Chertoff who still seems unaware that it is his function is to oversee emergency preparedness and respond to “major catastrophic disasters” And it is Secretary Chertoff who today presides over the cruel and callous treatment of people who have had their lives torn apart.

On Thursday, the Secretary acknowledged that mistakes were made; we all know that. But what are we doing to help the people of the Gulf States put their lives back together again? That is how we will be judged.

Today, we want to make sure that we do our part here in the 4th Congressional District to deliver answers to those still trying to get their lives back together and to the many businesses that have been blocked from participating in the rebuilding because they’ve been crowded out by no-bid heavy-weight contractors like Halliburton.

 

More articles by:

Weekend Edition
November 16, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Jonah Raskin
A California Jew in a Time of Anti-Semitism
Andrew Levine
Whither the Melting Pot?
Joshua Frank
Climate Change and Wildfires: The New Western Travesty
Nick Pemberton
The Revolution’s Here, Please Excuse Me While I Laugh
T.J. Coles
Israel Cannot Use Violent Self-Defense While Occupying Gaza
Rob Urie
Nuclear Weapons are a Nightmare Made in America
Paul Street
Barack von Obamenburg, Herr Donald, and Big Capitalist Hypocrisy: On How Fascism Happens
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Fire is Sweeping Our Very Streets Today
Aidan O'Brien
Ireland’s New President, Other European Fools and the Abyss 
Pete Dolack
“Winners” in Amazon Sweepstakes Sure to be the Losers
Richard Eskow
Amazon, Go Home! Billions for Working People, But Not One Cent For Tribute
Ramzy Baroud
In Breach of Human Rights, Netanyahu Supports the Death Penalty against Palestinians
Brian Terrell
Ending the War in Yemen- Congressional Resolution is Not Enough!
John Laforge
Woolsey Fire Burns Toxic Santa Susana Reactor Site
Ralph Nader
The War Over Words: Republicans Easily Defeat the Democrats
M. G. Piety
Reading Plato in the Time of the Oligarchs
Rafael Correa
Ecuador’s Soft Coup and Political Persecution
Brian Cloughley
Aid Projects Can Work, But Not “Head-Smacking Stupid Ones”
David Swanson
A Tale of Two Marines
Robert Fantina
Democrats and the Mid-Term Elections
Joseph Flatley
The Fascist Creep: How Conspiracy Theories and an Unhinged President Created an Anti-Semitic Terrorist
Joseph Natoli
Twitter: Fast Track to the Id
William Hawes
Baselines for Activism: Brecht’s Stance, the New Science, and Planting Seeds
Bob Wing
Toward Racial Justice and a Third Reconstruction
Ron Jacobs
Hunter S. Thompson: Chronicling the Republic’s Fall
Oscar Gonzalez
Stan Lee and a Barrio Kid
Jack Rasmus
Election 2018 and the Unraveling of America
Sam Pizzigati
The Democrats Won Big, But Will They Go Bold?
Yves Engler
Canada and Saudi Arabia: Friends or Enemies?
Cesar Chelala
Can El Paso be a Model for Healing?
Mike Ferner
The Tragically Misnamed Paris Peace Conference
Barry Lando
Trump’s Enablers: Appalling Parallels
Ariel Dorfman
The Boy Who Taught Me About War and Peace
Binoy Kampmark
The Disgruntled Former Prime Minister
Faisal Khan
Is Dubai Really a Destination of Choice?
Arnold August
The Importance of Néstor García Iturbe, Cuban Intellectual
James Munson
An Indecisive War To End All Wars, I Mean the Midterm Elections
Nyla Ali Khan
Women as Repositories of Communal Values and Cultural Traditions
Dan Bacher
Judge Orders Moratorium on Offshore Fracking in Federal Waters off California
Christopher Brauchli
When Depravity Wins
Robby Sherwin
Here’s an Idea
Susan Block
Cucks, Cuckolding and Campaign Management
Louis Proyect
The Mafia and the Class Struggle (Part Two)
David Yearsley
Smoke on the Water: Jazz in San Francisco
Elliot Sperber
All of Those Bezos
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail