As I start this entry (though I don't think as I finish) it's Friday night and I'm kickin' it Rorystyle, I've just read some comics, watched some Arrested Development, am trading snarky witticisms with my roommate and she's also singing to me. But I'm also thinking about the disaster and, God forgive me, it's political implications. Lots of people are blaming the government for its failure to respond adequately to this horror and they're blaming the President for these failures. I'm not entirely comfortable with this. I'm not in the camp of what's sometimes called the Looney Left that believes George W Bush is some sort of demonic being, but I do think he's a terrible leader, and fanatically committed to some very stupid ideological fallacies. And it shows.
But I don't want to talk about Katrina right now, believe me I don't. I want to rewind a bit. About four years ago, to the last big apocalyptic event (on these shores of course, fuck Indochina or Sudeyann or whatever, we're Americans) Let's talk about the world famous morning of September 11, 2001. There are some fairly crazy people who believe that Bush deliberately allowed it to happen, or in fact, orchestrated the whole thing, and believe lots of other utter, pernicious nonsense along those lines, I'm not one of them. There's a much larger faction of our populace that the attacks could have been prevented if those in charge had been listening and doing their jobs properly. Am I one of them? Pretty much, not quite. I feel if you add up all the information that (we know of) the government had: The Moussaui investigation in Minneapolis, the data they had on Atta, NSA interceptions, stuff that was coming in from German intelligence and elsewhere overseas, the CIA memo, the warnings that were being desperately issued by people like Richard Clarke, all that just the top of my head, it all adds up to the fact that there were dots to connect that weren't being connected. John Ashcroft stopped flying on commercial aircraft in July, 2001. That's not conspiracy theory, that's what the reality based community calls "a fact". They knew an attack was coming (hell *I* knew an attack was coming for years, because I read the right magazines) If they had worked harder to anticipate the nature of that attack...Could they have stopped it? I don't know, quite likely not. But that doesn't change the fact that much, much more could have and should have been done with that goal in mind. There's no question that the Administration was caught with its pants around it's *Goddamn ankles* and, sickeningly, rather than admit this and try to move forward, they repeatedly lied, covered up and obfuscated this reality.
Fast forward back to the present day, we have what I perceive to be a colossal, colossal failure to help the people who needed it. As soon as it became clear, meteorologically, that thing was going to destroy so much of the Gulf Coast, a massive federal evacuation and assistance plan should have been, if not deployed, put in place, and don't give me any "libertarian" crap about how that would be Big Brother exercising his totalitarian grip, and fuck the laws on the books about how the governor has to make a formal request for assistance and bla bla...I was under the impression that "9/11 changed everything". The latest "what the fuck" to come out of the region has been that the Red Cross (whom I recently gave ten bucks to at Barack Obama's helpful suggestion) is banned from the region by the National Guard "Because it would encourage peole to stay". Now when the military bans the Red Cross from disaster sites in other countries, we usually call THAT totalitarianism.
By the way you should all be reading http://www.nielsenhayden.com/makinglight/ because Neil Gaiman regards its proprietor Theresa Nielsen Hayden as one of the more brilliant sources of information on the planet, which is a hell of an endorsement, also one of my roommate's best friends works with her at Tor Books, and that's awesome. Anyway, from her I've learned that a while back the Department of Homeland Security decided to privatise hurricane management services in New Orleans. Privatise...Oh wonderful... Handed out a nice .5 million dollar contract to something called Innovative Something or Other. Praise be the glories of the free market! They did a bangup job whoever the hell they are!
Anyway, my point to all this is that for the second time in four years, a Nightmare Scenario has played itself out on American soil, both times, thousands of people have died, and in both cases, the response from our government has been woefully, woefully inadequate. One man, George W. Bush, must ultimately be held responsible for this. Is that fair? No, it's not fair, but as the old saying goes, and as the last week has ambly demonstrated, neither is life. The President must be held responsible because he is the Man in the Chair (when he isn't on the ranch that is) he's supposed to be Captain Kirk, the man with the magical buck stopping abilities. Only he's very much not. Would this clusterfuck upon clusterfuck still have happened with a better person in the White House? I don't know. But the point is, no one else IS in the White House.
In baseball you get three strikes. But this ain't baseball.