As tragic events unfold along the Gulf coast, a stunned nation reels in disbelief at the notion that the most powerful country ever to exist cannot provide for the basic essentials to sustain the lives of tens of thousands of its own citizens. The idea is almost unfathomable: that an America that could put a man on the moon, feed the world's hungry and protect its oppressed, cannot in 2005 supply food, water, security and basic medical care to the victims of a hurricane. Yet this appears to be the situation. How is this possible? How could this have possibly happened?
Unfortunately the handwriting for disaster has been on the wall for quite some time. Although it began with the systematic disassembling of the federal government and it’s programs in the eighties, the last six years of one-party control have brought the situation to a head. Today all that is left of our nation’s ability to respond to disaster are a thousand points of faith-based, compassionate- conservative light, and this is obviously not enough.
From the start, the present administration in particular has been ruthless in its quest to re-mold both the nation and the world to fit a predetermined vision. In their quest to accomplish their goals they have demonstrated a willingness to manipulate, mislead and deceive. But perhaps worse than the deceit has been the utter incompetence with which they have proceeded with their plans.
From the claim that Iraqis would greet US troops with flowers and candy to the assertions about weapons of mass destruction, they have been proved to be wrong. From the inability or unwillingness to supply our troops with the necessary tools to wage war to the gross underestimation about the size of the force needed to control a conquered Iraq, they have been proved to be wrong. From the claim that the vast oil wealth of Iraq would pay for the cost of rebuilding Iraq to the assertion that fighting terrorist "there" would make us safer here, they have been proved to be wrong. Almost every premise given for the war, and every decision made about its execution have been proved to be wrong. Now, we are seeing the same rank incompetence being revealed in New Orleans and the Gulf States.
It is ironic that once again tragedy strikes our nation as our president vacations. Once again he reacts slowly, and with uncertainty. Once again he fails to see danger on the horizon. Once again, Americans die.
"Who would have thought terrorists would fly a plane into a building" sounds eerily like "Who would have thought the levees would break". Bush strumming his guitar as people drowned looks not unlike Bush reading "My Pet Goat" as thousands perished in the World Trade Center. The people trampled to death on a Baghdad bridge look not unlike the lost souls wandering I-10 in New Orleans, looking for a way out of hell. The coffins of the 2000 servicemen and women killed in Iraq are not unlike the coffins of the thousands killed in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.
Untruth upon untruth, mistake upon mistake, death upon death--this is the legacy of the Bush administration.