Monday, September 12, 2005

Katrina, take 4

The AP reports from the Bush's tour of New Orleans today that he sought to clarify his comment on the Thursday after the storm that no one thought the levees would be breeched. According to AP reporter Jennifer Loven, Bushy "said he was referring to that 'sense of relaxation in a critical moment' when many people initially thought the storm had not inflicted heavy damage on the city." Right. We'll just lay aside for now just what that "'sense of relaxation in a critical moment" means--if not something like "letting your guard down" or "walking off bcause everything is cool." The Washington Post, reported on Sunday, September 11, 2005, in its excellent post mortem, that the National Weather Service, which Pennsylvania's junior Republican Senator Ricky Santorum wants to block from issuing public forecasts, reported at 8:59 a.m. on August 29--the morning Katrina hit--that a levee on the Industrial Canal had been breeched and the 9th Ward was going to flood. Other reports followed and by Monday night--that night--it was clear the city was filling up. Bushy is right that a lot of naive people, including reporters, had initially cheered that New Orleans had once more "dodged" the big one, but anyone paying attention knew what the commander-in-chief should have known--New Orleans was going under. So Bushy's clarification is best seen as a confession of ignorance. It reminds me that this is a man who four years earlier had not taken seriously a CIA briefing about a certain terriorist group planning to use jet planes to attack the U.S. And that's not blame gaming.

At the same press conference, the Bush, like other white Republican politicians and Clintonistas, denied that race played a role in the horror of New Orleans. Of course, were the Bushies to admit that racism exists, they would have to change their tune on civil rights and affirmative action--either support them in the name of the equality they say already exists or become more openly honest about their racism. Bushy might ask New Orleans mayor Ray Nagin about this one. In an interview with Gordon Russell of the heroic Times-Picayune, Nagin confirms that black people were turned back from crossing a bridge out of the city into a largely white parrish and goods were stockpiled outside the city but never brought in. I'm sure there are other explanations, but I can't think of them.

That is not to say that poor whites are not also ignored; they are. The Bushies like poor white people only if they can be persuaded to enlist and to vote for Bushies out of fear of raging yellow, bown, and black people. Otherwise, they have no use for them. Poor blacks, though, suffer discrimination on account of caste--race--as well as class.

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