I’ve been trying to understand the significance of Bush’s acknowledgement of responsibility for the pathetic response to the catastrophe wrought by Hurricane Katrina. After all, what does responsibility mean? Does it mean he will personally make amends for what went wrong? Will he send Christmas Cards with $20 bills slid inside to the overwhelmingly poor, African-American population displaced by flooding? Will Bush go down to New Orleans and personally help with the clean up, you know, help bail out a few homes, scrub the mud and mold off the walls, clean some carpets? And will he replace the homes that have been so contaminated with toxics or so damaged, that they’ll have to be demolished? Will he even send in a supply of bleach desperately needed “both to kill the bacteria from raw sewage so [people] could safely take a bath, and also to stop the spread of black mold that was swallowing the walls of those fortunate enough to still have a home?”
Does it even mean he’ll admit the failure of a policy that emasculated the Federal Emergency Management Agency on an ideology that disaster relief is a local and state problem, but whose rules obstruct everything?
We never found a resident who had ever seen even one FEMA official. No one had been able to successfully complete “Registration Intake” via the toll-free number. Most people we met still didn’t have electricity or phone service. We finally heard of one man who got through to FEMA — at 2:30 a.m. But when asked for insurance information he didn’t have and didn’t know how he could get since he’d lost everything and had no place else to turn, he just broke down and cried. The bureaucracy was killing him.
But the press seems to think it significant that Bush has admitted blame. Doug Thompson, in his Rant on Capitol Hill Blue explains that “Bush doesn’t admit mistakes because, obviously, he never makes them. Just ask the babbling minions who follow his every word and sing praises about his non-existent accomplishments.” Ah, so it’s the arrogance.
Would this be the same arrogance that led us into an undeclared war that has “never accurately named the enemy or the danger?” The same arrogance that made Iraq into a terrorist recruiting center, while diverting resources from the search for Osama bin Laden and Mullah Omar? The same arrogance that insists upon the USA PATRIOT act because we don’t really need all those civil liberties anyway? The same arrogance that marginalizes dissent as treasonous? The same arrogance that dismisses empirical evidence in favor of ideology? The same arrogance that sends National Guard troops for multiple tours of duty in Iraq after using the Texas Air National Guard to avoid combat duty in Vietnam and not even fulfilling that obligation? The same arrogance, that, well, the list goes on and on.
Arrogance is an issue, now?