The Despicable Blame Game

Give America credit: We’re not only the world’s lone superpower, but we also lead the league in self-serving scumbags that complain about anything and everything, and always of course, after the fact.

Usually a national tragedy such as the despair and horror seen nightly on TV from Louisiana and Mississippi will bring even a country’s most bitter enemies together. We saw that happen on 9/11, when the country rallied around Rudy Giuliani, President Bush and thousands of volunteers at Ground Zero in a sign of solidarity this nation had not seen since World War II.

No Democrats.

No Republicans.

Just a truly United States of America.

If 9/11 has had one rarely-spoken lasting effect, it is that no tragedy can possibly shock us anymore.

43,000 dead from an earthquake in Iran in December, 2003?

100,000 perish in a Tsuami in December, 2004?

Most recently, 900 Iraqis, mostly women and children, stampeded to death on a false alarm on a suicide bomber approaching a crowded bridge?

We don’t say it, but the thought process for most pretty much goes, “Well, it least it wasn’t us.”

Then Hurricane Katrina hits the Gulf Coast and destroys entire towns in Mississippi and forces two levees to break in New Orleans, thereby turning the old city into Venice…except this version carries decomposing bodies, disease and subsequent mayhem from looters.

As I write this, many are still trapped in their homes and apartments, a majority of them likely dead. Those who did survive obviously need our help: Through donations, volunteering, whatever it takes…

But for some of the more despicable elected officials and journalists in this world, this crisis is not seen as a tragedy, but instead as an opportunity.

Quick: Name the most hated person in the United States…

Answer: George W. Bush, of course.

Ronald Reagan once said that his opponents would blame him for bad weather at a 4th of July picnic if they could. Well, welcome to 2005, where our current President is being held accountable for, you guessed it, Hurricane Katrina.

Here’s a quote from one man who once was considered a serious Presidential candidate, where he talks about Bush’s response to the devastation:

“Many black people feel that their race, their property conditions and their voting patterns have been a factor in the response,” Jesse Jackson explained with a straight face to a reporter too vapid not to challenge him of making such a statement.

Of course, Louisiana voted for Bush in the past two elections and recently elected a Republican U.S. senator.

And it gets better…

“Complacency will no longer suffice, especially if experts are right in warning that global warming may increase the intensity of future hurricanes,” states the editorial page of what some call the apex of journalism, the New York Times. “But since this administration won’t acknowledge that global warming exists, the chances of leadership (see: Bush) seem minimal.”

What “experts” are the Times referring to exactly? Opinions can vary; but facts are concrete. Here’s one to chew on: With all of the alleged global warning that existed in the 20th Century, the number of total hurricanes Category 3 and above (Katrina was a Cat 4) has actually decreased over the past twenty years. To connect global warming to increases on hurricanes is completely irresponsible, but then again, so was hiring Jayson Blair.

So how does the global warming debate implicate Bush? Simple…because if GWB signed the Kyoto treaty (global environmental legislation proposed in 2001), which apparently would have reversed decades of global warming in four years, Katrina never would have been so powerful, the levees wouldn’t have broken, and the only thing the residents of New Orleans would have been talking about is whether Aaron Brooks will cut down on his interceptions for the Saints this year.


And don’t forget the argument that the war in Iraq is the reason the federal response was so slow. You see, if 30 percent of the Louisiana National Guard had been available who are currently fighting in Iraq, the response to Katrina would have been swift and without delay or complications.

Right…those 38,000 National Guard troops and almost 13,000 active-component forces currently in the area shows we’re completely depleted.

This was only the greatest natural disaster ever to hit this country, and all of the military personnel available would not have prevented what has happened August 29 when the storm hit. An evacuation for military personnel still would have been necessary, and to re-deploy all of those resources to hundreds of miles of devastation would still have taken days. You can’t just FedEx the supplies and personnel needed to an area covering three states and expect a positive result in hours, as some journalists have demanded.

“I have never, ever seen anything as badly bungled and poorly handled as this situation in New Orleans,” pontificated CNN’s Jack Cafferty. “Where the hell is the water for these people? Why can’t sandwiches be dropped to those people that are in that Superdome down there? I mean, what is, this is Thursday. This is Thursday. This storm happened five days ago. It’s a disgrace.”

Actually Jack, the levees didn’t break until Tuesday, but what’s a difference in exaggerating three days during your highest rated show of the year? As for dropping sandwiches, do you think that just MIGHT have caused complete chaos and stampedes on the ground when 1000 sandwiches are dropped for 10,000 people?

The 20/20 hindsight on this story is obscene. For proof, do a Nexis or Google search to see how many stories, both print and broadcast, have been done by any news organization, particularly CNN and CBS, on the threat of a natural disaster hitting the city of New Orleans or on the need for super-levees to be built to handle Category 4 or 5 hurricanes before this event occurred.

Answer: Three stories, total. And none by any of the major broadcast network news or cable news channel.

Where was all of the scrutiny then?

And in case you didn’t know, the Governor of Louisiana (Kathleen Blanco) is responsible for calling on and deploying the state’s National Guard troops, not the President. With five days warning that a category 4 or 5 storm was heading towards the city, the Governor did nothing to prepare her population, both in terms of evacuation, rescue prep, or preventing widespread looting, and nor did the Mayor of New Orleans.

Where were the emergency supplies?

Where were the buses to get people out of the city? (Hint: They weren’t placed in a secure location underground. Instead, they were left in parking lots left to be destroyed or left inoperable).

If you are the Mayor of New Orleans, or the Governor of the state that has a city sitting below sea level, your NUMBER ONE priority should be to be prepared for hurricanes. Underground warehouses should have been overfilled with food, supplies and transportation. Waiting on the federal government to do what should have been done on a local level first illustrates that there are no Rudy Guilianis living in Louisiana.

Still, it didn’t stop both “leaders” from complaining to anyone holding a microphone that the Bush administration wasn’t doing their job for them quickly enough.

It also didn’t stop Cindy Sheehan, a mother of a soldier killed in action in Iraq and now the country’s most famous war protester (she camped outside of Bush’s Texas ranch for a month), from offering the following perspective:

“The President is heading to Louisiana to see the devastation that his environmental policies and his killing policies have caused.”

Sheehan once said her protest was non-political, but it appears she’s become nothing more than a mouthpiece for Michael Moore and

Others like Sheehan have focused on Bush making Iraq a higher priority than, say, increasing funding for projects for items such as strengthening levees in New Orleans. Never mind the fact that the Army Corp of Engineers stated yesterday that the levees would have been breached no matter how much funding was put into it. After all, they were originally built to only withstand a Cat 3 hurricane, not a 4 or 5.

Maybe the geography of New Orleans was a bad idea in the first place. I mean, has ANYONE considered that building a city located in a prime hurricane zone below sea level was a foolish proposition?

This was a matter of when, not if…

So if you believe President Bush is responsible for the destruction of an entire city and the deaths of perhaps over 10,000 people, feel free to point the finger. But before you do, ask yourself these questions:

“If he signed the Kyoto treaty, never invaded Iraq and declared that the federal government is solely in charge during a national crisis, would Katrina have still taken the same path and caused the same amount of damage?”

“Would have all the federal assistance on earth changed the socio-economic conditions that forced the poor and immobile to stay in New Orleans and not evacuate before the storm?”

Remember, this is the largest rescue and recovery effort in this country’s history. Like 9/11, there is no precedent for this and no playbook for how to handle it.

No one could have anticipated looters shooting at military copters and rescue workers trying to help.

No one could anticipate so many people choosing to stay rather than leave despite ample warning.

We are a spoiled society, one that is used to quick fixes and fast food. Sometimes events don’t allow unimaginable conditions to be cured overnight.

We should look ahead to see what can be done to help those who are suffering. We should think about how to ease the transition of those who have been displaced from their homes and jobs permanently.

Most of us will do just that. But for the three percent of this population who turn misfortune into opportunity, Katrina is just too tasty to pass up.