Sunday, September 25, 2005

No Shit, President Sherlock

Here's the impeachment-worthy headline from the Associated Press this morning:

Bush Told U.S. Needs Post-Disaster Plan
By DEB RIECHMANN, Associated Press Writer

Military officials told President Bush on Sunday that the U.S. needs a national plan to coordinate search and rescue efforts following natural disasters or terrorist attacks...
Now, it would be one thing if, five years after vowing to defend this nation, and four years after the attacks of September 11th and one month after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, military officials told the president that he should be prepared to deal with disasters after they happen and the president replied, "No shit, it's taken care of."

But that's not what happened.

Here's what the military told him:

Bush got an update about the federal hurricane response from military leaders at Randolph Air Force Base. He heard from Lt. Gen. Robert Clark, joint military task force commander for Hurricane Rita, and Maj. Gen. John White, a task force member, who noted confusion in search and rescue operations after Hurricane Katrina.

With Katrina, "we knew the coordination piece was a problem," White said. "With Rita, we had the benefit of time. We may not have that time in an earthquake scenario or similar incident."

"With a national plan, we'll have a quick jump-start and an opportunity to save more people," White said.
The crucial part of White's quotation is this: "'ll." As in, "will." As in, "don't yet." As in, "there is no national plan to give responders to a major disaster (natural or otherwise) a quick jump-start and an opportunity to save more people." As in, "due to the U.S. government's planning, Americans will die needlessly."

So, what did President Bush say in response? Did he angrily deny the allegations? Did he show us the elaborate document that lays out exactly the well-thought-out plans he and his crack team have developed over the past four years? No. Without coercion, he confessed:

Bush said he has been interested in whether the Defense Department should take the lead in disasters "of a certain size."

"It's clearly the case in a terrorist attack," Bush said. "It's going to be a very important consideration for Congress to think about." ...

Bush thanked White for his recommendations.

"This is precisely the kind of information I'll take back to Washington to help all of us understand how to do a better job," the president said.
Again, "'ll" is the important part. Along with "going to be." Four years after September 11th, a national disaster-response plan could only be the topic of a future-tense discussion in a criminally negligent administration.

Constrained by the prevailing notions of "objectivity," A.P. writer Deb Riechmann nevertheless figures out a way to remind people of this point, by tossing in an unnecessary anecdote for the final paragraph:

On Saturday, [Bush] made a stop in Austin, Texas, and at the U.S. Northern Command in Colorado, where he autographed a photo of himself gripping a bullhorn at ground zero three days after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
UPDATE: The White House has posted a transcript of President Bush's remarks from this morning. Here they are, in full (or, at least, the portion they've chosen to make public), with my emphasis added to remind folks that this president is someone who got re-elected on the premise that he already was the best man to make us safe:

7:35 A.M. CDT

THE PRESIDENT: Part of the reason I've come down here, and part of the reason I went to NORTHCOM, was to better understand how the federal government can plan and surge equipment, to mitigate natural disasters. And I appreciate very much, General, your briefing, because it's precisely the kind of information that I'll take back to Washington to help all of us understand how we can do a better job in coordinating federal, state and local response.

The other question, of course, I asked, was, is there a circumstance in which the Department of Defense becomes the lead agency. Clearly, in the case of a terrorist attack, that would be the case, but is there a natural disaster which -- of a certain size that would then enable the Defense Department to become the lead agency in coordinating and leading the response effort. That's going to be a very important consideration for Congress to think about.

END 7:36 A.M. CDT


Anonymous said...

BUSH should continue drinking HIS JIM BEAN and seriously devote his thinking, if He can think at about resigning and take with him all of his cabinet plus Jughead(Rove) and mealy mouthed Chaney!

Anonymous said...

The person who writes this site is interesting, in a sad sort of way. He continually criticizes the Bush administration for its handling of the Hurricane Katrina tragedy. Does this guy think the New Orleans disaster would have been handled ANY better by the previous Clinton administration? Or, if Kerry had won, does he think the relief would have arrived significantly faster and saved the day? Get a clue. The problem was the lack of preparation in Louisiana. How about a clever thesaurus-infused article about their clownish mayor and governor? (Don't look for one soon - they're liberals, so they're safe from this guy's criticism.) Guess what...if Hurricane Katrina had hit 6 years ago, the exact same thing would have happened - dead poor people and a flooded New Orleans. And if Kerry had won? Dead poor people and a flooded New Orleans. Same exact thing. But hey, if death and tragedy provides this guy an opportunity to push his politics, go for it. Just know that we see right through it.

Anonymous said...

Hi, Anonymous poster #2! I'm sure you don't mean to say that Bush is no better than Clinton, Gore or Kerry would have been. He must be a lot better, and fewer people died than would have under Democrats, right?

I'm sure you don't mean that the same number of people would have died six years ago. You probably meant to say that due to the diligent preparations since 9/11, far fewer people died than would have otherwise, right?

Get with the program, Comrade! When we stay On Message, America wins!

Tim said...


Remember when Cheney said if you vote for the other guy "people will die..." Scary, huh? Well, guess what Cheney (and his puppet) won and PEOPLE DIED... over a thousand in New Orleans and close to 2000 in Iraq (based on lies).

Your assertion that Kerry would have done the same job is laughable. Kerry would have appointed someone that was QUALIFIED to do the job of FEMA director. One of the most important jobs as President is to appoint qualified people in important positions and BUSH FAILED MISERABLY. Obviously with the Bush Administration they are more concerned with political connections than appointing people that can do the job and SAVE LIVES.

Anonymous said...

the rightful president al gore would not have had the national gaurd in irag. al gore would not have vacationed for two more days.

Ian said...

Extraordinary. Bush screws up - big time - and his apologists feel that Gosh... it's okay, since there is nothing to indicate that the Democrats, under Clinton or Kerry helmsmanship, would have reacted any better. But let us be kind to Bush. After all, despite four miserable years under him, years in which much of the American values envied by the vast majority of the world's populations have been eroded, he was re-elected.

suxanne2003 said...

The touble with the idea of having soldiers (armed no less) being our new first responders if there is a "catastrophe of this size" is that guess what...these are happening ALL THE TIME now! That means every time we turn around there will be military (private now?) patrolling the streets of America. He was "learning" at NorthCom alright...learning how to erode our rights and get it established that he can call out troops on us at will. These clowns don't think the founding fathers knew what they were talking about. They want "executive activism" not judicial activism, unless there is an election to decide of course.

Anonymous said...

It's not about being right or left wing, here, wingnut. Bush sat on his behind for three days, rudderless. Rove was getting kidney stones fixed, Condi was on Broadway, and Cheney was house shopping in Wyoming. The short answer is that Bush, POTUS, was too lame to work his phone.

He could have called NOAA, they had rooms full of professional people watching. He could have called the military for a chat, and maybe heard about a hospital ship bobbing just offshore, full of pissed sailors waiting for an order (how pissed do you think they were to hop the chain of command and talk to the press ? This was thought out by a few military guys first). He could have called the media and said he'd done all these things, and we are ready to roll once the storm passes.

No, he went to flog his dead Social Security horse, and played air guitar.

The essential reality focus along with a bean of leadership, is clearly missing.

The president of the united states could have worked a phone for an hour....that's all he needed to really do...and he was not capable.

Anonymous said...

Would Clinton or Gore have used the cover story " I woke up and saw a newspaper headline saying "Dodged the bullet ?" Hell, Rove must have woken from the surgery with one heck of a hangover-" I can't leave him alone for two days ?!?"

With the best information sources on the planet, he DOES NOT KNOW ?

No wonder 9-11 warnings were discounted. He can't spot a hurricane, let alone a terrorist.

Yes, I do think Clinton or Gore, or most McDonald's counter help, would have done a better job.

Anonymous said...

The fact that nearly all apologists for this administration knee-jerk react that it's always the liberals' fault, clearly demonstrates the lack of any ability to exhibit true leadership. Blame-naming and an "Aw shucks!" dopey attitude of this administration are simply digging holes deeper for our future.

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