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9.01.2005

George Bush's vacation Ruined 

In a scene reminescent of another September, 4 years ago, our beloved President camped out in his fake ranch for the entire month of August while a tragedy loomed. There is nothing Mr. Bush could have done to prevent a hurricane but his obvious disconect with the impending disaster is unforgiveable.

While Bush road his bike and cleared brush, a national disaster was in the beginning stages. As Hurricane Katrina built up power in the Gulf of Mexico, Bush idled away the last few days of his five week vacation doing nothing to prepare for what would become the largest civilian relief effort in the history of our country.

As with 9/11, Bush used his reactive style to declare that nothing could be done prior to the tragedy and everything would be done now that it had already taken place. Too little, too late.

What Bush forget to mention, or outright lied about, was what could have been done in the days, weeks and months prior to Katrina making landfall that would have made the dire situation faced by thousands of Gulf Port refugees much better managed and less dangerous today.

Here is a timeline of actions this administration took (or failed to take) which have increased the severity of this disaster.

The fact that 3 days after Katrina's winds died down there is still little, if anything, under control in New Orleans and people are dying on an hourly basis is a shocking and unforgiveable act of negligence by this administration. How can the American people have any confidence that this president and his administration could possible handle a terrorist attack on a grand scale when they are failing so horribly at handling a natural disaster they knew was coming a week before it hit?

Chaos rules in New Orleans tonight because people have become angry and hostile after waiting for days for relief and basic human needs. "This is a national disgrace," said Terry Ebbert, head of New Orleans' emergency operations. "FEMA has been here three days, yet there is no command and control," Ebbert said. "We can send massive amounts of aid to tsunami victims but we can't bail out the city of New Orleans."

Tens of thousands of National Guard troops are not available in the hurricane stricken areas because they are deployed in Iraq for the forseeable future. Money slashed from FEMA and Civil Engineering projects in the Gulf Coast have also added to the problems, while hundreds of BILLIONS were spent willy nilly rebuilding Iraq.

As reports of rapes, murders, looting and civilian unrest increase, Bush's response has been to give more "can do" speeches. Unfortunately for the people of New Orleans, Biloxi and the other hard hit areas, happy thoughts aren't feeding their children, addressing their medical needs, providing safety or even flushing their toilets.

The Mayor of New Orleans, Ray Nagin, put out a plea for help: “This is a desperate SOS. Right now we are out of resources at the convention center and don’t anticipate enough buses. We need buses. Currently the convention center is unsanitary and unsafe and we’re running out of supplies". This plea comes 3 days after the hurricane struck.

I have been to New Orleans twice in my life. Many members of my family live less than 3 hours away. I have a good friend who I have not been able to contact who lives there with his wife and two children. I fear that the New Orleans from my memory is gone forever but life goes on for Mr. Bush and his administration. Condi Rice, US Secretary of State, was shopping for shoes and enjoying the Broadway musical "Spamalot", while tens of thousands of Americans faced life threatening situations on the Gulf Coast.

Mr. Bush's latest affront to reality is his statement that "I don't think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees," ranks up there with his previous statement, "I don't think anyone foresaw people using planes as missiles". The only problem is, people did foresee and anticipate both things happening but his administration, once again, chose to ignore the warnings or worse acknowledge the problems and then cut funding that would have helped.

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