The videotape of a FEMA meeting in the hours before Katrina, obtained by The Associated Press, is a smoking gun about the lack of engagement by George Bush. Strikingly, the much-maligned former FEMA Director Michael Brown, appears fully engaged, aware of the potential for disaster and the inadequacy of the resources for response.
And the words of Bush flak Trent Duffy are equally stark: who are you going to believe your eyes or me? (Hey, where's Stonewall McClellan?)
''We're going to need everything that we can possibly muster, not only in this state and in the region, but the nation, to respond to this event," Brown warned. He called the storm ''a bad one, a big one" and implored federal agencies to cut through red tape to help people, bending rules if necessary.
''Go ahead and do it," Brown said. ''I'll figure out some way to justify it. . . . Just let them yell at me."
''I hope people don't draw conclusions from the president getting a single briefing," presidential spokesman Trent Duffy said, citing a variety of orders and disaster declarations Bush signed before the storm made landfall. ''He received multiple briefings from multiple officials, and he was completely engaged at all times."The "uncurious" George Bush we often hear about is on full display here. The awkward manner when he is disengaged or uncomfortable with the setting. Platitudes instead of the tough questions one would expect of a hard-charging CEO giving direction to his managers.
Department of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff has dismissed the administrative problems to "the fog of war."
The only "fog" is the smokescreen the Bushies have tried to throw up, withholding documents and testimony from a congressional hearing. Once again, executive privilege has been cited to protect incompetence from being exposed to the public.
Sadly, there's nothing that can be done here. The administration continues to stonewall and the Republican Congress, at its present rate, may develop a spine by the 24th century. This is a government that condones and celebrates incompetence and deception.
And the American people have no one to blame but themselves for buying into an election promise that the Bush administration would protect us. Too bad more than 1,300 people have had to pay for their lives for this lie.