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Monday, 28 August 2006 10:20

Thanks to Bush, Katrina and Iraq Might Have More in Common than You Think (And Not in a Good Way)

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If you tuned in right in the middle of George W. Bush's weekly radio address, you might have been a little confused what he was talking about. And we're not talking about his delivery (it was all written down by someone else so he wouldn't have to think). Read the excerpts below and ask yourself what the subject is, Hurricane Katrina or the invasion of Iraq:

"The human costs were . . . terrible. More than a thousand people died, countless families lost their homes and livelihoods, and tens of thousands of men, women, and children were forced to flee the region and leave behind everything they knew. . . [And] the armies of compassion rallied.

"So last year I made a simple pledge . . . we would do what it takes, and we would stay as long as it takes.

"[W]e can see many encouraging signs of recovery and renewal, and many reminders that hard work still lies ahead. This work will require the sustained commitment of our government, the generosity and compassion of the American people, and the talent and vision of people determined to restore their homes, neighborhoods, and cities. We will stay until the job is done, and by working together, we will help [them] write a new future of hope, justice, and opportunity for all."

Turns out the topic was Katrina. But how much of the rhetoric is the same? Worse, how much of the situation Bush described is the same?

Of course, both the Gulf Coast and Iraq have become horrendous problems for America for the same reason: George Bush is an utter failure. The only difference is that one predicament came from inaction and the other from incompetent action.

We guess it makes sense for Bush to just use the same speech with a few minor changes for both issues, especially with all the hard work at the ranch to be taken care of. After all, why should he do a job he wasn't elected for?

The most troubling part of Bush's discussions on Katrina is that he seems generally satisfied with his work and that of his administration. He's basically saying, "We had no idea New Orleans was at risk, but after Katrina we took notice so now everything is going to be fine." (sort of like Iraq is: "How was I supposed to know there were no WMDs? Oh well, stay the course!")

Despite the unwarranted optimism and Brownie's "Heckuva Job," the reality is that Bush not only failed New Orleans before and during the storm, he's continued to fail her and her people in each of the 364 days since. Tens of thousands of evacuees remain unable to return home, while many of those who stayed, especially the poor black ones, are on the verge of losing their homes or even their FEMA trailers. Not to mention the fact that most of those trailers are full of formaldehyde gas.

Much like Iraq, Katrina has also been beset with corruption. Last week, the first study of the Democrats' new congressional "truth squad" identified 19 recovery contracts collectively worth $8.75 billion that had been linked to waste and mismanagement. Just today, Democrats on the House Homeland Security Committee released a report identifying further abuse (pdf).

There's also the frivolous photo ops for both Iraq and Katrina. Just after the storm an advance team cleared an area for Bush to appear to create the appearance that things weren't really so bad. This time, he met with Rockey Vaccarella, a survivor who drove up to the White House to meet with the president. We're not sure if it was when Bush called him "Rock," when he shamelessly told Bush what a great job he and the federal government did, or when "Rock" told Bush "I wish you had another four years, man," but something stunk about the whole story and why this mindless clone of all people got the president's ear. Maybe it had something to do with "Rock" running for office as a Republican a few years ago (they sure didn't mention that on TV; obviously Cindy Sheehan is going about it all wrong).

Five years ago it might have seemed impossible for a natural disaster and an artificial war to have so much in common. But with an administration that handles everything (besides elections) with equal incompetence, we guess anything is possible.