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Unpopular Ideas

Ramblings and Digressions from out of left field, and beyond....

Location: Piedmont of Virginia, United States

All human history, and just about everything else as well, consists of a never-ending struggle against ignorance.

Friday, September 09, 2005

"What Went Wrong and What Went Right"

Sitting comfortably in the midst of his partners-in-mischief, i.e. his cabinet, a few days ago GW Bush grandiosely announced that he was going to head an investigation into "what went wrong and what went right" in the response to the flooding of New Orleans.

His supporters, those Americans wearing the permanent blinders, will nod in approval. That's our boy, they will think. He is showing that, as in 9/11, he's in charge and will finger the culprits.

But if your sight isn't so badly narrowed, the many things wrong with that idea stand out in sad relief.

First, is this on the Chief Executive's job description, heading investigations? Bush made it sound as if he was going to do it himself, but I thought that was the territory instead of others -- Congress, or the Justice Department, or maybe the Solicitor-General's office.

Secondly, if he does intend to head it himself, in this way, and as always, GW Bush means to evade all responsibility in the matter, because he hopes that everyone will accept the proposition that by being the investigator, he himself was and is outside of things and therefore not subject to any of the blame.

Thirdly, however, he is nevertheless an interested party. This means that the results of his investigation are a foregone conclusion. Not only will he not investigate himself but also none of his underlings will be found guilty of any dereliction of duty.

Fourth, this is very quick. The crisis is still far from over. All the bodies have not yet been found. All the water has not yet been pumped out of New Orleans. All the problems of the displaced citizenry have not yet been solved. The hurricane season is not yet over. And whoever was incompetent may not have finished yet. Investigations usually come later, when all the evidence is in, not when the mud is not only not yet dry but also is still under water.

Lastly, it is certain that his investigation will focus on the local instead of the federal officials. His admininstration has already tried to wrest control of the disaster response from Governor Blanco and others, so that they could thereby place all the blame on the locals.

Of course Bush has to do something to make it seem he is on the job. Katrina caught him napping, and all he had done lately that drew attention was evading Ms Sheehan. The photo-ops made possible by the storm put him back in the news, but that only served to make him look like a heavily privileged tourist. So now he seizes on the tactic that served his party so well in injuring Clinton and the Democrats. He will do something of stupendous excitement and salience. With "terror" and "freedom" having had to be retired temporarily, he will blow new life into another keyword, the tried and true "investigation."


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