Bush’s response earns impeachment

That’s the title of a 7-Sep-05 opinion piece in the Lansing State Journal. Link here.

You probably don’t need to read it, but I’ve included it for completeness. If the link fails, and if you’re truly compulsive, email me and I’ll get a copy to you.

In any case, I’ve sent the following to the author.

Re: Bush’s response earns impeachment

There are many things we don’t yet know about the tragedy in New Orleans. Prudence might dictate gathering evidence rather than blaming every possible problem on a single predetermined target.

There is more than enough blame to go around. Government incompetence in the face of disaster is both tragic and unexceptional. In most things, effectiveness deteriorates according to the square of the distance between citizens and government.

A lot of people have been praising big government since the Katrina disaster. Usually, just before they complain about the actual big government we already have. “If only we were in charge”, both sides wail. (TOTH QandO)

It is not a shuffling of the federal deck chairs that is required; it is recognizing the limitations of centralized command-and-control in the first place.

We’ve had incompetence exposed at every level of government – no surprise. However, the preponderance of evidence thus far implicates local and state officials more so than the feds.

The school buses not mobilized by the Mayor, and the dithering by the Governor, seem far more contributory to the suffering than anything the feds did or did not do.

Your appeal to corrective action might have more persuasive value were it more accurate than emotional. I do commend your forbearance from raising Bush’s refusal to sign Kyoto as having caused Katrina. Nevertheless, your points do not support your thesis. Some are frivolous, others are merely irrelevant. The rest contain errors of logic and/or fact.

I offer two examples.

1- You write, “It is unconscionable that so many of the people left behind to drown were poor and black.”

Of course, it is sad that any people drowned, but hurricanes will do that. It is also true that poverty may limit mobility. Still, what has skin color to do with the failure of the black mayor of New Orleans to follow the city’s disaster plan by mobilizing public transit?

Are the drownings of the poor white people he was similarly responsible for leaving behind more nearly conscionable? Is he simply a racist who cannot count? If you will charge the President with racism, that conclusion would follow.

2- You comment: “It is disgraceful that tens of thousands of American citizens sat in the Superdome and the Convention Center without food, water, or basic sanitary conditions, among dead and dying, among marauding gangs and pure anarchy for days without help.”

This is disgraceful, and it has little to do with the federal government or George Bush.

On NPR’s Diane Rehm show Wednesday morning a Red Cross official, Carol Miller, said that the Red Cross was told not to provide aid – using supplies pre-positioned in New Orleans for exactly that purpose – at the Superdome by the Louisiana, not U.S., Department of Homeland Security. Audio here: (link on left side of page). The comment is at about 35:40.

This is confirmed by the Red Cross Website. See second bullet.

Finally, the laws of the United States specifically forbid the National Guard from being “first responders”. That is, while the Governor of Louisiana controls the Louisiana National Guard, and could have deployed them at any time, Guard units from other States must be requested. It should not be any other way, and cannot be legally, as a matter of civil liberty.

The first responders, as that term is generally used, are always local police and firefighters. We have just been shown that it is a bad idea to even imagine the feds as first responders.

It is not a matter of federal personalities, nor is it related to the occupant of the Oval Office. There is just too yawning a gap between individual citizens and a central government, no matter how constituted.

In any case, I would hope we could agree that the formation of the Department of Homeland Security can serve as a bad example of Washington bureaucrats run amok, if that isn’t a double negative, and that creeping federalization of first responders is a seriously bad idea.


Update 2:39PM 9-Sep – Day By Day© by Chris Muir.

Update 7:07PM 9-Sep
Salvation Army Confirms Louisiana Gov’t Kept Them Out Of New Orleans