Friday, September 02, 2005

The Buck Stops Somewhere Else

satansalute2It continues to floor me that people like Assrocket at Powerline are capable of taking seriously the notion that somehow, the Bush administration bears no immediate responsibility for the unfathomable disaster along the Gulf Coast. Apropos of the Iraqi constitutional struggle, there's no sense debating the question of whether the president's policies represent "a" source of colossal underachievement and negligence or "the" source of colossal underachievement and negligence. It is, however, worth wondering how the Presidential Reacharound Committee at Powerline -- and I have not even begun to plumb the sinkhole of Fox News commentary, so I'm sure this is only the beginning -- can announce the following:
The blame game continues, with most attention being focused not on the local and state officials who have responsibility for disaster preparedness, but on the federal government. Even at the federal level, I've not seen any informed criticism of FEMA or any other relevant federal agency, or any detailed analysis of the formidable logistical problems that make the relief effort painfully difficult. No, the critics aren't interested in such targets or such details. What they want is to bash President Bush, and we'll hear more and more of it as the days go by.
To paraphrase something Jonathan Schwartz once wrote at A Tiny Revolution, Assrocket would have made as much sense if he had typed ;sdOAIGHF;AoirEhG; LFkCHJX;GL kASDFhJGO&%^&*(IUVH OIJF. It evidently makes no difference to him that the directorship of FEMA -- once a cabinet level position -- was absorbed into the Department of Homeland Security, where it has clearly lost ground in terms of funding and access to the president himself. Any scolding of "local and state officials" must concede this basic intitutional fact; Assrocket seems, however, to believe that disaster relief still functions according to the logic of a decentralized nineteenth century republic. Sitting in his pajamas near the headwaters of the Mississippi, Assrocket can only observe the obvious, which is that relief efforts are "painfully difficult," a defense that should carry as much weight as Shrub's own "hard work" bleats from the first campaign debate nearly a year ago. Sitting in my pajamas, untold thousands of miles from the hundreds of people trapped without food or water in public hospitals (ones that sit across the street from now-evacuated private facilities) I'm at least unaddled enough to observe that what we're witnessing in New Orleans are not the "painfully difficult" consequences of nature's insensate rage, but a multi-storied cluster fuck decades in the making — one that was forseeable (and forseen) and for which all public officials who failed to prepare adequately deserve to wade for days in their own feces. That being said, the meme that George W. Bush bears no meaningful responsibility for any of this is absurd on the face of it. If the American right can credit Bush directly for such "logistically difficult" matters as Libya's abandonment of WMD programs, or the "Cedar Revolution" in Lebanon, or the "Orange Revolution" in the Ukraine, surely he can assume some kind of direct responsibility for the devolution of "homeland security" in his own fucking country.