Tuesday, September 06, 2005


Was It Incompetence?

Why did FEMA fail to deliver vitally needed relief and rescue for the victims of Hurricane Katrina? Is it blithering incompetence, or something worse? In a comment on this post, LiberalPride said, "I would be intrigued to see a comparison done between Bush's FEMA response to the four hurricanes that struck Florida last year (during a presidential election year) and the Bush FEMA response to Hurricane Katrina this year." Billmon has the goods on FEMA's response to hurricanes Charley, Frances, and Ivan last year. The summary is that FEMA had copious resources staged and ready to deliver before each of the hurricanes hit Florida; and within three days after the hurricanes, they were delivering food, medicine and other emergency supplies (even tarps for damaged roofs), plus an army of medical and other emergency-services personnel in the affected areas. But that was Florida, and an election year. And more of the victims were white. As Billmon comments,

So you can see that when the chips are down, and the need is absolutely dire, this administration can still deliver the kind of coordinated emergency response that once made the U.S. government the envy of the world -- just as it cooly and capably protected the Iraqi Oil Ministry from the chaos and looting that trashed every other government office in post-invasion Baghdad. As is usually the case in public service, it's just a matter of having the right incentives.

At this point, the silliest conspiracy theory in circulation has to be the claim that George Bush actually cares about America.

Can anyone produce even a shred of evidence to support that?

Only simple loons, such as those on cable TV and the WashPost/NYT seem to continue to swallow this plainly ridiculous notion.
It wasn't incompetence, or even conspiracy. A conspiracy implies that somebody cared enough to plot things out in an elaborate fashion.

It's simply that, as far as BushCo is concerned, we are nothing more than meat to them. Sometimes we are useful, sometimes we're in the way. But they won't bother to protect us, because they don't consider us worth protecting.

I'd call it the new feudalism, except that most feudal lords weren't quite so crass.
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