Newsweek: 'How Bush Blew It'
by Scott Shields, Sun Sep 11, 2005 at 05:48:20 PM EDT
How this could be--how the president of the United States could have even less "situational awareness," as they say in the military, than the average American about the worst natural disaster in a century--is one of the more perplexing and troubling chapters in a story that, despite moments of heroism and acts of great generosity, ranks as a national disgrace.
President George W. Bush has always trusted his gut. He prides himself in ignoring the distracting chatter, the caterwauling of the media elites, the Washington political buzz machine. He has boasted that he doesn't read the papers. His doggedness is often admirable. It is easy for presidents to overreact to the noise around them.
But it is not clear what President Bush does read or watch, aside from the occasional biography and an hour or two of ESPN here and there. Bush can be petulant about dissent; he equates disagreement with disloyalty. After five years in office, he is surrounded largely by people who agree with him. ... When Hurricane Katrina struck, it appears there was no one to tell President Bush the plain truth: that the state and local governments had been overwhelmed, that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) was not up to the job and that the military, the only institution with the resources to cope, couldn't act without a declaration from the president overriding all other authority.
While New Orleans drowned, the President was clueless. It's clear there were any number of things Bush could have done to get a better handle on the disaster. He was briefed on the dire situation the city was facing, but continued on with his plans, as if he just didn't get it. In all likelihood, he didn't. Few other explanations can account for his total lack of action.
At the Katrina relief telethon, Kanye West infamously ad-libbed that "George Bush doesn't care about black people." This article would indicate that West was wrong. The facts leave you with the impression that George Bush doesn't care about any people.