Thursday, March 02, 2006

President Chauncey Gardiner warned about Katrina

A newly released videotape from AP shows that President Bush was briefed in full about the threat to New Orleans posed by Hurricane Katrina, including dire warnings about the potential for serious flooding and the levees breaking. During the briefing, Bush did not ask a single question, but afterwards assured Lousiana officials "We are fully prepared." As we know, Bush only 4 days later declared "I don't think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees".

To his credit, feckless FEMA director Michael Brown at least had the sense to be worried:
"My gut tells me ... this is a bad one and a big one," then-federal disaster chief Michael Brown told the final government-wide briefing the day before Katrina struck the Gulf Coast on Aug. 29...

A top hurricane expert voiced "grave concerns" about the levees and Brown, then the
Federal Emergency Management Agency chief, told the president and
Homeland Security Secretary
Michael Chertoff that he feared there weren't enough disaster teams to help evacuees at the Superdome.

"I'm concerned about ... their ability to respond to a catastrophe within a catastrophe," Brown told his bosses the afternoon before Katrina made landfall.
Sometimes it seems that George W is barely even aware of what is going on in the country. His claims to know nothing about a topic is not actually contradicted by the fact that he was briefed on it, because he treats White House briefings the way a 9-year-old boy with ADD treats his school lessons: something to be endured, and immediately forgotten.

Given Bush's astounding political successes, you don't want to "misunderestimate" him, but all the evidence that I've seen is consistent with the theory that he is nothing more than a charming (to some, anyway) face put on the machinations of those actually in power.


Anonymous RichM said...

I think he was satisfied that all the important people - the ones who had a few dollars to rub together - would be able to get out of danger. As for the rest, he didn't much care.

His Presidency is like the modern equivalent of the Harding administration, with the addition of two wars (so far) to spice things up.

3:42 PM  

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