Something Conspicuously Missing
In any case, in the first video in Saunders' timeline (as opposed to, say, NPR's timeline), there is a segment of film taken at what is presumably a briefing room at Bush's Crawford "ranch." During part of that video, Bush promises assistance to state-level officials:
I want to assure the folks at the state level that, uh, we are fully prepared to not only help you during the storm, but we will move in whatever assets and resources we have at our disposal after the storm, to help you deal with, uh, with the loss of property and, uh, we pray for no loss of life.
The nuance of speech doesn't come across very well in this low-bandwidth format, and since YouTube seems to screw up people's blogs so they take forever to load, I'm going to suggest you go over to Tom Tomorrow's pad and watch the video for yourself. Nevertheless, notice something conspicuously missing?
He doesn't mention moving people into the area to help, only "assets and resources," and he mentions that he will assist with "loss of property," catches himself, realises that he's put his foot in it (I think if he hadn't done that, he would have stopped talking after "loss of property"), and then makes a lame platitude about praying for "no loss of life." I think that may have been a faux pas at the time, but it's become strategy since.
Digby points out a column by Frank Rich (courteously reprinted by jurassicpork). I think the real money quote (literally or figuratively) in the Rich column (no pun intended) is:
"I don’t think anybody’s getting the Bush strategy," [Douglas Brinkley, the Tulane University historian who wrote the best-selling account of Katrina, "The Great Deluge,"] said when we talked last week. "The crucial point is that the inaction is deliberate — the inaction is the action." As he sees it, the administration, tacitly abetted by New Orleans’s opportunistic mayor, Ray Nagin, is encouraging selective inertia, whether in the rebuilding of the levees ("Only Band-Aids have been put on them"), the rebuilding of the Lower Ninth Ward or the restoration of the wetlands. The destination: a smaller city, with a large portion of its former black population permanently dispersed.
Callous disregard for life, especially any life that isn't rich, white, and Republican (what New Orleans may look like when all is said and done, thereby reducing itself to a Main Street, USA Disneyfied version of itself), seems to be a hallmark of the current Bush Administration. This is what happens when amoral corporatists who literally don't believe in government take the helm.