Us and them

“The National Public Radio news anchor was so excited I thought she’d piss on herself: the President of the United had flown his plane down to 1700 feet to get a better look at the flood damage! And there was a photo of our Commander-in-Chief taken looking out the window. He looked very serious and concerned. That was yesterday. Today he played golf. No kidding.”

Greg Palast, September 2

This disaster has the potential to change the American political landscape. Britain’s Daily Mail put it best:

…The President finds his reckless adventure in Iraq coming back to haunt him.

The National Guard, the part-time soldiers whose prime role is to provide emergency services in natural disasters, have in large part been deployed overseas.

Five thousand members of the Louisiana National Guard who should be spearheading the rescue effort watch the disaster unfold from their HQ – Camp Liberty, west of Baghdad. Equipment that could have been so valuable in the rescue operations is parked in depots there.

The same is happening across all the neighbouring states, leaving Washington bereft of vital manpower as it grapples with the greatest homeland crisis in memory.

Here is a superpower that can crush at will a tinpot dictatorship – but then becomes so bogged down in the grisly aftermath of war that it finds itself unable to respond anything like adequately to the plight of tens of thousands of its own citizens engulfed by a natural calamity.

President Bush, his ratings already in free-fall, could pay a high price indeed for his military folly.

Text and images ©2024 Antony Loewenstein. All rights reserved.

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