PEJ News - C. L. Cook - The gross incompetence displayed by the Bush administration and it's budget-heavy Homeland Security, in these days, a week past the disastrous landfall of Hurricane Katrina, a week of inexplicable inaction on the part of the federal government, is now compounded as Bush thumbs his nose at international offers of aid.
"Thanks, But No Thanks!"
C. L. Cook
September 5, 2005
Despite the dismal history of George W. Bush's criminal neglect of the infrastructure needed to preserve the City of New Orleans and environs, despite the pitiful failures of rescue coordination resulting in the unnecessary deaths of untold numbers of Americans, despite the virtual disappearance of key Bush administration "leaders" in the days following this disaster, there is still a greater crime being committed against the population of the benighted Delta region.
Offers of aid from foreign governments began to pour into the White House once the scope of this tragedy became apparent to shocked television viewers around the world. But the Bush administration response was, to some, as absent as Dick Cheney during this, and past disasters. Cuba's President Castro reached out a hand to the country that has dedicated itself these past forty-plus years to the destruction of his nation, offering more than fifteen hundred doctors and tons of medicines and materiel only to find his offer rejected. A non-plussed Castro said, addressing the country's disaster workers:
"You could all be there right now lending your services, but 48 hours has passed since we made this offer, and we have received absolutely no response."
France too found its offer of water-treatment equipment and other necessary life-saving equipment and personnel ignored by Bush.
Iran, India, Sri Lanka, and a host of other impoverished countries, many of which have been past victims of American financial and military attacks, too lined up to offer what they could for the benefit of those citizen's suffering. But the response is dead silence.
Telephones are too silent. Wayne Madsen Reports, an on-line intelligence and policy monitor, yesterday reported yet unconfirmed jamming operations being conducted against the region by a U.S. Navy vessel located in the Caribbean. This has meant not only the loss of cell phone communications in some areas, but is also hampering desperately needed communications for emergency responders.
It's all too much for those on the scene; as Condoleezza Rice shopped for shoes on New York City's tony 5th Avenue, New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin was blowing gaskets, begging the media urge to action an apparently moribund federal government.
Despite Rice's statements of last week, saying: “no offer that can help alleviate the suffering of the people in the afflicted area will be refused.”, Swedish aid agencies offering help were told their help wasn't needed at the moment. Now, Rice says she's "evaluating" foreign aid offers.
Rice also denies there is a racial element to the utter abandonment of the "majority Black" city. But, Louisiana's Black leadership are not content to wait for Bush's help. They are demading the nearby and now shuttered England Air Force Base be made available for evacuees. California Representative Maxine Waters and Jesse Jackson are personally spearheading that campaign.
Today, the Bush administration had the temerity to point fingers of blame toward state and local governments. This likely a response, in classical Rove fashion, to the growing outrage and despite the well-publicised failures of the federal government to fund the precise projects that would have averted this calamity.
The corporate media, though damning Bush's pathetic response to this horror, are today finding their more accustomed equilibrium as apologists and disaster deniers. And people continue to perish.
It seems the Bush administration is content to see the city of New Orleans emptied of it's population, to then be rebuilt by Cheney firm, Halliburton, already contracted for portions of the massive reconstruction needed.
Soldiers arriving are being issued "shoot to kill" orders against "looter" and curfew breakers; one reported mass shooting already raising questions, but domestic, indepedent aid agencies are also being prohibited access to make deliveries of food, clothing and medicine, as the Red Cross complains.
Chris Cook hosts Gorilla Radio, broad/webcast from the University of Victoria, Canada. He also serves as a contributing editor at PEJ News. You can check out the GR Blog here.
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