Following the government's woefully inadequate preparation for Hurricane Katrina
and the response to its catastrophic aftermath, President Bush promised the
nation a full investigation of the failures to "determine what went wrong
and what went right." To that end, he's tapped homeland security adviser
Frances Fragos Townsend to lead the White House inquiry into the administration's
abysmal handling of the rescue and relief effort. The major problem
with this is that the proverbial fox will be overseeing the chicken coop. Townsend
is a party loyalist. A faithful Republican servant of both the GOP and Bush.
And now she'll be reporting to Bush's uber-operative, Karl Rove. As
Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) put it, Townsend "may be a very competent individual.
But how in the world can we get to the truth of the question as to what went
wrong with Hurricane Katrina -- how can we really hope to discover the incompetence
that led to all this human suffering and devastation -- if the administration
is going to investigate itself?" And as for Rove, Durbin added: "Putting
Karl Rove in charge makes no sense whatsoever. He has no resume and no skills
other than running political campaigns -- and if he is being put in place to
protect the president politically, that decision does not serve the best interests
of the American people, nor of the victims of Hurricane Katrina."
The Bushies are perhaps the most ideological, deceitful and secretive administration
in American presidential history. It's all politics, all the time, even if it
means compromising the security of the nation and its citizens. They lied to
us about Iraq to quench their neo-con thirst for land, oil and power in Iraq
and the middle east. They've lied to us about who attacked America on 9-11 so
they could justify the invasion. They've lied to us about Uranium in Niger.
They lied to us about the financial stability of Social Security. They lied
to us about their involvement in the treasonous outing of CIA agent Valerie
Plame. And most recently they lied to us about how they handled the devastation
in the Gulf. So many lies, so little time to document them all.
So now we're being asked to put our collective faith in the team of
Bush, Rove and Townsend to not only demand accountability for the Katrina fiasco,
but to also reassure us that the government--the same government that doesn't
seem to give a rat's tuchus about the poor and middle classes, or about shoring
up America's infrastructure--will be prepared to handle the next natural disaster
or significant terrorist attack. Let's be sure about something. This
is an administration that only cares about one thing: protecting and preserving
its unprecedented power. It's all about the power, folks. Power over the electorate,
over the media, over our allies. Power over the House, Senate and the courts.
Power which is highly concentrated in the hands of the Bushies, and power which
benefits the wealthy and corporate America.
To be sure, Townsend will be nothing more that a cog in an extremely partisan
wheel. Is there anybody out there who honestly believes she will ultimately
return a guilty verdict on the Bushies? That her "investigation" will
conclude that Bush himself was slow to respond; that the administration embarrassed
America through its utterly lame handling of Katrina? Or that she will recommend
that certain key administration heads should roll? Take a good look at former
FEMA head Michael "Brownie" Brown, because he's going to be the only
head to roll in this inept administration.
As expected, Democrats anticipate a whitewash of the administration's failures
in the Gulf crisis. Former presidential candidate and Massachusetts Senator
John Kerry said the Hurricane "stripped away any image of competence and
exposed to all the true heart and nature of this administration. The truth is
that for four and a half years, real life choices have been replaced by ideological
agenda, substance replaced by spin, governance second place always to politics."
That we should expect an open, honest and meaningful investigation from the
most dishonest administration in history is an insult to our collective intelligence.
In launching Bush's White House inquiry, chief of staff Andrew Card wants one
senior official from each cabinet to work with Townsend. They've been directed
to give this effort "their full attention and highest priority." Don't
hold your breath. Andy