This is a long one… When I started it was just two short paragraphs, but I couldn’t help myself…Iraq, Katrina, Fashion Week and the UN, it’s hard work tying these things together.
THREAT LEVEL: BROWN
One of the less injurious but still insulting actions of the Bush Administration post 9-11 was the introduction of the Color Coded Threat Level Indicator, courtesy of the Department of Homeland Security.
Originally dead-set against creating the DHS, the White House caved to public pressure and embraced the theory of an integrated national public security and safety department.
In practice however the DHS was used to increase public insecurity through widely publicized random alerts that coincided with the release of bad domestic news, the unwanted RNC re-election extravaganza in Manhattan and voting in the crucial state of Ohio.
The various national safety and security services were supposed to be transformed into a single cohesive department with common standards, equipment, protocols, communications and planning as the 9-11 commission had recommended. But instead, after four years the only cohesive thread that bound the participants together was their subordination to the strictly political needs of the White House.
Once again it took mass destruction, death and displacement for the White House to respond to the demands of the public for answers and accountability.
And once again Bush bowed to the damnation and the facts. This time around he actually used the words "I accept responsibility", probably for the first time in his life.
But don’t get too moist over this apparent "group therapy breakthrough"; Bush doesn’t deserve any hugs or a report card suddenly festooned with glitter and gold stick-on stars.
Bush is not Helen Keller—he’s finally learned the words but he still doesn’t know what they mean. he just bought himself some more time to avoid some serious discipline and more ‘hard work"
Even now Bush and his cohorts oppose a publicly demanded independent investigation into the "Katrina Affair" just as they opposed the investigation into 9-11. If Bush and his supporters were so sure of their actions and where the blame really lay, why wouldn’t they want the "truth" as they have explained it to be told?
If the Republicans had done such a stellar job and the Democratic Mayor and the Democratic Governor of Louisiana been so incompetent, wouldn’t such an investigation serve the GOP politically? Wouldn’t such an investigation serve Democrat and Republican voters alike who pay the politicians their wages and who have a right to know about such matters?
Tom Ridge, a party loyalist but utterly "beige" Pennsylvanian politician was the very first chief of the DHS. Increasingly confused by the DHS’s supposed purpose and its actual operation Ridge used the meager $170,000 per annum paycheck as an excuse to resign before anything really bad happened to either him or the US.
Ridge was replaced by Michael Chertoff, a lawyer ( not an accountant as I posted earlier) who it turns out knew "the price of everything and the value of nothing".
Second in the DHS hierarchy came the head of FEMA, Joe Allbaugh who as a media hack for the Bush election campaign had seen up-close the shambles of the Democratic election efforts and thus was intimate with at least one kind of disaster.
But if Ridge couldn’t stomach a piddling $170,000 per annum as the head of the overarching DHS (ignoring the pension, health benefits etc accrued as an elected representative) what was Joe Allbaugh’s income as head of the subsidiary FEMA, a sub-department of DHS that still carried huge responsibilities? Like Ridge, Allbaugh defined his job satisfaction and his personal worth not in his abilities, the task before him or his pay scale, but simply in the title that had been handed to him. And like Ridge he passed the baton before anything bad could happen, to Mike Brown.
Mike Brown, in case you haven’t been paying attention, was never an exceptional law professor at a half-arsed law school, but a mere half-arsed student.
He was an intern in an emergency-response department of an Oklahoma city (in the tiny UK it would qualify as town, not a "city"), not an assistant director, and ….well, everything on his resume was a pack of lies---except for his position at the International Arabian Horse Society from which he resigned just before he was going to be fired for fiscal impropriety. His final departure from FEMA was not a result of his contributing to multiple deaths as a result of his criminal "professional" incompetence, but rather for his political incompetence.
Anywhoo, this all might seem like bloated corpses floating under the remains of the bridges and levees at this point, but the important thing now is not to point fingers but to look to the future.
And what does the future hold?
Well rest-assured an accountant, Michael Chertoff is still working hard to figure out how best to amortize recent losses whilst maximizing recent gains in the GOP-US portfolio.
Iraq is more than ever the hot terrorist market, but it has inspired other "young guns" throughout the world.
"Look out for more explosive challenges to the status quo coming not from the establishment Whitehall and Washington’s K street, but from the radical international communities in other cities worldwide that have grown up in the shadows but refuse to be encompassed by them" said Trixie Von Shoehorn, (political fashion editor for the 5th Estate).
And speaking of the international community, what of John Bolton, US "Ambassador" to the UN?
Appointed (despite serious objection) by presidential fiat during a congressional recess, the man voted mostly likely to resemble an irascible walrus with a perverse desire to mate with a Trident III missile, Bolton has taken the lead in destroying a 30-year extant nuclear weapon non-proliferation treaty. He has halted efforts to secure "loose-nukes" floating amongst the tenuous states of the C.I.S. He has declared that the UN needs to lose enough pounds sufficient to declare it "unrecoverable" unless it can suckle the homogenized, pasteurized, vitamin-injected USDA –approved milk provided by the fulsome breasts of mother United States.
Bush is actually working hard to dodge the fictitious "bullet" he and his shills have claimed were the post-Katrina newspaper "headlines" (the phrase appeared once as a headline, in a Greneda newspaper!). But despite his remarkable declaration of responsibility, I’m afraid there are bigger issues at stake for which he still continues to deny responsibility, even for the sake of domestic political expediency.
It took the deaths of nearly 3,000 people (more than a quarter of who weren’t actually Americans) before Bush and the GOP woke up to the terrorist threat, despite warnings from officials and massive intercepted intelligence chatter and the very obvious August 6th PDB.
It took months of public outcry before a bipartisan independent investigation examined the factors surrounding 9-11 and even then the investigation was obstructed and 28 pages of the report specifically regarding Saudi connections were redacted.
It took the deaths of hundreds and possibly thousands of New Orleans citizens and a public outcry before George W. Bush recognized some federal responsibility for the mismanagement of the Katrina hurricane aftermath, yet as with 9-11 he and his administration has refused an independent investigation.
So what kind and scale of disaster will be required before John Bolton is called to account and by proxy George W. Bush. Will it take just another toll of thousands more dead by unnecessary starvation and disease that occurs predominantly in Africa year after year, or will it take something more spectacular, like the explosion of a "dirty bomb" in a rich nation’s city before once again a Bush appointee’s real qualifications are exposed, before Bush once again "accepts responsibility" without accepting the consequences of his enshrined stupidity, his callous ignorance, and his blind arrogance?
As I write, Bolton is trying to destroy not just the ideals of the UN, but its apparatus. Bush’s backers are actually promoting the use of nuclear weapons to combat terrorism, promoting the use of WMD’s to counter the threat of WMD’s.
The similarities between this notion and the Cold War notion of Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) are clear. Yet what Bush’s masters refuse to acknowledge is that their pre-emptive policy promotes MAD, with the subtle, yet not so subtle distinction that their version of MAD requires the push of only one button on one side of the world, not two. Should the US choose to "go nuclear" the US and the world will actually "lose".
As in all conflicts whether armed or ideological, the winners will be those who survive the aftermath the best.
Bolton only has 18 months "legally" left to serve, but as we have all seen even 6 months can change not only the present but future decades and ultimately centuries. It took Bush and his buddies 15 months from the time they officially got into power to launch an illegal war. Like Iraq, Iran has long been on the Neo-Con radar. Bolton has 14 months left to serve, the war drums against Iran are already beating a familiar tune.
Not everyone in Bush’s camp is looking for a new Armegeddon, but many in Bush’s voting base are, and they don’t have to camp out in front of Bush’s ranch to get their views noticed--they have a direct line.
Bush doesn’t have the wit to understand their ultimate agenda, all he cares about is his cushy job and the benefits that will result when his term ends. He thinks he’s protected, as he always has been but he doesn’t foresee any reckoning for himself. Despite his public homilies, he thinks HE is the highest power on Earth and is thus above real reproach and beyond guilt. After all, if HE weren’t the "bestest", why the hell would he be President of God’s own country and the most powerful nation on the planet?
Brown is the color of shit.
Despite being shit at every job he supposedly had, Mike Brown was hired to take care of serious shit.
Bush also was supposed to take car of serious shit. When the shit hit the fan on September 11, he didn’t do shit until September 14. Only then did Bush appear to have his shit together.
After that all kinds of shit happened. Shit went down in Afghanistan. But then there was the shit with Iraq. So Bush sent the shit to Iraq and those Iraqis caught some serious shit. But then shit started to happen and the Iraqis gave our troops some shit, so we matched their shit and raised them some extra shit.
Somehow the shit got out, and Bush caught some shit for the shit that was going down in Abu Ghraib. But Rove figured out a plan to make all of the shit look like shit and after a while the public didn’t give a shit.
But then more shit happened and people started saying shit about how the veterans weren’t getting the shit they deserved, and then the shit started hitting the fan. But Bush didn’t give a shit, he just kept on doing his own shit. And after a while it all became the same old shit.
And then, I shit you not, Katrina came along and the same old shit didn’t float like it used to, or rather it did ‘cos the shit kept floating so everyone could see, and no-one really wanted to see that shit but there it was. And then Mike Brown caught a lot of shit, but he tried to pass it off but Nagin and Blanco weren’t about to put up with that shit and all the regular people who’ve been putting up with shit for years had enough of all this shit and demanded that Bush and his buddies DO something about this shit. But they didn’t do shit.
Now, it may look like the shit is going or even gone, but that shit is still there. There’s a huge pile of shit in the corner that hardly anyone can see on account of all the shit that’s happened so far, but it’s there alright and it won’t go away unless someone says hey! What about this pile of shit?
Forget Threat Level Orange or Red or Purple… the only color anyone should really be concerned about is brown---it is the color of shit, and we are almost up to our necks in it.