News+and+politics religion philosophy the cynic librarian: Rumblings in the Ranks?

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Rumblings in the Ranks?

What is unique about the following letter--besides its unusually lucid and powerful rhetoric--is that it was published in Stars and Stripes, the official newspaper for soldiers by the US Defense Department. Soldiers know what's what--as I had noted in several earlier posts, those soldiers and the officers are going to turn the whole Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld applecart over.

One aspect of a soldier's criticism is that s/he has a certain moral authority now and what he or she is thinking and feeling carries a lot of weight in the current political/social debates. As soldiers, it is very rare for them to criticize the commander in chief. To see something like this letter in an official military forum is therefore quite interesting.
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Katrina another Bush failure

The fourth major failure of the Bush administration leading to tragedy has unfolded in gruesome detail in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. It revealed the hypocrisy of “small government” and sham privatization of emergency services. The Federal Emergency Management Agency, which was professionalized under the Clinton administration by former Director Jamie Lee Witt was gutted by President Bush.

FEMA’s incompetent political-crony appointees delayed responding to Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco’s pleas for federal help, which she issued three days before Katrina hit. While people were dying there, the president returned to his fake ranch, the vice president bought a mansion, and the secretary of state shopped Ferragamo’s for $1,000 shoes.

The first failure was cutting Army Corps of Engineers funding to strengthen the levees. Technology to provide equivalent Category 5 hurricane flood protection has been implemented by Holland engineers for decades. Bush’s reduction of funding for this project guaranteed levee failure and disaster.

The second failure, the purposeful dismissal of warnings that al-Qaida was an imminent terrorism threat, led to the disaster of Sept. 11, 2001. The Bush administration downgraded terrorism as a priority, defunded a program monitoring U.S.-based al-Qaida operatives, and replaced counterterrorism Justice Department programs with anti-drug and domestic policing. After 9/11, this was quietly reversed.

The third failure, the invasion and occupation of Iraq, was based on lies and “cooking” of intelligence. This was confirmed by the Downing Street memo and the “9/11 Commission Report.” This administration didn’t care enough about servicemembers or a successful occupation to provide sufficient troops, protective armor or an exit plan. Staying longer in Iraq and failing to secure it means profit for politically connected firms.

Troops in Iraq and veterans were abandoned by a war-profiteering government, as New Orleans residents were. This presidency is deadly, knows it, and doesn’t care.

M.D. Wooldridge
W├╝rzburg, Germany
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