Back to the Future, part 2
November 3, 2015
"Insecure people often falsify the past, in order to make the future pure." Author Shannon L. Alder
In my last column, I described how President George W. Bush "kept us safe," according to his brother Jeb. He "kept us safe" on 9/11. He kept the workers at Ground Zero "safe" by lying about the toxic conditions. He kept tens of thousands of troops "safe" by sending them off to a war based on lies without the proper equipment. How else did Bush keep us "safe"?
Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast on Aug. 23, 2005. President Bush was at a birthday party, playing guitar while New Orleans drowned. A total of 1,833 people died; hundreds of those deaths occurred days after the hurricane passed, due to federal bungling. The botched federal response to the hurricane has been well documented, but here are some examples for those who have forgotten how incompetent Bush's administration was.
Temperatures in the storm-hit areas were in the 90s. With air conditioning not working, hospitals needed ice to keep patients cool and alive. Ice was also needed to preserve medicines and food. FEMA ordered 211 million pounds of ice and hired hundreds of trucks to carry the ice to the hurricane area. Because FEMA had no procedure for getting the ice to where it was actually needed, these trucks ended up wandering thousands of miles around the U.S.; one truck traveled 4,100 miles. The ice cost over $100 million to buy and hundreds of thousands more to transport. It never reached the people who needed it. Millions of dollars literally down the drain, thanks to Bush.
After Katrina, FEMA bought 145,000 trailers to house displaced victims. About 42 percent of those trailers were toxic. Former occupants still suffer serious health issues from living in these toxic trailers. How safe did Bush keep Katrina victims?
Nearly 10,000 Americans died in the 9/11 attacks, the war in Iraq, and Hurricane Katrina; tens of thousands more were severely injured. But what do Republicans want to talk about? Benghazi and the four Americans who died there. This was truly a tragedy, but they never mention the approximately 30 people who were rescued. In its Dec. 18, 2012, report, the independent Accountability Review Board said, "The safe evacuation of all U.S. government personnel from Benghazi twelve hours after the initial attack and subsequently to Ramstein Air Force Base was the result of exceptional U.S. government coordination and military response." Why do Republicans ignore that part?
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Republicans have spent more time investigating Benghazi than the 9/11 attacks, the reasons for war in Iraq, or the botched federal response to Hurricane Katrina. Are Republicans only interested in dead Americans when they think a Democrat is at fault? For anyone who cares, here is a website with answers to the Benghazi questions. Even Republicans can use it! http://askedandanswered-democrats.benghazi.house.gov/.
A recent LVN column claimed that the Tea Party emerged in response to Obama's terrible actions. In fact, the first Tea Party rallies were on Feb. 27, 2009, five weeks after Obama was inaugurated. Obama was working to save America's economy; Republicans were spreading propaganda to make sure he failed.
Some of the accusations against Obama were that he raised the debt ceiling (done by Reagan and both Bushes several times), made America a debtor nation (done by Reagan), used executive orders excessively (Reagan and Bush issued far more executive orders), and other claims that don't hold up to factual scrutiny. These are just more examples of Republican mass amnesia. They rewrite history and their own back-story to be what they want it to be, not what really happened. They can't bear to admit how much they've damaged America with the problems they've created.
In my March 14, 2012, column, I asked readers to describe something awful Obama has done. There were two conditions: it had to be something no Republican president had proposed or done, and it had to be real, not something grabbed off the internet. To date, I haven't had a single response.
GW Bush showed how incompetent a Republican administration could be. No current Republican presidential candidate has denounced what he did. Electing one of them would be like a third Bush administration. Would we survive?
You've probably heard a parent say when a child broke something and then lied about it, "This is why we can't have nice things." Until Republicans stop lying about all the things they have broken, it will be hard for us to have a nice country.
Jeanette Strong, whose column appears every other week, is a Nevada Press Association award-winning columnist. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.