09/19/2005: There are Walls and...
The NY Times has its New Subscription Wall in place today for its Editorials an Special Pieces.
But, as I still enjoy their commentary and information, I will continue to present those tid-bits I find interesting to me here on DBV.
For today it's a "You're a Good man Charlie Brown" retelling from Bob Herbert.
Click on the "more" button to read further.
Good Grief by Bob Herbert (NY Times):
"The president is Lucy, and he's holding a football. We're Charlie Brown.
In an eerily lit, nationally televised appearance outside the historic St. Louis Cathedral in New Orleans, President Bush promised the world to the Gulf Coast residents whose lives were upended by Hurricane Katrina.
He seemed to be saying that no effort, no amount of money, would be spared. Two hundred billion dollars? No problem. This will be bigger than the Marshall Plan. The end of the rainbow is here.
"Throughout the area hit by the hurricane," said Mr. Bush, "we will do what it takes, we will stay as long as it takes to help citizens rebuild their communities and their lives."
The country has put its faith in Mr. Bush many times before, and come up empty. It may be cynical, but my guess is that if we believe him again this time, we're going to end up on our collective keisters, just like Charlie Brown, who could never stop himself from kicking mightily at empty space, which was all that was left each time Lucy snatched the ball away.
In March 2003, in another nationally televised address, the president told us we had no choice but to go to war with Iraq because Saddam Hussein was sitting on "some of the most lethal weapons ever devised." So we went to war, even though Saddam had not attacked us, and now - two years and $200 billion later - we're stuck there. Close to a couple of thousand brave men and women have come back in coffins (no pictures, please) and thousands more have been maimed.
The weapons? As Emily Litella would have said, "Never mind."
In the same lavish way that Mr. Bush is promising to rebuild New Orleans and the rest of the storm-damaged Gulf Coast, he assured us and the rest of the world that the invasion he was ordering would lead to the rebuilding of Iraq and its devastated economy. "Freed from the weight of oppression," he said, "Iraq's people will be able to share in the progress and prosperity of our time."
But last Thursday, the very same day that he delivered his speech in New Orleans, the World Bank released a report showing that the continued violence in Iraq had frightened away private investors, slowed reconstruction and disrupted oil production.
The Times reported yesterday that even in Najaf, an Iraqi city often cited by the U.S. as a success story, American officials have acknowledged that reconstruction projects "are hobbled by poor planning, corrupt contractors and a lack of continuity among the rotating coalition officers."
Polls have shown that over the past two years Americans have lost a great deal of faith in Mr. Bush, who tends to talk a good game but doesn't seem to know how to deliver. Thursday night's speech was designed to halt that slide.
But Mr. Bush's new post-Katrina persona defies belief. The same man who was unforgivably slow to respond to the gruesome and often fatal suffering of his fellow Americans now suddenly emerges from the larva of his ineptitude to present himself as - well, nothing short of enlightened.
Not only was he proposing a Gulf Coast Marshall Plan, but he was declaring, in words that made his conservative followers gasp, that poverty in the U.S. "has roots in a history of racial discrimination which cut off generations from the opportunity of America."
If you were listening to the radio, you might have thought you were hearing the ghost of Lyndon Johnson. "We have a duty to confront this poverty with bold action," said Mr. Bush.
He was being Lucy again, enticing us with the football. But before we commence kicking the air, consider the facts.
This president has had zero interest in attacking poverty, and the result has been an increase in poverty in the U.S., the richest country in the world, in each of the last four years. Instead of attacking poverty, the Bush administration has attacked the safety net and has stubbornly refused to stop the decline in the value of the minimum wage on his watch.
You can believe that he's suddenly worried about poor people if you want to. What is more likely is that his reference to racism and poverty was just another opportunistic Karl Rove moment, never to be acted upon.
Charlie Brown's sister, Sally, once asked how often someone could be fooled with the same trick. She answered her own question: "Pretty often, huh?"
Karen on 09.19.05 @ 05:37 AM CST