By The Progressive on September 22, 2005
Bush Takes Cover from Katrina under 9/11
By Matthew Rothschild

September 22, 2005

I suppose it was bound to happen. Whenever Bush is in trouble, he conjures up 9/11.

And so, after his disastrous performance on Katrina, he has now managed to take shelter under the overstretched awning of 9/11.

At a speech before the Republican Jewish Coalition, which ought to have been a very small crowd, Bush made the link: “I've been thinking a lot about how America has responded [to Katrina], and it's clear to me that Americans value human life, and value every person as important. And that stands in stark contrast, by the way, to the terrorists we have to deal with. You see, we look at the destruction caused by Katrina, and our hearts break. They're the kind of people who look at Katrina and wish they had caused it. We're in a war against these people. It's a war on terror. These are evil men who target the suffering. They killed 3,000 people on September the 11th, 2001. And they’ve continued to kill.”

Not exactly a smooth segue, but Bush used it anyway. And he extended it to Iraq, saying for the umpteenth time that “Iraq is the central battlefront in the war on terror.” Again, Bush said, “We value every life,” unlike the suicide car bombers. But I’ve never heard Bush speak about the 25,000 to 100,000 Iraqi civilians that his war has cost. He sure doesn’t appear to place much value on them.

For Bush, it’s all one: Us versus Them. Good versus Evil. And since he believes he’s doing the work of God Almighty, Iraqi casualties don’t count.

“Freedom is a gift from Almighty god to each man and woman in this world,” Bush told the Republican Jewish Coalition. And delivering that gift is “the calling of our time.” If he runs over tens of thousands of Iraqis while delivering that gift, no matter.

(To ingratiate himself further with the crowd, Bush also went out of his way to embrace the Israeli prime minister. “I got a partner in peace in Ariel Sharon,” Bush said. “Ariel Sharon has shown great leadership” in withdrawing from Gaza.)

By coupling Katrina with Al Qaeda, Bush tried to find his footing, return to the moral high ground, and relive his glory days with the bullhorn.

If the White House special effects guys had gotten their act together, they would have shown bin Laden and Zarqawi, cheeks puffed up, blowing the winds of Katrina—and now Rita--through the Gulf of Mexico and right into New Orleans.

The underlying theme was not hard to decipher: Nature is against us, the terrorists are against us, so you better rally behind the President, who can protect you against evil acts of every variety.

Problem is, he can’t.

He failed miserably in his handling of Katrina.

He’s failing miserably in his handling of the war against Al Qaeda.

And he’s failing miserably in Iraq.

If I were Bush, I wouldn’t link Katrina with the war on terror and with Iraq.

It makes him look triply bad.

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A plea to United States citizens to work for peace

An Indian journalist globally renowned as an advocate for the poor, Palagummi Sainath detailed the detrimental...

By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.


Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).

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