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His Pet Goat's Silence, Again
Bush and Katrina: The Smoking Gun, on Tape

Not too long ago the great American Rabelais of our time wondered what, if anything, it was going to take to surprise anyone over the sheer sludge of mendacity flowing out of this White House. A segment of the public (about 34-odd percent at last Nixonian count) will always find a way to excuse the crimes. It’s either that or conceding complicity, which the craven by definition cannot do. They manage to insist, as always, that there is no smoking gun, that the mainstream media, given the diseased-like acronym “MSM,” is the conspirator. Now comes the gun, smoking, reeking, dripping: the Hurricane Katrina video showing, in a confidential briefing for the president, a slew of emergency personnel, “you’re-doing-a-heck-of-a-job-Brownie” among them, warning the president that this was “the big one,” that levees were in danger, that the Superdome might not cut it, that big loss of life was anticipated. This was a full day before the storm hit. And Bush in his labyrinth in Crawford, Texas, making assurances that everything was under control, asking not a single question and, as it turns out, lying as casually as if he were snacking on pretzels: when he was asked four days after the storm hit, on ABC News, about his catastrophically anemic response, he claimed no one could have anticipated the storm’s violence. Proof of the man’s dishonesty, to be sure, but mostly of his incapacity to lead, his utter cluelessness, and it should be said, his Pet Goat-vintage idiocy, for wasn’t that silence during the Katrina briefing the same silence with which he took in Andy Card’s Sept. 11 announcement, in that Florida classroom, that the nation was under attack?

—Pierre Tristam

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