Since then, Bushs four-year mismanagement of military operations has been every bit as incompetent, dishonorable and gratuitously destructive as his performance in New Orleans. One can only shudder at what comes next.
At a speech just before Katrina, Bush had the astonishing gall to compare his war leadership to that of Franklin Roosevelt. In fact, if Bush had been in office instead of Roosevelt in 1941, wed all be speaking German and Japanese.
Lets do the math: On December 7, 1941, Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, killing nearly as many Americans as bin Laden killed on 9/11/01. The Pacific fleet was crippled, and Japan appeared as unbeatable in Asia as did the Nazis in Europe.
Bush, of course, is busy trying to destroy one of FDRs crowning domestic achievements, the Social Security System. But even that nearly pales before Bushs catastrophic military command.
Bushs attack on Iraq in response to 9/11 is the strategic and moral equivalent of attacking Brazil after Pearl Harbor. There were, Bush might reason, some Japanese nationals living in Brazil. And all that coffee
Bush has taken historys largest, most thoroughly over-funded military and run it into the ground. Like FEMA in New Orleans, hes misused the armed forces to degrade the American soul at Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo and in the streets of Baghdad, where he worsens a hopeless, endless civil war. Hes also played bait-and-switch with thousands of American reserves and National Guard whose lives and health have been devastated.
And after four full years of Bushwahr, Osama bin Laden still runs free. By all accounts he is more powerful than ever, his terror network overflowing with recruits sent him by Bushs arrogant incompetence.
What would history say about FDR if, four years after Pearl Harbor, Hitler was still running a growing worldwide network of Nazi saboteurs while American military commanders shrugged their shoulders and forged ahead with an attack on the Amazon.
From New Orleans to Baghdad, the US has never suffered from more delusional or less competent leadership.
Bushs calculation in attacking Iraq was partly to guarantee that he could run for re-election as a war president. Iraq also allowed Karl Rove to brand John Kerry an indecisive flip-flopper on the war. By contrast, Bush has been decisive and a pure flop.
Then Richard Nixon, despite his secret plan to end it, prolonged that senseless disaster another seven years before the last American advisors escaped in disgrace from an embassy rooftop in downtown Saigon.
Ultimately, under leadership like that of George Bush, American troops are likely to suffer a similar fate when they finally flee Baghdad.