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George W. Bush has famously expressed a certain contempt for history: “History? We’ll all be dead.” A smirker’s philosophy in a nutshell. And yet he cared enough about history to make Bob Woodward his official biographer. Shaping opinion, now and if possible for all time, is a primary focus.

It’s only been a little over a month since Hurricane Katrina hit, but already it is clear that the disaster was a bonanza for those who are in the self-declared business of bending the world to their reality. The world has indeed changed. As usual, active efforts are being made by the Bushitters and the mainstream media to prevent what we’ve just experienced from sinking in, while they bury the truly significant aspects of the story and begin the long tedious process of editing our memories. So I want to take a minute and look at three altered or suppressed aspects of what we just witnessed and provide a memory resource for the future.

Perhaps the most under-reported aspect of Bush’s response relates to a memo written by Michael Chertoff discussing the creation of a “White House Task Force on Hurricane Katrina Response,” contravening the new 2005 National Response Plan and previous executive orders by George Bush on the handling of emergency situations. According to Knight-Ridder, which reported the story, “the goal of the National Response Plan is to provide a streamlined framework for delivering federal assistance when a disaster—caused by terrorists or Mother Nature—is too big for local officials to handle.” This means that the relief effort was not handled by disaster professionals, as it should have been, but was run out of the White House.

Here’s a synopsis of how FEMA performed, while acting under the White House’s direct supervision (With the exception of the last item, all the FEMA links were compiled by
peabody71 on Democratic Underground.):

FEMA won't accept Amtrak's help in evacuations

FEMA turns away experienced firefighters

FEMA turns back Wal-Mart supply trucks

FEMA prevents Coast Guard from delivering diesel fuel

FEMA won't let Red Cross deliver food

FEMA bars morticians from entering New Orleans

FEMA blocks 500-boat citizen flotilla from delivering aid

FEMA fails to utilize Navy ship with 600-bed hospital on board

FEMA to Chicago: Send just one truck

FEMA turns away generators

FEMA: "First Responders Urged Not To Respond"

FEMA officials ordered a doctor to stop giving aid to dying people

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Patricia Goldsmith is a member of Long Island Media Watch, a grassroots free media and democracy watchdog group. She can be reached at
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