September 9, 2005

Don't Believe Your Eyes

Chertoff: "What you see is not really what is."

The Facts: So says homeland "security" secretary Michael Chertoff in a private speech to members of Congress yesterday. Chertoff was referring to the endless scenes of suffering and devastation which have clogged the air waves for the last nine days since Hurricane Katrina devasted New Orleans and the surrounding areas across three states.

Burying the Dead in Secrecy
Chertoff, sounding very much like he was under the direction of Karl Rove himself, seems to be on the same page as other administration officials, including FEMA head Michael Browm, who has ordered that the news media cannot accompany the special teams being organized to recover what are feared to be the bodies of thousands who have drowned in New Orleans.

The Bush administration's aversion to photos of dead bodies attributable to their failed policies is well known, and in keeping with a simlar policy of not allowing the media to film coffins of soldiers killed in Iraq. The reasons for this are obvious -- it's one thing to read about a body count in the papers, and another to actually see the results.

So today begins a massive White House campaign to reassert control over the media, and bully them into turning away from critical coverage and "the blame game," and replacing this with "positive stories" of heroic rescues and depictions of "well-organized and massive government relief effort."

Chertoff: "There'll be plenty of time to do the after-action analysis."

The Facts: So said Chertoff to the normally reliable mediawhore, Tim Russert, who for perhaps the first time in five years was asking tough questions to a Bush administration official. The "politics can wait until later" line is another gem straight out of the Bush/Rove play book. When the media is willing to cooperate it works like a charm, as of course "later" never comes and most us will forget things like the fact that Bush made the same sort of "now is not the time for politics" statement the day after the Supreme Court made him president.

Chertoff: "The breaking of the New Orleans levees really caught everybody by surprise."

The Facts: Bald-faced lying statements like this one rival President Bush telling the country on national TV that Saddam Hussein had tried to buy uranium from Niger for making an A bomb when in fact the White House had known for a year that this allegation was false and based on forged documents.

Will Amnesia Prevail?
In actuality, the potential for total disaster in New Orleans if the levees broke had been known and studied for years, including a government study by FEMA itself as recently as 2002. And it was also widely known and agreed upon that the levees would not hold against a Category 4 or 5 storm.

In has only been in the last few days that some in the mainstream media have stood up and challenged such outrageous administration lies. Unfortunately, in remains to be seen if this new found boldness is for real, or is just an aberation precipitated by the pangs of conscience driven by the devasting images of helpless U.S. citizens dying literally at the feet of their camera lenses.

Will America and the American media wake up and pay attention to this administration's deadly incompetence, war mongering, and dismantling of the Bill of Rights and our country's future, or will we return to our collective stupor the next time an unfortunate young white woman disappears under suspicious circumstances?


Chertoff Draws Fire on Briefing.

FEMA Head Blames Victims.