Sunday, September 11, 2005

Why The Dead Cannot Fill Out The Proper Forms

President Bush said today, “Today, America is confronting another disaster that has caused destruction and loss of life. This time the devastation resulted not from the malice of evil men, but from the fury of water and wind.” There wasn’t a way of getting Bush atop the dome in New Orleans to pose for a picture with the head of FEMA Mr. Brown because Mr. Brown only found out recently that there were people in the dome in trouble. Bush did not get handed a bullhorn to stumble over a blood curdling speech about freedom from storms or, perish the thought, the wrath of God and his storms. On the anniversary of the events of September 11, 2001 Bush used the sympathy tactic of a man who truly does not appear at the scene of hundreds or even thousands of lives on his own country’s soil until cameras are in place, looters are subdued from acquiring food for their families, and the so-called promised relief is just a few miles away.

Not since the gall of Joseph McCarthy has a politician sought to further his legacy with a more shameful act as to hug two African American ladies on camera and to straighten up stiff as a board when his personal photographer is about to snap a picture. After the picture Bush would slump back down and continue consoling the two women until the cameraman was ready fro another photo.

Vice President Dick Cheney got the welcome he deserved by a passerby, a man walking to his house to salvage his few belongings with his wife when the man shouted, “Fuck you Mr. Cheney, fuck you, you asshole.” Coal burning spider veined Cheney made a joke of the man’s distraught words and continued on while the press chuckled along. Who needs embedded status when the press can chuckle along on cue?

Not since the lynching of African Americans in the south has government and law enforcement turned their blind eye and cold shoulder to a dying people of an American city on such a scale. The question is not where does the fault lay, but will anything being done about it? Will it just become a hot topic issue for pundits and future campaigns? Will the receding waters cleanse the sins of the wicked?

As mourners, spectators walk slowly in line of the coffin of Justice Rehnquist a decision was being made not to allow footage of the bodies as they are recovered to be used on the news. Just as the coffins of soldiers returning from Iraq may not be filmed, the dead from the storm Katrina will not be allowed to be filmed either. The coffin of Rehnquist was covered in an American flag; the dead from Katrina are in black body bags tossed in a pile like the dead Americans and Vietnamese from the Vietnam War. The graves registration units of the U.S. Army cannot handle the dead; they are being handled by commercial companies; anything for a no bid contract.

- Chris Mansel

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