As Draper explained, there were search-and-rescue helicopters available for New Orleans, but Rumsfeld refused to approve their deployment, despite the belief from the commander of Joint Task Force Katrina that they were needed.
[INDENT][T]hree years later, when I asked a top White House official how he would characterize Rumsfeld’s assistance in the response to Hurricane Katrina, I found out why. “It was commonly known in the West Wing that there was a battle with Rumsfeld regarding this,” said the official. “I can’t imagine another defense secretary throwing up the kinds of obstacles he did.”
Though various military bases had been mobilized into a state of alert well before the advance team’s tour, Rumsfeld’s aversion to using active-duty troops was evident: “There’s no doubt in my mind,” says one of Bush’s close advisers today, “that Rumsfeld didn’t like the concept.”
The next day, three days after landfall, word of disorder in New Orleans had reached a fever pitch. According to sources familiar with the conversation, DHS secretary Michael Chertoff called Rumsfeld that morning and said, “You’re going to need several thousand troops.”
“Well, I disagree,” said the SecDef. “And I’m going to tell the president we don’t need any more than the National Guard.”
[/INDENT] After the president had returned to the White House, he eventually convened a meeting in the Situation Room to discuss the government’s response. Bush barked, “Rumsfeld, what the hell is going on there? Are you watching what’s on television? Is that the United States of America or some Third World nation I’m watching? What the hell are you doing?”
Journalists’ books on the Bush presidency are full of these vaguely-sourced depictions of him acting all authoritative and presidential, and I think almost all of them were ginned up after the fact by aides seeking to burnish his image. I do believe the bad stuff about Rumsfeld, though.
It also somewhat ignores his rather trumpeted claim to being able to choose the perfect guy for a given job.
And that it still took him far too long the correct the situation in any case … Assuming righteous indignation.
Or that his primary motivation for putting his boot up Rumsfeld’s ass involves the appearance of the situation and them looking bad more than anything else.
this whole piece seems like a “deflect bush criticisms onto rummy” attempt; or, at least, the quoted remarks seem that way. couple this with some pretty sketchy and longshot attempts to paint rummy as the author of the evils of the early bush years, and the whole thing comes across as pretty dubious overall. yes, rummy was venal, cranky, and possibly mad from porphyry, but too many of the quotes and accusations in the article seem only loosely related to his dictates and modus operandi overall. is this post-administration revisionism in action, designed to exculpate bush/cheney from the manifold iraq policy and katrina diasters, or just weak reporting and questionable quoting? YOU DECIDE
I don’t think anyone is going to try to exculpate Cheney, especially given his newfound love of the TV camera. Rumself was functionally the right hand man of Cheney, working to put the Cheney vision of government into practice in the government’s biggest bureaucracy.
Wasn’t Rumsfeld getting plenty of criticism as early as summer 2001? Sure 9/11 and Iraq gave him some rope, as it did the entire administration, but I remember plenty of criticism of him for years.
Yeah, that whole article is like the Ultimate Warrior DVD the WWF put out about him. Wildly biased and slanted, but probably true.
Rumsfeld was getting a lot of criticism pre-9/11. I believe Slate even started one of their “Death Watch” widgits for him. But then he kept his cool and ran the show out of a smoking Pentagon. He was untouchable for years after that. Too bad for Bush, Iraq (the country and the war effort) and the Military.
I do like how Bush is being un-demonized. I didn’t like the guy or his policies, but from the way people treated him, it was like he ate babies or something. He was just one small piece of the puzzle.
If the President is ‘just one small piece of the puzzle’ of his own god damn administration, I’d say that’s a pretty massive problem in and of itself, wouldn’t you?
“The Decider” is responsible for the behavior of his minions.
Doesn’t matter what kind of callow, disinterested, frat boy he is, or what the baby Jesus tells him for he goes night night at 7:30 or even if they quote bible passages while destroying a country, the military and the GOP.
There’s a difference between demonizing and judging someone to have done a poor job.
How bout “He did a demonically bad job.”?
Provided your job doesn’t impact the lives of millions of people.
The entire government should have been overthrown over Katrina, it was the most blatant example of incompetence the US has ever seen. Everyone knew that Katrina was very likely going to be “that storm” when it did the hook up the Gulf, and for the US of motherfuckin’ A to not have a bigass contingency plan ready to go, and somebody on the ground with his hand poised over a big red button, was criminal. We’ve probably got twenty plans for invasion of every country on the face of the earth, but couldn’t handle water delivery inside our own borders.
What I found super-ironic about the Katrina thing was that Bush’s father, even though he “won” the first gulf war, lost his presidency due to his own mishandling of a Hurricane (in FLA that time, and he didn’t even lose a whole city).
Friends don’t let friends elect the sons of former presidents.
I think we tried to tell you. Twice.
But did 'Merica listen? Nuuuuh.
Is there a reason that won is in scare quotes?
We didn’t really win though did we? Sure we won the battle, but having to go in 10 years later to finish the job… I can see the reason for air quotes.
A lot of people felt he didn’t finish the job (i.e. kill Saddam) but, with hindsight, it looks like he ended the war at about the right point. We could have maintained the embargos and the no-fly zones for a fraction of what the war has cost us. Someone (Uday or the other one probably) would have put a bullet in his head eventually.
I wonder what W’s presidency would have looked like if he had listened to his old man rather than Cheney.
Slightly less dysfunctional? A closer 2008 race, maybe?