Monday, September 12, 2005

Bitt Enders

Last week marked a big milestone for Bilges: After eight months of gradually accelerated blogging, culminating in a burst of post-Katrina commentary, I attracted links from some of the majors. Big thanks to Michelle Malkin, Sean Hackbarth of The American Mind, and especially Bryan Preston of JunkYardBlog. Since there's clearly a giant untapped market for my opinions I'm starting this semi-regular 'Bitt Enders' feature today. Thousands of Desperate Columnists Don't miss this entertaining piece of writing from Irish columnist Newton Emerson on the American press reaction to Katrina. Go Pats! When I learned of the NFL's opening-night lineup of unpatriotic, Bush-bashing musicians I decided to black-out the TV until after kickoff. When I heard that Kanye West was booed "thunderously...for much of his number" I regretted my decision. Bostonians, I'm sorry for half-heartedly rooting against your team. Now please do something about those two senators... All the Wrong Lessons The San Diego City Beat publishes a riveting firsthand account from inside the Superdome by UC San Diego employee Paul Harris. But some jarring discordances are sprinkled through his narrative, such as when, with order disintegrating in the dome's darkness, he snidely comments that:

Our anger toward FEMA and the Bush administration grew. We truly believed that we might die. Spoken or unspoken, most of us knew that if our resources and soldiers were not in Iraq, we would have had more than enough troops and support.

Was he really thinking this at the time? Does liberal Bushophobia run so deep? Or did this line of thought coalesce to conform with regnant press memes after his escape to San Francisco? And more:

Fortunately, a soldier, Staff Sgt. Ogden, saved our group of 100. I am thankful beyond words for the work he did in arranging to get us out. I don’t know if he did this because he liked us, or he knew we were in danger, or if it was racism, or if he realized that if one of the international students was raped or murdered that would be a huge embarrassment for President Bush.

He was worried his group was moved from the Superdome because of racism! But let's be realistic. Anyone who stands out in a hostile environment is more likely to become a target. His group was mostly white and mostly foreign--doubly different from most of those in the Superdome. Is this racism? Is it racism for an American in Iraq to use taxis for one-block trips in Basra? That's what journalist Steven Vincent neglected to do and the result was his kidnapping and death. When Americans in Central America hire bodyguards against kidnapping are they also racists? Racism is real among both blacks and whites. But it's not racism to realize that a white in a mostly black ghetto is more likely to be targeted by racist black criminals than another black. Harris goes on:

Finally, we made it out of the Hyatt under armed guard after more false hopes. We wrote our thoughts down on plywood inside the lobby, many of them about the federal government and how its inaction could have killed us, and how it led to the suffering and deaths of many others.

They wrote graffiti blaming the federal government for Katrina! This whole thing reminds me of the liberal writer (I can't remember his name) who recently had a stroke, woke up from his hospital bed, and first thing was upset to remember that Bush beat Kerry! Talk about backwards priorities. All is Not Well On the Anniversary of 9/11 Is it not a sign of the enervating intellectual debauchery of our culture that on the anniversary of 9/11 two of the most prominent stories in the blogsphere are the unveiling of a Flight 93 memorial modeled after the Islamic crescent and CNN's proud demand to show the bodies of Katrina victims as they are discovered? That's the same CNN who, as has been pointed out by many others, refused to show the bodies of 9/11 victims for fear of inflaming American opinion against our enemies. Post Bias The Washington Post ran a long story on New Orleans and Katrina this past Sunday. It has more problems than I have time to comment on, but I couldn't resist highlighting one gem:

The federal disaster response plan hinges on transportation and communication, but National Guard officials in Louisiana and Mississippi had no contingency plan if they were disrupted; they had only one satellite phone for the entire Mississippi coast, because the others were in Iraq.

Is there any doubt that the reporter's ears perked up, that his grin grew a little wider when he heard this? Would it have merited mention if the phones were in Germany, say, or South Korea? Of course not. But it fits the Bush-caused-Katrina story line doesn't it? Yet it tells us nothing really. How many of the phones are in Iraq? One? Two? A dozen? Do National Guard communication plans normally depend on satellite phones? If so why didn't they buy more? Is there any doubt that with a slight twist of fate--say a Mississippi Guard unit gets cut-off in Fallujah and takes heavy casualties--we could be reading that the incompetent Bush administration didn't send enough satellite phones to Iraq?

No comments: