From Ben Stein in The American Spectator:
A few truths, for those who have ears and eyes and care to know the truth:
1.) The hurricane that hit New Orleans and Mississippi and Alabama was an astonishing tragedy. The suffering and loss of life and peace of mind of the residents of those areas is acutely horrifying.
2.) George Bush did not cause the hurricane. Hurricanes have been happening for eons. George Bush did not create them or unleash this one.
3.) George Bush did not make this one worse than others. There have been far worse hurricanes than this before George Bush was born.
4.) There is no overwhelming evidence that global warming exists as a man-made phenomenon. There is no clear-cut evidence that global warming even exists. There is no clear evidence that if it does exist it makes hurricanes more powerful or makes them aim at cities with large numbers of poor people. If global warming is a real phenomenon, which it may well be, it started long before George Bush was inaugurated, and would not have been affected at all by the Kyoto treaty, considering that Kyoto does not cover the world’s worst polluters — China, India, and Brazil. In a word, George Bush had zero to do with causing this hurricane. To speculate otherwise is belief in sorcery.
5.) George Bush had nothing to do with the hurricane contingency plans for New Orleans. Those are drawn up by New Orleans and Louisiana. In any event, the plans were perfectly good: mandatory evacuation. It is in no way at all George Bush’s fault that about 20 percent of New Orleans neglected to follow the plan. It is not his fault that many persons in New Orleans were too confused to realize how dangerous the hurricane would be. They were certainly warned. It’s not George Bush’s fault that there were sick people and old people and people without cars in New Orleans. His job description does not include making sure every adult in America has a car, is in good health, has good sense, and is mobile.
6.) George Bush did not cause gangsters to shoot at rescue helicopters taking people from rooftops, did not make gang bangers rape young girls in the Superdome, did not make looters steal hundreds of weapons, in short make New Orleans into a living hell.
7.) George Bush is the least racist President in mind and soul there has ever been and this is shown in his appointments over and over. To say otherwise is scandalously untrue.
8.) George Bush is rushing every bit of help he can to New Orleans and Mississippi and Alabama as soon as he can. He is not a magician. It takes time to organize huge convoys of food and now they are starting to arrive. That they get in at all considering the lawlessness of the city is a miracle of bravery and organization.
9.) There is not the slightest evidence at all that the war in Iraq has diminished the response of the government to the emergency. To say otherwise is pure slander.
10.) If the energy the news media puts into blaming Bush for an Act of God worsened by stupendous incompetence by the New Orleans city authorities and the malevolence of the criminals of the city were directed to helping the morale of the nation, we would all be a lot better off.
11.) New Orleans is a great city with many great people. It will recover and be greater than ever. Sticking pins into an effigy of George Bush that does not resemble him in the slightest will not speed the process by one day.
12.) The entire episode is a dramatic lesson in the breathtaking callousness of government officials at the ground level. Imagine if Hillary Clinton had gotten her way and they were in charge of your health care.
God bless all of those dear people who are suffering so much, and God bless those helping them, starting with George Bush.
UPDATE: Sunday, Sept. 4, 2005, 2:13 p.m.:
More Mysteries of Katrina:
Why is it that the snipers who shot at emergency rescuers trying to save people in hospitals and shelters are never mentioned except in passing, and Mr. Bush, who is turning over heaven and earth to rescue the victims of the storm, is endlessly vilified?
What church does Rev. Al Sharpton belong to that believes in passing blame and singling out people by race for opprobrium and hate?
What special abilities does the media have for deciding how much blame goes to the federal government as opposed to the city government of New Orleans for the aftereffects of Katrina?
If able-bodied people refuse to obey a mandatory evacuation order for a city, have they not assumed the risk that ill effects will happen to them?
When the city government simply ignores its own sick and hospitalized and elderly people in its evacuation order, is Mr. Bush to blame for that?
Is there any problem in the world that is not Mr. Bush’s fault, or have we reverted to a belief in a sort of witchcraft where we credit a mortal man with the ability to create terrifying storms and every other kind of ill wind?
Where did the idea come from that salvation comes from hatred and criticism and mockery instead of love and co-operation?
Ben Stein is a writer, actor, economist, and lawyer living in Beverly Hills and Malibu. He also writes “Ben Stein’s Diary” in every issue of The American Spectator. Please click here to subscribe.