I've been watching the news this afternoon. I'm so glad that the American President has updated his country on federal efforts following Katrina.
SUNDAY 3 SEPTEMBER 2005 10:06 A.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Good morning. Yesterday I saw the aftermath of one of the largest natural disasters ever to strike America. A vast coastline of towns and communities are flattened; one of our great cities is submerged. The human costs are incalculable.
In Biloxi I met Bronwynne Bassier and her sister, Kim. Bronwynne told me that the only earthly possessions she has left were the clothes on her back. I also met relief and rescue workers who are performing heroically in difficult circumstances.
They've been working around the clock, risking their own lives to save the lives of others.
(Unlike me, of course. I was on holiday or playing the guitar)
Yet, despite their best efforts, the magnitude of responding to a crisis over a disaster area that is larger than the size of Great Britain has created tremendous problems that have strained state and local capabilities. The result is that many of our citizens simply are not getting the help they need, especially in New Orleans. And that is unacceptable.
(Totally unacceptable. Of course, you're damned if you think you're going to get an apology out of me. It would be so simple for me to say "I'm sorry. We failed you," but I'm not going to.)
During my visit I discussed these problems at length with Governor Riley of Alabama, Governor Barbour of Mississippi, Governor Blanco of Louisiana and Mayor Nagin of New Orleans. Each state will have its own set of challenges and issues to solve. Yet all of us agree that more can be done to improve our ability to restore order and deliver relief in a timely and effective manner.
This morning I received a briefing on the latest developments on the ground. Right now there are more than 21,000 National Guard troops operating in Louisiana and Mississippi, and more are on the way. More than 13,000 of these troops are in Louisiana.
The main priority is to restore and maintain law and order, and assist in recovery and evacuation efforts.
(Please don't ask why we didn't help to maintain law and order and put in place evacuation efforts before this happened. I was on holiday at the time busy ignoring Cindy Sheehan)
In addition to these National Guard forces, the Department of Defense has deployed more than 4,000 active duty forces to assist in search and recovery, and provide logistical and medical support.
Hour by hour, the situation on the ground is improving.
(I can say that because we're far too late. It's not hard to improve when you're starting from a huge mountain of dead bodies. On the other hand, given that I have the full support of Pat Robertson (and by extension, the Almighty), I'm sure I can just bring the dead back to life in a while.)
Yet the enormity of the task requires more resources and more troops.
(I have only just realised this. I'm rather slow.)
Today I ordered the Department of Defense to deploy additional active duty forces to the region.
(Hell, I was told we could take Iraq with a minimum military contingent, so it's not my fault I didn't realise we might need, say, anybody on the ground at all for just a little wind.)
Over the next 24 to 72 hours,
(Oops. Maybe a bit late.)
more than 7,000 additional troops from the 82nd Airborne, from the 1st Cavalry, the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force, and the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Force will arrive in the affected areas. These forces will be on the ground and operating under the direct command of General Russ Honore.
Our priorities are clear: We will complete the evacuation as quickly and safely as possible.
(The evacuation will be much easier to complete quickly and safely now, rather than a few days ago, because we've already let a whole bunch of people die. This is value for money for the American taxpayer.)
We will not let criminals prey on the vulnerable, and we will not allow bureaucracy to get in the way of saving lives.
(But we will let criminals play on the vulnerable and the bureaucracy get in the way of saving lives for the first critical 72 hours of a natural disaster which, of course, could have been prevented or mitigated in the first place.)
Yesterday I also signed a $10.5 billion emergency aid package to fund our ongoing relief efforts.
(I was too busy on Thursday. Anyway, I'm on holiday. What do you expect? This hurricane just snuck up on me. I was far too busy dealing with Sheehan's concerns)
This is a down payment on what will be a sustained federal commitment to our fellow citizens along the Gulf Coast. I want to thank the Congress for their quick, bipartisan action, and I look forward to working with them in the days and weeks ahead.
(I am pleased to have redefined the meaning of the word "quick" to mean "less than adequate and after the event")
I know that those of you who have been hit hard by Katrina are suffering.
(Someone has told me that maybe I should watch CNN)
Many are angry and desperate for help. The tasks before us are enormous, but so is the heart of America. In America, we do not abandon our fellow citizens in their hour of need.
(Actually, we do. We then get around to helping them four days later after the poor people have died. And by poor, I mean those who have less financial resources than richer, whiter Americans)
And the federal government will do its part. Where our response is not working, we'll make it right.
(Making it right now will bring back your dead. I on the other hand went on a great bike ride.)
Where our response is working, we will duplicate it. We have a responsibility to our brothers and sisters all along the Gulf Coast, and we will not rest until we get this right and the job is done.
(I rested. And your representatives and senators.)
This week we've all been humbled by the awesome powers of Mother Nature.
(SHOCK AND AWE MAN, SHOCK AND AWE!!! RUMSFELD'S GOT TO GET US SOME OF THAT SHIT!)
And when you stand on the porch steps where a home once stood, or look at row upon row of buildings that are completely under water, it's hard to imagine a bright future.
(I'm worried about oil)
But when you talk to the proud folks in the area, you see a spirit that cannot be broken.
(A dead man's spirit cannot be broken)
The emergency along the Gulf Coast is ongoing; there's still a lot of difficult work ahead. All Americans can be certain our nation has the character, the resources, and the resolve to overcome this disaster. We will comfort and care for the victims.
(Now that the media is on my ass and I'm finally worried about my polll ratings)
We will restore the towns and neighborhoods that have been lost in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. We'll rebuild the great city of New Orleans.
And we'll once again show the world that the worst adversities bring out the best in America.
(This. This that you see, this federal response, this absolute disaster IS THE BEST THE GREATEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD CAN DO! FUCK YEAH!)
May God bless you, and may God continue to bless our country.
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