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The National Guard waits on President Bush's photo tour of New Orleans before rolling into the city Friday as a military backdrop to the president's appearance. Even the New York Times speculates that the Guard entry may have been delayed to help Bush's image.

The Red Cross admits it was ordered to stay out of New Orleans, denying aid to tens of thousands starving, dehydrated refugees. This is beyond ineptitude. This is the intentional sacrifice of human life to enhance the sagging image of a callous and cold president. This is the greatest and most tragic domestic political scandal of my lifetime. It is on a scale with  the turning away of Jewish immigrants during WWII, the internment of Japanese Americans during that war, the genocide of North American indigenous people.

What is to be done? Impeachment is impossible given the Republican domination of Congress. People are still dying. How can we turn to political considerations in the face of such heartbreak for which was all feel ashamed? Those in Congress who see clearly, Republicans and Democrats, have a responsibility to take up this matter NOW.

What we can do now is insist that the truth behind the shameful government response to the Katrina disaster be heard and understood by all Americans. This won't be easy. Bush is already blaming local officials, preening before the cameras, playing the part of hero daddy. Republicans in Congress at risk of defeat will want to promote this false image to save their own asses. Democrats will be tempted to let the waters of the Gulf and the waters of controversy recede -- so their pollsters can accurately guage the public mood, you know -- before acting.

We do not have the option of waiting. Waiting to press the issue is as criminal as delaying the National Guard until the stage lights go up on the president. I beg elected officials at all levels. You may escape a guilty verdict in 2006, but history will damn you for your passivity and inaction. Yes, your own grandchildren will study your shame if you fail to act and act now.

Originally posted to glennwsmith on Sat Sep 03, 2005 at 08:24 AM PDT.

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