- The Washington Times - Saturday, September 17, 2005

For the second time in as many weeks, Georgie Anne Geyer (“Short-term thinking,” Sept. 9) condemns the Bush administration for reckless behavior in its response to hurricane Katrina, its policy on global warming and energy, and the effort to build a free and democratic Iraq. She contrasts this with what she describes as the more prudent approach to these problems by previous administrations. Her analysis, unfortunately, is fraudulent.

Let’s look at the record. President Bush urged Louisiana officials as early as Aug. 27 to undertake a mandatory evacuation of areas in danger from the forthcoming hurricane, but was told this was unnecessary. After an additional offer of assistance from administration officials, the same Louisiana officials claimed state and local officials on their own could deal with the looming crisis.

In addition, while the administration requested and subsequently signed into law more funds for flood-control projects in Louisiana than the previous administration, state and local officials diverted some of the funds to unrelated projects, actions which are the subject of federal indictments for corruption and malfeasance.

While the Red Cross, and other groups, in coordination with the federal government, had enough food, water, hygiene kits and other supplies for the population within the New Orleans Superdome just a short distance away, they were denied access by Louisiana officials.

The mayor of New Orleans was warned by the National Hurricane Center Saturday night before the storm that the threat was very serious. He still did not agree to order an evacuation and put into effect virtually no aspect of his own emergency management disaster relief plan.

Miss Geyer might want to read The Washington Times of Sept. 9 and the article “New Orleans ignored its own plans” on Page A11. In light of these facts, who then was prudent, and who was reckless?

The levee that first broke had been actually just replaced, with a steel and concrete levee built in place of an earthen one. In addition, Louisiana received more Army Corp of Engineer funds — $1.9 billion — than any other state. Furthermore, building a levee system capable of withstanding a category 3, 4 or 5 hurricane, would cost at least $15 billion, require 30 years of effort, including 6 years alone for an environmental and engineering assessment and blueprint. Why was this effort not initiated many years ago?

Now let us turn to Kyoto and energy policy. When the U.S. Senate in 1998 voted 95-0 to call on the Clinton administration not to put forward the Kyoto treaty, was this reckless? When environmental organizations for the last two generations opposed construction of new refineries and nuclear power plants, as well as drilling for oil resources nearly everywhere, who was prudent and who was reckless?

Hurricane specialists say emphatically that global warming has nothing to do with either the occurrence or severity of such storms. Fully carrying out Kyoto would cost trillions of dollars and reduce global temperatures something less than 2 degrees centigrade over the next century. Carrying out Kyoto would cost millions of jobs and economic growth undone. Who thus is prudent or reckless? An administration seeking to reduce critical emissions through sound energy policies or a shrill community of activists trying to force the industrialized world into an economic downturn and probably a recession?

What about Iraq? In 1994, David Kay wrote the presence or absence of stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) was irrelevant. The important factor was that in time a country like Iraq would loosen and eventually end sanctions. He warned inspectors would be continually frustrated trying to determine the extent of a nation’s illicit weapons programs. Therefore, the president had to make a decision — either give Saddam Hussein the benefit of the doubt, or to remove this cancer from the Middle East and begin to transform not only Islam but the Arab world from which so much terrorism is supported.

Liberation of Afghanistan and Iraq led also to eliminating Libya’s nuclear weapons program and an extraordinary effort in many parts of the Middle East toward democratic reform. Syria is out of Lebanon, India has become a strategic U.S. ally, while Pakistan has moved from being an ally of terrorism and the Taliban to being a far better partner with the U.S. than had been deemed possible.

Recent articles in the Weekly Standard, coupled with the revelations of Able Danger by Rep. Curt Weldon, Pennsylvania Republican and vice chairman of both the House Homeland Security Committee and Armed Services Committee, and information Germany developed in 2001 of connections between the September 11 plotters and the Iraqi intelligence service, gave evidence of Iraqi complicity in terror attacks on the U.S. as well as the previous administration’s lack of effort on behalf of U.S. security.

For example, in June 2000, nearly eight years after the 1993 World Trade Center attacks, Richard Clarke told a House subcommittee that adopting a comprehensive counterterrorism plan would be “silly,” in contrast to the current administration’s push for a counterterrorism plan to remove the Taliban and destroy al Qaeda in defense directives initially put together as early as February and April 2001. Again: Who was being prudent and who was being reckless?

Coexistence with evil regimes such as Saddam’s Iraq is not possible any more than with a Hezbollah and Iran that seek to destroy Israel. We must understand, in the words of Tony Blair, “the obscenity of these people saying it is concern for Iraq that drives them to terrorism. If it is concern for Iraq, then why are they driving a car bomb into the middle of a group of children and killing them? We shouldn’t compromise with it. Whatever justification these people use, I do not believe we should give one inch to them.”

PETER HUESSY

President

GeoStrategic Analysis

Potomac, Md.


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