As even the press have realized, this failure goes beyond extreme conditions, incompetence, and red tape. Some may be inclined to attribute it to the institutionalization of our national, "I got mine, fuck you and yours" ethos. Others see the fruition of the campaign of hostility towards government itself. But it is clear to me that the images and sounds of last week most strikingly revealed the great fraud that the Bush Administration has perpetrated upon the American public: that after 9/11, whatever else you might think of George W. Bush and his policies, he will use all the powers and resources of the government to protect the American people. The fear and chaos of 9/11 drove many Americans to suspend their judgment of Bush for the promise that he put their security first and would not suffer it to be compromised for any reason. For those who care to look, this promise can now be seen to have been a base, venal lie.
In the weeks after 9/11, the public was cautioned against scam artists posing as charitable organizations, soliciting donations that would never reach the victims and their families. From the criminal neglect of FEMA to the Kafkaesque reorganization of Homeland Security to the hostile indifference to post-invasion planning for Iraq, the Bushies have made a big pitch for security while hastily erecting the thinnest possible scrim between the American people and whatever peril awaits them. Meanwhile, the national debt has exploded, the middle class has shrunk, and now were repealing the estate tax. As political grifters go, Rove, Bush, and Cheney are masters of the long con.