The hawkish Gregory Djerejian at Belgravia Dispatch– who is appalled by national security implications of the federal government’s response to Hurricane Katrina– makes a good point about President Bush’s acceptance of responsibility for the failures:
I seem to recall that Don Rumsfeld, around the time of Abu Ghraib, also said he accepted ‘responsibility’ for what happened. But it’s one thing to utter the R word, another thing to really mean it. This seems to be something of a peculiar Washington phenomenon, doesn’t it? Some grandee states, flatly, that they accept responsiblity for this or that outrage. And then, in practice, they really don’t. Nothing happens to connect the statement of assuming responsibility to, you know, some action that might evidence a connection between stating they take responsibility and, well, taking it. But, hey, they said they did, and so, you know, all is well and one garners kudos for all the Trumanesque ‘buck stops here’ bravura. But we always knew Washington was a strange place, right?
Perhaps Bush will give some indication that his assumption of responsibility is sincere when he addresses the nation tonight.
Even more encouraging would be his recognition of serious flaws in the way his administration sets priorities and operates at all levels and in all areas– including post-invasion Iraq. But I don’t expect the moon and the stars.