President Bush on Friday promised an immediate strong response to the
perpetrators of Hurricane Katrina, the Gulf Coast storm which has
quickly sprouted into the largest natural disaster in U.S. history.
In a brief stop at the White House between vacations, the president
addressed the White House press corps. "Ours is a great nation and we
have suffered a heavy loss. Throughout history we have persevered in the
gravest of circumstances. We will persevere now. And when we have
recovered and after we have mourned and honored our heroic dead, we will
"We did not choose this battle," The President said. "This war has been
brought to our shores by our enemies. America has been attacked. Now we
need to fight the hurricanes over there before they put more Americans
here in harm's way."
In a dramatic reprise of his most successful campaign theme the
President continued, "It's time to take sides. You are either with the
hurricanes, or you are against them and with the forces of goodness and
freedom. The hurricanes out there should know that we will root them out
and we will not stop until they are destroyed."
The President closed the news conference with his now familiar, yet
strangely pacifying salutation, "God Bless America," before leaving for
a short stay at an Idaho resort. "It's hard work," he president said,
waving from his personal helicopter. "I know exactly what the folks down
in New Orleans are going through and I wish them the best. But it will
be hard, hard work."
In a follow up news conference, White House Press Secretary Scott
McClellan was asked what anti-hurricane measures were being explored.
McClellan outlined several options, including carpet bombing of the
Carribean ocean, sending National Guard troops to patrol the Bahamas,
and the construction of a large Hurricane-proof fence along America's
southern border. The anticipated cost of a such a fence would well
within the Pentagon's emergency discretionary budget.
Polls show 65% of Americans favor a strong immediate response to the
hurricane. 73% would be in favor of increased security measures against
hurricanes even if it meant the curtailment of some civil liberties. 32%
of Americans believe that there may be a link between al Queda and