Thursday, May 03, 2007

Baghdad or New Orleans – Is there a difference to Bush ?

When George Bush speaks, for too often, I end up shaking my head, but his comment explaining the situation in Iraq still has my head spinning.
Either we'll succeed, or we won't succeed. And the definition of success as I described is sectarian violence down. Success is not, no violence. There are parts of our own country that have got a certain level of violence to it. But success is a level of violence where the people feel comfortable about living their daily lives. And that's what we're trying to achieve."

Was he talking about Philadelphia which as through the first 114 days of 2007, have experienced the murders of 128 people. Since 2002 the murder rate has climbed steadily, from just under 300 to more than 400 last year. Half of the killings remain unsolved. The murder rate in Philadelphia right now is higher than New York City, higher than Los Angeles, higher than Chicago. Philadelphia's poverty rate is the highest of any major U.S. city and Philadelphia is overwhelmed with illegal weapons.

Or maybe Bush was referring to New Orleans which according to the FBI, in 2004, the last full year before Hurricane Katrina, there were 56 murders for every 100,000 people. Time Magazine speculates that "residents will not return. If they don't return, bringing money, momentum and stability with them, crime will continue to increase."

The displacement from Hurricane Katrina caused an increase in Houston’s murder rate.

Or maybe Bush was thinking of the violent crime in Minneapolis which has increased in every year since 2001 and now has businesses demanding more increased police patrols.

But that may be unfair, just to pick on large cities. The most recent FBI examination of violent crime data for the population groups showed that cities with populations from 100,000 to 249,999 had the greatest increase in the number of murders, up 12.5 percent. Cities with 500,000 to 999,999 inhabitants experienced the greatest increases in both robbery, 9.9 percent, and aggravated assault, 8.5 percent.

If this rant sounds like a KFAN audio clip “All the negativity in this town sucks!”, it should be.

Atul Gawande has a OpEd piece in the NYTimes entitled “The Power of Negative Thinking.
“We Americans believe instinctively in the power of positive thinking. Whether one is fighting a cancer, an insurgency or just an unyielding problem at work, the prevailing wisdom is that thinking positive is the key — The Secret, even — to success. But the key, it seems to me, is actually negative thinking: looking for, and sometimes expecting, failure.
[snip] Negative thinking is unquestionably painful. It involves finding and exposing your inadequacies, which can be overwhelming.

And that’s Bush’s problem.
He’s not thinking about the negatives … he’s talking positive and regardless of reality.
Addressing negatives can create postive results.

Let’s ignore Iraq for a moment and evaluate George Bush’s presidency based on crime, poverty, illegal drugs, illegal immigration, economic opprotunity, police levels, etc.

Why does the President have a mentality that accepts a “certain level of violence” in any community ?
Shouldn’t the challenge for Bush to make every community feel as safe as Crawford or Kennebunkport ?

No comments: